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TORRINGTON, CT (SZS) On Saturday, November 16, 2019, the Metropolitan New York Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (MNYS) celebrated the installation of the Rev. Paul T. Egensteiner as Bishop of their synod. The installation took place at 2:00 PM in the Cathedral Church of Saint John the Divine, seat of the Episcopal Bishop of New York, located on Amsterdam Ave and Cathedral Pkwy in Upper Manhattan, with Presiding Bishop Elizabeth A. Eaton officiating. Hundreds were in attendance within the church, with many more holding vigil outside the doors once the building reached capacity. The installation event encompassed the love that God feels for all God’s children. Bishop Egensteiner assumes the office following the Rev. Don McCoid, who served the MNYS as their Interim Bishop for more than a year.

The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America is divided into sixty-five synods, which relate within nine regions across the United States and Caribbean. The MNYS is located within Region 7, which is the region to which our Slovak Zion Synod also relates. Bishop Wilma S. Kucharek of the Slovak Zion Synod was in attendance at the installation event and was among the bishops who laid hands upon Bishop Egensteiner, welcoming him as a colleague and blessing him in this new ministry to his synod and new chapter which begins to unfold for him and for the MNYS.

The Rev. Paul T. Egensteiner was elected on May 17, 2019 to serve a six-year term as bishop of the MNYS. He served as pastor of Emanuel Lutheran Church in Pleasantville, NY since 1997, having previously served as pastor of Immanuel Lutheran Church in Staten Island, NY from 1984 to 1997. A native New Yorker, Egensteiner grew up in Richmond Hill, Queens. Having come from a long line of Lutherans on his father’s side, a “Lutheran of Lutherans,” Egensteiner was baptized at Saint Philip Evangelical Lutheran Church in Brooklyn, NY.

This was not the only installation at which Bishop Kucharek and, by extension, the Slovak Zion Synod was present this season. The Metropolitan Washington, DC Synod (MDCS) of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America celebrated the installation of the Rev. Leila M. Ortiz as their new bishop on October 12, 2019. The installation was held at 2:00 PM in the Memorial Chapel on the University of Maryland campus, with Presiding Bishop Eaton officiating.

While MDCS is located within Region 8 of the ELCA, both the MDCS and Slovak Zion Synod share a common companion in God’s global ministry: the Evangelical Church of the Augsburg Confession in Slovakia (ECAV). Even though Bishop Ivan Elko of ECAV could not be in attendance at Bishop Ortiz’s installation, Bishop Kucharek served as a Slovak presence at the installation and, in addition to supporting this new sister bishop, was able to bring Bishop Ortiz’s greetings back to Bishop Elko when she traveled to Slovakia at the end of October to attend the academic symposium honoring the 100th anniversary of the seminary in Bratislava.

The Rev. Leila M. Ortiz was elected on June 15, 2019 to serve a six-year term as bishop of the MDCS. She previously served as assistant to the synod bishop for mobility and candidacy since 2016. She also served as associate pastor of Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in Gaithersburg, Md., from 2014 to 2016, and pastor-in-residence at Holy Cross Lutheran Church in Herndon, Va., from 2013 to 2014. She succeeds the Rev. Richard H. Graham who had served as bishop of their synod since 2007.

Photo Credit: Select photos courtesy of Robert Williams/MNYS.