Bishop Kucharek is a graduate of Valparaiso University and the Lutheran Theological Seminary at Gettysburg, where she earned her MDiv and STM degrees. She has served as Bishop of the Slovak Zion Synod–ELCA since 2002.
Prior to her election, she served as a parish pastor in Connecticut and Pennsylvania, and briefly as a deaconess in Indiana and New York. She received the Synod’s Servus Dei Award in 1999 and served as Secretary of the Board of ELCA’s Division for Global Mission, as Chair of the Synod’s Ecumenical and International Relations Committee, as a member of the National Council of Churches’ Task Force for Korean Women, and as a member of the Board and Disaster Response Team of the American Red Cross. She has served on delegations to the Lutheran World Federation, North and South Korea, the Holy Land, Russia, and Central and Eastern Europe.
Bishop Kucharek currently serves as the Advisory Bishop to the Board of the Women of the ELCA, on the Board of Trustees of Muhlenberg College, and as a Liaison Bishop on the ELCA Church Council. With her spouse, the Rev. Dr. Thomas Drobena, she is co-author of Heritage of the Slavs and co-translator of Lutheran Churches in Slovakia; they have two sons, Thomas and Joshua.
The Bishop shall “Preach, teach, and administer the sacraments in accord with the Confession of Faith of this church… [And] Have primary responsibility for the ministry of Word and Sacrament in this synod and its congregations, providing pastoral care and leadership for this synod, its congregations, its ordained ministers, and its other rostered leaders…”