Author Topic: First African-American woman elected an ELCA synod bishop  (Read 719 times)


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First African-American woman elected an ELCA synod bishop
« on: May 05, 2018, 04:59:18 PM »
Via the synod website:

Pastor Patricia A. Davenport was elected the next Bishop of the Southeastern Pennsylvania Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America Saturday, May 5, at Franconia Mennonite Church.

Bishop-elect Davenport, 63, currently serves as the Director for Evangelical Mission/Assistant to the Bishop, and is a member of the Spirit and Truth Worship Center in Yeadon. She also has served as a Pastor/Mission Developer for the Spirit and Truth Worship Center and as Acting Bishop for three months. She earned a degree from the Community College of Philadelphia and a M.Div. from the Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia, in addition to three other educational certificates.

Pastor Davenport has been active with various Synod and community groups, including her current positions as co-chair of the Guiding Coalition, Churchwide, and as a member of the Congregational Vitality Team. She attributes her success in her various endeavors to her open mind and spirit to learn as well as lead and gift to speak truth to power in situations of injustice.

She was elected on the fourth ballot, obtaining greater than the required 60% of the vote to be elected, over the 2 other remaining candidates (Julie DeWerth and Carlton Rodgers).  The fifth ballot 2 person race was therefore avoided.

A personal observation, being in the hall:  she received the largest number of first ballot votes, and was perhaps the best qualified of the 7 who moved onto the third ballot.  Obviously the favorite going in, and now surprise candidates rose to challenge her.  The ELCA secretary, Chris Boerger, conducted the election, and commented early on that this synod is perhaps the most diverse in the entire church (and naturally so, not by any quota requirement).  I'm not sure how to put this without sounding patronizing or condescending, but this election result was not about appearing diverse or making history.  In a time of shrinking churches, there is real interest in the synod to support urban ministry, recognizing that the plight of small urban churches is basically the same challenge faced by small rural churches.  (The synod closed 2 churches last year, both non-urban.)  It's not like the outgoing bishop didn't care about this, and the bishop-elect was on the synod staff (as well as being dual-hatted part-time for the churchwide office, I assume a cost sharing device) so I'm skeptical about what can be done.

Perhaps the new bishop's greatest looming crisis (which I'm sure is shared by others), is the need to replace a large percentage of clergy in their 60's who will be retiring at the same time.  Yet another big demographic bubble about to pop.

Sterling Spatz
Sterling Spatz
ELCA pew-sitter

Don Whitbeck

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Re: First African-American woman elected an ELCA synod bishop
« Reply #1 on: May 06, 2018, 12:09:06 PM »
I wish her the best. No doubt God will be with her and will provide guidance on all the problems she will have to deal with.

In Christ,

The Voice of God will NEVER Contradict the Word of God