The Bishop Election Process

The focus of the 2024 Rocky Mountain Synod Assembly will be the election of a new bishop. The discernment process for the next bishop began in fall 2023 at Conference Gatherings and the RMS Theological Conference. The process will conclude at Assembly April 25-27, 2024 with the final ballot for the election of a bishop. This website serves as the hub for all information and documents surrounding the discernment and election of a new bishop.

Discerning who will be called to be the next Bishop of the Rocky Mountain Synod is something that should be undertaken with prayer and the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Expectations for a Bishop, both in their gifts and in their character, are many.

The Bishop Election Committee encourages both voting members of the 2024 Assembly and those who are interested in being considered for this call to carefully read the document from the ELCA, "The Office and Ministry of the Bishop in the ELCA" as part of their discernment (click below).


Read "The Office and Ministry of the Bishop in the ELCA"



April 25-27: Rocky Mountain Synod Assembly in Loveland, Colorado:


  • The first ballot will be an Ecclesiastical Ballot. Any Word and Sacrament Minister in the ELCA may be nominated. Those who may have already submitted a Biographical Information Form must also be nominated on this ballot in order to be considered by the Assembly. Ministers who wish to withdraw from consideration will do so after the first ballot. Remaining names become the slate for the second ballot. (75% of votes needed to elect)



  • Following the second ballot, the top 7 names (in total votes received), plus ties, will advance to the third ballot, with biographical information provided to voting members. Prior to the third ballot, these candidates will be invited to address the Assembly for four minutes each.


  • Following the third ballot, the top 3 names, plus ties, will participate in Question and Answer sessions. The Assembly will be divided into three rooms and the candidates will rotate between rooms so all voting members can hear each person. The fourth ballot will be taken, with 60% of votes needed to elect.


  • The two candidates with the highest vote totals will be included on the fifth ballot and any subsequent ballots. A majority of total votes is needed for election.


Feedback from Conference Gatherings & Theological Conference

During the month of October, the conferences of the synod held gatherings of rostered leaders and laypeople for a time of discussion and discernment regarding the 2024 Bishop Election. The questions for discussion were similar to the ones used for the Theological Conference, which involved rostered leaders only. As we prayerfully prepare for the election of a new bishop, you are invited to read these compiled responses.

Conference Gathering Feedback

RMS Theological Conference Gathering Feedback


Bishop Election Committee for 2024 Assembly

The Synod Council has begun the process for the election of a new Bishop. The first step has been the appointment of a Bishop Election Committee, comprised of rostered leaders and lay people from around the synod. This committee has the responsibility of assuring that a fair and competent election is held, and also assuring that opportunities for feedback, discernment, and reflection are widely available prior to the 2024 Assembly. Along with the leadership of Conference Deans, the committee will organize gatherings for rostered leaders and laypeople this fall. Input from rostered leaders will also be invited at the Fall Theological Conference.

Read Bishop Election Committee Responsibilities

The Committee members are:

Pr. Ann Hultquist, Chair
Christian Mogren, Utah Conference
Elizabeth Mullins, Border Conference
Pam McClune, Metro West Conference
Pr. Carrie Baylis, Southeast Colorado Conference
Deacon Cynthia Biddlecomb, North New Mexico Conference
Pr. John Knutson, Northern Colorado Conference

Bishop Transition Team

The Synod Relations Committee of the ELCA Conference of Bishops determined that it would be beneficial to have a resource to guide the transitional actions and conversations that occur between an outgoing bishop and a bishop elect. The Team is lead by the ELCA Transition Guidelines document to identify, gather, organize and put in good order the information, connections, past and on-going work of the synod. In our pursuit of this goal, we will reach out to key rostered leaders and staff within the RMS to collect information that will be useful to the bishop elect. We will also ask congregations to participate in a survey during the Lenten season to help us capture a more personalized view in the words of each congregation to share with the bishop elect. 

Different than the Bishop Elections Committee, the Transition Team has been selected to assist the synod as it transitions to a new bishop. We are focused on being good stewards of the work previously done by the synod offices and congregations.  We exist to ensure key synod work survives the shift that is taking place in the leadership of the Rocky Mountain Synod.

The Team members are:

Deb Elstad, Chair: Mount Tabor LC, Salt Lake City, UT
Nolan Bly, Evergreen LC, Evergreen, CO
Dr. Jack Lindsey, Bethany LC, Cherry Hills, CO 
Rev. Ruth Ann Loughry, King of Glory LC, Loveland, CO
Rev. Dr. Kate Schlechter, Visitation, All Saints, Albuquerque, NM