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2018 Bishop Election

The 2018 Synod Assembly, May 3-5, 2018 in Westminster, CO will include an election for Bishop of the Rocky Mountain Synod. Bishop Jim Gonia has discerned that he will allow his name to move forward for a possible re-election. He will have completed one six-year term in 2018 and there are no term limits in the Rocky Mountain Synod.

A Bishop Election Task Force has been meeting to outline the process. The election process is carried out the same way whether or not a current bishop is open to serving another term. An “Ecclesiastical Ballot” is the nominating ballot at the assembly. Each voting member will write down the name of whomever they would like to nominate (any rostered pastor in the ELCA), followed by subsequent ballots requiring certain percentage majorities for an election, as the number of candidates decreases for each ballot.

The task force has determined that a process for identifying potential candidates will be carried out in the months prior to the assembly. That process is for informational purposes only and does not limit the “Ecclesiastical Ballot” to those identified in advance of the assembly. This is an opportunity for congregations, members, and conferences to identify rostered pastors who may have the gifts and skills to lead the Rocky Mountain Synod. Members are encouraged to attend their respective Conference Gatherings this fall and winter to learn more about the duties and responsibilities required of a Bishop.

2018 Bishop Election Resources

2018 Synod Snapshot

2018 Bishop Profile

2018 Bishop Election Bible Study

Conference Meeting Draft Agenda


Fall/Winter Conference Gatherings

February 9 deadline for submitting names of potential candidates

February 12 letters sent to those whose names were submitted inviting a bio be submitted

March 9 deadline for receiving bios

March 16 names and bios published on synod website

May 3-5 Synod Assembly with official nominating "Ecclesiastical Ballot"

Potential Bishop Candidates

The following three candidates submitted biographical materials, having been identified as potential bishop candidates in the Rocky Mountain Synod. Identifying candidates in advance of the assembly is in no way binding on the nominating “Ecclesiastical Ballot” on the opening day of the assembly. This process is for informational purposes only.


The Rev. Joelle Colville-Hanson
Biographical summary


The Rev. James Gonia
Biographical summary


The Rev. Darryl Thompson Powell
Biographical summary

All names submitted as potential bishop candidates:

Kristen Capel
Joelle Colville-Hanson
James Gonia
William Hamilton
Mark Hoffman
Martin Lettow
Lucille Mills
Asher O'Callaghan
Leila Ortiz
Mark Peterson
Tuhina Rasche
Rose Mary Sanchez-Guzman
Angela Shannon
Renee Splichal Larson
Darryl Thompson Powell
Andrea Walker