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2021 Synod Assembly

2021 Virtual Assembly Invitation

A Message from the Assembly Planning Chair

From the 2021 SWCA Synod Planning Committee

Click to read: Important Update Regarding Voting Representation 

To the People of the Southwest California Synod of the ELCA,
This year, we will gather as the Southwest California Synod as never before—completely virtually. It will be different. You won’t greet fellow synod leaders in the hall or during the breaks. You will be responsible for your own coffee and snacks. And you’ll have to stretch your legs as you walk around your own office or living room. But no matter the format, we will gather—in mind, body and spirit, through the wonders of the internet “for such a time as this.”
Much of our business will be the same important work: receiving annual reports, adopting a budget, electing folks to serve in numerous positions throughout the synod, etc. We pray that you will be encouraged and inspired by the work we’ve been doing together as the people of God in this place and that you will be enriched and energized by the time shared together. (And it’s our goal that this isn’t just another Zoom that you have to navigate and endure.)
Our foremost piece of business will be to elect the next Bishop of the Southwest California Synod. We are already in the process of collecting pre-nominations through March 26. Please visit the synod website for the appropriate form to submit a pre-nomination. However, our first ballot will be an ecclesiastical one that allows for a nomination by a registered voting member for any ordained clergy in good standing in the ELCA. We continue to pray that this process would bring forth leaders who are gifted and called “for such a time as this.”
We are grateful for this opportunity to gather together—to worship our Great God, celebrate the ministry we share, and dream together about the work God calls us to in the future.
Please note: the deadline for registration was Wednesday May 26. If you have questions about your voting status, contact

The Rev. Nikki Fielder, Synod Assembly Chair

On Sunday, May 16,  we gathered for a multi-faceted time of conversations about the Southwest California Synod, the ELCA, and the upcoming Synod Assembly. Our Presiding Bishop, The Rev. Elizabeth Eaton, will joined to discuss the Churchwide Organization and the Role of a Synodical Bishop.
Committee members gave reports regarding the State of the SWCA Synod, our current financial situation, and how our Voting Members will be gathering for the first time in a virtual Synod Assembly.

Bishop's Election

Electing a bishop is one of the most important responsibilities in the life of the synod and a key responsibility of the Synod Assembly. As an election, the process is governed by the Constitution of the Southwest California Synod and guided by the latest edition of the ELCA’s Guidelines for Synod Bishop Elections; however, is first and foremost a call process. As such, it involves discernment, from the perspective both of individual potential nominees and of the synod as a whole. Therefore, engaging in prayerful reflection and seeking the guidance of the Holy Spirit are indispensable aspects of the processes of nomination and election.
During the pre-identification period, names of potential candidates were lifted up and sent to the Bishop's Election Committee, who contacted these potential nominees to ascertain their interest and to obtain their biographical information, which is available here.
Those pre-identified have not yet been nominated - all candidates must be nominated on the ecclesiastical (first) ballot at the Synod Assembly to be considered a nominee for bishop. On this first ballot, any minister of Word and Sacrament on the roster of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America is eligible to be nominated. They are not required to be rostered in the Southwest California Synod, nor reside within the synod’s geographical boundaries. Any qualified person receiving votes on the first ballot who did not previously submit written biographical material will be invited to do so immediately, and that information will be made available to the voting members of the Assembly prior to the second ballot.
We ask all voting members of the 2021 assembly to be in prayerful reflection, preparation and discernment under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, as our Synod moves forward in the nomination and election process for a bishop of the Southwest California Synod.

Synod Self-Assessment

The Southwest California Synod began its transition period in July 2020 with the creation of a Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats (SWOT) review of its practices, activities and mutual ministries with and among the conferences, congregations and congregants. This assessment of the Synod’s capacity, its ability to provide guidance, direction and assistance provides for a greater appreciation of the challenges that lie ahead for any incoming Bishop and Synod Council.
The results are linked below. The Conferences of the SWCA Synod are in the process of producing their supplemental SWOT reports, which will be added to the linked page as they are completed.
Synod-Wide Review and Self Assessment Summary
Synod-Wide Review and Self Assessment
Synod-Wide Review and Self Assessment & Summary (PDF)
Conference SWOT Reports


Call for Nominees

Nominations are closed. Nominations for Council, Committee, and Churchwide Assembly Voting Members can be made on the floor of the assembly. You can read the report of the Nominating Committee here.
The Nominating Committee of the Southwest California Synod invites members of synod congregations to prayerfully consider if God is calling them to serve on Synod Council, a Synod Committee, or as a voting member of the 2022 Churchwide Assembly. Please see the full Call for Nominations for the positions and descriptions, and click here to see short videos from our Vice-President, Members-at-Large, Conference Representative, and Youth Representative.
We are looking for candidates who have a desire to share their experience, knowledge and passion as leaders in the synod. We need good listeners, critical thinkers, folks with an openness to the Spirit, and a willingness to share their thoughts, ideas, and concerns.