Bishop Election Committee

Read about the Bishop Election Team Members here.  You may reach the co-chairs of this team by emailing

Vicki Stretz, St. Olaf, Rubicon, co-chair
Rev. Vicki Watkins, The Village Church, Milwaukee, co-chair
Dan Christianson, Atonement, Muskego
Chuck Ellingson, Cross, Milwaukee
Jerry Key, Reformation, Milwaukee
Charlotte Linberry, Lake Park, Milwaukee
Rev. Beth Ann Stone, Mt. Pleasant, Racine

Bishop Election Overview

The work of the Bishop Election Committee began with the Synod Council appointing Rev. Vicki Watkins, Village Church, Milwaukee and Vickie Stretz, St.Olaf, Rubicon, as co-chairs at their meeting in November, 2021. Those who volunteered to serve on the committee reflect our representational guidelines and were approved by the Synod Council at their January 2022 meeting. We have been meeting since February preparing for the election at the May 20-21, 2022 Greater Milwaukee Synod Assembly at the Italian Community Center in Milwaukee. 

In January 2022, the Synod Council also acted to approve the process for the bishop election which you can download.

Our first work has been the pre-identification of rostered ministers of Word and Sacrament for bishop. The opportunity to submit names for this process closed at midnight on March 15, 2022. Seven pastors were identified and two accepted the invitation to go forward: Bishop Paul Erickson and Rev. Michelle Townsend de Lopez.

These two pastors videotaped responses to predetermined questions which are posted below  along with their biographical information form. This information will be removed from the website when registration for Synod Assembly closes at midnight on May 15, 2022.

The first ballot for bishop is an ecclesiastical ballot. The ecclesiastical ballot is an open ballot on which voting members will write the name of an ELCA pastor to be nominated for the bishop election. Pre-identified pastors must also be nominated on this ballot in order to participate in the election process. 75% of legal votes cast shall be necessary for election on the first ballot. Successive ballots are outlined in the Rules of Procedure for Bishop Election

 Questions used for the videos and during the Assembly vote are a compilation from various sources. The committee used the Report of the Fall Gathering of Conferences, the Reconciling in Christ team, and suggestions submitted directly to the Bishop Election Committee. We wish to thank all who sent in suggestions and aided in the development of questions for the candidates.

This process is an important part of our life together as a synod, and the bishop that is elected will be called to take our synod into the next level of ministry defined by you, the members of the Greater Milwaukee Synod. We look and pray for the movement of the Holy Spirit as we enter the final selection process as part of our Synod Assembly.

Overview of Bishop Election Process

A Bishop Election Committee has been formed in preparation for the Bishop election at this year’s Greater Milwaukee Synod Assembly, May 20-21, 2022. The Synod Council has appointed co-chairs Vickie Stretz and Rev. Vicki Watkins, as well as a committee of six others who have volunteered for this important work. The council also approved a process for identifying and lifting up the views and gifts of possible nominees for the office of synod bishop, as directed by Resolution 4 from the 2009 Synod Assembly.

For the first step in that process, we are inviting people to submit names and contact information of possible nominees to the election co-chairs using the email, Any ELCA rostered minister of Word and Sacrament is eligible to be a nominee. The deadline for submissions is March 15, 2022.

As names are submitted, the co-chairs will contact them and follow up with the submission of the Nomination/Information form. All of those willing to be part of the pre-identification process will be invited to participate in a video session where they will respond to designated questions. These will then be available for viewing on this webpage prior to the Synod Assembly. The committee will be sharing information updates and the availability of the videos on this webpage and the Synod weekly e-news (sign up for the weekly e-news).

We look forward to your participation in this process. If you have a suggestion for a question to put forward for the video interviews, please send it to Again, names can be submitted to before March 15, 2022.

It is important to note that the pre-identification process provides the opportunity to learn about the views and gifts of possible nominees, but that the first ballot at the Synod Assembly begins the election process with an open (ecclesiastical) ballot to write in the name of any Minister of Word and Sacrament on the roster of the ELCA.  – Vickie Stretz and Rev. Vicki Watkins, Bishop Election Committee Co-Chairs

2021 Fall Conference Gatherings

The Greater Milwaukee Synod facilitated conversations at eight gatherings in late October and early November 2021, including one in each of the six conferences plus two online zoom meetings. The conversations were a first step in preparation for the bishop election at the 2022 Synod Assembly with the purpose of reflecting on where we have been as a synod in mission and ministry and to begin to discern where we may need to go. Approximately 180 people participated in the gatherings. Notes were recorded of all of the post-it responses and table discussions. This report provides details on responses, along with summary of the comments and discussion. You can access the full report here, or watch the video summary embedded below:

Vision, Mission, Values, Practices

Together, at our synod assembly in May 2019, we approved a new Vision, Mission, Values, Practices Statement. As we live into who we are called to be together, we offer resources to engage nine spiritual practices. Read the full Vision Mission, Values, Practices Statement.