Lutherans elect new bishop

Lutherans elect new bishop
Voting members of the 20th annual assembly of the South Dakota Synod, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), elected a new bishop to a six-year term.

The bishop-elect is the Rev. David B. Zellmer, who currently is senior pastor of Lutheran Memorial Church, Pierre, and Grace Lutheran, Hayes. He will be formally installed as bishop on�Sept. 15 in a service at the Augustana College Elmen Center in�Sioux Falls.

The South Dakota Synod constitution restricts a bishop to no more than two six-year terms.

The Rev. Andrea DeGroot-Nesdahl, outgoing bishop of the South Dakota Synod, has served two terms and so was ineligible for reelection.

Zellmer was elected on only the second ballot, receiving 444 votes; 370 were needed to be elected

Voting members narrowed a slate of five nominees at the start of the assembly – the Rev. Olaf Roynesdal, Sioux Falls; the Rev. Jeff Sorenson, Garretson; the Rev. Paul Stjernholm, Sioux Falls; the Rev. Lawrence Wohlrabe, Moorhead, MN; and Zellmer – to three nominees on the second ballot – Sorenson, Wohlrabe, and Zellmer.

In his comments after the result was announced, Zellmer said to the assembly, "What were you thinking?"

Zellmer then asked for prayers for outgoing�Bishop DeGroot-Nesdahl and her family as well as for his family, his wife,�LaDonna, and their children and granddaughter.

The theme for this year's assembly was "Living in God's Amazing Grace: Thanks Be to God." It was attended by an estimated 900 voting members, visitors, and guests. Business will resume� with the consideration of several resolutions and the adoption of a mission�plan (budget) in excess of $2 million.

The South Dakota Synod, ELCA, numbers 122,758 baptized members in 253 congregations. Membership in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America is 4,850,776.

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