Stories from the Synod

Prepare the way of the Lord! Yesterday, congregations throughout the synod celebrated the first Sunday of Advent. Congregations hosted intergenerational advent celebrations, lit candles, decorated their sanctuaries, made advent wreaths, and so much more. Pictured above is Holy Trinity Lutheran Church in San Carlos, CA, Bethlehem Lutheran Church in Auburn, CA, Grace Lutheran Church in Palo Alto, CA, Faith Lutheran Church in Castro Valley, CA, St. Mark's Lutheran Church in Fairfield, CA, and Lutheran Church of the Good Shepherd in Reno, NV.

Be sure to send your Advent photos to!

Reminiscing about last weekend's Elementary and Middle School SPSYC Retreat at Mt. Cross? Not to worry - the SPSYC High School Retreat is coming soon! Mark your calendars for February 24-26, 2023 at Mt. Cross Ministries. All youth in grades 9-12 are invited to attend, more information coming soon here.

Just last month, work was happening on a new downtown mural in Fort Bragg, CA to honor the Finnish heritage of this coastal town. As the mural progressed, one member of Trinity Lutheran Church (established 1889), Paul Nylund, got to know the artist, Lauren Sinnott, and pointed out that the Finnish Lutheran Church was also an important part of life for the Finns. At his suggestion, an image of the church was added to the mural as a finishing touch! So now, the mural is complete, and the congregation and building known as Trinity Lutheran Church has its place in history noted in this beautiful mural!

Send your ministry pictures to or (650) 302-0364 be featured in the Synod Newsletter!

Giving Tuesday is Tomorrow!

"How do we respond to God’s call to serve and love our neighbors? We faithfully steward the gifts God has so abundantly given to us." On this Giving Tuesday, we invite you to consider the Sierra Pacific Synod in your day of giving. Your financial support helps fund diverse ministries, support the children and youth of our synod, start new worshipping communities, support individuals in their call to ministry, and so much more.

You can donate directly through our website here, or mail in your offering to the synod office to donate to a specific ministry.

Installation of the Rev. Daniel Christian

at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church, Novato, CA

We join Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in Novato, CA in welcoming all to attend the Installation Service of the Rev. Daniel Christian on Sunday, December 11th at 3:00pm. Rostered Leaders are invited to process at this service.

Questions regarding the Installation can be emailed to Conference 2 Dean Rev. Dave Miller at

Handel's Messiah Sing-Along

at Grace Lutheran Church, Palo Alto, CA

Are you looking for a sing-along opportunity this Messiah season? Join folks from across the synod at Grace Lutheran Church in Palo Alto, CA on Saturday, December 10th for a Messiah Sing-Along!

With top-notch soloists and string ensemble accompaniment, we will sing the Christmas portion of Handel’s most famous work, plus the beloved Hallelujah chorus. Anyone who wants to sing, with no rehearsal but only a spirit of adventure, will be most welcome! Scores will be available for all who attend.

2023 Sierra Pacific Synod Assembly Announcement

The 35th Annual Assembly of the Sierra Pacific Synod has been scheduled for September 15 - 17, 2023 at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Burlingame, California. Read more about the change of date and outline for the year ahead in both English and Spanish here.

Updates and Resources from ELCA Churchwide & Beyond

Anniversary of the Ordination of Lutheran Women

Last week, we celebrated the anniversary of the Ordination of Lutheran Women in the United States! "On Nov. 22, 1970, The Rev. Elizabeth Platz was ordained by the Lutheran Church in America, one of the ELCA's predecessor church bodies. One month later, the Rev. Barbara Andrews was ordained by the American Lutheran Church, another predecessor church of the ELCA."

We invite you to join us in honoring and celebrating our female Rostered Leaders today and everyday. Our church is who we are today because of their faithful service and leadership!

Western States Youth Gathering: Registration Prices Increasing Soon!

As the busy Advent Season begins, we share a friendly reminder that registration prices for the 2023 Western States Youth Gathering increase January 4, 2023. Get ahead of the busy season and secure your youth group's early-bird registration by registering today here.

Connect with Synod Staff & Your Conference Dean

Bishop Claire S. Burkat

Interim Bishop, Sierra Pacific Synod

Deacon JJ Godwin

Executive Assistant to the Bishop

Debbie Cook

Finance Assistant Contractor

Rev. Manda Truchinski

Assistant to the Bishop for Leadership & Strategic Organization

Catherine Slabaugh

Communications & Connections Coordinator

Rev. Dr. Dawn Roginski

Interim Assistant Director of Evangelical Mission

Rev. Ben Colahan 

Dean, Redwood Mountain Conference 1

Rev. Dave Miller

Dean, Bridges Conference 2

Rev. Dr. Gabriele Schroeder

Dean, Capitol Valley Conference 3

Rev. Charlane Lines

Dean, Sierra Nevada Foothills Conference 4

Rev. John Kuehner

Dean, San Francisco Peninsula Conference 5

Rev. Cristina Beauchemin

Dean, El Camino Real Conference 6

Rev. Dr. John Valentine

Dean, Mt. Diablo Conference 7

Rev. Mark Price

Dean, Sierra Central Valley Conference 8

Rev. Jodi Golden-Lund

Dean, Central San Joaquin Conference 9

Rev. Cindy Beck

Dean, Interim Ministry

The Sierra Pacific Synod Office resides on the unceded land of the Ramaytush Ohlone People.
To learn more about their tribal history, we encourage you to click here.
The Sierra Pacific Synod is a Sanctuary Synod and a Reconciling in Christ Synod.
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