Message from the Committee for a Bishop's Election, Southwest California Synod ELCA
Dear Pastors, Deacons and Congregational Leaders,

At the Synod Assembly at California Lutheran University, May 30 - June 1, 2019, voting members will vote to elect a bishop for our Synod. Bishop R. Guy Erwin, who will complete his six year term August 31, has indicated his willingness to be considered for a second term. Other ordained ELCA pastors may be nominated and considered for this position and Call. The purpose of this letter is to provide you with some important information about the process for nominating candidates and electing a bishop.

The Southwest California Synod Constitution and the latest edition of the ELCA’s Guidelines for Synod Bishop Elections provide instructions for conducting this process. The Synod’s Committee for a Bishop’s Election selected by the Synod Council has reviewed the ELCA Guidelines and is following its recommendations. Constitution section S9.04 on the nomination and election process is linked below for your reference. Also linked below is a copy of the mission goals and objectives adopted by the Synod Council in 2018 as the basis for the election
of a bishop this year. Please take time to read both documents carefully .

You will note that our Synod constitution allows for the pre-nomination of prospective candidates by “members and congregations” of the Synod. These candidates must be ordained pastors of the ELCA. Those who are pre-nominated will be asked to complete a biographical information form that has been prepared by the Committee. By action of the ELCA Churchwide
Assembly in 2009 “background checks and screening shall be required and completed for persons nominated as synodical officers prior to their election, if possible, or as soon as practical after their election.” (S9.12) The Committee will oversee this constitutional provision so that these background checks are completed for all those pre-nominated by the time of the Synod Assembly.

As a member of a congregation of this Synod, you may submit to the Synod office the name of any person you wish to nominate as bishop. You may mail the name of the nominee to: The Committee for a Bishop’s Election, 1300 E. Colorado Street, Glendale, CA 91205. Or you may email the name to: All pre-nominations must be received by Monday, March 25, 2019. Biographical Information and consent forms will then be sent to all those pre-nominated. The Biographical Information Form is also linked before.

You will also note that the first ballot of the election process will be the nominating ballot. In order to be elected as bishop, a candidate will need to receive three-fourths of all legal ballots cast in this ballot. Those who have been pre-nominated as well as any other qualified candidate can be nominated on this ballot. Any person nominated on this first ballot can withdraw his or her name from further consideration. Those who desire to move ahead in the election process and have not been pre-nominated will be required to complete the biographical information form before having their name placed on the second ballot. The background check and screening will be conducted as soon as possible if such a person is elected.

The selection of a bishop will be one of the most important items of business for this year’s Synod Assembly. Later mailings from the Committee will provide information regarding prenominated candidates, as well as additional information about the election process at the Assembly. Members of the Committee will also be present at the Spring Conference Assemblies to provide additional information and to answer any questions you may have concerning both the qualifications for and responsibilities of the bishop and the process for the nomination and election of a bishop.

If you have any questions regarding this process, you are welcome to contact the chair of our Committee or our Synod Vice President at the following addresses or phone numbers:

Pr. Dean W. Nelson
Bishop Emeritus, Southwest California Synod
1355 W. 20th Street
San Pedro, CA 90732
Cell phone: 310-283-9349

Randall Foster
Vice President, Southwest California Synod
913 Helmick Street
Carson, CA 90746
Phone: 310-613-1964

We encourage you 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.

In Christ,

The Committee for a Bishop’s Election

Carol Bjelland
Pr. Valerie Carlson
Sheri Dillon, Staff Support
Randall Foster, Synod Vice President
Samantha Henderson, Staff Support
Andreas Hirsch, Staff Support
Pr. William Hurst
Pr. Dean Nelson, Chair
Southwest California Synod of the ELCA| (818) 507-9591||