SYNOD COUNCIL

The synod council is the board of directors for the Northeastern Pennsylvania Synod and serves as the synod’s interim legislative authority between meetings of the synod assembly.

Officers

The Rev. Christopher deForest - Bishop
In transition - Vice President and Chair of the Council
Nancy Reichelt - Vice President
Ken Melber - Secretary
Donald Boyer - Treasurer

Members

Brian Beissel (2024)
Pattie Corcoran (2026)
Helen Davis (2025)
Richard deLuca (2025)
Maritza Torres Dolich (2025)
Jim Doxsey  (2024)
Chris Druckenmiller
Joshua Fink (2026)
Eugene Zaiser (2026)
Stephen Hikes (2025)
Andy Hottenstein (2025)
Elizabeth Leibenguth (2024)
Amy Mietelski (2024)
Wes Poole (2024)
Rashion “Woody” Santiago (2025)
Carl Shankweiler (2023)
Spencer Steele (2024)
Linda Zawaski (2025)
Dan Tobey (2025, Youth)

Meetings

The Synod Council normally meets four times a year. Visitors are welcome to sit in on council meetings except for executive sessions.

Facts and Responsibilities

The council consists of the four officers (Bishop, Vice President, Secretary, and Treasurer), two youth members, and twenty other people, nine of whom are elected by the nine mission districts. Officers are elected by the Synod Assembly. The Bishop serves for a term of six years; the Vice President, Secretary, and Treasurer are elected for terms of four years. The two youth members, one male and one female, are elected for two-year terms. The Vice President is limited to two consecutive terms in office, must be a layperson and may not receive a salary. The Secretary and Treasurer may be either lay or ordained and may or may not receive compensation for their duties.

FULL-TIME STAFF

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The Bishop has primary responsibility for the ministry of Word and Sacrament in this synod and its congregations; provides pastoral care and leadership for the synod, its congregations, and its rostered leaders; oversees and administers the work of the synod; and serves as ecumenical officer for the synod.

The Rev.

Christopher deForest

Bishop

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Deacon Kat Tigerman works as DEM and also helps congregations and ministries develop and grow, both in time-honored and totally new directions. She relates to the Witness & Service Ministry Team and the Mission Interpretation Network.

Deacon

Kathleen Tigerman

Director of Evangelical Mission

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Pastor Dietz serves to strengthen lay and rostered ministry across the Synod through candidacy, First Call Theological Education, mobility, and stewardship. She also relates to the congregations throughout Berks County.

The Rev.

Rachael Dietz

Executive Associate to the Bishop

PART-TIME STAFF

Eric Gombert

Mr. Gombert is cantor at St. John, Allentown. He is responsible for office and operational functions, and also serves as the synod finance administrator / bookkeeper.

Mr.

Eric Gombert

Director of Operations

Lauren Wolfe Blatt

Pastor Blatt is the pastor of Calvary Lutheran Church in Laureldale and Good Shepherd Lutheran Church, Tuckerton. She is responsible for all synod communication.

The Rev.

Lauren Wolfe Blatt

Director of Communication

Travis Woodfield

Deacon Woodfield is responsible for research and development leading to a strategic plan for congregations to live well, serve well, and to end well; to leave a lasting, faithful, and purposeful legacy.

Deacon

Travis Woodfield

Director of Congregation Legacy & Purpose

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Pastor Labagh serves full-time as pastor of Allegheny Lutheran Church in Knauers as well as Associate to the Bishop for the Schuylkill Mission District.

The Rev.

Zach Labagh

Associate of the Bishop

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Pastor Drennan serves full-time as pastor of Grace Lutheran Church in Macungie and as Associate to the Bishop for the North Lehigh Mission District.

The Rev.

Samantha Drennan

Associate of the Bishop

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Pastor Grube serves full-time as pastor of St. Paul's Lutheran Church in Dallas as well as Associate to the Bishop for the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Mission District.

The Rev.

Charles H. Grube

Associate of the Bishop

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Pastor Huber serves part-time as pastor of Arndts Lutheran Church in Easton and as Associate to the Bishop for the Bethlehem/Easton Mission District.

The Rev.

Jean L. Huber

Associate of the Bishop

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Pastor Nielsen serves full-time as pastor of Holy Trinity Lutheran Church in Dingman's Ferry and as Associate to the Bishop for the Pocono Mission District.

The Rev.

Niels H. Nielsen

Associate of the Bishop

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Pastor Shankweiler serves part-time as pastor of Zion Lutheran Church in Frackville, part-time as pastor of Trinity Lutheran Church in Buck Run, and as Associate to the Bishop for the Hazelton/Lehighton Mission District.

The Rev.

Carl Shankweiler

Associate of the Bishop

COORDINATING STAFF

Laurie Christman

Laurie Christman

Leadership Support Coordinator

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Stacey Burke

Growing Young Coordinator
Contact & Supply Coordinator

Debbie Skinner

Debbie is the Benevolence Clerk and is responsible for the daily prayers and office supplies.

Debbie Skinner

Mission Support Coordinator