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

Rev. Christopher deForest (2026) - Bishop, Chair of the Council
Ms. Nancy Reichelt (2027) - Vice President
Rev. Ken Melber (2027) - Secretary
Dr. Donald Boyer (2025) - Treasurer

Members

Ms. Pattie Corcoran (2026)
Dr. Helen Davis (2025)
Mr. Richard DeLuca (2025)
Rev. Maritza Torres Dolich (2025)
Mr. Jim Doxsey (2024)
Rev. Chris Druckenmiller (2025)
Mr. Joshua Fink (2026)
Rev. Dana Heckman-Beil (2024)
Mr. Stephen Hikes (2025)
Mr. Andy Hottenstein (2025)
Ms. Elizabeth Leibenguth (2024)
Ms. Amy Mietelski (2024)
Ms. Jean Sandberg (2026)
Rev. Rashion “Woody” Santiago (2025)
Rev. Carl Shankweiler (2024)
Rev. Spencer Steele (2024)
Dan Tobey (2025) - Youth
Seraphina Ware (2025) - Youth
Rev. Eugene Zaiser (2026)
Dcn. Linda Zawaski (2025) 

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.

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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

COORDINATING 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

(Part Time)
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Stacey is responsible for communications for the synod, which includes sending enews, announcements and maintaining the synod webpage and branding.  She is passionate about sharing congregational stories as well as uplifting and empowering leadership to incorporate the six core commitments of the Growing Young wheel.

Mrs.

Stacey Burke

Communications & Growing Young Coordinator

(Full Time)
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

(Part Time)
Laurie Christman

Laurie Christman

Leadership Support Coordinator

(Full Time)
Debbie Skinner

Debbie is the Mission Support Coordinator and is responsible for the daily prayers, office supplies and helping with candidacy.

Debbie Skinner

Mission Support Coordinator

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Jan oversees the synod's pulpit supply coordination, receptionist tasks at the synod office and accompanies leadership in various roles.

Janice (Jan) Gough

Ministry Support Coordinator

(Full Time)

ASSOCIATES OF THE BISHOP (PART TIME)

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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

Northern Lehigh

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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

Scranton & Wilkes Barre

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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 Lehigh & Bethlehem/Easton Mission District.

The Rev.

Jean L. Huber

Lehigh & Bethlehem/Easton

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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

Schuylkill

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Pastor Neidig serves part-time as interim of St John in Sinking Spring and as Associate to the Bishop for the East & West Berks Mission District.

The Rev.

Drew Neidig

East & West Berks

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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

Pocono

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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

Hazleton/Lehighton

MISSION DISTRICT DEANS (VOLUNTEER)

The Rev. Brian Beissel

(2023-2026)
Schuylkill

The Rev. Michele Kaufman

(2024-2027)
Scranton / Wilkes-Barre

The Rev. Dody Siegfried

(2022-2025)
Northern Lehigh

The Rev. Colleen Cox

(2024-2027)
West Berks

The Rev. Nelson Quiñones

(2022-2025)
Lehigh

The Rev. Cindy White

(2023-2026)
West Berks

The Rev. Jennifer Heavner

(2024-2027)
Bethlehem/Easton

The Rev. Michael Scholtes

(2023-2026)
Pocono

The Rev. Inge Williams

(2024-2025)
East Berks