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
Kristen Edelman-Weiner - Vice President and Chair of the Council
Carl Shankweiler - Secretary
Donald Boyer - Treasurer

Members

Brian Beissel (2024)
Pattie Corcoran (2023)
Jim Doxsey (Financial Secretary) (2024)
Chris Druckenmiller (2022)
Kristen Edelman-Weiner (2023)
Thomas Engle (2022)
Joshua Fink (2023)
Gregory Frey (2023)
Lenna Harris (2022)
Andy Hottenstein (2022)
Elizabeth Leibenguth (2024)
Ruth Major (2022)
Louise McCloughan (2023)
Cheryl Meinschein (2022)
Amy Mietelski (2024)
Wes Poole (2024)
Carl Shankweiler (2023)
Spencer Steele (2024)
Cassandra Teter (2023, Youth)
Dan Tobey (2023, 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

Christopher deForest

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

Rostered Minister Appointments
with Bishop deForest

Michael Bennethum

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

The Rev. Dr.

D. Michael Bennethum

Executive Associate to the Bishop

Rachael Dietz

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. She is responsible for all synod communications and event planning. She also relates to the Connections Building Ministry Team.

The Rev.

Lauren Wolfe Blatt

Director of Communications & Events

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

The Rev.

Kathleen Ash-Flashner

Associate of the Bishop

The Rev.

Samantha Drennan

Associate of the Bishop

The Rev.

Charles H. Grube

Associate of the Bishop

The Rev.

Jean L. Huber

Associate of the Bishop

The Rev.

Niels H. Nielsen

Associate of the Bishop

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