The election for the next South Dakota Synod Bishop will be at the 2019 Synod Assembly on May 31-June 1, 2019 at Our Savior’s Lutheran Church in Sioux Falls, SD. To help prepare the synod for this election, resources and FAQs will be posted here regularly.

Names Lifted Up at Conference Assemblies

During the months of February and March, each conference of the South Dakota Synod met to discuss and discern the next Bishop of the South Dakota Synod. Names were lifted up at each conference assembly and turned into the Bishop Election Committee. The Bishop Election committee gave each person time to fill out biographical information and other forms for the bishop election process.  During that process, fifteen names were identified. Names lifted up by conference assemblies are not nominated until his or her name is placed on the first ballot of the Synod Assembly on Friday, May 31.

The completed information turned in came from the following Ministers of Word and Sacrament in the ELCA:

  • The Rev. Heidi Binstock – WestSide Lutheran Church, Sioux Falls, SD
  • The Rev. Randy Fett – St. Ansgar’s Lutheran Church, Cannon Falls, MN
  • The Rev. Randall E. Gehring – Our Savior’s Lutheran Church, Sioux Falls, SD
  • The Rev. Scott Hackler – Brandon Lutheran Church/Split Rock Lutheran Church, Brandon, SD
  • The Rev. Constanze Hagmaier – Trinity Lutheran Church, Madison, SD
  • The Rev. Lorna H. Halaas – Director of Missional Leadership – Assistant to the Bishop, Western Iowa Synod
  • The Rev. Dr. Ramona Hayes – Evangelical Lutheran Church, Langford, SD
  • The Rev. Erika (Schmutterer) Lehmann – St. John Lutheran Church, Dimock, SD
  • The Rev. Thomas E. Opoien – Trinity Lutheran Church, Tea, SD
  • The Rev. Jeffrey Michael Otterman – Trinity Lutheran Church, Yankton, SD
  • The Rev. Rick Senner – Bethany Lutheran Church, Howard SD
  • The Rev. Dwight Stensgaard – Gloria Dei Lutheran Church, Sioux Falls, SD
  • The Rev. Bill Tesch – Director for Evangelical Mission/Associate to the Bishop, South Dakota Synod
  • The Rev. Jonathan Vehar – Peace Lutheran Church, Sioux Falls, SD
  • The Rev. Herb Wounded Head III – University Lutheran Center, Brookings, SD

Biographical information may be downloaded by clicking the link below. This information will be available until May 30, 2019.

Biographical Information

Invitation for Questions

If there has been no election of a new bishop in the first three ballots, then prior to the fourth ballot the three persons (plus ties) who received the greatest number of votes will be invited to participate in a question-and-answer period. The same five or six questions will be asked of each nominee.

You are invited to use this space to suggest a question to be asked of the nominees. Suggested questions may be submitted through May 26. The Bishop Election committee will then review the submitted questions and select the questions to be asked.

Bishop Election Devotional for May 19, 2019

Read reflections by Greg Giles for the Bishop Election Devotional Series. Receive weekly devotions written by members of the synod as we prepare for the 2019 Synod Assembly and Bishop Election.

Bishop Election Devotional for May 15, 2019

Read reflections by Sawyer Vanden Heuvel for the Bishop Election Devotional Series. Receive weekly devotions written by members of the synod as we prepare for the 2019 Synod Assembly and Bishop Election.

Bishop Election Devotional for May 12, 2019

Read reflections by Rev. Kay Ressel for the Bishop Election Devotional Series. Receive weekly devotions written by members of the synod as we prepare for the 2019 Synod Assembly and Bishop Election.

Bishop Election Devotional for May 8, 2019

Read reflections by Rev. Nancy Eckels for the Bishop Election Devotional Series. Receive weekly devotions written by members of the synod as we prepare for the 2019 Synod Assembly and Bishop Election.

Bishop Election Devotional for May 5, 2019

Read reflections by Rev. Dr. Chris Croghan for the Bishop Election Devotional Series. Receive weekly devotions written by members of the synod as we prepare for the 2019 Synod Assembly and Bishop Election.

Bishop Election Devotional for May 1, 2019

Read reflections by Rev. Erin Heidelberger (Zion Lutheran, Aberdeen) for the Bishop Election Devotional Series. Receive weekly devotions written by members of the synod as we prepare for the 2019 Synod Assembly and Bishop Election.

Bishop Election Devotional for April 28, 2019

Read reflections by Sarah Stenson with Luther House of Study for the Bishop Election Devotional Series. Receive weekly devotions written by members of the synod as we prepare for the 2019 Synod Assembly and Bishop Election.

Bishop Election Devotional for April 24, 2019

Read reflections by Taylor Wiese of Outlaw Ranch for the Bishop Election Devotional Series. Receive weekly devotions written by members of the synod as we prepare for the 2019 Synod Assembly and Bishop Election.

Bishop Election Devotional for April 21, 2019

Read reflections by Kathy McHenry of Lutheran Planned Giving of South Dakota for the Bishop Election Devotional Series. Receive weekly devotions written by members of the synod as we prepare for the 2019 Synod Assembly and Bishop Election.

Bishop Election Devotional for April 17, 2019

Read reflections by Jamie Duprey for the Bishop Election Devotional Series. Through Lent, receive weekly devotions written by members of the synod as we prepare for the 2019 Synod Assembly and Bishop Election.

Bishop Election Devotional for April 14, 2019

Read reflections by Pam Seefeldt for the Bishop Election Devotional Series. Through Lent, receive weekly devotions written by members of the synod as we prepare for the 2019 Synod Assembly and Bishop Election.

Bishop Election Devotional for April 10, 2019

Read reflections by the Rev. Dr. Lon Kvanli for the Bishop Election Devotional Series. Through Lent, receive weekly devotions written by members of the synod as we prepare for the 2019 Synod Assembly and Bishop Election.

Bishop Election Devotional for April 7, 2019

Read reflections by the Rev. Dr. Steven Paulson for the Bishop Election Devotional Series. Through Lent, receive weekly devotions written by members of the synod as we prepare for the 2019 Synod Assembly and Bishop Election.

Bishop Election Devotional for April 3, 2019

Read reflections by Rebel Hurd for the Bishop Election Devotional Series. Through Lent, receive weekly devotions written by members of the synod as we prepare for the 2019 Synod Assembly and Bishop Election.

Bishop Election Devotional for March 31, 2019

Read reflections by Tom Gehring for the Bishop Election Devotional Series. Through Lent, receive weekly devotions written by members of the synod as we prepare for the 2019 Synod Assembly and Bishop Election.

Bishop Election Devotional for March 27, 2019

Read reflections by Rev. Henrique Fleming for the Bishop Election Devotional Series. Through Lent, receive weekly devotions written by members of the synod as we prepare for the 2019 Synod Assembly and Bishop Election.

Bishop Election Devotional for March 24, 2019

Read reflections by Rev. Heidi Binstock for the Bishop Election Devotional Series. Through Lent, receive weekly devotions written by members of the synod as we prepare for the 2019 Synod Assembly and Bishop Election.

Bishop Election Devotional for March 20, 2019

Read reflections by Rev. Jackie Braun for the Bishop Election Devotional Series. Starting on Ash Wednesday, receive weekly devotions written by members of the synod as we prepare for the 2019 Synod Assembly and Bishop Election.

Bishop Election Devotional for March 17, 2019

Read reflections by Rev. Wayne Gallipo for the Bishop Election Devotional Series. Starting on Ash Wednesday, receive weekly devotions written by members of the synod as we prepare for the 2019 Synod Assembly and Bishop Election.

Bishop Election Devotional for March 13, 2019

Read reflections by Rev. Herb Wounded Head for the Bishop Election Devotional Series. Starting on Ash Wednesday, receive weekly devotions written by members of the synod as we prepare for the 2019 Synod Assembly and Bishop Election.

Bishop Election Devotional for Ash Wednesday

Read reflections by Bishop David Zellmer for the Bishop Election Devotional Series. Starting on Ash Wednesday, receive weekly devotions written by members of the synod as we prepare for the 2019 Synod Assembly and Bishop Election.

Bishop Election Devotional for February 2019

Word Micah 6:8 – "He has told you, O mortal, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?”  Reflections By Bishop Emerita Andrea DeGroot-Nesdahl (Synod Bishop 1995-2007) We read this verse with New Testament eyes, though it is [...]

Bishop Election Devotional for January 2019

Word Luke 22:27 – “For who is greater, the one who is at the table or the one serves? Is it not the one at the table?  But I am among you as one who serves”. Reflections By The Rev. Norm Eitrheim (South Dakota District President 1981-1987 and Synod Bishop 1988-1995) As I was moving [...]