Seven candidates identified for the next Lutheran Bishop in South Dakota

 In Synod News


Seven candidates identified for the next Lutheran Bishop in South Dakota

SIOUX FALLS, SD – May 31, 2019 – Over 500 voting members of the South Dakota Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America were gathered today at Our Savior’s Lutheran Church in Sioux Falls, SD to pray, discern and elect a new bishop for the South Dakota Synod. Seven candidates have been identified as nominees from a result of the second ballot for the office of bishop.

The Rev. Heidi Binstock (Sioux Falls, SD), The Rev. Randall Gehring (Sioux Falls, SD), The Rev. Constanze Hagmaier (Madison, SD), The Rev. Herb Wounded Head (Brookings, SD), The Rev. Tom Opoien (Tea, SD), The Rev. Rick Senner (Howard, SD) and The Rev. Bill Tesch (Sioux Falls, SD), will move to a third ballot to be cast by the Synod Assembly on Saturday, June 1 scheduled to be cast at 10:26 AM CT. Two-thirds of the legal votes cast shall be necessary for election on third ballot.

If there is no election on the third ballot, the three persons (plus-ties) who received the greatest number of votes on the third ballot, will move to a fourth ballot.

Biographical information of the top seven nominees can be found by clicking here.

Electing a bishop is one of the most important responsibilities in the life of the synod and a key responsibility of the Synod Assembly. The South Dakota Synod is comprised of 205 congregations across the state of South Dakota with over 100,000 members. The bishop serves as the synod’s pastor and is called to administer sacraments, preach, provide pastoral care, advise, ordain, advocate, interpret, and serve as the ecumenical officer.

The South Dakota Synod uses an ecclesiastical election process. More information and a schedule can be found online at

A livestream of the plenary sessions can be found on YouTube.

About the South Dakota Synod

The South Dakota Synod is one of 65 synods of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) For more information, visit


Media Contact

Sawyer Vanden Heuvel
Director of Communications


Recent Posts