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Welcome to the Grand Canyon Synod!

Deborah Hutterer Elected Sixth Bishop of the Grand Canyon Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

The Rev. Deborah Hutterer was elected the sixth bishop of the Grand Canyon Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America at the synod’s 31st annual assembly.

She will assume the office on September 1 and will be installed on September 8 at 10 a.m. The service will take place at Shepherd of the Valley Lutheran Church in Phoenix, Arizona. All are welcome. 

Bishop-Elect Hutterer, 63, currently is the chief development officer for Lutheran Social Services of the Southwest.

She was ordained as a minister of Word and Sacrament on August 18, 2004, following her graduation with a Master of Divinity degree from Luther Seminary in St. Paul, Minn. She graduated with a bachelor of arts degree in communications from Augsburg University in Minneapolis in 1999.

Before being called to service in Arizona, she served as transformational ministry pastor in St. Paul Lutheran Church in Pontiac, Ill., executive director of Faith in the City in Minneapolis, and parish life coordinator in Gethsemane Lutheran Church, Baldwin, Wis.

She is a member of Desert Cross Lutheran Church in Tempe, Ariz.

Bishop-Elect Hutterer was elected on the fifth ballot with 145 votes. On that ballot, the Rev. Dr. Peter Perry, pastor of St. John’s Lutheran Church in Glendale, Ariz., received 135 votes.

On the nominating ballot, 48 names were submitted. Emerging from the second ballot for further consideration, in addition to Bishop-Elect Hutterer and Dr. Perry were: the Rev. Leland Armbright, Christ the King Lutheran Church, Preachtree Corners, Ga.; the Rev. Karn Carroll, Our Saviour’s Lutheran Church, Phoenix; the Rev. Miguel Gomez-Acosta, synod director for evangelical mission, Phoenix; the Rev. Jeffrey Kallevig, Our Saviour’s Lutheran Church, Tucson, Ariz.; and the Rev. Mark Perry, Sierra Evangelical Lutheran Church, Sierra Vista, Ariz.

The assembly was held at Resurrection Lutheran Church in Oro Valley, Ariz.

The ELCA’s Grand Canyon Synod covers all of the state of Arizona, southern Nevada, and includes St. George in Utah. The synod’s 89 congregations include 44,000 members. 


 About Us

The Grand Canyon Synod is one of 65 synods in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA). The ELCA is a church of more than 4 million members who actively participate in God’s work in the world. We believe that we are freed in Christ to serve and love our neighbor.

There are approximately 89 congregations in the Grand Canyon Synod, including new mission starts. The territory of this synod is the State of Arizona; the counties of Clark, Esmeralda, Lincoln, and Nye in the State of Nevada; and New Promise Lutheran Church, in St. George, Utah.

Please take a moment and look around our site and get to know the members and ministries of the Grand Canyon Synod!

CandidacyIf you are interested in becoming a rostered leader in the ELCA or if you are just beginning to consider ministry as a vocation, visit our Candidacy page.

CongregationsLooking for a particular congregation in our synod? Go to our Directory page to find contact information for each congregation in the Grand Canyon Synod. For more information about the congregations in this synod visit the ELCA Find a Congregation webpage.

Ministry Partners – Through its annual budget from congregational mission support, the Grand Canyon Synod provides financial support to many partners in ministry. Find more on our Ministry Partners page.

Resources – This page offers a wealth of information for congregations and rostered leaders.

Staff ListingWondering how to contact Bishop Almen or a member of the synod staff? Visit our staff page for a complete staff listing and their contact information.

The Ministry of MissionEach synod of the ELCA is blessed to have a Director for Evangelical Mission to support the important ministry of outreach and revitalization in our congregations. You can find more information on our Missional Church Director’s page.

Grand Canyon Synod Formed in 1987 

The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) was constituted on April 30, 1987. The ELCA brought together the 2.85 million-member Lutheran Church in America (created by the 1962 merger of four church bodies), the 2.25 million-member American Lutheran Church (created by the 1960 merger of four churches), and the 100,000-member Association of Evangelical Lutheran Churches (established in 1976 by about 100 congregations withdrawing from The Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod).

In June 1987, the Grand Canyon Synod became one of ELCA’s 65 synods. The synod was established in Arizona, southern Nevada, and later included St. George in Utah. The synod’s territory had been part of the ALC’s South Pacific District, the LCA’s Pacific Southwest Synod, and the AELC’s Pacific Regional Synod.

Officers of the synod since 1987 include:

The Rev. Howard E. Wennes (June 20, 1987 – August 31, 2001)
The Rev. Michael Neils (September 1, 2001 – January 24, 2006)
The Rev. Alton Zenker (February 6, 2006 – July 31, 2006)
The Rev. Stephen S. Talmage (August 1, 2006 – July 31, 2017)
The Rev. Dr. Lowell G. Almen (August 1, 2017 – August 1, 2018)
The Rev. Deborah K. Hutterer (August 1, 2018 – present)

Don C. Stevens (1987-1994)
Twila Burdick (1994-2002)
Curt Hahn (2002– 2009)
Paula Sturgeon (2010-2012)
Mary Beth Baron (2012-2017)
Paul Gryniewicz (2017-present)

Willis Erickson (1987-1990)
Janet Line (1990-1996)
Karen Novachek (1996-1998)
Donna Eyring (1998-2002)
Drew Peterson (2002-2009)
Karl Johnson (2010-2013)
Rev. David Brandfass (2014-present)

Jim Cadwallader (1987-1995)
Edward Davis (1995-2003)
Sue Vogel (2003-2011)
Keith Hopkey (2011-2015)
Jerry Zaddack (2015-present)

Picture1The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America’s
Observance of the Reformation’s 500th Anniversary