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 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.

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Vision

Communities together in Christ serving the world.


Mission

Communicate the love of Christ.

Connect diverse people.

Create new ways of outreach.


Core values

Grounded in grace of Christ, we encourage, empower, and equip our communities to:

  • proclaim Jesus from Lutheran teachings;

  • nurture passionate inclusivity;

  • live out radical hospitality;

  • work for justice and mercy, and 

  • cultivate faith-filled relationships with all ages.

Leadership

Staff

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Rostered Leaders - Synodical Calls

Grand Canyon Synod Council Members, 2019/2020

The Grand Canyon Synod Council currently has 21 members, with one student representative and one young adult representative, representing all conferences of the Synod.

  • Rev. Deborah K. Hutterer, Bishop
    Executive Committee, Fiesta Conference

  • Mr. Paul Gryniewicz, Vice-President
    Executive Committee, Fiesta Conference

  • Mr. Erik Rehms, Treasurer
    Executive Committee, Capital Conference

  • Rev. David Brandfass, Secretary
    Executive Committee, High Country Conference

Student Representative

  • Ms. Hannah Manzanares
    Capital Conference

Young Adult Representative

  • Ms. Beatriz Lopez
    Capital Conference

Conference Representatives

  • Mr. Roger Bailey
    Executive Committee, Colorado River Conference

  • Ms. Barbara Carl
    Executive Committee, Fiesta Conference

  • Ms. Nancy Davis
    High Country Conference

  • Ms. Laura Musfeldt
    Northeast Valley Conference

  • Ms. Lisa Parrish
    Rio Salado Conference

  • Ms. Janis Richert
    Sunrise Conference

  • Mr. Bill Thompson
    Cactus Conference

  • Rev. Daniel Valasakos
    Santa Cruz Conference

At-Large Representatives

  • Ms. Sue Jensen
    Sunrise Conference

  • Rev. Jeff Kallevig
    Executive Committee, Santa Cruz Conference

  • Mr. Jan Loomis
    High Country Conference

  • Rev. Tina Mills
    Rio Salado Conference

  • Ms. Solveig Muus
    Capital Conference

  • Rev. Doris Nolan
    Fiesta Conference

  • Ms. Janet Santiago
    High Country Conference

Council News

2019 Meeting Schedule 

Executive Committee meetings

1-3 pm, Synod Office 

  • January 31 

  • May 30 

  • August 29* 

  • November 21 

Synod Council meetings 

  • February 23, 9:30am-3pm, Desert Cross 

  • June 13, 5-9pm, Love of Christ 

  • September 20-22, retreat with Deans – southern AZ 

  • December 7, 9:30am-3pm, Desert Cross 

Deans’ 

  • February 5 

  • May 22, 10 am – 2 pm, synod office 

  • August 21, 10 am – noon via zoom 

  • September 20-22 Joint retreat/meeting with Council -southern AZ 

  • November 13, 10 am – noon via zoom 

Spring Gatherings 

  • Jan. 19: Sunrise and Santa Cruz Conference meeting Our Saviour’s, Tucson, 9-noon 

  • Feb. 9: NE Valley, Rio Salado and Fiesta Bethlehem Lutheran, Mesa, 9-noon 

  • March 23: Colorado River Conference Good Samaritan, Henderson, 11-3 

  • March 30: High Country Conference Shepherd of the Hills, Flagstaff, 10-2 

  • April 6: Cactus and Capital Conference meetings St. John’s, Glendale, 9-noon 

Staff Meetings 

  • Jan. 16: 9:30 am – 2:30 pm, Synod Office 

  • Feb. 14: 9:30 am – 3:00 pm, Synod Office 

  • Mar. 6: 9:30 am – 3:00 pm, Synod Office 

  • Apr. 10: 9:30 am – 3:00 pm, Synod Office 

  • May 8: 9:30 am – 3:00 pm, Synod Office 

Fall Gathering 

  • Oct. 21 & 22, Holy Trinity, Chandler 

Grand Canyon Synod 

History

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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:

 

Bishops

  • 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 31, 2018)

  • The Rev. Deborah K. Hutterer (September 1, 2018 – present)

Vice Presidents

  • 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)

Secretaries

  • 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)

Treasurers

  • Jim Cadwallader (1987-1995)

  • Edward Davis (1995-2003)

  • Sue Vogel (2003-2011)

  • Keith Hopkey (2011-2015)

  • Jerry Zaddack (2015-present)