Serving God, Changing Lives

Brenda Bos elected bishop of ELCA Southwest California Synod

​CHICAGO — The Rev. Brenda Bos, Pasadena, Calif., was elected June 5 to serve a six-year term as bishop of the Southwest California Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA). Bos will be the first openly lesbian bishop in the ELCA. The election took place during an online synod assembly.

Bos was elected on the fifth ballot, with 160 votes. The Rev. Albert Starr, senior adviser for ELCA ethnic diversity, received 109 votes.

The bishop-elect has served as assistant to the bishop for rostered leadership in the Southwest California Synod since 2019. Prior to that Bos served as pastor of Christ Lutheran Church in San Clemente, Calif., from 2014 to 2019. She also served as pastor of Faith Lutheran Church in Canoga Park, Calif., and Peace Lutheran Church in Danville, Calif.; and as vicar of St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Santa Monica, Calif. Before entering ministry, Bos worked in production for Warner Bros. Television.

Bos received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Pepperdine University in Malibu, Calif., in 1986; a Master of Divinity degree from Claremont School of Theology in Claremont, Calif., in 2012; and a Certificate of Theological Studies from Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary in Berkeley, Calif., in 2013. Pacific is one of seven ELCA seminaries.

Bos will take office Sept. 1, and her installation is scheduled for Sept. 12.

The Rev. Murray Finck has served as interim bishop of the Southwest California Synod since August 2020.

Information about the Southwest California Synod is available at

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About the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America:
The ELCA is one of the largest Christian denominations in the United States, with nearly 3.3 million members in more than 8,900 worshiping communities across the 50 states and in the Caribbean region. Known as the church of “God’s work. Our hands.,” the ELCA emphasizes the saving grace of God through faith in Jesus Christ, unity among Christians and service in the world. The ELCA’s roots are in the writings of the German church reformer Martin Luther.

For information contact:
Candice Hill Buchbinder

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