Serving God, Changing Lives

Craig Schweitzer elected bishop of ELCA Western North Dakota Synod

​CHICAGO — The Rev. Craig A. Schweitzer, Bismarck, N.D., was elected July 17 to serve a six-year term as bishop of the Western North Dakota Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA). The election took place during an online synod assembly. An in-person synod gathering had been scheduled earlier in the spring, but concerns about COVID-19 led the Synod Council to move the gathering to an online format. Schweitzer is the first bishop in the ELCA to be elected in an online assembly.

Schweitzer was elected on the sixth ballot, with 165 votes. The Rev. Desireé Uhrich, pastor of Christ Lutheran Church in Minot, N.D., received 120 votes.

Pastor of Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in Bismarck since 2014, Schweitzer served as the congregation’s associate pastor from 2010 to 2014 and as its worship and music minister from 2002 to 2010.

Schweitzer received a Master of Science in strategic leadership from the University of Mary in Bismarck in 2015. He holds a certificate degree from the Theological Education for Emerging Ministries (TEEM) program at Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary in Berkeley, Calif., and was ordained to the ministry of word and sacrament in 2010. Luther and Pacific Lutheran are two of seven ELCA seminaries. California Lutheran is one of 26 colleges and universities of the ELCA.

Schweitzer will assume office on or before Sept. 1. His installation is scheduled for Nov. 1.

The Rev. David B. Zellmer has served as interim bishop since February 2020. The Rev. Mark Narum served as bishop from 2008 to February 2020.

Information about the Western North Dakota Synod is available at wndsynod.org/.

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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 3.5 million members in more than 9,100 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
773-380-2877
Candice.HillBuchbinder@ELCA.org

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