Serving God, Changing Lives

Paula Schmitt elected bishop of ELCA Allegheny Synod

​CHICAGO  — The Rev. Paula J. Schmitt, Latrobe, Pa., was elected June 5 to serve a six-year term as bishop of the Allegheny Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA). The election took place during an online synod assembly.

Schmitt was elected on the fifth ballot, with 121 votes. The Rev. Scott Klimke, pastor of Mount Calvary Lutheran Church, Johnstown, Pa., received 101 votes.

The bishop-elect has served as interim pastor of Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church in Latrobe since 2020. Prior to that she served as assistant to the bishop in the Allegheny Synod from 2014 to 2020; pastor of Bethany Lutheran Church in Altoona, Pa., from 2010 to 2014; pastor of Trinity (Sidman, Pa.) and St. John (Summerhill, Pa.) Lutheran churches from 2008 to 2010; and executive assistant at the ELCA churchwide organization in Chicago from 2006 to 2008.

Schmitt earned her Bachelor of Arts degree from Lebanon Valley College in Annville, Pa., in 2000 and her Master of Divinity degree from Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary in Columbia, S.C., in 2005. Southern is one of seven ELCA seminaries.

Schmitt will take office Sept. 1. Her installation is scheduled for Sept. 18 at First Evangelical Lutheran Church in Altoona.

The Rev. Michael L. Rhyne has served as bishop of the Allegheny Synod since 2014.

Information about the Allegheny 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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