Wilma Kucharek Elected Bishop of ELCA Slovak Zion Synod

6/26/2002 12:00:00 AM

     CHICAGO (ELCA) -- The Rev. Wilma S. Kucharek, Holy Trinity Lutheran Church, Torrington, Conn., was elected June 22 to a six-year term as bishop of the Slovak Zion Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA).  Kucharek was elected at the synod's assembly June 21-23 at Muhlenberg College, Allentown, Pa.
     Kucharek, 47, was elected on the fifth ballot with 33 votes to 27 votes for the Rev. D. Gary Schreckengost, St. John Lutheran Church, Youngstown, Ohio.  The Rev. Paul R. Hinlicky, a professor at Roanoke College, Roanoke, Va., was a candidate on the fourth ballot. There were 14 names on the nominating ballot.  Muhlenberg College and Roanoke College are ELCA higher education institutions.
     Kucharek will succeed the Rev. Juan Cobrda, who has served as bishop of the synod since 1993.  Cobrda, 71, announced he will resign Aug. 31, one year before the end of his current term.
     Kucharek previously served as pastor of Holy Emmanuel Lutheran Church, Mahanoy City, Pa., from 1982 to 1986, St. John Lutheran Church, St. Clair, Pa., from 1982 to 1986 and St. John Lutheran Church, Nanticoke, Pa., from 1983 to 1986.  She currently serves on the board for the ELCA Division for Global Mission and has been its secretary since 1999.  Kucharek also serves as co-chair of the Slovak Zion Synod's International Relations Committee.
     Kucharek was born in Johnson City, N.Y.  She earned a bachelor of arts degree from Valparaiso University, Valparaiso, Ind., a master of divinity degree and a master of sacred theology degree from the Lutheran Theological Seminary at Gettysburg, Gettysburg, Pa. -- one of the eight ELCA seminaries.
     Kucharek and her husband, the Rev. Thomas J. Drobena, Holy Trinity Lutheran Church, Torrington, have two sons.
      The Slovak Zion Synod is the only non-geographic synod of the ELCA's 65 synods. It includes 6,010 Lutherans in 36 congregations scattered from Wisconsin to Connecticut. It is also the only ELCA synod organized on an ethnic basis, with historic roots in Slovakia and the surrounding regions of Eastern Europe.

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EDITORS:  Kucharek is the seventh woman to be elected as a synod
bishop in the ELCA.

*Amy Wineinger is a junior at Wartburg College, Waverly, Iowa.  This
summer she is an intern with ELCA News and Media Production.

*The Rev. Linda J. Kraft, Holy Trinity Lutheran Church, Trumbull,
Conn., is secretary for the ELCA Slovak Zion Synod.

For information contact:
John Brooks, Director (773) 380-2958 or NEWS@ELCA.ORG


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