Stephen Talmage Elected Bishop of ELCA Grand Canyon Synod
5/31/2006 12:00:00 AM
CHICAGO (ELCA) -- The Rev. Stephen S. Talmage, pastor of
Peace Lutheran Church, Peoria, Ariz., was elected May 26 to a six-
year term as bishop of the Grand Canyon Synod of the Evangelical
Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) at the synod assembly in
Tucson, Ariz. Talmage will assume his new role on Aug. 1 and will
be installed Aug. 19 at a site to be determined.
Talmage succeeds Michael Neils, who resigned in January as
bishop and as an ELCA pastor. The Rev. Alton Zenker, who retired
in 2000 after serving as bishop of the ELCA Central/Southern
Illinois Synod, has been interim bishop of the ELCA Grand Canyon
Synod since Feb. 15.
Talmage, 47, was elected on the fifth ballot for bishop 204-
126 over the Rev. Steven A. Holm, Desert Cross Lutheran Church,
Tempe, Ariz. On the fourth ballot for bishop, Talmage led with
164 votes, Holm received 131 votes and the Rev. John A.
Schaumburg, First Lutheran Church, Mesa, Ariz., received 60 votes
and did not advance to the fifth ballot. Sixty percent of the
total ballots cast, or 273 votes, were required for election on
the fourth ballot.
There were 72 names on the first or nominating ballot.
"Re-establishing trust and confidence in the synod bishop
and making personal connections" with professional church leaders
in the synod are among Talmage's top priorities for the synod, he
told the ELCA News Service. The bishop-elect also cited re-
evaluating the synod staff structure to best serve the synod's
needs, affirming collegiality and mission partnerships,
identifying new ways of doing ministry together and reinforcing
the synod's interdependence with the ELCA and its global mission,
as important concerns.
"My style of leadership ... is about empowering lay people,
being an 'encourager', and keeping the 'big picture' in front of
people all of the time," Talmage said.
Born in Tucson, Talmage graduated in 1981 with a bachelor's
degree in psychology from the University of Arizona, Tuscon. In
1984 he earned a master of divinity degree from Wartburg
Theological Seminary, Dubuque, Iowa. Wartburg is one of eight
After his ordination in 1985 in the former American Lutheran
Church, Talmage was pastor of American Lutheran Church, Tucson,
until he became pastor of Peace Lutheran Church in 1990.
While in the Grand Canyon Synod, Talmage served as dean of
the Santa Cruz Conference. Presently, he is head and assistant
spiritual director, for Arizona Lutheran Cursillo weekend
retreats; dean, Lutheran "Campfirmation" camping ministry; chair
of the Grand Canyon Synod Committee for Stewardship and Financial
Support; and co-founder of Lake Pleasant Lutheran Mission Task
Talmage and his wife Barbara are parents of two children,
Craig and Meghan. The family resides in Glendale, Ariz.
The ELCA Grand Canyon Synod has 75,096 baptized members in
101 congregations across Arizona and southern Nevada. Its
offices are located in Phoenix.
Information about the ELCA Grand Canyon Synod is at
http://www.ELCA-grandcanyon.org/ on the Web.
For information contact:
John Brooks, Director (773) 380-2958 or email@example.com
ELCA News Blog: http://www.elca.org/news/blog