Kristen E.M. Kuempel elected bishop of ELCA Eastern Washington-Idaho Synod

5/23/2017 3:20:00 PM

CHICAGO – The Rev. Kristen E.M. Kuempel, Kennewick, Wash., was elected May 20 to a six-year term as bishop of the Eastern Washington-Idaho Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA). The election was held during the Synod Assembly May 19-21 at the Doubletree–Spokane City Center in Spokane.

Kuempel was elected on the fourth ballot with 133 votes to 111 votes for the Rev. Michael B.  Sager, pastor of Hope Lutheran Church in Eagle, Idaho. A total of 123 votes was needed for election.

Kuempel has served as lead pastor of First Lutheran Church in Kennewick since 2010.

The bishop-elect earned a Bachelor of Science degree from Eastern Washington State University in Cheney, Wash. In 1998. She received her Master of Divinity from Luther Seminary in St. Paul, Minn., in 2002. Luther is one of eight ELCA seminaries.

The Rev. Martin D. Wells, current bishop of the ELCA Eastern Washington-Idaho Synod, has served three six-year terms and decided not to seek another term.

Kuempel will be installed as bishop on Saturday, Sept. 16.

 Information about the Eastern Washington-Idaho Synod is available at


- - -

About the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America:
The ELCA is one of the largest Christian denominations in the United States, with more than 3.7 million members in more than 9,300 congregations 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


You can receive up-to-date
ELCA news releases by email.