Patricia Davenport, first female African American elected ELCA synod bishop

5/8/2018 1:15:00 PM

The Rev. Patricia A. Davenport, Philadelphia, was elected May 5 to serve a six-year term as bishop of the Southeastern Pennsylvania Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA). Davenport is the first African American woman to be a bishop in the ELCA.

The election was held during the Synod Assembly May 3-5 at Franconia Mennonite Church in Telford, Pa.

Davenport was elected on the fourth ballot with 331 votes to 89 votes for the Rev. Julie DeWerth, pastor of Good Shepherd Lutheran, King of Prussia, Pa.

The bishop-elect currently serves as director for evangelical mission and assistant to the bishop of the synod. She served as pastor of Spirit & Truth Worship Center in Yeadon, Pa., from 2006 to 2007.  

Davenport earned a degree from the Community College of Philadelphia, and she received her Master of Divinity from the Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia, which is now United Lutheran Seminary. The seminary is one of seven ELCA seminaries.

The Rev. Claire S. Burkat, current bishop of the Southeastern Pennsylvania Synod, has served as bishop since 2006 and will retire July 31.

Davenport will be installed on Sept. 22.

Information about the Southeastern Pennsylvania 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 more than 3.5 million members in 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



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