Rebecca Middeke-Conlin elected bishop of the ELCA Arkansas-Oklahoma Synod

5/11/2023 11:05:00 AM

​CHICAGO — The Rev. Rebecca Middeke-Conlin, Tulsa, Okla., was elected May 7 to serve a six-year term as bishop of the Arkansas-Oklahoma Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA). The election took place during the synod assembly, May 5-7, at the Hyatt Place Tulsa–South in Tulsa.

Middeke-Conlin was elected on the fifth ballot, with 58 votes to 32 votes for the Rev. Peter Olson, senior pastor of the Shared Ministry of North Central Oklahoma. 

The bishop-elect has served as director for evangelical mission and associate for youth and young adult ministry in the Arkansas-Oklahoma Synod since 2021. Prior to that, she served as pastor of St. Paul's Lutheran Church in Easton, Pa., from 2016 to 2021; as pastor of Good Shepherd Lutheran in Easton, Pa., from 2019 to 2021; as associate pastor of Lutheran Church of the Holy Spirit in Emmaus, Pa., from 2014 to 2015; and as pastor of Bethlehem Lutheran Church in Georgetown, Conn., from 2009 to 2014.

Middeke-Conlin earned her Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Wisconsin–Eau Claire in 2003 and her Master of Divinity degree from Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia, now United Lutheran Seminary, in 2008. United is one of seven ELCA seminaries.

Middeke-Conlin will take office July 1. She will be installed Oct. 14 at Fellowship Lutheran Church in Tulsa.

The Rev. Michael Girlinghouse has served as bishop since 2011 and has decided to pursue new avenues of service. His last day as bishop will be June 30.

Information about the Arkansas-Oklahoma Synod is available at Arkansas-Oklahoma Synod | ELCA | Tulsa (

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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 3 million members in more than 8,700 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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