Meghan Johnston Aelabouni Elected Bishop of ELCA Rocky Mountain Synod

4/30/2024 3:40:00 PM

​CHICAGO — The Rev. Meghan Johnston Aelabouni, Jerusalem, was elected April 27 to serve a six-year term as bishop of the Rocky Mountain Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA). The election took place during the synod assembly, April 25-27, at the Embassy Suites in Loveland, Colo.

Johnston Aelabouni was elected on the fifth ballot, with 232 votes. The Rev. Barbara Berry-Bailey, pastor of St. Paul Lutheran Church, Denver, and special assistant to the synod bishop for diversity, equity and inclusion, received 148 votes.

The bishop-elect has served as pastor of Lutheran Church of the Redeemer in Jerusalem and as theologian in residence with the ELCA Middle East and North Africa Desk since 2021. Previously she has served as country coordinator for Jerusalem and the West Bank with ELCA Young Adults in Global Mission (2019-2021); co-pastor of Trinity Lutheran Church, Fort Collins, Colo. (2010-2016); and associate pastor of Christus Victor Lutheran Church, Elk Grove Village, Ill. (2007-2010).

Johnston Aelabouni earned her Bachelor of Arts in religion and English from California Lutheran University (CLU), Thousand Oaks, Calif., in 2001, and a Master of Divinity from the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago (LSTC) in 2006. CLU is one of 26 ELCA colleges and universities; LSTC is one of seven ELCA seminaries. In 2021 she earned a doctorate in religion from the Iliff School of Theology and the University of Denver.

Johnston Aelabouni will take office Aug. 1. She will be installed Oct. 5 at Augustana Lutheran Church in Denver.

The Rev. James W. Gonia is retiring after serving as bishop since 2012. His last day will be July 31.

Information about the Rocky Mountain 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 3 million members in more than 8,600 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


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