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Southern Ohio Synod Assembly summary of actions and events--2019

Summary of Assembly actions
and events…2019

Over 360 people of faith gathered in the Health, Physical Education and Recreation (HPER) Center on the campus of Wittenberg University, June 7-8, 2019. The Spirit was on the move and felt by all in various ways and at various times throughout our assembly. Read some of the highlights below:


Bishop Election:

The Rev. Suzanne Darcy Dillahunt was elected on the first ballot with 252 votes. 215 votes were needed for election on the first ballot.

Bishop Dillahunt’s call to the Office of Bishop was affirmed during the Friday evening worship service at Weaver Chapel. The Rev. Elizabeth Eaton, Presiding Bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, presided during this portion of the worship service. To watch the service, please visit our Facebook page where Pr. Aaron Layne shared his video footage of the entire service, including Bishop Eaton’s sermon.


Election of Synod Council and committee members

Whenever someone steps forward to serve at the synodical or Churchwide level, it’s a big deal because these people are often already heavily involved in the life of their congregation. By being willing to share their gifts and talents outside of their congregation, they are demonstrating how we are all intertwined and needed to grow the church through the sharing of the Gospel in word and deed. We thank everyone who put their names forward for election to the Synod Council and the Consultation and Discipline Committees.

The following individuals were elected during our assembly and will serve four year terms as part of the Synod Council or six year terms as part of the Consultation or Discipline Committee.


Synod Council

  • Pr. Matt Byrd
  • Pr. Mark Combs
  • Ms. Holly Fischer (Secretary)
  • Mr. Roy Hart
  • Mr. Matthew Peterson
  • Ms. Michelle Riesbeck
  • Ms. Laura Schmidt
  • Pr. Cheryl Siegenthaler
  • Ms. Morgan Walker
  • Mr. Doug Ware
  • Pr. Ken Witt


Consultation Committee

  • Ms. Donna Bowman
  • Pr. Mark Combs
  • Pr. Jodi Keith
  • Pr. Larry Novak
  • Pr. Charles Peterson
  • Pr. Cheryl Siegenthaler


Discipline Committee

  • Ms. Sallie Anderson
  • Pr. Janet Hatch
  • Mr. Jerry Haun
  • Ms. Anne Miller
  • Pr. Joshua Miller
  • Pr. Charlie Woodward


In addition, we would like to congratulate Butter Pecan Ice Cream for receiving the most votes for favorite ice cream during our warm up voting. Butter Pecan barely nudged out Mint Chocolate Chip for the win. If you don’t agree with this outcome, come to our next assembly to help Mint Chocolate Chip take the title!


Thrive! campaign t-shirt auction—AKA Assembly gone wild!

(Story originally shared on 6.11.19 in the Thrive e-blast, written by Pr. Larry Donner, Thrive Campaign Manager)

If you didn’t attend the assembly or left early, then you missed a remarkable event: Lutherans had a joyful, spirit-filled, truly wild time at the Assembly closing!

Just before the Assembly was to end, Pastor Gil Santiago – a co-chair of PAC – asked if he could make a suggestion. At the microphone, he said the Spirit had moved him to suggest an extra Thrive campaign T-shirt, like those being worn by PAC and staff members, be auctioned off to raise some money for Thrive. With that, he commandeered the microphone and began auctioning off the shirt! Before you know it, he got a surprised Bishop Dillahunt, and equally surprised ELCA Bishop Eaton, to autograph the shirt so that the winning bidder could get “immediate gratification” by obtaining such prized signatures.

A bidder asked about the shirts being worn by PAC members. Could they, too, not be signed and made available for auction? And the next thing you know, PAC members were bringing their T-shirts to the stage.

Suddenly, another bidder shouted that he would bid an extra $25 if a bishop would wear a shirt. With that, both bishops were pulling T-shirts on and off over their clerical shirts, autographing them, and giving each other high-fives! It was bedlam! Bishops dancing around the stage! People laughing and slapping winning bidders on the back for paying $200 for a T-shirt!

When the shirts ran out, Pastor Santiago suggested that for $50, people could order a shirt, we’d get both bishops sign it, and then ship it to the purchaser, the place went wild again. Folks lined up at the Thrive table to place their orders!

The whole affair went on for about 30 minutes, yet it seemed no one wanted it to end (even though it was time for lunch and departure) because the Spirit was so present … so palpable. And how exhilarating it was to see the look on the faces of Lutherans … Lutherans! … as they envisioned a future as yet unborn … and got excited about it. How wonderful to feel the Spirit’s energy swirling among us and be surprised by this witness to the love of Christ! It was a Pentecost moment … and $1380 was raised for the Thrive campaign!

Many thanks to Pastor Santiago, Bishop Dillahunt and Bishop Eaton for their enthusiastic, spirit-filled participation, and to all who purchased shirts in support of Thrive!



The Southern Ohio Synod is an extremely generous synod and we are grateful for your support of the following special giving opportunities at our assembly—Thank you!

Dayton Tornado Disaster Relief: $6,385.70

SOS Reformation Ministries: $1,813.00

If you missed Assembly and still wish to give to either Reformation Ministries or Tornado Relief, please send checks payable to Southern Ohio Synod to:

Southern Ohio Synod
Attn: Susan Barton-Nonno
300 S. 2nd Street
Columbus, Ohio 43215


Special Guests

We are grateful for the support, prayers and presence of our special guests at this year’s assembly. Thank you for making the Southern Ohio Synod assembly part of your schedule!

The Rev. Elizabeth Eaton—Presiding Bishop of the ELCA, ELCA representative

The Rev. Bill Gafkajen—Bishop of the Indiana/Kentucky Synod

The Rev. Don Kreiss—Bishop of Southeastern Michigan Synod

The Rev. Abraham Allende—Bishop of the Northeastern Ohio Synod

The Rev. Daniel Beaudoin—Bishop of the Northwestern Ohio Synod

The Rev. Craig Satterlee—Bishop of Northwest Lower Michigan Synod

Mr. Mike McDorman—Springfield Chamber of Commerce

Dr. Mike Fransen—President, Wittenberg University

Deacon Cory Driver—Bible Study Leader

Bishop Greg Palmer—The United Methodist Church

Caroline Guy & Jacob Henry—Northwestern Ohio Synod


Volunteers! You rock.

Thank you to all of our volunteers for helping make this assembly one of the best ever!

Bishop Dillahunt thanks the following individuals for sharing their time and talents with the Assembly. This is just one event that demonstrates why our tagline is ‘Stronger and Better Together: Joining Jesus in the Restoration of the World!’


Elections Committee

  • Pr. Rebecca Grate, chairperson
  • Pr. Chris Adams
  • Ms. Sally Anderson
  • Pr. Lisa Bernheisel
  • Ms. Kriss Buss
  • Mr. Ethan Chapman
  • Mr. Neal Coryell
  • Ms. Freddie Jordan
  • Deacon Diane Schwiger-Alexander
  • Ms. Kathi Skamfer
  • Pr. Bob Swanson
  • Deacon Nancy Trimble


Nominations Committee

  • Ms. Michelle Riesbeck, chairperson
  • Pr. Laura Leach-Shreffler
  • Pr. Alyssa Mazzei
  • Ms. Christine Miller
  • Ms. Carol Swank
  • Mr. Bennett Whitaker
  • Pr. Ralph Wolfe


Assembly Chaplains

  • Pastor Karen Asmus-Alsnauer
  • Pastor Tony Katko


Reference and Council Committee

  • Pr. June Wilkins, chairperson
  • Ms. Yvonne Baker-Hendricks
  • Mr. Steve Goff
  • Ms. Jane Hart
  • Pr. Jodi Keith
  • Pr. Larry Novak

(This group had no resolutions to handle, but we’re grateful for their willingness to serve!)


Bishop’s Call Process Task Force

  • Pr. Craig Richter, chairperson
  • Pr. Rob Bork
  • Ms. Marjorie Ellis
  • Mr. Steve Fogle
  • Pr. Rebecca Grate
  • Mr. Roy Hart
  • Mr. Mike Johnsen
  • Pr. Steve Kimm
  • Mr. Kevin Pyle
  • Ms. Kathie Skamfer
  • Pr. Ralph Wolfe
  • And Bishop Bill Gafkjen, Indiana/Kentucky Synod for his guidance


MVP (Vendor) Coordinator

  • Ms. Cindy Schrader


Volunteer Coordinator

  • Mrs. Laura Badenbaugh-Vannoy


Registration and Hospitality Volunteers

  • Good Shepherd, Springfield
    • Kristen Peters
    • Hank Judd
    • Melinda Judd
    • Nick Lubbers
    • Teri Murphy
    • Paul Buckles
    • Jeanie Buckles


  • Oesterlen Services for Children
    • Kristen, Sara & Lora


  • Wittenberg University
    • Pr. Rachel Tune
    • Deryn Tye
    • Andrew Steele
    • Kristen Peters


  • Trinity Lutheran Church, Columbus
    • Shirley, Sharon, Georgiana & Nora


  • Good Shepherd, Kettering
    • Lisa Connelly


  • Lutheran Men in Mission
    • Dave Drumm


  • All Shepherds Lutheran Church, Lewis Center
    • Amy Chapman


  • Arise in Christ Lutheran Church, Donnelsville
    • Ms. Linda Nowakowski
    • Deacon Linda Sprick-Kruse


  • Rockway Lutheran Church, Springfield
    • Pr. Bill Schwochow


  • St. John’s Lutheran Church, Covington
    • Ms. Christine Miller


  • Bethel Lutheran Church, Springfield
    • Pr. Larry Bannick


  • Extended Synod Family
    • Ms. Mary Nonno
    • Ms. Josie Uemura


If we missed anyone, please accept our apology, but know that you too are greatly appreciated!


Next Assemblies…

Dates and locations of our next two assemblies will be shared in September. Look for more details then.

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