Thank you, Southern Ohio Synod!

Bishop Suzanne Darcy Dillahunt southern ohio synod
Out of the Waters….Follow Me

This was the theme of this year’s Southern Ohio Synod Assembly held at Peace Lutheran Church (Beavercreek). During our Assembly, we focused on answering these questions: What does it mean to be a disciple of the risen Jesus? Where does discipleship lead and how do we get there?

Throughout the Assembly, we learned that telling the story of Jesus means connecting God’s story with your story and my story so that we can all share and invite someone to know Jesus.

Thank you to all of our voting members, guests, and vendors who attended workshops on Friday evening and our Assembly sessions on Saturday. Thank you to Rev. Steve Kimm, Rev. Carey Hovland, and Peace Lutheran Church for the hospitality, to the many volunteers from Peace Lutheran Church that made the day run smoothly, and Dorothy Lane Market for another batch of killer brownies in our lunches.

This year’s assembly began with a call to worship and the hymn, Praise to the Lord, the Almighty. During the final verse, the Assembly joined in singing the words “Let the amen sound from God’s people again” and also making a lot of noise with the noise makers they received at check-in. 🥳

That morning, we:

  1. Passed the 2025-2026 Mission and Ministry Plan
  2. Received the 2023-January 31, 2024 Audit
  3. Passed the 2025 Compensation Standards for Rostered Ministers. These will be available on the Southern Ohio Synod website soon.
In my report, we heard a Keynote presentation from Rev. Dr. Tim Mentzer (Assistant to the Bishop for Discipleship, Leadership, Engagement). During his presentation he focused on what it means to hear, tell, and share the Word as disciples of Jesus. Invite him to your congregation to assist in discipleship training!

From Rev. Katie Kerrigan (Director of Evangelical Mission & Assistant to the Bishop for Generosity), we heard about new Holy Innovations and Fresh Expression Experiments happening across the Southern Ohio Synod. Do you have an idea for a new ministry? Please be in touch with her to begin discerning what the Holy Spirit might be starting.


Rev. Dr. Connie Mentzer (Assistant to the Bishop for Discipleship, Leadership, Engagement) helped us to see how we are called in and through the waters of baptism to serve in may ways in the Church, one of them is through the candidacy process toward serving as a Rostered Minister within the ELCA.

Rev. Bob Abrams (Assistant to the Bishop) shared about the Rostered Minister shortage across the ELCA. The Southern Ohio Synod continues to work hard in filling congregational vacancies.

Rev. Steve Kimm (Coordinator of the Leadership Academy) introduced us to two new Lay Worship Leaders who have just completed their training and will begin supplying across the Southern Ohio Synod. Those who serve in leadership, no matter rostered or lay, are called to tell the story of Jesus in many ways. The Southern Ohio Synod Leadership Academy continues to grow because of the Thrive! Mission Campaign, which means we continue raising up leaders for the church today.

Also during my report, I gave the Assembly an assignment. I’m now extending that assignment to the entire Synod.
If you or someone you know has gifts for leadership in the church, please let us know. Hold them in prayer as they discern God’s call for serving. During worship, intentionally pray for God to lift up leaders for the church, both Rostered Ministers and lay leaders. The Holy Spirit is alive and working within the Southern Ohio Synod. If you feel the nudge toward leadership, pray for the courage to say, “Yes!” If you would like some additional help in discerning, please contact either Rev. Dr. Connie Mentzer or Rev. Steve Kimm directly.

Thank you Bishop Don Kreiss (Southeast Michigan Synod) for serving as both our Bible Study Leader and ELCA Representative. Bp. Kreiss lead us through a Bible study on Romans 10:14-17, our theme verse for this Assembly, and shared an update from the ELCA and how the Southern Ohio Synod is connected to and represented in the ELCA.

We ended our time together with worship, joined by the Peace Lutheran Church Saturday evening service. The Assembly Choir shared a beautiful anthem during the service as we were equipped to bring the good news of Jesus back to our communities. We’ve already heard stories of how the party favors have made their way back home to some of our congregations to help the voting members tell their congregations and ministries about what they learned and experienced at this year’s Southern Ohio Synod Assembly.

Thank you, Southern Ohio Synod, for another great Assembly as we continue to be Stronger and Better Together … Joining Jesus in the Restoration of the World.

See you at next year’s assembly!

In Christ,
+ Bp. Dillahunt