In a Historic Vote, Lutherans Elect Two African-American Women Bishops


A synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America made history Saturday by electing the denomination’s first female African-American bishop. One day later, a synod 900 miles away elected the second.

First, delegates chose the Rev. Patricia A. Davenport for the office of bishop in Southeastern Pennsylvania, a synod that includes Philadelphia. Then on Sunday, delegates voted for the Rev. Viviane Thomas-Breitfeld, a pastor in Beloit, Wis., to become bishop-elect for the South-Central Synod of Wisconsin.

The votes mark an inclusive step forward for the “most white” of the nation’s mainline Protestant denominations, according to Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton.

“We claim, over and over again, what God is calling us to be is a diverse, inclusive, multicultural church,”…

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