Monday, May 8, 2006

As the Church Turns

Evangelical Lutherans select leader of synod The Rev. Claire S. Burkat was elected yesterday.

By Kristin E. Holmes
Inquirer Staff Writer

The Rev. Claire S. Burkat, mission director of the Southeastern Pennsylvania Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, was elected to lead the group yesterday, making her the first woman to head the synod.

Burkat, 54, of Ambler, will become bishop in July. She defeated the Rev. Cynthia L. Krommes, senior pastor of St. John's Evangelical Lutheran Church in Phoenixville, by a vote of 307-252.

The Rev. James K. Echols, president of the Lutheran School of Theology in Chicago, came in third but did not make the final ballot. Echols is a Philadelphia native who also is the former president of the Lutheran Theological Seminary in Mount Airy.

The election was held over the two days of the synod's annual conference, which ended yesterday, at Franconia Mennonite Church. The synod represents 95,000 Lutherans attending 175 churches in the five-county Philadelphia area.

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