Today I spent a long day at the Northeastern Ohio Synod, ELCA Bishop Election in Cuyahoga Falls. I was one of over 600 delegates to this special synod assembly where a Bishop is chosen via ecclesiastical ballot. For those not familiar with that type of election, it is a process where names are submitted by all and through a series of votes a selection is made. In other words, lay and clergy from the area choose their Bishop rather than one being named by the leaders in the national church body.
Pr. Elizabeth Eaton of Ashtabula was selected to be the Bishop of the Northeastern Ohio Synod, ELCA beginning February 1, 2007. This is amazing for our synod; a progressive woman has risen to a position held by conservative male clergy since the inception of the ELCA.
Pastor Eaton appears to be an excellent choice. She answered all questions in a very clear and honest manner. She spoke from the heart and not for the vote. I admire directness. When questioned about same sex marriage and clergy, she questioned why we spend so much money and resources on a non-issue for the next generation. She affirmed that all people, even gay and lesbian people, have a right to have their relationship validated.
So, I am happy that the Church is moving forward in NE Ohio. I think she will use her love for social justice issues to make the Church a better place for all. Congratulations, future Bishop Eaton.