AUSTRALIA – On October 1, the Lutheran Church of Australia (LCA) elected Rev. Paul Smith as its new bishop. The election came during the LCA’s 20th Convention of General Synod, which is being split into two parts: one online in October 2021, and a second in-person gathering scheduled for 2022.
Bishop Elect Smith was ordained in 1988, and has served in parishes and school ministry in Queensland and South Australia. At the time of the election, Rev. Smith was serving a temporary placement at St Peter’s Lutheran College Indooroopilly. He previously served as bishop of the LCA’s Queensland District from 2015-2021.
Also on the ballot for president was Rev. Matt Anker, LCA Assistant to the Bishop for International Mission. The nominees were selected at the LCA’s General Pastors Conference in July.
Bishop Elect Smith succeeds Bishop John Henderson who announced earlier this year that he would not be seeking reelection. The transition in leadership will take place towards the end of the year. More information on Bishop Elect Smith is available from the LCA here.
Also elected during this online portion of the Convention of General Synod was Rev. Neville Otto to serve as Assistant Bishop of the LCA. Rev. Otto succeeds Rev. Dr. Andrew Pfeiffer, who did not stand for reelection as Assistant Bishop. Rev. Dr. Stephen Pietsch was also on the ballot.
The LCA’s 20th Convention of General Synod’s theme verse is Isaiah 55:3—“…come to me, listen, that you may live.” The convention will reconvene in-person in 2022.
The Lutheran Church of Australia, which includes the Lutheran Church of New Zealand, is an Associate Member of the International Lutheran Council (ILC).