Elizabeth Eaton

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Elizabeth Eaton
Presiding Bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
PredecessorMark Hanson
Other postsBishop of Northeastern Ohio Synod
Personal details
Born (1955-04-02) April 2, 1955 (age 63)
Cleveland, Ohio, US
SpouseConrad Selnick
ChildrenRebeckah, Susannah
Alma mater

Elizabeth Amy Eaton[1] (born April 2, 1955) is the fourth Presiding Bishop (and the first woman to become Presiding Bishop)[2] of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA). She was elected on Wednesday, August 14, 2013, on the fifth ballot. She received 600 votes by the Churchwide Assembly, and the incumbent Presiding Bishop Mark Hanson received 287 votes.[3][4][5] She was installed as presiding bishop of the ELCA on October 5, 2013, at Rockefeller Chapel in Hyde Park (Chicago, Illinois).[6] Chicago is also the location of the ELCA headquarters. Her six-year term as presiding bishop of the ELCA began November 1, 2013.[7]

Prior to her election, Eaton served as Bishop of the Northeastern Ohio Synod (NEOS)[8] since her installation on February 7, 2007, at St. Paul's Episcopal Church (Akron, Ohio). Eaton previously served congregations in Ohio. Eaton was ordained in 1981 after a call to serve All Saints Lutheran Church (Worthington, Ohio) and a one-year term as interim pastor at Good Hope Lutheran Church (Youngstown, Ohio). She was serving as pastor at Messiah Lutheran Church (Ashtabula, Ohio) when she was called to become bishop of the Northeastern Ohio Synod.[9]

She attended the College of Wooster where she earned a Bachelor of Arts in music education in 1977 and then went to Harvard Divinity School where she earned a Master of Divinity degree.

Eaton is married to T. Conrad Selnick, a priest of the Episcopal Church, who is vice president of the Bexley Seabury Seminary Federation in Chicago, and together they have two adult daughters, Rebeckah and Susannah.

In 2016, Eaton was awarded an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree by Luther College.[10]


  1. ^ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sGjLKBeMiCQ
  2. ^ "ELCA Assembly Elects First Female Leader of Denomination". Christian Post. Retrieved 29 September 2015.
  3. ^ http://www.elca.org/News-and-Events/5832
  4. ^ "Rev. Elizabeth Eaton, First Female Lutheran Bishop (ELCA) Elected". The Huffington Post. Retrieved 29 September 2015.
  5. ^ "Rev. Elizabeth Eaton ready to take the plunge as first female bishop of ELCA (video)". cleveland.com. Retrieved 29 September 2015.
  6. ^ Dias, Elizabeth (August 18, 2013). "Meet the Woman Who Will Lead Evangelical Lutherans: "Religious but not Spiritual"". Time. Retrieved August 18, 2013.
  7. ^ "Presiding Bishop". ELCA.org. Retrieved 29 September 2015.
  8. ^ http://nwos-elca.org/churchwide2013/bpeaton/
  9. ^ Colette M. Jenkins. "Bishop Elizabeth Eaton returns to shepherd flock in Northeast Ohio". www.ohio.com. Retrieved 29 September 2015.
  10. ^ "Bishop Elizabeth Eaton Receives Honorary Degree and Delivers Luther's Spring Convocation Address". Decorah News. February 2, 2017. Retrieved February 5, 2017.