The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America has elected its first female presiding bishop, who defeated Minnesotan incumbent Mark Hanson.
The Rev. Elizabeth Eaton, who currently serves as a Lutheran bishop in Ohio, replaces Hanson, who has been the presiding bishop for 12 years. Hanson previously served as bishop of the St. Paul area synod.
The denomination’s representatives, who are meeting in assembly this week in Pittsburgh, elected Eaton on the fifth ballot. Eaton received 600 votes while Hanson got 287.
Minnesota has nearly 800,000 ELCA members, more than any other state. Nationwide, the ELCA has nearly 4.2 million members.
Prior to being elected St. Paul synod bishop, Hanson served as pastor of three Minnesota congregations: Prince of Glory Lutheran Church, Minneapolis; Edina Community Lutheran Church, Edina, Minn., and University Lutheran Church of Hope, Minneapolis.