About the Alaska Synod
The Alaska Synod office is located in Anchorage at Lutheran Church of Hope, on the ancestral land of the Eklutna Dena’ina People. We acknowledge the care of the ancestors who lived here and who did not cede these lands. Our office is located east of Cook Inlet, north of Turnagin Arm, south of Knik Arm. Campbell Creek, Chester Creek, Crow Creek, Eagle River, Eklutna River, Glacier Creek, Knik River, and Ship Creek form this watershed.
The Alaska Synod is the 64th out of the 65 synods of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America (ELCA) in membership, but the largest in geographic size. We stretch from Shishmaref to our congregation in Ketchikan 1400 air miles away. These 30 congregations range in size from an average worship attendance of 15 (Wales, on the Bering Sea) to 275 (urban Anchorage area). We have the largest and only Inupiat (Alaskan Inuit) population of the ELCA who make up almost 20% of our baptized membership and 24% of ELCA membership of native heritage. Those members are concentrated in our northern Seward Peninsula area where historically Norwegian reindeer herders and teachers brought their faith with them in the early 1900s. Sitka Lutheran Church, founded in 1840, was the first Protestant church founded west of the Mississippi. The diversity and large distances between congregations enrich our mission and ministry.
The Alaska Synod is served by Bishop Shelley Wickstrom and Director for Evangelical Mission, Lisa Smith Fiegel and Office Manager Chris Aquino.
The Synod has been divided into five different clusters, geographically defined with the exception of the Alaska Native Lutheran Church in Anchorage that aligns with the Inupiat-dominant congregations of the Seward Peninsula Cluster. The Synod Council is consists of members elected from each cluster (one clergy and one lay representative), three executive positions, two at-large representatives, a multi-cultural representative, a youth representative and the president of the statewide Women of the ELCA. The council is responsible for business of the synod between yearly synod assemblies.
The synod office equips and connects congregations and people for service in the name of Jesus Christ. In that role we assist congregations and rostered leaders with the call process, transitional periods, mission and vision, earth and financial stewardship, congregation council training, communication between congregations and more.
Shelley Wickstrom, Bishop
Lisa Smith Fiegel, Director for Evangelical Mission
Chris Aquino, Office Manager