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2019 Synod Site Profile Summary

The Sierra Pacific Synod is one of great diversity in many respects. It encompasses the densely populated San Francisco Bay, greater Sacramento and Fresno areas and the more sparsely populated California coast, northern valley, Sierra foothills and Nevada. The general Reno area has the highest population in northern Nevada where we stretch across to include the city of Elko in the east. Cities in our Synod have significant populations of the homeless and on its territory are 4 of the top 15 wealthiest counties in the US. It is home to some 6,500 tech industry firms, including Google, Apple, Facebook, and Intel among others as well as rich agricultural regions in the central valleys which grow more than 15% of the country’s produce. Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary and the Graduate Theological Union are also on the territory of this synod and provide opportunities for students to learn from many denominational and interfaith disciplines.

The total area of the Synod is 172,000 square miles, with 96,000 square miles containing congregations. The Sierra Pacific Synod consists of 187organized congregations and SAWCs along with several congregations under development within the geographic region of Northern and Central California and Northern Nevada. Based on parochial reports submitted for 2017-2018, these congregations represent 36,850 and 27,523 baptized and confirmed members respectively. Total weekly worship attendance in the Synod was 13,860, giving an average attendance of 76. Eighty percent of the congregations in the Sierra Pacific Synod have 100 people or less in worship on Sunday mornings.

Using information from the 2018 parochial reports, our congregational members are 86.9% Caucasian, 3.95 % Hispanic/Latino, 3.13 % Asian Pacific Islander, 2.67% African American/Black, 2.01 % multi-racial, 0.39% Arab/Middle Eastern, .28% African National/African Caribbean and .21% American Indian/Alaskan Native. While the current census numbers are not available, the ethnic diversity of most communities is underrepresented in our congregations.

The reporting congregations indicated that worship services are offered in American sign language (3),

Swahili (1), Finnish (1), Hmong (1), German (1), Oromo (1), Spanish (4) and English (90).

The Sierra Pacific Synod and 43 of its congregations are Reconciling in Christ –inviting and welcoming to full participation and affirming God’s love for people of all sexual orientations and gender identities.

Mission Statement



People called together by the insistent urging of the Holy Spirit, empowered to be followers of Jesus Christ,

rooted in God’s unconditional love.


  • to embody the love of God

  • to share the good news of Jesus

  • to equip one another as followers of Jesus

  • to engage in God’s call for peace through justice

  • to challenge communities of faith

  • to honor their past and adapt for their future

  • to build inclusive communities



  • Live in community

    • Worshiping, Praying, Serving, Being fed

  • Honor

    • Lutheran identity, Questions and doubts, A spectrum of experiences

  • Proclaim in word and deed

    • God’s love, Radical hospitality, Truth to power

  • Strive for peace and justice locally and globally

    • Recognize needs, Accompany, Advocate, Serve and be served

  • Commit to being re-formed



In 2018, the Synod Council appointed a Task Force to develop a “Ministry Site Profile” for the synod. This

document’s purpose is to give those who feel that God is calling them to be open to consider serving as our

synod’s bishop an picture of (1) who we are as a synod, (2) some of the opportunities and challenges that are

present, as well as (3) the characteristics, qualities and abilities we as a synod seek in a bishop.

The results of a questionnaire completed by six hundred fifty seven respondents are summarized below.

The Task Force consisted of two members of the Synod Council and two members of the Synod Nominating

Committee: Rev. Clark Brown, Sheela Boddu, Rev. Adisa Armand and Pat Cash.

View the full data summary and results here.

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