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Chicago (ELCA)-JB — Voting members attending a special synod assembly Dec. 2 elected the Rev. Elizabeth A. Eaton, Messiah Lutheran Church, Ashtabula, Ohio, to a six-year term as bishop of the Northeastern Ohio Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA).
Eaton was elected on the fifth ballot for bishop, 281-230 over the Rev. David P. Anderson, St. Matthew Lutheran Church, Medina, Ohio. On the fourth ballot for bishop, Eaton led with 233 votes, Anderson had 178, and the Rev. Jerome E. Burce, Messiah Lutheran Church, Fairview Park, Ohio, was third with 124 votes.
There were 41 names on the nominating ballot for bishop. The Rev. Lowell G. Almen, ELCA secretary, chaired the election.
Eaton, 51, will succeed the Rev. Marcus J. Miller, who resigned Aug. 1 to accept a call as president of the Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary, Columbia, S.C. The Rev. Lee M. Miller, former bishop of the ELCA Upstate New York Synod, has been serving as interim bishop since Marcus Miller's departure. Lee Miller will remain in that role until January 31, 2007.
Eaton will assume her new role as bishop on Feb. 1, 2007. She will be installed Feb. 3, 2007, at 2 p.m. at St. Paul Episcopal Church, Akron, Ohio. The Rev. Mark S. Hanson, ELCA presiding bishop, will preside over the installation.
Eaton was elected in 2005 to the ELCA Church Council, which serves as the board of directors and the legislative authority of the church between churchwide assemblies. She was a voting member at three ELCA Churchwide Assemblies, and she has served on the Northeastern Ohio Synod council and its executive committee. In 1984 she was a delegate to the Lutheran World Federation assembly in Budapest, Hungary.
Eaton was born in Cleveland, Ohio. In 1977 she earned a bachelor's degree in music education from The College of Wooster, Wooster, Ohio. She earned a master of divinity degree in 1980 from Harvard Divinity School, Cambridge, Mass.
Following ordination in 1981 Eaton served as assistant pastor for All Saints Lutheran Church, Worthington, Ohio, then as an interim pastor for Good Hope Lutheran Church, Youngstown, Ohio. She became pastor at Messiah Lutheran Church in 1991.
Eaton is married to the Rev. Conrad Selnick, an Episcopal priest serving St. Christopher's by-the-River, Gates Mills, Ohio. They are parents of two daughters, Rebeckah and Susannah.
The ELCA Northeastern Ohio Synod has 84,388 baptized members in 207 congregations. The synod office is located in Cuyahoga Falls.