Welcome to the Southwestern Washington Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America!

About the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA)

The ELCA is one of the largest Christian denominations in the United States, with approximately 4.1 million members in 9,638 congregations across the 50 states and the Caribbean. Known as the church of “God’s work. Our hands,” the ELCA emphasizes the saving grace of God through faith in Jesus Christ, unity among Christians and service in the world. The ELCA’s roots are in the writings of the German church reformer, Martin Luther.

The Southwestern Washington Synod is comprised of 88 congregations, including 2 Synodically Authorized Worshipping Communities and 4 Congregations Under Development  in an area spanning from Federal Way to the Washington- Oregon border and from the Cascades to the Pacific Ocean.  We are also the host synod for the Historic Elbe Church in Elbe, Washington on Mt. Rainier Highway.

The synod assists congregations and rostered leaders (Clergy, Associates in Ministry, Diaconal Ministers and Deaconesses) with the call process, rostered mobility, transitional periods, Healthy Congregations, Natural Church Development, communication between congregations and more. Our Synod Council has set our two priorities as Pastoral Care and New Mission Starts. We are fortunate to have a Director for Evangelical Mission, the Rev. Dr. Melanie Wallschlaeger, from the ELCA in our synod office.   Her job is to help build mission starts, help congregations with redevelopment, and help our synod congregations with stewardship education and assistance. Pastor Melanie joins synod staff Bishop Richard Jaech, Bishop’s Associate Pastor Kim Latterell and Office Manager Allison Ramsey.

This site is designed to provide resources and information for the congregational staff, leadership, and  members of the ELCA congregations in this synod.


  Bishop Eaton Presentation at PLU 11-01-14

On Saturday, November  1st, the Southwestern Washington Synod  sponsored a morning with the Presiding Bishop of the ELCA, the Rev. Elizabeth Eaton. Bishop Eaton spoke for 90 minutes on the theme “Who is Leading us and Where are we going?”  The event was free and open to the public.  A link to the video recording of the presentation and question/answer time is here.  (1:38:36 length)

Bishop Elizabeth Eaton Presentation from PLU on Vimeo.

2015 Bishop’s Convocation and Prayer Retreat for Rostered Leaders

January 25-28, 2015) at Seabeck Conference Center
(click on the link to learn more and register. https://www.regonline.com/2015BishopsConvo)

Sabbatical Seed Grant Program and Congregational Application-6-2014 

Evangelical Lutheran Church of America Facts

  • Baptized Members: 4,930,429
  • Congregations: 10,585
  • Clergy: 17,694 (3,140 female; 570 people of color)
  • Missionaries: 280 in 48 countries
  • Campus Pastors and Ministries: 185
  • Colleges and Universities: 27