We empower congregations and ministries to put faith in God into action in many ways, all over Upstate New York and around the world.


Upstate New York Synod

The Upstate New York Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) is led by bishop John Stanley Macholz and is a Companion Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Zimbabwe, a partner synod with the Central/Southern Illinois Synod, and a Reconciling in Christ Synod. It is composed of 170 congregations in Upstate New York.

Our Synod is one geographical district of the ELCA.  The English word synod comes from two Greek words syn + hodos that mean “common road.” A synod is the people of the congregations and other ministries traveling the way of faith together.  There are 65 synods in the ELCA that are grouped into nine regions.


Synod Staff and Council


Conferences and Deans


Committees, Teams and Tables


the FOuR g's

Bishop John Stanley Macholz, Upstate New York Synod of the ELCA

“Tell me about Jesus.”  It’s a question I’ve asked candidates entering the candidacy program of the synod. It’s an attempt to get them to talk about him, share their early beginnings with him and tell me about how he is companion on the way with them. It sounds like a simple question, doesn’t it? But, it is sometimes easier asked than answered.

As I began this ministry in the office of Bishop two and one half years ago I often asked this question as I moved about the synod of people whose paths crossed mine and, I discovered, it is sometimes a challenging question to answer. Yet is seems to me to be the central question of our life and faith: Who is Jesus? If we can’t answer that then we are in bigger trouble than I imagined.

In thinking about that reality it seemed to me that this was a place to start as we seek to discern where the Spirit is leading us as a synod. It begins with Jesus and that suggests a strong grounding in the resurrected Lord and Savior whose new life we celebrate in this season of Easter. Yet we can’t stop at that point. It is from that understanding that the Four G’s came about. Those Four G’s are as follows:

Grounded in Christ Jesus.  Growing in our Witness.  Giving from our Bounty.  Graced for the World.

One leads into the other and creates a progression of steps to take as we grow into not only our faith but also the ability to proclaim it, share it, witness it to others and the world. How well do we know the redemptive narrative of Scripture? How comfortable are we in witnessing (I know, that’s an uncomfortable word for Lutherans) to others that which we believe regarding the Risen Christ? How do we deepen and expand our understanding and ability to proclaim the good news of God in Christ in our everyday lives? So many questions, so little time.

In Jesus Christ,


John S. Macholz, Bishop