Pastor James Gonia was elected to be the next bishop of the Rocky Mountain Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. Gonia was elected April 28 at the Synod Assembly meeting in Colorado Springs, Colo., according to a news release from Elim Lutheran Church in Ogden.
Gonia had been program director for the ELCA missionary efforts in Madagascar, Tanzania and West Africa, the release states.
He has previously been called as teacher and director of Betela Seminary in Madagascar, a mission partner of the Rocky Mountain Synod; Rocky Mountain Synod missionary-in-residence, Youth/Education Director at Christ Lutheran in St. Paul, Minnesota; and associate pastor at Atonement Lutheran Church in Denver, Colo.
Bishop-elect Gonia has been awarded a Bachelor of Arts in Geography from Valparaiso University, a Master of Divinity from Luther Northwestern Seminary, and a Master of Theology in Islamic Studies from Luther Seminary.
The election was conducted under the supervision of ELCA Presiding Bishop Mark Hanson. Pastor Gonia will be installed as bishop in September 2012.
Pastor Gonia said he and his wife, Kim, also an ordained minister, would be leaving April 29 for a 12-day visit to Camaroon, where they planned to celebrate and participate in the ordination of the first female pastors in the Lutheran Church of Camaroon.
ELCA congregations in Northern Utah are Ascension Lutheran Church and Elim Lutheran Church in Ogden, and Prince of Peace Lutheran Church in Logan.