Bishop Jeffrey Clements

The Rev. H. Jeffrey A. Clements, Rockford, was elected June 18, 2016 to serve a six-year term as the third bishop of the Northern Illinois Synod. The election was held during the Synod Assembly June 16-18 at Centennial Hall at Augustana College in Rock Island, IL.

“I have never yet served a call in this church that I would have anticipated or sought. Yet, each time the Holy Spirit has spoken through the church, I have been challenged and happy,” said Clements. “The same is true today. I am honored and humbled to receive this call and will gladly serve the Northern Illinois Synod in a time of great transition in the church.”

Clements had served as assistant to the bishop of the Northern Illinois Synod since 2002.

He was pastor of First Lutheran Church in Prophetstown, IL., from 1990 to 2002.

Clements earned a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from the University of Illinois at Chicago in 1977 and a Master of Divinity from Luther Seminary in St. Paul, Minn., in 1983. Luther is one of the ELCA’s eight seminaries.

Clements was installed as bishop Saturday, Sept. 24, at First Lutheran Church in Rockford.


The Rev. Rafael Malpica-Padilla, Executive Director ELCA Global Mission Unit

As executive director of the Global Mission program unit of the ELCA, Pastor Malpica Padilla oversees the ELCA’s worldwide program that deepens relationships and cooperation with Lutheran churches in approximately 90 countries through an accompaniment model for mission. Each year, ELCA Global Mission provides nearly $40 million in grants to companions, international scholarships, and financial and programmatic support for the work of over 230 missionaries. This includes Young Adults in Global Mission, volunteers in other countries, and 40 Chicago-based staff.

Before becoming ELCA Global Mission’s executive director in 2003, Malpica Padilla served in several positions with the ELCA’s Division for Global Mission from 1993 to 2003. He was bishop of the ELCA’s Caribbean Synod from 1987-1993 and a parish pastor in Puerto Rico following his ordination in 1981. His extensive international and ecumenical experience includes service as an election observer in Haiti and El Salvador, a member of the executive committee of Church World Service, a member of the board of directors of Lutheran World Relief, and advisor to the Council of Lutheran World Federation (LWF), and a member of the LWF negotiation team with the state of Israel for the tax case of Augusta Victoria Hospital in Jerusalem.

Malpica Padilla earned a bachelor of arts degree in philosophy from the University of Puerto Rico and a master of divinity degree from the Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia. He has been awarded honorary doctor of divinity degrees by Newberry College in South Carolina, by the Academy of Ecumenical Indian Theology and Church Administration in India, and by Trinity Lutheran Seminary in Ohio. In 2013 the Synod Council of the ELCA Caribbean Synod awarded him the title Bishop Emeritus.

Pastor Malpica Padilla is married to Luz D. Malpica, who works as an occupational therapist with children with learning disabilities. They are members of Bethany Lutheran Church in Crystal Lake, Ill.


Glocal Musician-Educators

Music and worship leadership for this year’s assembly is provided by the Glocal Musician-Educators of the ELCA.

The musicians were formed by the Mission Formation Team in ELCA Global Mission to provide musical leadership for the Glocal Mission Gatherings hosted by congregations and other Christian communities throughout North America and the Caribbean.

Through its intentional diversity—including representation from many countries, denominations, and several cultures—the group embodies ways to stand in mutual solidarity while amplifying marginalized voices.
In addition to offering worship that includes global voices, the musicians are committed to forming local leaders seeking to introduce global themes in their communities.

The songs they teach are grounded in the community stories that raise awareness and inspire advocacy.

The musicians embody what it means to be Glocal—simultaneously global and local—so we can accompany one another across cultures, even in our own neighborhoods.