The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America consists of 65 synods which are configured into nine regions. Each synod elects a bishop to oversee the administration of the synod and its staff.
The Rev. H. Jeffrey A. Clements was elected on June 18, 2016, to serve a six-year term as the third bishop of the Northern Illinois Synod. His term of service as Bishop of the Synod began on September 1, 2016, and he was installed by the presiding bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, The Reverend Elizabeth Eaton on September 24, 2016, at First Lutheran Church, Rockford.
As bishop of the Northern Illinois Synod, Bishop Clements serves as the Synod’s pastor of Word and Sacrament. He is the Synod’s President and Chief Executive and Administrative Officer, spiritual leader, preacher, and teacher. As part of the ELCA Conference of Bishops, he serves as a member of the Roster Committee. In addition, he serves as the Region 5 bishop liaison to the ELCA Church Council and works on the council’s Budget and Finance Committee. Bishop Clements is honored to serve as one of the Lutheran Social Services of Illinois Board of Directors including serving as a member of its Executive Committee and to also serve on the Board of Trustees of Augustana College, which includes serving on the Campus Planning Committee and the Advancement Committee.
Bishop Clements earned a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from the University of Illinois at Chicago in 1977 and a Master of Divinity from Luther Northwestern Theological Seminary (now Luther Seminary, a seminary of the ELCA) in St. Paul, Minn., in 1983. He was ordained August 7, 1983, and his first call was to serve as Pastor of St. John Lutheran Church, Massbach (rural Elizabeth), Illinois, beginning in 1983 until 1987. He then served as Associate Pastor of Immanuel Lutheran Church, Dixon, from 1987-1990, and as Pastor of First Lutheran Church, Prophetstown, from 1990-2002. Beginning in 2002, he was called to serve as Assistant to the Bishop of the Northern Illinois Synod, a position which he held until 2016 when he was elected Bishop.
Bishop Clements is married to Paulette and they have one son, Pastor Nathan (Emily Nelson) Clements and a grandson, Jonathan, of LaPorte City, Iowa. Bishop Clements is an avid Cubs fan. He has been active in the Boy Scouts and received the Servant of Youth award in 1998. He and Paulette are members of First Lutheran Church, DeKalb.