About the Northwestern Ohio Synod

Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

75,000 Members Synodwide

The congregations of the Northwestern Ohio Synod are comprised of a diverse group of 75,000 members from all walks of life and life experiences.

162 Congregations Synodwide

The Northwestern Ohio Synod is blessed with 162 congregations from north to south and east to west. No matter where you go, you’ll find one of our churches.

$33 Million in Offerings

Lutherans in the Northwestern Ohio Synod are generous. We support local, state, country, and global ministries. We’d love to have you join us in mission.

8 Lutherans per Square Mile

There’s a lot of us! We have a population density of 8 Lutherans per square mile in Northwestern Ohio. You probably know at least one of us.

What is a Synod?

The Northwestern Ohio Synod is one of 65 synods of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, and one of six synods that comprise region six. Our neighboring synods in region six include Northeastern Ohio, Northwest Lower Michigan, Southeast Michigan, Indiana/Kentucky and Southern Ohio.

A “synod” is a shared journey. It actually comes from two Greek words which give us the words “synonymous” and “odyssey.”  Together, as a synod we are on a synonymous odyssey.  It means that we are journeying together: strengthening, challenging, and supporting one another as God leads us in living his mission with each other and with the world.

Each synod in assembly elects a bishop and other officers. As the synod’s pastor, the bishop oversees the ministry of other pastors and congregations. Together with her/his assistant(s), the bishop provides support to congregations. This includes assistance in calling pastors and other staff; support in times of difficulty and congregational conflict; and, joining in the celebrations of congregations. Bishops also oversee the administration of the synod, supervising the work of other officers and staff. In addition, they serve as bishops of the whole ELCA, coming together regularly in gatherings of the Conference of Bishops.

Northwestern Ohio Synod Map

NWOS Synod Constitution

Synod Conferences

The Northwestern Ohio Synod is split into seven individual conferences. Clergy representatives from each conference are elected by their conference assembly to serve as conference dean. They are convened by the bishop and have the responsibility to provide pastoral care and leadership within their conference.


Pastor Ralph Mineo
St. Luke’s Lutheran Church
215 N Second Street
North Baltimore, OH 45872


Pastor Jody Rice
Grace Lutheran Church
705 West State St
Fremont, OH 43420-2407


Pastor Paul Reichert
St. Martin’s Lutheran Church
203 Defiance Street
Archbold, OH  43502


Pastor Kristina Ahlman
Soloman Lutheran Church
305 W. Main Street
Woodville, OH 43469


Pastor Sarah Schaaf
St. Paul’s Lutheran Church
135 Main Street
Waldo, OH  43356


Pastor Will Haggis
St. Mark’s Lutheran Church
160 W. Sycamore Street
Van Wert, OH  45891


Pastor Stephen Bauerle
Zion Lutheran Church
22 N 2nd Street
Waterville, OH 43566

Synod Congregations

The Northwestern Ohio Synod is blessed with 162 congregations from north to south and east to west. No matter where you go, you’ll find one of our churches.

What is the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America?

The ELCA is a community of faith that shares a passion for making positive changes in the world. Our faith is built around a strong belief in God as made known to us in Jesus Christ. Through worship, service, and education, we practice our faith, grow our relationship with God and experience God’s grace in our lives.

We also work hard to put our faith into action. In today’s complex world, we strive to make a difference in practical, realistic ways.

With more than 9,000 congregations across the U.S., Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands, and 3.9 million members—we welcome you to experience this church right in your community. Help us celebrate our gift of faith—with action.



The Bishop of the Northwestern Ohio Synod