REV. MICHAEL GIRLINGHOUSE
Rev. Mike Girlinghouse has served as Bishop of the Arkansas-Oklahoma Synod since July of 2011. Prior to being called to serve as Bishop, he was Pastor of University Lutheran Church in Norman, OK and Campus Pastor for the University of Oklahoma. Ordained in 1987, Bishop Mike has served as a parish pastor, campus pastor and in congregations in transition or in need of a substitute pastor. Bishop Mike has also served as an instructor at two universities teaching courses in Death and Dying and World Religion.
Bishop Mike was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, attended college at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, MN and seminary at the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago.
He is married and has one adult daughter. He loves to cook, is a writer, and plays trombone and the djembe drum.
REV. BECCA MIDDEKE-CONLIN
DIRECTOR OF EVANGELICAL MISSIONS/ASSOCIATE FOR YOUTH AND YOUNG ADULT MINISTRY
Pastor Becca Middeke-Conlin serves as the Director of Evangelical Mission and Associate for Youth and Young Adult Ministry. Prior to coming to the Arkansas-Oklahoma Synod she served congregations in Pennsylvania and Connecticut. She has a passion for youth ministry and has helped organize conferences in the Northeastern Pennsylvania Synod on racial justice and LGBTQIA+ welcoming.
She is a native of St Louis, Missouri, but spent her teenage years in Minnesota where her family of origin still lives. She attended college in Wisconsin before going to Lutheran Theological Seminary in Philadelphia.
Becca and her husband, Bob, have been married over 15 years. Bob is an academic currently based in Copenhagen, Denmark. Both enjoy running and hiking and she also enjoys baking and cross-stitching.
As a life-long Lutheran, current member of Joy Lutheran Church and active participant in the AR-OK Synod, I am delighted to be joining the Synod staff as the AR-OK Synod Office and Building Manager at the Lutheran Ministry Center.
I am quite familiar with all levels of our Lutheran Church as I have served as Churchwide ELCA LYO Youth Board (3 yrs) and liaison to the Women of the ELCA Churchwide Board (3 yr) when I was in high school and college. I have also served on the AR-OK Synod Youth Board and as a Synod Assembly voting member. Most recently I served on the Joy Mission Endowment Committee as Financial Secretary (kept track of investments and facilitated disbursements) and I am currently the Joy Financial Treasurer.
My educational background is in early childhood education but I discovered very quickly that numbers, business and organization were definitely my passion and so I have focused on jobs in banking, office management, and payroll and tax preparation.
REGIONAL GIFT PLANNER
Stephen E. Phelps, MA, CFRE is the Regional Gift Planner for the Lutheran Planned Giving Partnership of the Central States and Arkansas-Oklahoma Synods. Stephen is a staff member of the ELCA Foundation and works to represent the Foundation and its partner organizations. Stephen is responsible for identifying, cultivating, soliciting and securing new, ongoing and planned/estate gifts from individuals in support of synods, congregations, churchwide ministries and ELCA related organizations and institutions. He is available to work with individuals, congregations and ELCA organizations to assist them with stewardship, endowments and planned giving needs. Stephen brings over 30 years of experience in the fund development field. He and his husband David live in St. Louis.
Ida has worked in the synod office since 1996. She has worked for 3 bishops as office manager: Bp. Floyd Schoenhals, Interim Bp. Charlie Maahs, and Bp. Mike Girlinghouose. She grew up in Slidell, Louisiana and has lived in Lafayette, LA., Katy, TX., Denver, CO., and finally in Tulsa, OK. She has worked previously at First United Methodist Church in Slidell, LA.; Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge., LA.; University of New Orleans, LA; Houston Community College, Katy, TX., and Bethany Lutheran Church in Denver, CO before moving to Tulsa. She is the mother of 3 sons all married; all graduated from college; and the grandmother of 7 (3 boys and 4 girls). She enjoys gardening, cooking, and babysitting grandkids.
Krista joined the Synod Staff in July 2019 to help share the mission of the Arkansas-Oklahoma Synod by providing creative leadership, imagination and oversight for the external and internal communications.
Throughout her youth as a member of Trinity Ev. Lutheran Church
(The Fish Church) on Long Island, Krista attended many Lutheran Retreats at Koinonia and was camper for many years at Pinecrest Lutheran Leadership Ministries. She continues to be involved and share her talents by creating and managing all of Pinecrest’s marketing materials and website.
Krista lives in Long Island, New York and works full-time as Product Designer for a critical event management software company.