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Bishop Becca Middeke-Conlin has been in office since July 1, 2023. Before being elected as bishop, she served the Arkansas-Oklahoma Synod as the Director of Evangelical Mission and Associate for Youth and Young Adult Ministry. Prior to coming to the 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 17 years. Both enjoy running and hiking and she also enjoys baking and cross-stitching. And her favorite part of working in the synod office is visiting congregations most weeks. 


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Director of Evangelical Mission and Assistant to the Bishop

Pastor Peter Olson has been serving as our Director of Evangelical Mission and Assistant to the Bishop for the Synod since September 18th, 2023. He is a son of the Synod, having grown up at Holy Cross Lutheran Church in Mountain Home, Arkansas. His time in candidacy to become a pastor was centered through the Arkansas-Oklahoma Synod. Upon graduation from Wartburg Theological Seminary in 2016, Pastor Peter took his first call in our Synod at the Shared Ministry of North Central Oklahoma which consisted of Zion Lutheran in Perry, OK; Faith Lutheran in Enid, OK; St. Paul's UCC in Marshall, OK; and then later were joined by Prince of Peace Lutheran in Ponca City, OK.

Throughout his ministry, Pastor Peter has been passionate in facilitating the coming together of organizations to make ministry happen. Whether that has been multi-denominational efforts or work alongside more secular organizations, finding creative solutions to care for people and spur on possibilities of ministry especially among small congregations has been his hallmark. In a world where the church looks different each year from what it had been, Pastor Peter loves partnering with congregations to help them consider how they might be the Church in the here and now.

Pastor Peter and his family define themselves as "Lutheran Nerds" through and through. They enjoy time together at comic cons and renaissance festivals. They are also big fans of board games, D&D, Star Trek, and many other nerdy pursuits.



As a life-long Lutheran, current member of Joy Lutheran Church and active participant in the AR-OK Synod, I am delighted join 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.




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

Krista lives on Long Island, NY with her English black lab, Piper, (@pipergrace.theblacklabpup) and works full-time as
Creative Director for the national nonprofit Song for Charlie​.



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.




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