The Rev. Richard E. Jaech


The Rev. Rick Jaech was re-elected as synodical bishop at the Synod Assembly in Vancouver WA in June 2019- He is actively serving his second 6-year term. Before his election as bishop, Bishop Jaech was the Pastor of Beautiful Savior Lutheran Church of Vancouver,  WA  for 26 years and previously served a Latino congregation in San Francisco. He  holds a master’s degree in conflict facilitation and published a book titled “Transforming Church Conflict: A Guide for Pastors and Leaders” that is available on Amazon. He received his pastoral training from The Lutheran School of Theology in Chicago and has been ordained for 44 years. Bishop Jaech is working hard to bring ecumenical groups together for common work. He is working with the ELCA to fund and lead creative programs in the Southwestern Washington Synod for congregational renewal and support of rostered ministers. Bishop Jaech really enjoys visiting our synod congregations and rostered leaders; meeting new people and hearing their faith stories.

Bishop Jaech and his wife, Satya, live in Tacoma.  Satya is a licensed Mental Health Counselor and a Spiritual Director.  Their son, Nick lives in New York.


The Rev. Rebecca Shjerven

Bishop’s Associate

Pastor Rebecca Shjerven (pronounced Sher-ven) was called by the Synod Council to serve as Bishop’s Associate and began this call on September 1, 2019, following the retirement of Pastor Kim Latterell. As Bishop’s Associate, Pastor Shjerven will provide leadership in four key areas: (1) Shepherding congregations in transition, most often supporting them in a call process for a new leader; (2) Working with the Synod’s Candidacy process for people who desire to serve the church as a pastor or deacon; (3) Placing and supporting seminary interns in our Synod; and (4) Providing leadership for our Synod’s  Path for Strengthening Active Lay Ministry (PSALM).

Pastor Shjerven received her Bachelor of Arts Degree in Deaf Education from Augustana in 1988. She then entered Luther Seminary, St. Paul, MN, and received her Master of Divinity Degree in 1992. Pastor Shjerven has served calls at Peninsula Lutheran, Gig Harbor (1992-96), Zion Lutheran, Kent (1996-2001), Bethlehem Lutheran, Tacoma (2001-2008) and St. Mark’s by The Narrows, Tacoma (2008-August 2019). With her experience in both education and pastoral ministry, Pastor Shjerven brings many excellent gifts to her new call as Bishop’s Associate.  Pastor Rebecca and her husband live in Gig Harbor and are the proud parents of 3 children, their youngest in college and the others living nearby, including their first grandchild.

Joey Ager 2 2021

Joey Ager

Director for Evangelical Mission

As Director for Evangelical Mission, Joey Ager will focus particularly on cultivating new ministries in our Synod and energizing existing congregations. He will also work with our Synod’s Affordable Housing Work Team. DEM’s are provided and funded by the national ELCA to each synod to support the synod’s evangelical outreach ministry.

Joey is a Scottish transplant to the Pacific Northwest via Washington, DC and San Diego. He has extensive experience in assisting pastors and congregations to work collaboratively through his work for the Church Council of Greater Seattle and the Center for Urban Peacemaking in Tacoma. Joey holds a Degree in Theology from Oxford University, was trained as a faith-based community organizer with mostly Spanish-speaking Catholic communities in San Diego, and writes about the relationship between faith and global humanitarianism, most recently as the co-author of the book Faith, Secularism and Humanitarian Engagement. Joey lives in Tacoma with his wife, Emily and their two boys.

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Stefanie DeZarn

Synod Administrator

Since Summer of 2023 Stefanie, a German Lutheran, member at Spanaway Lutheran Church, is the Synod Administrator at the Southwestern Washington Synod. Her position includes supporting the staff and all our congregations, managing the synod office and roster, and assisting with event planning. Stefanie's background is in office management and bookkeeping and she previously served as office manager in a Lutheran Church.

Stefanie lives in Spanaway with her husband, Rob (retired USAF), and their two college-aged children, Emily and Noah. She is looking forward to serving on a synod level and can't wait to learn and get more involved with RIC (Reconciling in Christ) and all the other wonderful ministries. Stefanie enjoys her three cats (Parker, Baxter and Winston), loves crocheting, cooking & baking, spending time with friends and family, and making new connections.