Frequently Asked Questions about the Call Process
How long will it take to find a pastor?
What will the congregation do during this time of transition regarding pastoral leadership?
What are the sources of names provided by the Office of Bishop to the Call Committee?
- Pastors from South Carolina Synod asking to be available for conversation with Call Committees and having submitted their Rostered Leader Profile.
- Pastors from other synods who have asked that their Rostered Leader Profile be shared with congregations in South Carolina. Please note that Candidates from outside South Carolina must be given clearance by their Synodical Bishop to our bishop before they can be considered for an interview.
- Pastors identified by the Bishop and Bishop’s staff as particularly suited for a congregation.
- Recent seminary graduates awaiting their first Call.
- Pastors suggested by members of the Congregation can also be shared with our office to look into as potential candidates.
Will there be Pastors willing to talk with our Call Committee?
Can we invite the candidates to preach in our congregation on a Sunday morning?
Should the congregation expect there to be expenses related to the work of the call committee?
Should there be alternate members of the Call Committee?
What if we have additional questions?
Steps in the Call Process
We believe the call process for any congregation is a “Spirit-led time of renewal.” It is our general custom to set an initial meeting between the Congregational Council and the Bishop or one of the Assistants to the Bishop to review the steps of the Call Process. At that time a copy of the South Carolina Synod Call Process Manual, A Spirit Led Time of Renewal, will be given to your Congregational Council. This Manual should be passed on to the Chair of your Call Committee once he or she is named. (Note: Most of these steps also pertain to calling a lay Rostered leader.)
Step 1. A Rostered leader always consults with the Bishop and turns in updated mobility paperwork before engaging in a Call process with another congregation.
Step 2. When a Rostered leader accepts a new Call he or she submits a letter of resignation to the Congregational Council at a called Council Meeting; The Letter of Resignation is copied and distributed to the Bishop’s office and to the Congregation along with a letter of acceptance from Council including any plans being made for a farewell event if those are known.
Step 3. Pastor and Council complete any obligations to one another (parochial records updated and certified to synod; any financial obligations between Rostered leader and congregation).
Step 4. An exit interview for the Rostered Leader led by Congregational Leaders may be helpful.
Step 5. Farewell event and clarification of expectations.
Step 6. The Office of Bishop conducts a Congregational Council visit, including setting a date for the “Congregational Event.”
Step 7. The Congregational Council works with Bishop’s office for selection of Interim Pastor.
Step 8. The Call Committee is established according to constitutional provision 13.05.
Step 9a. The Office of the Bishop provides leadership for a “Spirit-led Time of Renewal Congregational Event.”
Step 9b. The Congregation is asked to set up and participate in “Healthy Congregations” Workshop #1. Workshops # 2 & # 3 are highly recommended as follow up for each congregation in call process. Workshop # 3 is designed to be done a few months after your new pastor is settled into this new call. See the final Appendix page for the Healthy Congregations brochure and information.
Step 10. The Call Committee develops and submits to the Bishop’s office a “Ministry Site Profile” and a compilation of the data collected at the Congregational Event. The Ministry Site Profile (MSP) can be accessed online at www.elca.org/call click on MSP and follow instructions for completion. If you have questions about the form please feel free to call the Synod Office for assistance.
Step 11. The Office of the Bishop enters into a time of intentional prayer and discernment to find and determine potential candidates to offer your Call Committee for interviews.
Step 12. The Office of the Bishop meets with the Call Committee; Committee may receive names of candidates and begin the interview process.
Step 13. The Call Committee interviews candidates, remains in contact with the Bishop’s Office and ultimately recommends a pastor to the Council; The Council interviews and recommends the Candidate to the Congregation and sets a Congregational meeting date.
Step 14. Congregation votes to extend a call to this pastor, and on a second ballot votes on the compensation package; The Candidate accepts call and notifies congregation and the Office of the Bishop of their start date.
Step 15. The new Pastor is installed by a representative of the Office of Bishop on an agreed upon Sunday.
The South Carolina Synod, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America Call Process Manual with Appendices. Includes Rostered Leader Compensation Guidelines.
This article deals with the sensitive matter is of pastors being asked for pastoral acts by people who are their former parishioners. With our synod being as geographically compact as it is, we may face this issue more frequently than other parts of the church.