Call Committee February 2024 Update
(originally printed in the February Messenger)
The St. James Call Committee was appointed in May 2022. Through that summer and fall we led the congregation through a discernment process- including numerous opportunities for congregation members input- considering who God is calling us to be and what mission God has for us in this place. The result was the Ministry Site Profile (MSP), adopted by the congregation council and shared with the congregation in October 2022. The MSP sought to answer those questions, as well as describe the associate pastor we need for this mission. This was subsequently placed on the ELCA website listing congregations in vacancy.
Since then, our committee has been unable to inform you of our activities, as the interviewing process is confidential. This is to protect potential pastors and congregations from situations which may cause difficulty (when someone is considering a new place to work and live, they don’t tell their current place until they have definite plans). We did our best to remind the congregation that the work would be continuing but without public information.
When seeking an associate pastor, it’s important that the lead pastor feel that God is calling them to serve with this pastor. So information went first to Pr. Andrew for however long he needed for consideration and possible conversation, and only then would a name proceed to the Call Committee. Also Pr. Andrew could consider names which never came to the Call Committee, and again, without informing the congregation. Also, our MSP indicated we prefer a pastor with 0-7 years’ experience, which includes someone newly graduated from seminary and approved for ordination.
Now we have completed our portion of the assigned task- we considered the Rostered Minister Profile of Candidate for Ordination Elizabeth (Libby) Baker-Mikesell, interviewed her, and voted unanimously to recommend her to council for call to St. James. This was based on our view that she meets the description we have in our MSP for the pastor we discerned that the Holy Spirit is leading us to call.
The ELCA has crafted the Call Process primarily for care of congregations and pastors through good order.
Before Libby’s name could be given to Pr. Andrew, she had to be approved for Ordination, be released from her home synod, approved by the bishops of Region 8 for assignment to Lower Susquehanna, and her name provided to Pr. Andrew by Bp. Dunlop. It was important for us to proceed through the entire process- St. James needs to be certain that this is the right potential pastor for us, and the candidate needs to feel that God is calling her to St James. It was also important for the protection the process provides- St James needs/needed to be able to honestly consider if Libby, in a role different from Seminary Intern, is the right person. The congregation also needs to have the opportunity to decline if the sense of the guidance of the Spirit does not lead to that. The process also protects the candidate- through all the steps taking place. Libby needs to be able to discern for herself if she feels called by God to serve with Pr. Andrew and us, in this place, at this time. In fact, even following the call vote, the candidate has 30 days to discern whether or not to accept the call.
The Call Committee is happy to discuss with you anything we are able to discuss, if you have any questions or concerns. We are also extremely grateful to God and the people of St. James for calling us to this role and responsibility. It has been our great blessing and honor to complete this.
Lucinda Bringman, Chair, Amy Crist, Jim Flanagan, Ernie Kranias, Glenn Munsee, Kasey Smith, Anne Lane, committee alternate, Shirley Sanders, Congregation Council Liaison
Congregational Call Interview: Wednesday, February 7, 2024, 5:30 p.m., St. James Worship Space
Congregation Meeting & Vote:
Saturday & Sunday, February 10 & 11, at all three worship services
Ministry Site Profile submitted to ELCA, October 2022
The Ministry Site Profile (MSP) is completed! Our Call Committee has met every week since mid-May (with the exception of 3 weeks in July while we were waiting for you to complete the survey) with the primary task of writing this document. It asks what the characteristics of our congregation are, what are the trends we see in our community and our congregation, for what do we have energy, what is our purpose, how are we gifted and what are some of the tasks and gifts we think are needed with our associate pastor. It’s 14 pages long! On October 10, we met with our congregation council along with the Rev. Beth Martini, Assistant to the Bishop for Mobility to review it and the council has adopted it.
We’re glad to be able to share it with you. You can read the submitted MSP, or you can also contact our church office if you want to request a printed copy of it.
What happens after this? For now, the work goes in the hands of our Bishop and his Assistants. We’ve included in our profile that we are open to either a pastor with experience or a first call candidate who is approved for ordination, that is, someone just out of seminary. To better understand what happens from that point, we’ll provide a full description of how the process works form here in the November Messenger.
So you can see even though this important document is now finished, it will still take some significant time to complete the process. So please keep praying! And we’ll keep you up to date as much as possible.
The Call Committee
Meet Our Call Committee (printed in the July Messenger)
The Council has taken the first step in the call process for a second pastor by appointing a Call Committee. Council members shared possible names and determined who would make up the committee. The Committee met for an organizational meeting with Council President, Kyle Smith and Pr. Beth Martini, Assistant to Bishop Dunlop for Mobility, who attended via Zoom. The members of the Call Committee are Lucinda Bringman, Amy Crist, Jim Flanagan, Ernie Kranias, Glenn Munsee, Kasey Smith, and Anne Lane (committee alternate), with Shirley Sanders as Congregation Council Liaison. The committee together determined that Lucinda Bringman will serve as Chair, Amy Crist as Recorder and Glenn Munsee as Chaplain.
Our synod describes the steps in the Call Process by likening them to the 12-steps on a clock, and we are already at step 3! Our current task is to develop the Ministry Site Profile for St. James. This is an in-depth document to describe who we are, focusing on our
- vision for mission, including trends in our community context
- purpose, giftedness and mission, and finally,
- leadership needs
Obviously, this is not a simple document to complete, and will take significant time. You can be sure we will be coming to you for help and input for this, and the document will be entirely public within our congregation.
At the point when we feel that it is finished, our council will need to vote to accept it as our Ministry Site Profile. Then it will electronically go to the ELCA. Bishop Dunlop and his staff will work with our document to prayerfully recommend names of possible pastors or seminarian candidates for ordination to us.
We intend to keep you as informed as we possibly can, with the understanding that at the point of which we receive names of possible candidate(s) for the position, our work will become confidential for a time. Feel free to contact any member of the call committee with questions or concerns.
We invite you to watch an important video, Overview of the Call Process, provided by our synod office, with a message from Bishop Dunlop and explanations by Pr. Martini, which describes the call process in much more depth.
Also on this website is additional information and resources that will assist in the Call Process.
Yours In Christ,
Anne Lane, committee alternate
Shirley Sanders, Congregation Council Liaison