The procedure of preparing for and calling a new pastor or other rostered individual is a time congregations are assured of connection with the Bishop and the Synod staff. At the gatherings in Fresno, San Mateo, and Lodi, and in the ELCA audit program report and in the online survey, strong feelings were expressed about this connection. The verbal comments were mixed, mostly positive, but with a still significant number of negative responses.
Whether positive or negative, the comments included such statements as, “This was the only time we ever had communications with the bishop’s office and staff.” Complaints about the length of time involved in the process were often heard, but many participants were complimentary about the assistance received from the bishop’s office. The issue was at the top of the priority list at the San Mateo gathering. “Improve call process (more options on choices or information on having more choices).” Currently there are 30 congregations participating in the call process, 21 seeking a solo pastor, 4 an associate pastor, and 5 a lead pastor or co-pastor.
If your congregation were entering into a call process, what would you need and expect from Synod staff?
What steps do you think could be taken to make the call process more efficient?
What creative solutions can you envision for small, rural congregations who find it difficult to fill the pulpit?
What do you think might be done to increase the pool of prospective candidates for openings in the Sierra Pacific Synod?