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Call Process

The content of this page will be updated soon with new information and a new video series from the ELCA Region 5 synods. Until then, you may still use this page as a general overview of what to expect in the call process.

A pastoral vacancy can be a time of high anxiety and worry about the future. It can also be a fruitful time to consider the congregation’s ministry and hopes for the future. Below is an outline of steps on the journey from the completion of one pastor’s call to the installation of the next, followed by additional documents that may be helpful for you during this process. A series of videos provides the basics on what to expect during your pastoral vacancy and the call process.

For more details about each step, please see the Call Process Overview document or contact Pastor Amy Ziettlow, Assistant to the Bishop for Transformational Leadership, 217-753-7915.

  1. The pastor resigns their current call.
  2. The congregational council president contacts the synod office.
  3. The congregational secretary receives the “Parochial Records Certificate” form from the synod office and certifies congregational membership records before the pastor departs.
  4. The bishop appoints an interim pastor.
    1. Resource: Bishop Roth’s Interim Ministry Overview
    2. Resource: Interim Ministry Description
    3. Resource: Sample Interim Ministry Agreement
  5. Synod staff meets with the congregational council.
    1. Resource: Call Process Overview
    2. Resource: Call Process Checklist
    3. Resource: Communication During a Pastoral Vacancy
    4. Resource: Bulletin Insert about the Call Process (color version)
    5. Resource: Sample Announcements during the Call Process
  6. The congregational council may conduct a congregational survey to help the council prepare a ministry site profile (MSP); responses are sent to synod staff for compiling.
    1. Resource: Resources to Prepare for the MSP
    2. Resource: Transition Survey
    3. Resource: Pastoral Gifts and Tasks Survey
  7. The congregational council completes the ministry site profile (MSP) and submits it electronically to the ELCA.  Congregations are encouraged to also submit responses to the Seven Relections document as well.
    1. Resource: MSP Example
    2. Resource: 7 Reflections Example
  8. Other documents, such as mission and vision statements or current annual reports that could be of interest to a nominee may be emailed to the synod office.
    1. Resource: Checklist of documents to submit
  9. The congregational council receives feedback from synod staff and the MSP is activated.
  10. The call committee is elected/appointed per congregation constitution.
  11. Synod staff meets with the call committee.
    1. Resource: Sources of Potential Pastoral Nominees
  12. The bishop nominates potential pastor(s).
  13. The call committee interviews nominee(s).
  14. The call committee makes the recommendation to the congregational council and shares the nominee’s documents with the congregational council.
  15. The congregational council meets with the nominee and proposes a compensation package.
  16. The congregational council recommends the nominee to the congregation.
  17. The congregation meets the nominee.
  18. The congregational council sets a date for a congregational meeting.
  19. The congregational council notifies the synod office of the congregational meeting.
  20. The congregation receives call documents from the bishop PRIOR to the meeting.
  21. The congregation holds the meeting and notifies the bishop and the nominee of the results on the day of the meeting.
  22. If approved, congregational leaders sign the necessary documents and send them to the synod office.
  23. The synod office forwards the documents to the nominee.
  24. The nominee accepts or declines the call.
  25. If the nominee accepts the call, an Installation Service is scheduled; if the nominee declines the call, the call committee waits for new nominations.