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We have a Call Committee—Now What?

Ascension has eight members representing different age groups and interests in the congregation that are appointed to serve as the Call Committee in the search process for the next settled pastor. Keren Meister Emerich, Paul Hohn, Barb Cook, Andy Rose, Amber Mueller, and Bud Murphy are the regular members of the committee and Christina Muggenburg and Patti Riesland are the alternate members. Please thank them for their willingness to serve Ascension as we move into this new phase in the life of the congregation.

First the call committee will meet with the Synod Call Administrator, Flip Wilson (I sure hope he has a sense of humor) along with the Transition Team and the Congregation Council on July 29th to review the congregation’s resume (Ministry Site Profile). That meeting concludes the work of the Transition Team. Please thank Doug Cook, Jim and Sherri Geringer, Roz Schliske, Teisha Hohn, and Karen Kelly for their work and dedication.

From that point on the Call Committee will prepare to interview candidates whose resumes (Roster Leader Profiles) are matched to Ascension’s Ministry Site Profile by the Bishop’s office. The Call Committee will decide the exact process for interviewing candidates, but typically it involves initial Zoom interviews, reviewing YouTube videos of candidate’s sermons, follow up interviews, one or two in person interviews, and recommending a candidate to the Congregation Council to interview. If the Council votes to recommend the candidate to the Congregation, they will negotiate with that candidate a compensation package and other details in the call agreement. The call agreement with the recommended candidate will be voted on in a special meeting of the congregation.

 God’s Spirit works with us on the journey.

Often a meet and greet event with the congregation and the candidate is scheduled prior to the congregation’s meeting to vote on the call agreement. Often this is a time when the Council or Call Committee arrange for a tour of the area for the candidate, (and family if applicable).

 After a call is issued by the congregation the candidate has up to a month to formally accept the call. (Covid has changed much of what we do, and synod call processes vary so some of the above is not written in stone).

 I will not be a candidate for call at Ascension. Thank you for all your kind words, but when I accepted the call to be the Interim Pastor, I agreed not to be a candidate for a regular call at Ascension.

What can we in the congregation do to support the Call Committee? They need our prayers and encouragement. The ministry of the Call Committee is exciting and rigorous. There will be some deep conversations about who is the best candidate for the call to serve Ascension.  This is a process of discernment seeking the Holy Spirit’s guidance, and fervently asking the direction the Spirit is leading the congregation.

Ascension is not hiring an employee, we are calling a pastor to lead the congregation by “preaching the Word of God, administering the sacraments, conducting worship, providing pastoral care, speaking publicly to the world in solidarity with the poor and oppressed, calling for justice and proclaiming God’s love for the world. The pastor shall offer instruction, confirm, marry, visit the sick and distressed, with the Council administer discipline, and strive to extend the Kingdom of God in the community, in the nation, and abroad” (Ascension’s Constitution).

The call process is exciting, and it may also try our patience, but God’s Spirit works with us on the journey.

In Christ,

Pastor Michael

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