Call Process

Glossary of Call Process Terms

  • Bridge Pastor: A pastor that bridges the time between. Sometimes this is before and/or after the intentional interim pastor’s service. Typically, primary responsibilities include worship planning and leadership, some administration, and pastoral care. This is a contract position, terms and specific duties are negotiated with the congregation council.

  • Call Committee: The committee is appointed or elected according to the congregation’s constitution. This committee first completes the Ministry Site Profile (MSP) based on the self-study of the congregation. The committee is then charged with interviewing candidates for a pastor to lead the congregation into the future. Candidates are first vetted by the Office of the Bishop and then given to the congregation until a suitable candidate is called.​​

  • Called Pastor or Deacon (also referred to as “Placed” or “Settled” Pastor or Deacon): This is the pastor selected by the Call Committee, recommended by the congregation council, and voted on by the congregation to be the newly installed pastor of the congregation.

  • Compensation Package: The Compensation Package reflects the actual financial impact on the congregation’s budget of supporting the leader who has been called by the congregation. This includes salary, housing allowance, pension and health benefits, car allowance, continuing education and professional expenses, Social Security offset, et al.

  • Letter of Call: The Letter of Call is the official document, signed by the bishop of the Sierra Pacific Synod and the congregational officers, authorizing a pastor to serve in Word and Sacrament ministry, or a deacon to serve in Word and Service ministry, at a particular congregation or specialized ministry setting.

  • Letter of Invitation to Extended Service: The Letter of Invitation to Extended Service is the official document, signed by the bishop and the secretary of the Sierra Pacific Synod, authorizing a pastor from a full-communion partner denomination to serve in Word and Sacrament ministry at a particular ELCA congregation or specialized ministry setting. This document is signed after the synod council affirms the invitation voted on and extended by a congregation through a regular call process.

  • Ministry Site Profile (MSP): The Ministry Site Profile is a document compiled by the call committee which reflects congregational history, current structures and staffing patterns, hopes for the future, mission direction, demographic data about the community, and the gifts for leadership being sought by the congregation.

  • Office of the Bishop: The Office of the Bishop and its staff supports the work of the Bishop of the Sierra Pacific Synod.

  • Rostered Minister: A person who is on one of the two Rosters of the ELCA: Ministers of Word and Sacrament (Pastors), or Ministers of Word and Service (Deacons). These people have completed theological training and a process with the ELCA Candidacy process.

  • Rostered Minister Profile (RMP): The Rostered Minister Profile is completed by rostered candidates. It includes questions about theology, gifts for ministry, personal information, employment and educational history and references.

  • Synod Representative: Every call process is a partnership among the congregation, the Office of the Bishop, and the whole Sierra Pacific Synod. In order to live into this partnership, a representative from the Synod will be present at every congregational vote. The representative is present at a connection to the larger church, a resource for questions that arise, and will report back to the Office of the Bishop the results of the congregational vote.

  • Intentional Interim Pastor: A pastor who has specific training to guide congregations through the transition process due to a pastoral vacancy. They may be called through the Sierra Pacific Synod.

  • Supply Pastor: A pastor who is contracted on a short-term basis to provide Word and Sacrament ministry (i.e. preaching and worship leadership) and provide pastoral care prior to the arrival of an intentional interim pastor.

  • Transition Team: In some settings the intentional interim pastor will recommend the appointment of a transition team to assist with the congregation’s self-study process and develop the Ministry Site Profile. When a Transition Team is utilized, the call committee is appointed later in the process and the transition team hands off their work to the call committee.