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The Candidacy Committee of the Sierra Pacific Synod offers this living document to inspire and hold accountable our current and future work, particularly regarding diversity, equity, and inclusion. It is the result of a long discernment that included: consultation with various specialists in the field, much prayer, discussion, vulnerability, pain from our past, and hope for our future. Please keep us, our work, and especially our future leaders in your prayers.



● Ground our work in our Christianity and our Lutheran identity.

● Be the priesthood of all believers.

● Recognize that everyone has a call to ministry, and we want to walk with people in the discernment of their gifts and their place in the church.

● Honor the uniqueness of God’s call to each person and their varied paths or types of service.

● Pay particular attention to candidates who are people of color, LGBTQIAA+, people with disabilities, or women, that they have the support they need as they go through the process.

● Engage in difficult conversations in a healthy way that values the teaching of Matthew 18 and results in reconciliation.

● Practice diversity and truth.

● Honor cultures and varied expressions in relational ways.



● The historical and systemic racism/white supremacy of our church and our nation through self-identification.

● We carry racism and bias, consciously and unconsciously, and that we speak and act without thinking. ● We don’t honor the differences among us, and we have a narrow way of seeing each other and our respective gifts.

● We each have limitations and we fail at times to recognize our need for God and each other.

● In encounters, when we fail to love each other, our humanity is lost by not seeing each other.

● The role of gatekeeper has been abused.

● Candidates do not feel they can be honest with us throughout the process.



● Encourage candidates to find role models to support them in the process.

● Create diverse panels and be a committee that reflects the intended diversity of our synod.

● Provide an environment in panel discussions and all conversations with candidates that are open and transparent to encourage candidates to speak their own truth from their hearts.

● Express our expectations to congregations, our synod and bishop, seminaries, and candidates. ● Model being a gatekeeper in positive, safe ways.

● Practice difficult conversations in ways that are respectful and culturally sensitive.

● Confess our individual biases, together, before each vote we take.

● Continuously review our process for setting up panels for all interactions with candidates, for the diversity of the committee, and for ongoing quality improvement.

● Commit ourselves to being open and accountable to this living document.

● Review this document at least annually at spring meetings.

Meet the Candidacy Committee

Click on the individuals names below to learn more about them and their passion for Candidacy.

Ann Sandberg Schinske.jpeg
Bill Wong.jpeg
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Adam Braun

Ed Marsh.jpeg
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Gary Cadwising

The candidacy committee seeks to be a diverse group of laity and clergy from a variety of ages, genders, sexual orientations, abilities, life experiences, ethnicities, etc.

The expectations of our members include:
1.    maintaining confidentiality
2.    acting on behalf of the congregations of the synod and the whole ELCA to assess the character and qualifications of applicants and candidates.             
3.    engaging in open discussions and being open to changing our mind
4.    a willingness to share and speak honestly about one’s own biases
5.    making difficult decisions about candidates as early in the process as possible and making appropriate recommendations
6.    being a “Relator” who stays in contact with a few candidates and able to update the committee on their progress
7.    reading essays, transcripts, and reports 
8.    participating in interviews to perceive our candidate’s call to ministry, rootedness in the Gospel, knowledge, passion, ability to articulate their faith and confessional teachings of the ELCA, and willingness to participate in God’s mission of love
9.    learning our process while knowing they will be supported by a team who is committed to never stop growing
10.    the ability to follow and uphold the policies and procedures found in the ELCA Candidacy Manual
11.    and above all, having the heart to love and care for our diverse candidates and the congregations that they will serve in the future.

If you would like more information on the sacred work of our committee please contact:

Pastor Bill Wong, Chair,, or

Pastor Ron Valadez, Interim Assistant to the Bishop,

Candidacy in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) is the pathway of discernment

to determine if an individual is called to ordained ministry.

Ordained ministry is the vocation of serving as a rostered minister of the ELCA: a Pastor or a Deacon.


We trust that a call to any vocation is received both internally and externally. In discerning a call to ordained ministry, the Candidacy committee discerns with individuals as they prepare for ministry. 

Wonder if Ordained Ministry is your vocation? 

To learn more about Candidacy, read the Candidacy Manual.

For more resources and information about the Candidacy:

To pay your Candidacy Application Fee:

If you would like to speak with someone about Candidacy, please email

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