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Deployed Deans: A New Staffing Vision for the Sierra Pacific Synod

The Sierra Pacific Synod currently finds itself in a time of transition, with an Interim Bishop (Rev. Claire Burkat) and a pending Bishop’s election in 2023. Additionally – with the resignation of Director of Evangelical Mission/Assistant to the Bishop Rev. Tita Valeriano – our synod is understaffed to current need and those staff who remain are significantly overstretched. Nonetheless, pastoral transitions and call processes continue apace.

Because of the obvious and significant need for additional staff hours across our synod during this interim time, Bishop Burkat has recommended the temporary engagement of our nine Conference Deans as part-time deployed staff of the Sierra Pacific Synod. It is hoped that this move will facilitate better pastoral care of our rostered leaders throughout the synod and will ensure that congregations in transition receive significantly more support than is currently available.

This is envisioned to be an eighteen-month-long stop-gap solution to our current staffing void, with the understanding that it MAY provide a new model for synodical ministry among us as we transition into a new bishop’s administration in 2023/24.

The Conference Dean shall support collaborative ministry within the Conference, and serve as principal liaison from the conference to the Office of the Bishop. The Conference Dean shall represent the Office of the Bishop within their conference in order to enhance ministry, equip leaders, expand service, and extend communication among our congregations, as well as our rostered leaders. The Conference Dean will represent conference concerns within the Committee of Deans.

The Dean will work closely with the Bishop, the synod staff and with the Committee of Deans to carry out an array of duties, primarily focusing on mobility and seasons of transition amongst Rostered Leaders in their Conference. This will include:

  • Regularly gathering Rostered Leaders in their Conference and facilitating regular Conference Assemblies.

  • Supporting call processes with congregations including leave-taking of a Pastor, support of the Interim Pastor, reviewing the Ministry Site Profile with the call committee, and consultation with synod staff on the placement of a new Rostered Minister.

  • Providing pastoral care and visitation of rostered leaders within the conference on a regular basis.