Nominees for bishop, 2015
Synod Assembly
of the
West Virginia-Western Maryland Synod

Nominations & Elections

Nomination Process
Floor Nominations
Report of the Nominating Committee
Details on Positions To Be Elected
Election Process
Write-In Votes
At Synod Assembly 2019, we'll be electing eight people to various positions (the Synod Vice President, six seats on Synod Council, and one clergy seat on the Consultation Committee). The Nominating Committee has prepared its report, a copy of which can be downloaded.

The Nominations Process

The Nominating Committee is appointed by the Synod Council and is charged, under our governing documents, with nominating two people for every position to be elected by the Synod Assembly (with some exceptions as outlined in those governing documents). The list of positions to be elected was published 90 days prior to the Synod Assembly. The Nominating Committee, by publishing that list, solicited your input and recommendations of people for those various positions. It is important to remember that the submission of a recommendation to the Nominating Committee is not, in itself, a nomination.

Nominating Committee
Mary Sanders, Chair (MVMC)
Pat Schillings (OKVC)
Heather Ack (PC)
Rick Crummitt (UOVC)
Pr. Karen Erskine-Valentine (PC)
Pr. Carl Ames (OKVC)
Pr. Jerry Kliner (MVMC)
Pr. Joel Richter (UOVC)
30 days after the 90-day mark, the time for public input closed, and the Nominating Committee began the process of verifying the information for recommended nominees and their willingness to serve. The Nominating Committee has not nominated all those commended to it. Reasons that a nominating committee might not nominating someone commended to them for consideration include
  • failure to meet the eligibility criteria for the position in question,
  • presence of an impediment to fulfilling the requirements of the office,
  • stated unwillingness (or relative unwillingness) to serve, and
  • failure of the individual to respond to queries.
In cases where the Nominating Committee did not have the minimum number of candidates for a position forced the Nominating Committee to make targeted solicitation and recruitment.

Our bylaws require public release of the Nominating Committee report 10 days prior to the Synod Assembly, the report listing all those the Nominations Committee nominates. This report is posted on the Synod Website here and included in the Pre-Assembly Bulletin of Reports.

Floor Nominations

The publication of the list of nominees by the Nominating Committee is not the end of the nominations process. Voting members of the Synod Assembly have the right, under our constitution, to nominate from the floor:
S9.03. ... Additional nominations may be made from the floor for all elections for which nominations are made by the Nominating Committee.
A voting member of the Synod Assembly may nominate him/herself.

Floor nominations are made immediately after the report of the Nominating Committee is received by the assembly. Note well, the Nominating Committee is scheduled, in the proposed agenda, to make its report very early in the first meeting of the Synod Assembly.

Floor Nominee Info Form
PDF or MS-Word
When making a nomination from the floor, the nominator is required, under the current bylaws, to have prepared beforehand a candidate information form, similar to that provided earlier by the Nominating Committee, in sufficient number for distribution to the assembly.
B9.08 Members of the Synod Assembly who desire to make nominations from the floor shall have prepared beforehand and be ready to distribute copies of vita information sheets, similar to those provided earlier by the Nominating Committee for those nominees.
130 copies should suffice. Blank forms are here provided in both PDF and MS-Word for your use should you wish to make a floor nomination. Be advised: the Assembly Office will not produce copies for the floor nomination process. The bylaw is explicit in its requirement that the copies be prepared by the nominator in advance.
Nominating Committee Report (Full)
PDF Download

Report of the Nominating Committee

The Nominating Committee's full report, which includes name, congregational membership, and additional information for each nominee, may be downloaded here (in PDF). The list of names (in alphabetical order with no indication of incumbency, clergy/laity status, academic/professional status, or marital status) is as follows.

Vice President
Nancy Weeks
Paul Wangerin

Council | Ohio-Kanawha | Clergy
Council | Potomac | Clergy
Council | Upper Ohio | Clergy
Carl Ames
Karen Erskine-Valentine
Joel Richter
Emilie Theobald-Rowlands
Jason Felici
William Ridenhour

Council | Mon Valley - Mountain | Laity
Council | Potomac | Laity
Council | At-Large | Youth
Elda Bennett
Pete Hinkle
Agnese McAllister
Debra Borrelli
Elizabeth Rini
Abigail Spray

Consultation | Clergy
Jacqueline Campbell
Jessica Felici

Details on Positions To Be Elected

Here's a quick overview. Scroll down for details such as duties, term, term limits, and special eligibility criteria.

Special note on eligibility: the minimum eligibility criterion for all elected positions is to be a voting member (as defined in the Constitution of the ELCA) in a congregation of this synod. Unless noted otherwise, all voting members are eligible for all positions to be elected. E.g., just because there is a designated youth member to be elected to synod council, nothing prevents someone else who is a youth (under the age of 18, per the norms of the ELCA) to be elected to any of the other laity positions to be elected. Likewise, just because there is a clergy person to be elected for the designated slot for Churchwide Assembly, nothing prevents another clergy person from being elected to the youth or young adult slot, assuming that person is under the age of thirty-one, or to the person of color or primary language of then English, assuming that person meets that criterion.

Synod Vice President

Per our governing documents,

S8.22. The vice president shall chair the Synod Council.
S8.23. In the event of the death, resignation, or disability of the bishop, the vice president, after consultation with the presiding bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, shall convene the Synod Council to arrange for the conduct of the duties of the bishop until a new bishop shall be elected or, in the case of temporary disability, until the bishop resumes full performance of the duties of the office.

In addition, the Vice-President has responsibility in the disciplinary process related to members of congregations.

Vice President of Synod
Number to be elected
4 Years
No Term Limit
The Nominating Committee shall nominate at least one person for vice president; additional nominations may be made from the floor. (S9.05)

Synod Council

Per our governing documents,

†S10.02.  The Synod Council shall be the board of directors of this synod and shall serve as its interim legislative authority between meetings of the Synod Assembly. It may make decisions that are not in conflict with actions taken by the Synod Assembly or that are not precluded by provisions of this constitution or the constitution and bylaws of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.
S10.03.  The functions of the Synod Council shall be to:
a. Exercise trusteeship responsibilities on behalf of this synod.
b. Recommend program goals and budgets to the regular meetings of the Synod Assembly.
c. Carry out the resolutions of the Synod Assembly.
d. Provide for an annual review of the roster of Ministers of Word and Sacrament and the roster of Ministers of Word and Service, receive and act upon appropriate recommendations regarding those persons whose status is subject to reconsideration and action under the constitution and bylaws of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, and make a report to the Synod Assembly of the Synod Council’s actions in this regard.
e. Issue letters of call to rostered ministers as authorized by Chapter 7 of the constitution and bylaws of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.
f.  Fill vacancies until the next regular meeting of the Synod Assembly, except as may otherwise be provided in the constitution or bylaws of this synod, and determine the fact of the incapacity of an officer of this synod.
g. Report its actions to the regular meeting of the Synod Assembly.
h. Perform such other functions as are set forth in the bylaws of this synod, or as may be delegated to it by the Synod Assembly.
In practice, Synod Council meets face-to-face four times a year. Special meetings are frequently handed by teleconference, or, though unlikely, face-to-face. The face-to-face meetings are typically held on Saturdays and usually on the I-79 corridor between Morgantown and Clarksburg. We have been known to hold the periodic Friday-Saturday retreat and meet in other places. It is incumbent upon Synod Council members to study materials prepared for the meetings and to be in attendance unless good cause may shown for the absence. It is helpful to have access to email.

Synod Council Positions
Clergy, OKVC
Ohio-Kanawha Valley Conference
3 Years
2 Terms

Clergy, PC
Potomac Conference
3 Years
2 Terms
Ineligible: Pr. Christine Olson
Clergy, UOVC
Upper Ohio Valley Conference
3 Years
2 Terms
Ineligible: Pr. Sean Smith
Laity, MVMC
Mon Valley-Mountain Conference
3 Years
2 Terms
Ineligible: Bruce Dalton
Laity, PC
Potomac Conference
3 Years
2 Terms

1 Year

Under 18 years of age at time of election.

Consultation Committee

The Consultation Committee plays a role in both conflict resolution and discipline. Though rarely activated---some have served their entire term without being activated---when it is, the work is challenging, demanding good listening and observational skills, analytic ability, a commitment to justice and equity, prudence, the ability to maintain discretion and confidentiality, and an understanding of human nature. It is helpful to have access to email.

Consultation Committee Positions
Number to be elected
6 Years
1 Term
Ineligible: Pr. Emilie Theobald-Rowlands, Pr. Linda Muhly, Pr. Diane Day, Pr. Randy Richardson, and Pr. Sally Bartling.

Election Process

After floor nominations have closed, the Elections Committee prepares a general (or common) ballot that includes all the positions to be elected with all the nominees for said positions (both those nominated by the Nominating Committee and those nominated from the floor). Names are listed on the ballot in alphabetical order with no indication of incumbency, clergy/laity status, academic/professional status, or marital status. The required number of blank lines for write-in votes are included at the bottom of each position on the ballot.

Elections Committee
Pr. Diane Day, Chair
Pr. Jess Felici, Staff
(Others to be named)
The time for balloting is set by the assembly through the assembly's adoption of the agenda's special orders. Note well, the proposed agenda in the Pre-Assembly Bulletin of Reports is a proposal. The Synod Assembly may amend said agenda during the organization of the assembly or even change the time later. Do not base your arrival at the assembly to coincide with the time of balloting listed in the proposed agenda as the adopted agenda may be different.

At the time for balloting, the chair of the Elections Committee will give instruction on the balloting process and members of the elections committee (assisted by the ushers) will distribute the ballot and collect them after balloting is closed. Only voting members of the Synod Assembly may vote. To vote, the voting member must be seated (or standing) on front of the bar of the assembly (the dividing line between voting members and others attending the Synod Assembly. If the proposed special assembly rules are adopted, the assembly chamber will be sealed during balloting (i.e., no one will be permitted to enter the chamber (or, depending upon facilities, pass the bar).

If a voting member spoils his/her ballot, he/she is to turn in the spoiled ballot to a member of the Elections Committee who shall provide a replacement ballot upon receipt of the spoiled ballot.

After the ballots have been collected, the Elections Committee departs to count the ballots. Upon completion of the count, the Elections Committee reports the results to the Synod Assembly.

When there is no election to a given position (as would be the case in a tie, e.g.), the Elections Committee will prepare, according to our governing documents, a "run-off" ballot. The time for this second balloting is set by the Synod Assembly through the adoption of the agenda. In some cases, even a third and, rarely, a fourth ballot is necessary. Unless the Synod Assembly sets a time for these subsequent ballots, the balloting will take place whenever the Elections Committee reports the results of the preceding ballot.

Write-in Votes

As provided for in our parliamentary authority, write-in votes are a right voting members. When entering in a write-in vote, include the name and any additional information that may be helpful in identifying the candidate (if the candidate is not well-known). This additional information may. e.g., be a congregational membership or position already held in the synod or related entity or a phone number or even a distinguishing feature. A voting member may enter his/her own name in the write-in. Write-in votes for fictional characters or ineligible candidates are illegal.

[ Back to Home Page ]