Synod Assembly
of the
West Virginia-Western Maryland Synod

Nominations & Elections
7 April 2022
Nominees for bishop, 2015

Contents
Last year was the largest year, in terms of the number of positions to be elected, since the constituting convention of the Synod. In total, twenty-six elections took place, involving forty-six nominees submitted by the nominating committee. This year, the total is twenty-one nominees for eleven positions.

This page includes information about the nominating process as well as information about the positions to be elected.

StatusNominating Process Status: Public Input Phase Closed

At the close of 5 April 2022, the Public Input Phase of the synod's nominating process closed in accordance with our Synod Bylaws. Of the recommendations for nomination submitted, none were received for the Youth seat on Synod Council. Three duplicate recommendations were received.

The Nominating Committee will review the recommendations, contact those recommended, and verify eligibility and suitability for the positions involved. Where necessary, the Nominating Committee will attempt to generate additional candidates in order to meet the requirement that two candidates be nominated for every position to be elected—this will have to be done for the Youth seat on Synod Council. There is no guarantee that recommendation in the Public Input Phase will result in nomination by the Nominating Committee. Floor nominations, however, are permitted under our governing documents, meaning anyone not nominated by the Nominating Committee may still be nominated from the floor.

Nominating Process Explained

Nominating Committee
Pr. Ruth Bullwinkle, Chair (MVMC)
Mary Sanders (MVMC)
Pr. Karen Erskine-Valentine (PC)
  William "Bill" Ack (PC)
Pr. Sean Smith (UOVC)
Pr. Ian Reid (OKVC)
John Perry (OKVC)
Lois Gray (UOVC)
The Synod Nominating Committee, having been appointed by the Synod Council, 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 same governing documents). The list of positions to be elected is to be published 90 days prior to the Synod Assembly. The Nominating Committee, by publishing this list, solicits your input and recommendations of people to be nominated for the various positions to be elected. 30 days after the publication of that list at the 90-day mark, the time for public input closes, and the Nominating Committee gets down to work in earnest. 10 days prior to the Synod Assembly, a list of nominees (those nominated by the Nominating Committee) is published. Additional nominations may be made from the floor of the assembly at the appropriate time during the proceedings and according to certain rules.

Now, here's an important clarification: officially, the Nominating Committee nominates during the assembly proceedings. The public input phase is not, technically, a time when nominations are made. In fact, what the public does during the public input phase is not nominate but rather recommend to the Nominating Committee folks to be considered for nomination by the committee. Picky, yes, but important from a parliamentary standpoint although we will admit that we have colloquially called the submission for consideration a nomination.

There are a few exceptions to all this.

  • Since the bishop election process, as governed by our constitution, employs an ecclesiastical ballot, there are no advance nominations for bishop. The first ballot is considered the nominating ballot if the the lead candidate does not secure 75% of the vote. (q.v., S9.04)
  • The synod secretary is nominated by Synod Council, but additional nominations may be made from the floor. (q.v., S9.07)
  • The synod treasurer is nominated by Synod Council, but additional nominations may be made from the floor. (q.v., S9.07)

Your recommendations are important! It's hard for the Nominating Committee to do its work without your input, and the synod is healthier when it has input from across the synod. Sadly, there have been years in which the Nominating Committee has received no recommendations during the public input phase for some offices. When this happens, the Nominating Committee has to generate potential nominees from scratch—problematic to say the least, assuming we want the church, in its polity, to be a participatory democracy.

The list of positions to be elected was officially posted on this page 6 March 2022 (though advance posting took place in late January). The online input form was active on the same day. The strict requirement of our bylaws is that the announcement and solicitation are to be made 90 days prior to Synod Assembly. This was done on 6 March 2021, with posting on the web (here) and announcement and direction to this page via the Synod Facebook page, The Bishop's Roadshow, and email to clergy (with instruction to disseminate to their respective Congregation Councils), leadership of vacant congregations, and conference deans. This also marked the beginning of the required 30-day public input phase. Conferences, congregation councils, and voting members were invtired to submit recommendations to the Nominating Committee for thirty days from the posting of positions to be elected. This public input phase closed at the close of 5 April 2022.

The report of the Nominating Committee is published 10 days before Synod Assembly (25 May 2022). It will list all the nominations that will be formally made by the Nominating Committee at Synod Assembly.

The publication of the list of nominees by the Nominating Committee is not the end of the nominating process. Voting members of the Synod Assembly have the right, under our rules, to nominate from the floor (for all elections except that of the bishop in which an ecclesiastical ballot is used). Again, there is no rule preventing a person from nominating him/herself. Per our bylaws, nominations from the floor are to be accompanied at the time the nomination is made with a completed bio sheet and enough copies for distribution to all voting members (150 copies would suffice). A blank form will be provided on the website with the publication of the Nominating Committee Report 10 days prior to the Synod Assembly. Finally, the first general ballot has provision for write-in votes for each position to be elected.

Positions To Be Elected
To Elected

We will be electing for eleven positions this year (i.e., five seats on Synod Council, four seats on Consultation Committee, and two seats on Discipline Committee). The Nominating Committee is responsible for nominating for all these positions. Scroll down for details such as duties, term, term limits, and special eligibility criteria. Information on submitting a recommendation to nominate is found at the bottom of the page.

Special note on eligibility: the minimum eligibility criterion (as defined in the Constitutions, Bylaws, and Continuing Resolutions of the ELCA) for all elected positions is to be a voting member of a congregation of this synod or to be clergy on the roster 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 a someone else who is a youth by ELCA definition to be elected to any of the other position for which the individual is otherwise qualified. 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 and/or primary language of then English, assuming that person meets that criterion.

Officers

As mentioned above, the bishop, secretary, and treasurer are unusual cases in the nominating process in that the Nominating Committee is not involved, the bishop being elected by ecclesiastical ballot and the secretary and treasurer being nominated by Synod Council, therefore no solicitation of nominees is made during the public input phase.

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 and a teleconferencing platform (e.g., Zoom or a phone).

Synod Council Positions
Nummber to be elected
Title
Geography
Clergy/Laity
Term
Limit
Special
1
Ohio-Kanawha Valley Conference Clergy
OKVC Clergy
3 Years
2 Terms

1
Potomac Conference Clergy PC
Clergy
3 Years
2 Terms

1
Upper Ohio Valley Conference Clergy
UOVC
Clergy
3 Years
2 Terms

1
Mon Valley-Mountain Conference Laity
MVMC
Laity
3 Years
2 Terms
1
Youth
Synod-wide
Clergy or Laity
1 Years
No Term Limit
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 and a teleconferencing platform (e.g., Zoom or a phone). To learn more, visit the Consultation Committee page.

Consultation Committee Positions
Number to be elected
Clergy/Laity
Term
Limit
Special
1
Clergy
6 Years
1 Term
Ineligible: Prs. Linda Muhly, Sally Bartling, Jessica Felici, Karen Erskine-Valentine, Ben Erzkus, Michael Wright, and Matthew Riegel
3
Laity
6 Years
1 Term
Ineligible: Joseph Harney, Marvin Beckman, Brian Felici, Dinah Courrier, Jeanne Lemasters, and Jane Hazer.

Discipline Committee

The Discipline Committee has never been activated in this synod, but, should it be, it will serve as judge and jury in matters of alleged misconduct by clergy, laity, and congregations of this synod. 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. To learn more, visit the Discipline Committee page.

Discipline Committee Positions
Number to be elected
Clergy/Laity
Term
Limit
Special
1
Clergy
6 Years
1 Term
Ineligible: Prs. Tony Setley, Sally Bartling, Patrice Weirick, Matt Holbert, Ian Reid, Paul Schafer, and Matthew Riegel
1
Laity
6 Years
1 Term
Ineligible: Brandon Mitchell, Nancy Weeks, Pam Pritt, Shawn Gilmore, Norma Gensler, and Jim Nichols.


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