Synod Cont. Ed Event
West Virginia - Western Maryland Synod

Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

Page Contents

Clergy Compensation Update

The clergy compensation guideline for 2022 is still in development in the Synod Finance Committee. For an update on its status and how to find out when it is finalized and published, go to the Clergy Compensation page. For details on the 2021 compensation guideline, including family leave, sabbatical, and Rostered Leader Debt Reduction visit the Clergy Compensation page.

Don't Forget About Cont. Ed

Don't know how we lost it, but, somewhere along the line, we dropped the link to the Education for Clergy & Laity page. Now it is back. Be sure to check it out. There are plenty of things happening inside and outside the synod.

Supply Preaching

Compensation Schedule Addendum

An addendum to the Supply Preaching Compensation Schedule has been posted on the Supply Preaching page. The addendum covers how to handle compensation when remote and hybrid services are provided.

On the List?

If you are clergy available for supply preaching/presiding does +Riegel know? With the pandemic and pandemical conditions changing from week to week, preachers identifying themselves as available (or not) for supply work has been a moving target. If your availability changes, let +Riegel know. To check and see how you are listed, visit the Supply page.


John Tharp, Requiescat in pace

We share the obituary for John Tharp, son of The Rev. Patricia Pittsnogle. Requiem æternam dona ei, Domine, et lux perpetua luceat ei. Requiescat in pace. Amen.

John Lawson Tharp, 44, of Wardensville, WV, died on Friday, September 3, 2021 at the Winchester Medical Center.

John was born on May 22, 1977, in Winchester, VA the son of James L. “Jim Tharp of Wardenville, WV and Patricia A. Triplett Pittsnogle and her husband Keith of Wardensville, WV. He was a 1995 graduate of East Hardy High School where he was active in the 4-H. Was a member of St. Peter’s Lutheran Church in Wardensville, WV. John worked in the asphalt business for 25 years while 6 of those years was at Stuart M. Perry in Winchester, VA as an asphalt plant operator. He enjoyed hunting, fishing, riding his Harley, going to the homeplace, Ford enthusiast, singing & playing his guitar, WVU sports, and especially loved being with his family and friends.

John married Rachel L. Davis-VanMeter on January 20, 1996 in Moorefield, WV.

Surviving with his wife of 25 years are two sons: Dylan K. and Ian C. Tharp both of Wardenville, WV; two brothers: Jeremy L. Tharp of Portland, OR; Justin L. Tharp of Wardensville, WV; Paternal Grandfather: Bill Triplett of Wardensville, WV; a granddaughter: Alylaa K.M. Miller. and his in-laws: Ceandy & Duane Dunsmore of Baker, WV.

Family will receive friends at the Loy-Giffin Funeral Home & Crematory, Wardensville, WV on Friday, Sept. 10, 2021 from 2-8 PM. Mask are optional.

A celebration of life will be held at a later date.

Memorial contributions may be made to Alylaa K.M. Miller Educational Fund, C/O Pendleton Community Bank, 25 W. Main St., Wardensville, WV 26851.

Schafer CLP

Clergy Transition

Roster Changes

Schafer Concludes Tenure with Community Lutheran Partners

31 July 2021 marked The Rev. Sherri Schafer's last day as Director of Community Lutheran Partners, Inc.. Why didn't we make announcement on the day? Well, Schafer tried to leave the position before, but major flooding hit the territory before her last day. Ever the person of great love for the people of these mountains and valleys, she stayed in the position to help lead and coordinate disaster response. Not that we are superstitious, mind you, but it seemed best to wait until the resignation was effective so as not to jinx her.

Schafer served as the second Director since the founding of CLPi.. She began work with CLPi as the Program Director, advancing to Assistant Director, before being hired for the top slot. Her long service in the position has been particularly distinguished in the area of disaster recovery, in which she also distinguished herself in her work with WV VOAD. Schafer also played a critical role with VOAD and in the synod with the rollout of pandemic safety measures and the vaccination program. Schafer also brought to clergy and laity of the territory training and educational opportunities on a wide variety of topics, funding this work through aggressive grant writing and careful stewardship.

The WV-WMD Synod is truly grateful for her service, tireless wanderings around the synod, endless meetings, hours of phone calls, terabytes of emails, patient listening, encouragement, and leadership.

CLPi is a affiliated with the WV-WMD Synod as a Social Ministry Organization. CLPi is searching for a new director. To learn more about the position opening and application process, click here.

Schafer continues as the Director for Evangelical Mission assigned to WV-WMD. Synod Council has issued Schafer a letter of call for specialized ministry to serve as DEM.


Welcome: Tom Darr

The Rev. Tom Darr has accepted a call to serve as pastor of Christ Lutheran Church, Vienna, WV. The following is expected to appear in the Christ Lutheran Church newsletter.

Pastor Tom Darr was born August 16, 1950 in York Pa. He graduated for Dallastown Area High School in 1968.  He graduated from York College of Pennsylvania in 1974 with BS degree in accounting. Then in 2000 he received his Master of Divinity degree from Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary, which is now a theological school of Lenoir Rhyne University.

But prior to graduating from seminary Pastor Tom married Elizabeth in 1995 and brought together a blended family with five children. Since that time, those five children have started families and Tom and Liz are the proud grandparents of 16 grandchildren.

Pastor Tom's first call in ministry was in Clearfield St. John Lutheran Church. While there he was involved with the youth, community service, as well as, serving as a volunteer chaplain at the local hospital. In the fall of 2002, he was called to Angel of Joy Lutheran Church in Lufkin Texas. Angel of Joy had just come off mission status shortly before his arrival, so a large portion of his duties were pastoral guidance, both spiritually and administratively. Also during his stay the two hurricanes, Katrina and Rita, came to the area which affected his congregation. In the summer of 2006, Pastor Tom was called to Flohr's Lutheran Church outside of Gettysburg Pa. His vision there was to journey with them in discovering how God's Word was redefining their purpose and ministry. While there Pastor Tom also served  the greater community. He was instrumental in starting a backpack Ministry for the local elementary school that both fed and clothed needy children. He was involved in a cooperative inter-denominational midweek youth group called Slice of Faith, as well as cooperative confirmation program of 10 churches with six pastors and 25 youth. He was also a member of a local Lions club and served as an associate chaplain at Gettysburg Hospital. After Flohrs, Pastor Tom, completed a brief pastorate at Trinity Lutheran in Topton Pa., whose purpose was to help them discern their future. Recently Pastor Tom came to St John Center Lutheran Church in East Earl Pa. Once again, his primary vision was to guide them from a sole pastorate to a shared ministry as they are living in the latter part of their life cycle.

Pastor Tom enjoys music of all kinds, plays guitar whenever possible. He loves the out of doors, taking walks with Elizabeth and just being in the mountains.. He is a trout fisherman and a diehard Atlanta Braves fan. He is an avid reader, has his own website, where he posts a daily devotional under . His most favorite thing though is spending quality time with the love of his life Liz.

Devin AmesIntern Changes

Ames Begins Internship

We've heard from WV-WMD seminarian Devin Ames. He's wrapped up CPE and is heading off to internship. He writes,

This summer, I spent 11 weeks doing my Clinical Pastoral Education at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. I had the opportunity to work with a large team of staff chaplains, a group of medical residents, and 5 fellow interns. While at Mayo, I had many great experiences of growth and learning. One thing that was new for me was that I wore a suit to work every single day.  I spent most of my time working on a neurology floor, where I got to see people from across the country and the world. When I spent time on-call, I was exposed to even more experiences throughout the hospital. In my time with the chaplains and my colleagues, I found myself supported but also challenged. It was through this that I was able to grow and learn so much over the course of the eleven weeks that I was there. I really appreciated being a part of the Mayo Clinic System and being a part of the team that provided care for the patients, families, and staff on a daily basis.

I am now in the beginning of my internship. I am at First Lutheran Church in Harris, Minnesota. Harris is a small community of just over 1,000 people about 45 minutes north of the Twin Cities. As an intern with an off-site supervisor, I am learning and growing into all of the responsibilities that are included with leading in this congregation. We have just begun to talk about what our year together will look like, but there is much enthusiasm from my supervisor, the congregation, and from me. I am living in the community, just a few miles from the church on one of the larger lakes in the area. I am excited to be a part of the community, and I am looking forward to what we can do together in the next year. The internship will be completed on August 31, 2022.

In addition to these programs, I have also been a part of other activities. Over the summer, and again this fall, I am working as a teaching assistant for Luther Seminary’s Epistles course. I am specifically working on the Greek aspect of these courses, grading the Greek translations that are required for the course. I was requested for this position because of my undergraduate background in Greek, the fact that I’ve already taken the highest level Greek at the seminary, and because I have shared with the professors how much I enjoy Greek. I am enjoying being able to both work with the language while also helping others who are studying it.

Over the course of the last year, I have taken up Scuba diving, something I have wanted to do for a long time. I have become a part of a great diving community here in Minnesota through which I have gained a wide variety of diving experiences, including reaching a depth of 121 feet. I am now a certified Rescue Diver, a certification that I worked on this past summer. One of the more unique certifications I did occurred last February when I trained as an ice diver. We cut a large hole through 18 inches of ice on a lake, then dove into the water that was around 37 degrees. I’m hoping to do it again this winter!

After I complete my internship at the end of next summer, I will be returning to Luther Seminary for my final year. I plan to once again work for facilities at the seminary, which I did in my first two years there. I plan to graduate in the spring of 2023, and am currently on track to make this happen. At this halfway point through seminary, I have learned a lot and enjoyed doing so. I look forward to continuing on this path for the next two years.

Guidance: Process for Leaving a Call

A new Pastoral Transition & Vacancy page has been uploaded. You will find there guidance related to transition (coming and going) as well as multiple forms that should be completed as part of a transition process. The "going" (i.e., the pastor is leaving the call) has been completed in the upload. The "coming" (i.e., a pastor is moving into a new call) is still being formatted; the old information is here until formatting on the new page is complete.


Pastors looking to enter mobility (whether intrasynodical or extrasynodical) should contact the bishop. The Rostered Ministers Profile (quondam "Roster Leader Profile" and "mobility form"), other forms, and supporting instructions are available at's Rostered Ministers page. Click on the link you will find there, and it will take you to your login screen. If for any reason, you need your Rostered Leader Number, contact the Bishop.

vacancy tableOpportunities for Ordained Ministry in WV-WMD

Are you a member of the clergy of the ELCA (or full-communion partner) interested in learning more about WV-WMD (or do you know someone who might be? Drop us a line. You can email the +Riegel at or call the office (304-363-4030). There is plenty to commend service and life in our mountains and in our valleys. Like Nebraska, it's not for everyone, but, for those who aren't afraid of an adventure, we have a great mix of challenge and gift. A list of openings reviewed by visiting our Pulpit Vacancies page (or click on the table at right). You will find there opportunities for congregational ministry and also any specialized ministries that might be open at the moment.

Rostered Leader Debt Reduction

The WV-WMD Synod has conducted a rostered leader debt reduction program since 2002. Through this program, pastors and deacons with educational debt can be assisted with payment on the principal. The Rostered Leader Debt Reduction Fund is supported by voluntary contributions from individuals, congregations, church-related auxiliaries, and a line item in the synod budget. The amount in the fund is expended each fiscal year as direct payments to lending agencies. Guidelines for the Rostered Leader Debt Reduction Program can be downloaded here.

Apply for RLDR Grant

The grant cycle for FY2020-2021 is now closed and distributions have been made. All clergy with educational debt are encouraged to review the guidelines (supra) and make application if they meet the application criteria. RLDR can be downloaded here. The next cycle (FY2021-2022) will open December 2021.

Donate to RLDR Fund

Donations to the Rostered Leader Debt Reduction Fund can be routed through your congregation or sent directly to the Synod at the following address with a notation on the memo line indicating "Rostered Leader Debt Reduction Fund:"

West Virginia-Western Maryland Synod
℅ St. Paul Lutheran Church
309 Baldwin Street
Morgantown, WV 26505

WV-WMD Pastors' Letter on Racism

Thirty-seven pastors of the WV-WMD Synod, joined by two pastors from other judicatories, subscribed to a letter published 4 June 2021, addressing racism and stating, "we call home that racism has no place in our congregations or communities in which we live." For more information, click here.


A constellation of pages related to COVID-19 are available on the Synod website. You can access them all through the lead page by clicking here. Most importantly, a page dedicated to reopening recommendations is linked from that page.

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West Virginia-Western Maryland Synod, ℅ St. Paul Lutheran Church, 309 Baldwin Street, Morgantown, WV 26505
304-363-4030  +