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Synod Council
of the
West Virginia-Western Maryland Synod

Synod Council meets regularly three to four times during the year with special meetings held, often by teleconference, as need. The Synod Council is chaired by the vice president. The membership of the Synod Council includes the four officers of the synod and twelve voting members from around the synod, representing a balance of clergy and laity, geographical distribution, and age. Click here for the roster of the Synod Council and its committees.

Synod Council AAR: 18 April 2020

Synod Council met 18 April 2020 by Zoom. Here are the highlights...

  • Council acknowledged the review required by the Manual of Policies and Procedures for Management of the Rosters of the ELCA VI.A(a)(2) for extended ecumenical service rendered by the Revs. Casey Leineman (Church of the Covenant, Grafton), Peter Vial (Holy Trinity, Elkins), and Susan Claytor (St. Luke’s, Beckley).
  • Bishop Riegel that five pastors each received $2025 as disbursement from the Rostered Leaders Debt Reducation Fund.
  • Bishop Riegel reported that all processes for the cancellation of a June 2020 Synod Assembly 2020 have been completed without financial loss to the synod. It was explained that an Synod Assembly may yet be called as either a regular or special assembly at some point in the future, especially if the there are financial or other issues that cannot wait until June 2021.
  • Treasurer Solberg reported that the Synod has had $16,000 more in expenses than income which puts the Synod -$8,000 more than last year at this time. Solberg stated that we are $9,000 behind where we need to be even though one church paid its mission support of $17,000 for the remainder of the year. He added that the Synod has applied for both paycheck protection loans through the emergency government plans.

Synod Council After Action Report: 1 April 2020

Synod Council rescinded, by postal ballot, SC19.9.1, which had set the time and place of the next Synod Assembly at Flatwoods, 5-6 June 2020. As a consequence, Synod Assembly will not be held on 5-6 June.

Synod Council After Action Report: 11 January 2020

Synod Council met 11 January 2020, taking the following actions...

Synod Assembly Related

Nominating Committee

Four laity and four clergy were appointed to the Synod Nominating Committee. Thus far, seven have accepted, and one declined. The clergy members accepting are The Revs. Ruth Bullwinkle (MVMC), Karen Erskine-Valentine (PC), Joel Richter (UOVC), and Patrice Weirick (OKVC). The laity members accepting are Mary Sanders (MVMC), Lois Broyles (OKVC), and George Friedline (UOVC). Bullwinkle serves as chair. The appointee for Potomac Conference declined. Executive Committee will appoint a replacement. If you have a recommendation, let the bishop know.

Also under Nominating Committee, Synod Council was notified that The Rev. Jason Felici and Joseph Solberg would be voluntarily resigning from Discipline Committee a year early to allow for a better staggering of terms and reduction of complications in the election process. Synod Council has authorized the election of one clergy member and one laity member to serve on the Discipline Committee for full six-year terms (rather than making vacancy appointments).

Plan for SA 2020

Synod Council received a report from the SA 2020 Planning Committee detailing proposed level of amenities and suggestions for agenda. Council approved, in principal, the proposed level of amenities and instructed that contracting work should commence.

Constitutional Amendments

The Ad Hoc Committee on Governing Documents made a progress report on the non-required provisions of the Constitution for Synods as amended by Churchwide Assembly 2019. Synod Council authorized the committee to report directly to Synod Assembly its recommendations. It should be noted that none of the recommendations require previous notice. Nevertheless, they will be included in the Pre-Assembly Bulletin of Reports.

Financial Matters

Synod Council authorized the securing of an auditor for 2019.

Synod Council authorized the relocation of the Synod Office to St. Paul Lutheran Church, Morgantown, WV, the office to be located in the former youth room. This move is to be completed by the end of January. While the Synod Assembly ordered a review of the office location with an eye to cost reduction, this particular move was spurred by termination of the lease by our landlord. Relocation to St. Paul means a significant reduction in square footage with a proportional reduction in rent. We are exploring additional savings.

Other Items


The Synod Council green lighted implementation of the protocols contained in the Provisional Guidance Related to Deans. This will be a phased implementation over the next two to three months. The document has been forwarded to the Ad Hoc Committee on Governing Documents for review and codification. Until publication of the codified form, you may request of the bishop a copy of the document presented to Synod Council.

Parochial Reports

The Synod Council authorized the bishop to appoint synod statisticians, complying with †S8.12(i)(12) Constitution of the WV-WMD Synod, to encourage the submission of parochial reports.

Commission for Synodical Lay Worship Leadership

Synod Council authorized and appointed The Commission for Synodical Lay Worship Leadership with authority to review the Plan for Synodical Lay Worship Leaders, reporting back to Synod Council with recommendations, and to develop those details necessary for implementation as seem reasonable at this time. Thus far, The Rev. Sean Smith (chair), The Rev. Sally Bartling, and Stephanie Setley have accepted appointment. We are waiting for confirmation from the fourth appointed.

Upper Flats Administration

Following up on action previously taken, Synod Council appointed Mike Lieving, James Elias, and The Rev. Patrice Weirick to serve as trustees of St. Mark's Lutheran Church, Upper Flats, WV, under S13.24 of the Constitution of the WV-WMD Synod.

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