COVID-19 & Supply
Several things should be kept in mind with respect to arranging for a supply preacher and the current pandemic.
  • Several of our supply preachers fall into one or more vulnerable population classes (or live with or care for someone who does). If the supply preacher demurs, it may be for reasons of health and safety.
  • Congregations have adapted in a dizzying variety of ways, meaning what your congregation does in worship at this time may look very little like what the next congregation does.
    • Please share with the prospective supply what you are doing locally before you ask the supply to commit. The supply preacher may need this information to determine the prudence of accepting given what has been mentioned in the preceding bullet point.
    • Also be sure that your prospective supply preacher is willing and able to follow your local protocols before finalizing the agreement.
  • Many congregations have implemented internet-based technology to facilitate remote and hybrid worship. Not all supply preachers know how to use every platform that may be employed across the synod. Consult with your supply preacher prior to finalizing an agreement for supply services so that it is understood by all parties who will be managing the technology.
  • If your congregation is celebrating Holy Communion and the method of distribution is particularly complicated, discuss with the prospective supply pastor whether he/she is comfortable following your local protocols. If it is considered too difficult for an unfamiliar supply pastor to execute appropriately, consider not having Holy Communion that week.
  • Think twice before bringing a supply preacher into your community if your community or the supply preacher's community has an outbreak. An outbreak may warrant cancellation.
  • Be sure to exchange emergency contact phone numbers with your supply preacher in case of last minute changes.
  • Practice good safety procedures (like those outline on the Synod's COVID-19 Reopening Page) not only to protect yourselves but also to protect your supply preacher (and anyone he/she may come into contact with later).

Supply Preaching & Presiding

For times of pastoral vacancy or whenever regular called pastoral leadership is not available, the WV-WMD maintains and provides lists (scroll down) of ordained clergy, seminarians, and lay worship leaders who may be available to "supply." Additional sources for "supply" worship leadership are found after the mentioned lists. Please read through the entire page (and the special COVID-19 information at right) to familiarize yourself with protocols and guidelines. To make sure that you have the most up-to-date version of this page, hit your broswer's refresh/reload button.

Supply Compensation Guidelines

The WV-WMD Synod set a revised compensation schedule for pulpit supply at its 24 January 2015 Synod Council meeting. Since 1 March 2015, pulpit supply is to be compensated as follows. At its 6 February 2021 meeting, Synod Council created an addendum to the supply compensation guidelines covering remote and hybrid (remote & in-person) worship/preaching. If you are using remote or hybrid worship, please review.

Compensation & Remote/Hybrid Worship/Preaching

The following applies if the service is being delivered either remotely or hybrid employing Zoom®, Facebook®, Youtube®, etc.. If you are having trouble deciphering, click here to download examples of calculations.


Special Cases Affecting Compensation

When the Bishop of this Synod or the Director of Evangelical Mission is the worship leader/preacher, whether the person is to be compensated depends upon the circumstances. If the pastor of the congregation is present for worship, your gifts to mission support cover all of the costs associated with this visit---though a congregation may, at its option, remit a gift to the synod. When the pastor is not present, the supply preacher is to be compensated at the normal supply rate. Both the Bishop and the D.E.M. have the right to waive some or all the compensation associated with supply preaching costs. The bishop and D.E.M. may ask you, under some circumstances, to separate the mileage and the supply honorarium, making the check for honorarium out to the preacher and the check for the mileage out to the synod.

Many church agencies and church related agencies have similar policies. Please be sure to inquire what the policy is with respect to the person being engaged.

Sacraments & Pastoral Acts

Holy Communion may only be celebrated by an ordained presbyter (pastor) on the roster of the ELCA or an ordained presbyter with ordination equivalency on the on the roster of a full-communion partner and in good standing. Special dispensation for lay Eucharistic presidency, under the policies of the ELCA, can only be granted under unusual circumstances and then for only six months at a time. At this time, there are no active dispensations for lay Eucharistic presidency. If your congregation has received a dispensation in the past, please contact Bishop Riegel to discuss your situation.

Holy Baptism, when administered in an emergency, may be performed by anyone. An emergency requires both imminent death and the unavailability of an ordained presbyter (pastor). Prompt reporting to the local pastor is required. When administered during the worship of the congregation---administration at other times is at the discretion of the pastor and should be rare---the regular presider is the pastor of the congregation. The same rubric for Holy Communion applies here.

A funeral is neither a sacrament nor a rite reserved to the clergy by either civil or ecclesiastical law. A Bishop's Lay Worship Leader may be engaged for a funeral when authorized by the pastor loci or the interim pastor loci.

A wedding is not a sacrament. Civil law, however, in Maryland, West Virginia, and Virginia limits who may legally conduct a wedding. Additionally, out-of-state clergy should ascertain whether bonding or some other requirement exists (as in the case of West Virginia).

If you notice an error or omission on the rolls below, please contact the Bishop at or 304-680-5388.

Bishop's Lay Worship Leaders

Bishop's Lay Worship Leaders are equipped through the synod's training program and authorized by the synod for service under the Bishop's Lay Worship Leaders Program adopted by Synod Assembly 1989 (SA89.6.37) and most recently amended by Synod Assembly 2000. This service in the territory of synod is at the invitation of the congregation's pastor or, if delegated, the congregational leader appointed for the task of coordinating supply preachers. When considering someone other than one listed, contact the bishop.

The WV-WMD Synod Council, at its 6 February 2021 meeting, adopted a new policy for Synodical Lay Worship Leaders. Applications to enter the roll of BLWLs are not being accepted.

An asterisk ("*") next to the name means that the contact information has not yet be confirmed. "Base of Operations" indicates where the BLWL lives. Range of travel varies from BLWL to BLWL. Some have rather limited ranges. Others are willing to travel a couple of hours.

Bishop's Lay Worship Leader
Base of Operations
Melissa Bannister Parkersburg, WV
Lois Broyles Barboursville, WV
George Friedline New Martinsville, WV 304-455-2798
Lola Graham (temporarily unavailable) Upper Tract, WV 304-358-7733
Jerry Harman (temporarily unavailable)
Parkersburg, WV 304-481-1160
William Hawk (temporarily unavailable) Wheeling, WV 304-232-7260
Henry Hodges Wardensville, WV
Patricia Keller (temporarily unavailable) Keyser, WV
George McKinney (temporarily unavailable) Hurricane, WV
304-545-8417 (H)
304-380-8428 (C)
James Sheatsley Beckley, WV 304-252-5321 (O)
304-252-7363 (H)
304-575-9827 (C)
Vicki Tomich (temporarily unavailable) Moundsville, WV
Richard Wolford Charleston, WV
800-444-1118 (O)
304-389-2938 (C)
Carl Yost (temporarily unavailable) PC 304-897-5041

Seminarians & Candidates

Seminarians in good standing and authorized by their seminaries (or, absent an authorization protocol, the Bishop) and those approved by an ELCA synod for ordination (deaconal or presbyteral) may also be engaged for supply preaching. They may preach but not preside at altar. The two closest seminaries to the bulk of our territory are United Lutheran Seminary (Gettysburg Campus), Gettysburg, PA, and Trinity Lutheran Seminary in Columbus, OH. When considering someone other than one listed, contact the bishop.

Seminarian / Candidate
Standing / Seminary
Base of Operations
Devin Ames (available when home on breaks)
Middler M.Div. Track / Luther Seminary
Barboursville, WV 304-730-2892
Carrie Hoff (Temporarily unavailable)
Junior M.Div. Track / ULS
Oakland, MD
Mary Sanders
Middler M.M.L. Track / ULS
Redhouse, MD

Ordained Deacons Available for Supply

WV-WMD does not, at the present time, have any deacons providing supply ministry on the territory of this synod (who have also requested to be on the public list). Deacons (on the ELCA roster of ministers of Word & service) who are in good standing in their own synod may be engaged for supply work under the same conditions as any other supply preacher. They may preach but not preside at altar. When considering someone other than one listed, refer to the guidelines posted after this list.

Ordained Presbyters (Pastors) Available for Supply

The names listed below are known to the synod as ordained presbyters (pastors or ministers of Word & Sacrament) in good standing in the ELCA or a full-communion partner. They may both preach and preside at altar. When considering someone other than one listed, refer to the guidelines posted after this list.

Ordained Presbyter
Base of Operations
The Rev. Dr. Timothy Allen (UMC) Fairmont, WV
The Rev. Paul Blank
Deep Creek Lake, MD
The Rev. Jacqueline Campbell (temporarily unavailable) Fairmont, WV
The Rev. Larry Cantu (temporarily unavailable) Winchester, VA
The Most Rev. Dr. Ralph Dunkin Wheeling, WV 304-280-0710
The Andrea Ernest Frederick, MD
Chap. Courtney Erzkus
Morgantown, WV
Chap. Ben Erzkus
Morgantown, WV 717-881-4631
The Rev. Nancy Knol (temporarily unavailable)
Deep Creek Lake, MD
The Rev. David Lee (PCUSA) (temporarily unavailable) Elkins, WV
The Rev. Linda Lewis
Eastern Panhandle
The Rev. Bob Lowden
Stephens City, VA
The Rev. Thomas Omholt Oakland, MD 202-368-0443
The Rt. Rev. Matthew L. Riegel, S.T.M.
Morgantown, WV
The Rev. Sherri Schafer
Wheeling, WV
Franklin, WV

The Rev. R. Alvin Schafer (temporarily unavailable)
Wheeling, WV
The Rev. Sharon Van Dam (temporarily unavailable) Wellsburg, WV

Other Sources for Supply


Congregations in the Eastern Panhandle might want to consider obtaining supply preachers from the Gettysburg Campus of United Lutheran Seminary. Congregations along the Ohio River might look to Trinity Lutheran Seminary, Columbus, OH. Seminary professors and staff may be available. Likewise, seminarians are often authorized by the seminaries to supply preach. Verify with the seminary that this is the case before engaging a seminarian.

Neighboring Synods

WV-WMD accepts the credentials of supply preachers authorized by our neighboring ELCA synods. To locate contact information for these synods, visit the ELCA's "Synods" webpage.

Full-Communion Partners

The provisions of the ELCA's full-communion agreements provide for pulpit & altar fellowship as well as the interchangeability of clergy. The differences, however, between our respective rosters complicate this interchangeability. Prior to engaging a ordained or layperson for supply, contact the synod office to verify appropriateness.

Verifying Ecclesiastical Credentials

Before engaging a supply pastor, especially for sacramental or other ministerial functions, please contact bishop. Per our polity, the following may preside at altar in our congregations:

As alluded to in the case of the UMC, there can be confusion about the application of the rules and even ignorance of the rules. More troubling, however, is intentional misrepresentation, i.e., someone claiming that they can preside for us when they know that they cannot. You may think that such willful misrepresentation is merely a fantasy and hasn't been a problem since Muhlenberg drove out the Zinzendorfian imposters. Sadly, across the church, there have been some isolated instances.

So, what are we to do? If you have any doubt, contact the bishop.

Lastly, Synodically Authorized Ministers (SAMs) of the ELCA are authorized for ministerial functions pro locum et tempore. Their authorization ends at the synod line. SAMs, therefore, of other synods cannot be used in WV-WMD. There have been some cases of SAMs presenting themselves as rostered ministers of Word & Sacrament or claiming that they have a blanket authorization to preside anywhere at anytime. The former is patently false. The latter is null & void, as it is not allowed under the CBCR/ELCA, and is not be acknowledged in WV-WMD.

Keep in mind, an imposter (someone willfully misrepresenting himself/herself) is probably not a person you want in your pulpit or at your altar.

If you have any questions about this, please feel free to contact the bishop.

When All Else Fails

When it is impossible to secure a supply preacher from any of the approved/recommended sources, two options remain open for non-sacramental services:

Synodical Lay Worship Leaders

The WV-WMD Synod Council, at its 6 February 2021 meeting, adopted a new policy for Synodical Lay Worship Leaders ( download the SLWL policy here). The adoption of the SLWL policy does rescind or amend the existing BLWL policy; only the Synod Assembly can rescind or otherwise amend the BLWL policy. At its January 2020 meeting, Synod Council appointed the Select Commission for Synodical Lay Worship Leadership (The Rev. Sean Smith (chair), The Rev. Sally Bartling, and Stephanie Setley) to review the drafts for Synodical Lay Worship Leadership prepared by the bishop with report to the Synod Council with recommendations. Following successful completion of its work, the the Select Commission was discharged and reformed with The Rev. Sean Smith as chair, Paul Wangerin and The Revs. Ian Reid and Patrice Weirick as members. This reformed select commission was charged with development of procedures related to the initiation of the Reader license.

There are two innovative aspects of the SLWL program. First, there are four different licenses (reader, apprentice preacher, journ preacher, and master preacher), each with its own norms and authorizations (download norms here). Second, licensure exams replace the BLWL requirement for attendance at specific educational events.

Applications for the reader license are now being accepted (download application here).

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