From the Call Committee Chairperson, Robert McKinney

Let me start by saying this has been a very frustrating 14 months for me and your Call Committee.  We were hopeful and excited to start on our new path looking for Living Lord Lutheran Church’s new pastor.  We finished our Ministry Site Profile in record time, submitting it to our Synod in June 2020, we had our Interim Pastor set to start in September 2020, and we were waiting for our first meeting with our Synod liaison.  Then the wheels came off the bus!  Your Council and Call Committee realized that our financial picture would not support a full-time pastor.  We have two options:  a shared pastor with another church or a part-time pastor for Living Lord.  We have chosen the part-time pastor road, if possible.  Our interim pastor was delayed until November 2020.  We had to wait four months to have our first Zoom meeting with the Synod, that was November 2020.  We were quite surprised at some of the information we were told.  If we wanted to share a pastor, we would have to find a church to share within our area.  We assumed that was something the Synod would do.  (We have since moved to the idea of a part-time pastor.)  As the meeting went on, it was obvious that the Synod only wanted to talk about full-time pastors and what we needed to do to get one.  We responded that as a congregation we were at our limit of giving and would have to go a different direction.  We had a second Zoom meeting in late February 2021 with little progress being made.  We found out in April 2021 that Pastor Karl Biermann, our Call person from the Synod, was leaving for another position.  We were then told by the new Bishop, Laura Barbins, that there would be a pause in the Call Committee activities for two months while they find a new Assistant to the Bishop for Calls.  That brings us up to now.  We have now been in contact with the new Bishop and the new Assistant to the Bishop, Pastor Mitch Phillips, who handles all Call processes within the Synod.  I was told that we had not completed our Ministry Site Profile and we could not move forward with bringing a pastor to Living Lord.  I forcefully suggested that was not the case and they should check that again.  Our Ministry Site Profile was on the website but had not been uploaded to the site where pastors can browse different profiles to see what would interest them.  I think it fell through the cracks during the changing of the Bishop and other personnel within our Synod office.  We are now reviewing our document for any minor changes and financial changes.  It will then go to the Synod for the Bishop’s approval and then we can enter it on the correct website.  Let me end by saying that I realize that 2020 was a difficult year due to COVID-19.  We were open and closed throughout the year.  The Synod office was closed for many months during this time, and it was difficult for us to communicate with them.  We are in the process of scheduling our next meeting with Synod personnel in late October.  This meeting will be in person at Living Lord.  Your Church Council and Call Committee will be in attendance.  It is our opinion that the sooner we get our new pastor up and running, the better it is for Living Lord.  So, everybody hang on and let the process work.