Ministry

Areas of Responsibility

Responsible for affirmation and support of the ordained, associates in ministry, diaconal ministers, deaconesses, specialized ministries, and laity in their ministries; continuing education for the ordained, associates in ministry, diaconal ministers, deaconesses, and laity; candidacy preparation programs for ordination and associates in ministry, diaconal ministers, and deaconesses; and liaison to seminaries.

Report to the 2017 Synod Assembly

The Ministry Committee is responsible for affirmation of and support of all rostered leaders as well as laity in their ministries. The guiding principles when considering support to ordained and other rostered ministers is to enhance the unique needs of the church while considering issues of fairness and justice. The committee oversees the continuing education for clergy and rostered lay leaders, the candidacy preparation program and provides a liaison to seminaries. We are grateful for all the other committees that assist in the affirmation and support of our synod’s ministries.

On January 1, 2017 our synod celebrated the Word and Service rosters becoming one unified roster with all former Associates In Ministry, Deaconesses and Diaconal ministers becoming Deacons of our synod.

Our synod currently has 20 Lay Worship Leaders and offered a course to prepare new laity as worship leaders. Our thanks to Bishop Kusserow and his staff for developing a curriculum to prepare laity for this valuable ministry. Our thanks also to all the pastors who led sessions to prepare new Lay Worship Leaders for our synod.

Our synod’s CANDIDACY COMMITTEE continues to work in conjunction with the West Virginia-Western Maryland Synod to oversee the process of preparation of candidates for ordained and lay rostered ministries. This committee also examines rostered persons transferring from another denomination or seeking reinstatement. Prospective seminary and other candidates are encouraged to contact our synod office for more information.

CONTINUING EDUCATION AND SUPPORT FOR ROSTERED LEADERS is provided through the annual Theological Convocation at Antiochian Village. Our thanks for the synod staff and pastors who prepare excellent informative convocations each year.

The LAY SCHOOL OF THEOLOGY at Thiel College continues under the excellent leadership of Lana Keplinger.

FIRST CALL THEOLOGICAL EDUCATION is designed to assist rostered leaders in their first three years of ministry. Our thanks to the pastors who mentor our rostered leaders during their first years in our synod.

SUPPORT FOR LAY MINISTERS provides occasional workshops to assist these valued laity.

Our committee thanks our RETIRED SERVANTS under the leadership of Pastor Ralph Kusserow. In recent years a luncheon has been held as an opportunity for the retired rostered members of our synod to gather and to thank them for their support with a variety of synodical and congregational ministries. Our committee continues to monitor and study issues related to our vast resources with rostered leaders.

During this past year the committee has studied financial support to seminarians and possibilities for assisting with seminary debt. We have studied the financial support that our synod and other synods offer both to candidates in seminary and any debt reduction offered to rostered leaders with their seminary debt. One question studied was the impact of financial aid earmarked for a student if it is given directly to the seminary. We have also examined approaches that would be most beneficial to the student. We recently sent a survey to ordained ministers who have been in a call(s) during their first ten years of ministry so we can gain a better understanding of seminary debt they currently have. We are still in the data gathering stage and will continue to evaluate information with the goal of recommendations at the 2018 Synod Assembly.

Finally, our committee has recommended to our synod council a 1% increase in salary and housing for all rostered leaders for the 2018 Compensation Guidelines. This is the first recommended increase in two years.

Committee Members

Chairperson:  Pastor Beverly J. Banyay
Secretary and Synod Council Representative: Pastor Margaret Suhr-Barkley
Clergy: Pastor Natalie Hall; Pastor Kimberly Rapczak; Pastor Kimberly van Driel
Laypersons: Tricia Christman
Staff: The Rev. Peter D. Asplin, Assistant to the Bishop