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Moving Forward


I am pleased to announce that after more than a year of significant personal commitment, the Call Committee has recommended to the congregation Council a candidate to be the next senior pastor at St. Stephen’s. The vote of the Call Committee members was unanimous as is required by ELCA rules. Our sincere thanks go to Karleen Strayer, leader, and members Michael Farthing, Matt Johnson, Claire Morse, Betty Sperati, and Leah Strayer for their time, energy, perseverance and dedication to this important task for the congregation.


After receiving the committee’s recommendation, the Council met with the candidate at a special meeting on March 21 and, after an open, honest and fruitful discussion, with the Holy Spirit clearly present, the Council members voted unanimously to recommend to the congregation that a formal Call be offered to the candidate.


And that is where things stand today. The Call Committee members, the Council members and the candidate are excited to move on to the next step in the Call process.


That step is for the congregation to meet the candidate. Please mark your calendar for the late afternoon/early evening of Saturday, May 6. On that date, a social event will be held at St. Stephen’s where members of the congregation will be able to meet the candidate and get to know the person better. The specific time of that event has not yet been determined. Since the candidate is an active staff member of another congregation, the name of the candidate will not be revealed to anyone, beyond those who already know, until the social event.


The day after the social event, Sunday, May 7, the candidate will lead our worship service, preach a sermon, and offer communion. After worship, the candidate will be excused to wait in private while the congregation members hold a special congregational meeting led by a member of Synod staff or their representative.


The purposes of the meeting are threefold:

  1. to share the terms of the financial and benefits package that Council has approved

  2. for members of the congregation to ask questions of the Call Committee and/or of the Council

  3. to vote whether or not to offer a Call to the candidate. A Call will be offered to the candidate if 2/3 or more of the voting members approve the Call. Only members of the congregation who are present at the meeting are eligible to vote.

If the vote is to approve the Call, the candidate will be invited back to the meeting where the results will be announced and the decision celebrated.


If the vote is not to approve the Call, the Synod representative will meet with the candidate privately.


It is wonderful to realize we are approaching another milestone for our congregation. Please plan to attend the social event on May 6 and the worship service and congregational meeting on May 7.


We are moving forward! Hallelujah!!


Bob Linderman

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