fbpx
//Candidacy Process
Candidacy Process 2019-11-18T13:01:28-05:00

Candidacy Process

(Steps toward becoming a Pastor or Deacon in the ELCA)

God calls all of us and each of us to ministry in God’s world. Some are specifically called to public, rostered ministry in the ELCA. (Rostered ministers are pastors and deacons in this church.) I am grateful for God’s call in your life!

The ELCA Candidacy Process accompanies people as they discern God’s call in their life. The candidacy process is meant to be a welcoming and joyful opportunity for people to discern how to serve in and through the church. It is a formalized, yet personally and relationally focused, journey that assists people in discernment for church leadership.

Steps in the Candidacy Process:

  • The Entrance process in candidacy is the first formal discernment by a candidacy committee and applicants of their readiness for candidacy. 
  • A decision to grant Entrance officially accepts an applicant into candidacy. 
  • Normally, a candidacy committee will grant Entrance prior to an applicant’s beginning seminary studies. (In unusual circumstances an applicant may begin seminary studies for a period of six months before an Entrance decision is granted.)
  • Be familiar with Vision and Expectations for Pastors and for Deacons. All candidates for ministry are expected to live in accord with its standards of conduct as a candidate and as a rostered minister in the ELCA.
  • For more information about the specifics of the Virginia Synod process for Entrance, click here.
  • A candidate is Endorsed by the Candidacy Committee for one of two rosters:
    • Ministry of Word and Sacrament (Pastor)
    • Ministry of Word and Service (Deacon)
  • PRIOR to Endorsement, a candidate must complete:
    • Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) [usually coordinated through your seminary]
    • A seminary course in Lutheran Confessions
  • A candidate must be Endorsed in order to proceed to Internship
  • The Candidacy Committee discerns the candidate’s gifts and readiness to serve and lead in this church
  • PRIOR to Approval, a candidate must complete:
    • A formal internship (generally coordinated through your seminary)
    • An Approval Essay
  • Once Approved, the candidate is ready for the formal ELCA Assignment Process

Virginia Synod Candidacy Committee Members

The Rev. Kelly Bayer Derrick
Assistant to the Bishop

Deacon Lisa Geiger 
Candidacy Process Administrator

The Rev. Derek Boggs 
Chaplain, Salem Evangelical Lutheran Church, Mt. Sidney

Dr. Ned Wisnefske
Committee Chair, Professor, Religion/Philosophy, Roanoke College

Deborah Redmond
Lay Member

The Rev. Shelby DePriest
Faith Lutheran Church, Fort Valley

The Rev. Anne Jones Martin
Christ Lutheran Church, Fredericksburg

The Rev. Dr. Phyllis Milton
Gloria Dei Lutheran Church, Hampton

Dr. Oris Griffin
Lay Member, Muhlenberg Lutheran Church, Harrisonburg

The Rev. Alex Zuber
Muhlenberg Lutheran Church, Harrisonburg

The Rev. Sonya Williams-Giersch
St. John’s Lutheran Church, Winchester

Carl Williams
Ascension Lutheran Church, Danville

Gary Kinder
Grace Lutheran Church, Rural Retreat

Robert Quandahl
St Paul’s Lutheran Church, Hampton

Jim Ingraham
Christ Lutheran Church, Richmond

The Rev. Dr. Mary Sue Dreier
Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary

The Rev. Dr. Ruth Hamilton
Region 9 Candidacy and Leadership Manager

The Rev. Kelly Bayer Derrick
Email: bayerderrick@vasynod.org
Phone: 540-389-1000

Accompanying people as they ponder and discern what God is calling us to do now with our lives is the work of the Candidacy Committee. As the Christian Church participates in God’s mission in the world, there is a renewed awareness that God is making all things new. As both the Church and its contexts for ministry change, so do the leadership needs of the Church.

Discernment is a life-long process which continually assesses how God may be calling a person into ministry. It is a means for determining who might serve as a rostered leader, as well as who might serve in a variety of lay leadership roles in the church or in the world. Through congregational involvement, mentoring, working with a Candidacy Committee, and engaging in theological education, a person arrives at a sense of the kind of leader God is calling them to be.


Anyone discerning a call to rostered ministry is encouraged to attend the Vocations Conference in August of each year – the sooner in your discernment, the better equipped you will be to prayerfully consider how God is calling you to use your faith gifts through your vocational call.

The Virginia Synod Vocations Conference allows persons who are wondering what professional ministry in the church is like to spend time with those who have experience within the church. It allows time for reflection, conversations, and questions concerning one’s call and gifts for ministry through ample opportunities for fellowship and free time. It provides a retreat setting for helping individuals discern their gifts for ministry.

Save the date for Vocations Conference 2020:  Friday-Saturday, August 21-22, 2020

Upcoming Candidacy Events

Candidacy Committee Meeting

December 6 - December 7

Vocations Conference

August 21, 2020 - August 22, 2020