Information for Congregations in Call Process

The purpose of the Support to Ministries Committee of the South Dakota Synod is to walk with congregations as they begin, work through, and complete the search for new church leadership.  The committee is represented by each of the seven conferences of the South Dakota Synod, one ordained and one lay representative from each conference.

Download the Call Process Booklet

South Dakota Synod Call Process Manual (pdf)

Contact Synod Staff

If you have any questions about your congregation’s call process or the above forms, please contact Rev. Renee Splichal Larson, Associate to the Bishop for Candidacy, Congregation, and Rostered Minister Accompaniment at 605-274-4022 or Crystal McCormick, Candidacy and Mobility Office Coordinator at 605-274-4024.

Steps in Seeking a New Rostered Minister

Instructions: Click headings below for more information and resources.

Click here for a list of Call Process Resources.


When a congregation seeks to call a new rostered minister, the council president informs the Synod Office.

Consult your congregation’s constitution and by-laws for your call process guidelines. Updates may be necessary.

Seek prayer and reflection as your congregation goes through the transition of calling a new rostered minister.


The council president contacts the synod office to arrange Pulpit Supply and/or Interim ministry, depending on what is appropriate for your congregation.

Lists of contacts available for interim and pulpit supply.

Consult with Synod staff about the option of a Vice Pastor:

• Vice Pastor Agreement (pdf)


Your congregation will form a Call Committee according to your constitution to work directly with the Synod. Your Call Committee should reflect the demographics of your congregation.

Complete your congregation’s Ministry Site Profile (MSP). This document is the primary tool used to describe your congregation, its mission and ministry needs. This document will introduce your congregation to the candidate. In order to present your congregation in the best light it is important to take plenty of time and prayer as you work on this document. The MSP can be found online at:

A helpful tool for the congregation’s MSP is the Vitality Survey found at:


A ministry site study is scheduled with a member of the Synod Staff and may also include your Conference Dean and/or Conference Lay Person.

At the Ministry Site Study, Synod Staff explains the call process, answers questions, and reviews the MSP with the congregation. For the sake of transparency and keeping people informed, it is important that the whole congregation be invited to attend; leadership, including the Call Committee and Council, should make it a priority to be present.


The Call Committee receives Rostered Minister Profiles (RMPs) from the Synod. These candidate profile(s) are sent from the Synod office to the Call Committee chairperson after the ministry site study has been completed.

Call Committee then receives and reviews RMPs.

After the Call Committee reviews potential candidate(s), the Call Committee chairperson arranges a time for the candidate(s) to be interviewed by the committee. Interviews can take place in-person, via phone, or video call (ex. Skype, Zoom, FaceTime or GoToMeeting).

During the candidate process, it is the duty of the Call Committee chairperson to communicate clearly and promptly with the candidate(s) of the timeline and progress made by the committee.

See additional resources in the call process manual.


With candidate’s approval, the Call Committee recommends candidate to council. The council may choose to move forward or not with a candidate. If church council approves candidate, then church council:

• Chooses to bring candidate back for conversation with council and/or meet and greet with congregation.
• Negotiates compensation, housing, etc. (see synod compensation guidelines)
• Drafts Letter of Call along with the Definition of Compensation, Benefits and Responsibilities.
• Motions for a congregational meeting for a vote to call the candidate.

If church council rejects candidate or candidate removes their name from the process, return to Step 5.


• The Candidate’s profile is presented to the congregation.
• The congregation votes by ballot to call a candidate. Two-thirds majority is required.
• The Call Committee chair informs the candidate of the congregation’s decision.
• If the congregation votes to extend a call, sign the Letter of Call and send the Letter of Call along with the Definition of Compensation, Benefits, and Responsibilities to the synod office for the Bishop’s signature.

If the congregational vote does not meet the two-thirds majority, return to step 5.


• A congregation will typically hear from the called candidate within 30 days of the candidate’s receipt of the Letter of Call. The candidate may request a meeting with the church council for purposes of further information and clarification on the Letter of Call, moving arrangements, and start date.
• If the response is “yes”, then proceed with plans for the candidate’s moving, start date, and installation.
• If the response is “no”, begin again with Step 5.


• The installation is arranged by the council president and new pastor in consultation with the synod office.
• The bishop, associate to the bishop, or conference dean participates in the Service of Installation.
• Welcome your new rostered minister and their family (as applicable).

Congregations in Transition

Ministry Sites Accepting Candidate Names

Aberdeen, Bethlehem (associate) *
Bowdle, St. Paul/Hosmer, St. John (Great Plains Parish) (solo) # – David Peterson, Interim
Brookings, First (senior) # – David Zellmer, Interim
Buffalo, Grand River (part-time) *
Clark, St. Paul (solo)
Colman, Colman (solo)
Florence, Goodhue/New Helgen (Florence Lutheran Parish) (solo) # – Sue Sinclair, Interim
Lake Preston, Lake Whitewood (part-time) *
Madison, Trinity (senior) * # – Solveig Hendrickson, Interim
Mitchell, First (senior)
Oldham, Oldham/Ramona, St. John (solo)
Salem, Christ (solo) * # – Dennis Hansen, Interim
Sisseton, Grace (solo) # – Herb Wounded Head, Interim
Toronto, Leganger (part-time) # – Dan & Laura Overbo, Interim
Warner, St. John (solo) *

Synod Authorized Ministry (SAM) Sites

Bryant, Our Redeemer/Vienna, Bethlehem/Willow Lake, Good Hope & Grace (Prairie Star Lutheran Parish) – Colin Beveridge
Claire City, First/New Effington, Faith/Veblen, Our Savior’s – Karie Geyer
Colman, Colman – Nancy Rieke
Crocker, Crocker – Marion Grimes
Glenham, Norway – Jaimie Odde
Lake Preston, Lake Preston/North Preston – Brad Sanderson
Mission Hill, Vangen – Deacon Mary Hendricks Wilkens
Oldham, Oldham/Ramona, St. John – Jesse Carson
Rapid City, Woyatan – Jonathan Old Horse
Selby, Bethany – Dale Hamre
Sioux Falls, First Lutheran African Ministry – Abraham Gayetaye
Strandburg, Tabor – Elmer Brinkman
Timber Lake, Prairie Parish – Teri Gayer
Vermillion, Dalesburg/Pleasant Valley – Scott Munger
Volin, Faith United – Deacon Mary Hendricks Wilkens
Waubay, Our Savior’s – Marion Grimes

Ministry Site Study to be Scheduled

Bristol, Bergen & Bethesda/Butler, Butler (solo)
Bryant, Our Redeemer/Vienna, Bethlehem/Willow Lake, Good Hope & Grace (Prairie Star Lutheran Parish) (senior) # – LeRoy Boender, Interim
Clear Lake, St. Paul’s (solo) – Ministry Site Study scheduled July 7, 2021 at 6:00 p.m.
Estelline, Trinity (solo) # – Dan & Laura Overbo, Interim
Forestburg, Forestburg (part-time) *
Howard, Bethany (solo) # – Kari Sansgaard, Interim
McLaughlin, Redeemer (part-time) *
Mission Hill, Vangen (part-time)
Mount Vernon, Salem (solo)
Sioux Falls, Augustana (solo) # – Jonathan Splichal Larson, Interim
Sioux Falls, Holy Cross (senior) # – Rhonda Wellsandt-Zell, Interim
Sioux Falls, Messiah New Hope (solo)
Valley Springs, First/Palisade (solo) # – Mark Eliason, Interim
Volin, Faith United (part-time)

# Interim Contract in place
* First Call Site

Calls Extended

Marcia Brennan – Concordia, Kadoka (solo)
Nancy Eckels – Storla, Letcher (solo)
Shadoe Hanson (First Call/Seminarian) – West Prairie, Lennox/Bethany, Hurley (solo)
Eric Ohrtman – Spirit of Joy, Sioux Falls (associate)
Rhonda Wellsandt-Zell – Trinity, Miller (solo)
Elan Ashby – Scandia, Centerville (solo)
Randy Fett – Holy Cross, Sioux Falls (Intentional Interim)
Jamie Reising (First Call/Seminarian) – Collaborative Ministry, Rapid City (Mission Developer)


Jamie Reising – Wartburg Theological Seminary, Dubuque, IA – July 16, 2021 at 5:30 p.m.


Shadoe Hanson (First Call/Seminarian) – West Prairie, Lennox/Bethany, Hurley (solo) – June 20, 2021 at 9:00 & 11:00 a.m.
Randy Fett – Holy Cross, Sioux Falls (Intentional Interim) – June 27, 2021
Elan Ashby – Scandia, Centerville (solo) – August 8, 2021
Nancy Eckels – Storla, Letcher (solo) – August 8, 2021 at 10:00 a.m.
Marcia Brennan – Concordia, Kadoka (solo) – August 29, 2021 at 10:00 a.m. MT
Eric Ohrtman – Spirit of Joy, Sioux Falls (associate) – TBD
Rhonda Wellsandt-Zell – Trinity, Miller (solo) – TBD