Supply Preaching & Presiding

In times of pastoral vacancy or whenever regular ordained leadership is not available, the WV-WMD Synod attempts to ensure that congregations of the synod are provided with capable and authorized worship leadership. To this end, the synod maintains a lists (scroll down) of ordained clergy and lay worship leaders who may be available to "supply." Additional sources for "supply" worship leadership are found after the mentioned lists.

Supply Compensation Guidelines

The WV-WMD Synod set a revised compensation schedule for pulpit supply at its 24 January 2015 Synod Council meeting. Since 1 March 2015, pulpit supply is to be compensated as follows.

Special Cases Affecting Compensation

When the Bishop of this Synod or the Director of Evangelical Mission is the worship leader/preacher, whether the person is to be compensated depends upon the circumstances. If the pastor of the congregation is present for worship, your gifts to mission support cover all of the costs associated with this visit---though a congregation may, at its option, remit a gift to the synod. When the pastor is not present, the supply preacher is to be compensated at the normal supply rate. Both the Bishop and the D.E.M. have the right to waive some or all the compensation associated with supply preaching costs. The bishop and D.E.M. may ask you, under some circumstances, to separate the mileage and the supply honorarium, making the check for honorarium out to the preacher and the check for the mileage out to the synod.

Many church agencies and church related agencies have similar policies. Please be sure to inquire what the policy is with respect to the person being engaged.

Sacraments & Pastoral Acts

Holy Communion may only be celebrated by an ordained person on the roster of the ELCA or a clergyperson ordained and on the on the roster of a full-communion partner and in good standing. Special dispensation for lay Eucharistic presidency, under the policies of the ELCA, can only be granted under unusual circumstances and then for only six months at a time. At this time, there are no active dispensations for lay Eucharistic presidency. If your congregation has received a dispensation in the past, please contact Bishop Riegel to discuss your situation.

Holy Baptism, when administered in an emergency, may be performed by anyone. Prompt reporting to the local pastor is required. When administered during the worship of the congregation---administration at other times is at the discretion of the pastor and should be rare---the regular presider is the pastor of the congregation. The same rubric for Holy Communion applies here.

A funeral is neither a sacrament nor a rite reserved to the clergy by either civil or ecclesiastical law. A Bishop's Lay Worship Leader may be engaged for a funeral when authorized by the pastor loci or the interim pastor loci.

A wedding is not a sacrament. Civil law, however, in both Maryland, West Virginia, and Virginia limits who may legally conduct a wedding. Consult with your local county clerk or the synod office before engaging a Bishop's Law Worship Leader. Additionally, out-of-state clergy should ascertain whether bonding or some other requirement exists (as in the case of West Virginia).

If you notice an error or omission on the rolls below, please contact the Bishop at or 304-680-5388.

Bishop's Lay Worship Leaders

Bishop's Lay Worship Leaders are equipped through the synod's training program and authorized by the synod for service under the Bishop's Lay Worship Leaders Program adopted by Synod Assembly 1989 (SA89.6.37) and most recently amended by Synod Assembly 2000. This service in the territory of synod is at the invitation of the congregation's pastor or, if delegated, the congregational leader appointed for the task of coordinating supply preachers.

The WV-WMD Synod Council, at its January 2020 meeting, authorized and appointed the Commission for Synodical Lay Worship Leadership (The Rev. Sean Smith (chair), The Rev. Sally Bartling, and Stephanie Setley) to review the draft for Synodical Lay Worship Leadership prepared by the bishop with report to the Synod Council with recommendations. Until further action, applications to enter the roll of Bishop's Lay Worship Leaders are not being accepted.

An asterisk ("*") next to the name means that the contact information has not yet be confirmed. "Base of Operations" indicates where the BLWL lives. Range of travel varies from BLWL to BLWL. Some have rather limited ranges. Others are willing to travel a couple of hours.

Bishop's Lay Worship Leader
Base of Operations
Melissa Bannister Parkersburg, WV
Lois Broyles Barboursville, WV
George Friedline New Martinsville, WV 304-455-2798
Lola Graham (temporarily unavailable) Upper Tract, WV 304-358-7733
Jerry Harman (temporarily unavailable)
Parkersburg, WV 304-481-1160
William Hawk Wheeling, WV 304-232-7260
Henry Hodges Wardensville, WV
Sylvia Sue Hoffman Benwood, WV
Leroy Humberston Fairmont, WV 304-366-3434
Patricia Keller Keyser, WV
Barbara McDowell* OKVC

George McKinney Hurricane, WV
Jodi Sandvik* UOVC 304-843-1721
Patricia Schrader* UOVC 304-233-8040
James Sheatsley Beckley, WV 304-252-5321 (O)
304-252-7363 (H)
304-575-9827 (C)
Vicki Tomich*
Moundsville, WV
Richard Wolford Charleston, WV
800-444-1118 (o)
304-389-2938 (c)
Carl Yost* PC 304-897-5041

Ordained Deacons Available for Supply

WV-WMD does not, at the present time, have any deacons providing supply ministry on the territory of this synod (who have also requested to be on the public list). Deacons (on the ELCA roster of ministers of Word & service) who are in good standing in their own synod may be engaged for supply work under the same conditions as any other supply preacher. They may preach but not preside at altar. When considering someone other than one listed, refer to the guidelines posted after this list.

Ordained Presbyters (Pastors) Available for Supply

The names listed below are known to the synod as ordained presbyters (pastors or ministers of Word & Sacrament) in good standing in the ELCA or a full-communion partner. They may both preach and preside at altar. When considering someone other than one listed, refer to the guidelines posted after this list.

Ordained Presbyter
Base of Operations
The Rev. Dr. Timothy Allen (UMC)
Fairmont, WV
The Rev. Paul Blank
Deep Creek Lake, MD
The Rev. Jacqueline Campbell
Fairmont, WV
The Rev. Larry Cantu
Winchester, VA
The Most Rev. Dr. Ralph Dunkin Wheeling, WV 304-280-0710
The Rev. Ron Kreiensieck (temporarily unavailable)
Winchester, VA
The Rev. David Lee (PCUSA)
Elkins, WV
The Rev. Bob Lowden
Stephens City, VA
The Rev. Thomas Omholt Oakland, MD 202-368-0443
The Rt. Rev. Matthew L. Riegel, S.T.M.
Morgantown, WV
The Rev. Sherri Schafer
Wheeling, WV
Franklin, WV
The Rev. R. Alvin Schafer
Wheeling, WV
The Rev. Tony Setley
Morgantown, WV
The Rev. Donald Thomas
Addison, PA
The Rev. Sharon Van Dam
Wellsburg, WV

Other Sources for Supply


Congregations in the Eastern Panhandle might want to consider obtaining supply preachers from the Gettysburg Campus of United Lutheran Seminary. Congregations along the Ohio River might look to Trinity Lutheran Seminary, Columbus, OH. Seminary professors and staff may be available. Likewise, seminarians are often authorized by the seminaries to supply preach. Verify with the seminary that this is the case before engaging a seminarian.

Neighboring Synods

WV-WMD accepts the credentials of supply preachers authorized by our neighboring ELCA synods. To locate contact information for these synods, visit the ELCA's "Synods" webpage.

Full-Communion Partners

The provisions of the ELCA's full-communion agreements provide for pulpit & altar fellowship as well as the interchangeability of clergy. The differences, however, between our respective rosters complicate this interchangeability. Prior to engaging a ordained or layperson for supply, contact the synod office to verify appropriateness.

Verifying Ecclesiastical Credentials

Before engaging a supply pastor, especially for sacramental or other ministerial functions, please contact bishop. Per our polity, the following may preside at altar in our congregations:

As alluded to in the case of the UMC, there can be confusion about the application of the rules and even ignorance of the rules. More troubling, however, is intentional misrepresentation, i.e., someone claiming that they can preside for us when they know that they cannot. You may think that such willful misrepresentation is merely a fantasy and hasn't been a problem since Muhlenberg drove out the Zinzindorfian imposters. Sadly, across the church, there have been some isolated instances.

So, what are we to do? If you have any doubt, contact the bishop.

Lastly, Synodically Authorized Ministers (SAMs) of the ELCA are authorized for ministerial functions pro locum et tempore. Their authorization ends at the synod line. SAMs, therefore, of other synods cannot be used in WV-WMD. There have been some cases of SAMs presenting themselves as rostered ministers of Word & Sacrament or claiming that they have a blanket authorization to preside anywhere at anytime. The former is patently false. The latter is null & void, as it is not allowed under the CBCR/ELCA, and is not be acknowledged in WV-WMD.

Keep in mind, an imposter (someone willfully misrepresenting himself/herself) is probably not a person you want in your pulpit or at your altar.

If you have any questions about this, please feel free to contact the bishop.

When All Else Fails

When it is impossible to secure a supply preacher from any of the approved/recommended sources, two options remain open for non-sacramental services:

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