Synod Vice President

Paul Wangerin of Trinity, Martinsburg WV (6023)
Paul has served and currently serves on many church and congregational leadership teams, councils, and boards. He is a careful and thoughtful leader with a high level of responsibility. More importantly, Paul has a vision that helps lead within our synod. He has the experience and skills needed in the role of Vice President and is already serving well in that role.

Nancy Weeks of Grace, Wheeling WV (31157)
Current VP/Interim President of congregation. Served on church council 6 separate 3-year terms since 1979. Serve as: worship leader, lector, leader in prayer, usher. Taught: Sunday school and confirmation. Co-chair for transition team to unite Edgewood Evangelical Lutheran Church with Zion Evangelical Church to form Zion. Employed 40 years in public education: first grade teacher -1 year, special education teacher – 10 years, school psychologist/ special education coordinator – 29 years. Volunteer as a WV 4-H leader – 45 years. Member of the Ohio County Development Authority – Highlands Development VP Ohio County Country Fair. Married to Bradley Weeks for 28 years. They have one son, daughter-in-law and two granddaughters.

Synod Council | Clergy | Ohio-Kanawha Valley Conference

Carl Ames of Christ the King, Huntington WV (13210)
Pastor in this Synod- former member and Chair of Community Lutheran Partners, former member of Road to Renewal Team, member of Nominations Committee, Lutheran member of Partners in Careworks with WV National Guard and Challenge Academy, member of Barboursville Ministerial Association, interim pastor at St. Paul Huntington and Cross of Grace Hurricane-all previous activities in this Synod. In previous Synods member of Synod Outreach Committee and interim at a Finnish Lutheran Church. Member of Synod Council, member of Tri – Synodical Small Town and Rural Task Force. Chair of the Board of Lutheran Good Shepherd Nursing Home and County Food Bank. Mission Partner Coordinator, Board of Lutheran Social Services- Columbus, Chair of Synodical Veterans Task Force.

Emilie Theobald-Rowlands of Christ, Vienna WV (6618)
Pastor of Christ Lutheran Church, Vienna (2012-present). Ordained Minister of Word and Sacrament. Serve as a Pastoral Adviser to the Vienna Sanctuary of Light House Board (an ecumenical ministry of Christ Lutheran Church and 12 other churches in the Mid Ohio Valley). Secretary, Board of Directors for Community Resources, Inc., Parkersburg WV (2018-present as Secretary, Board member since 2016). Chairperson of the Advisory Committee for Faithlink, Parkersburg WV (2019 as Chairperson, 2017- present Board Member) Member of Vienna Ministerial Association and Wood County Ministerial Alliance Synod Council Clergy Representative for Ohio Kanawha Valley Conference (2016-present, completing 1 term). Parliamentary Procedure Training on Roberts Rules of Order (3/28/19 – Parkersburg WV).

Synod Council | Clergy | Potomac Conference

Karen Erskine-Valentine of Saint Peter, Shepherdstown WV (6038)
Karen is the pastor of Shepherdstown Lutheran Parish, where she has been serving for about 4 years now. Before that, she served Holy Trinity Lutheran Church in Sharpsburg and St John Lutheran Church in Harper’s Ferry, so she has been serving congregations in the Potomac Conference for 13 years. Karen has served as Dean for the Eastern half of the Potomac conference. She is involved with our conference activities, involving most of our congregations, both laity and clergy. Karen’s parents live in WV and she has raised her children here. She knows what it is to be a part of the local community in WV and to serve in the WV-WMD Synod. Karen comes to any table of discussion with a wide perspective and a focus on grace. She is bold enough to speak her mind, but compassionate enough to know when to listen. She would serve our Synod and the Potomac Conference well on Synod Council.

Jason Felici of New Hope, Marlinton WV (10419)
Pastor Jason serves as the Director of Camp Luther. He grew up in WV-WMD Synod and has served as co-pastor of the Mountain Lutheran Parish for almost seven years. He is a graduate of Lutheran Theological Seminary at Gettysburg, the predecessor of our Synod’s affiliate seminary. He is practical and a gifted steward of finances. Pastor Jason prioritizes work within our Synod boundaries and has built important collegial relationships over the years. He would be an approachable and valued member of our Synod Council.

Synod Council | Clergy | Upper Ohio Valley Conference

Joel Richter of Christ, Wheeling WV (6612)
Pastor Joel Richter has served at Christ Lutheran Church in Wheeling for the past 7 years. For most of time, Pastor Joel has been on the Community Lutheran Partners Board of Directors and is currently President of the Board. Since coming to the Synod, he has taken interest in ELCA World Hunger and currently works with our appeal. Further, Pastor Joel has deep passion for those affected by the Opioid Crisis helping with various ministries in Wheeling and the WV Council of Churches. He understands that people are suffering and need help. Further, Pastor Joel has found many ways to care for those in need and be in solidarity with the poor. One of his driving forces is asking the question, how are we living the Gospel in the world?

Bill Ridenhour of First English, Wheeling WV (6614)
Riegel asked, so I said I was willing. Actually, I think I was “volun-told.” On Advent I 2018, I began the year of 23rd’s at First English. A 23rd Christmas Eve. A 23rd Ash Wednesday. A 23rd WV-WMd Synod Assembly (God help us, everyone). I mention my longevity simply to observe that I know something of what it is to slog through the muck and the mire of a downtown congregation in a small Appalachian city that has lost jobs and population in every decade since 1930. I am acquainted with the depression that comes with preaching resurrection Sunday after Sunday and seeing little to no evidence that there is any truth to that of which you speak. I suspect my description of Wheeling’s context is true for many of our communities. Doing church in this territory is hard work. Much to my once horrified surprise, 23 years in Appalachia has turned this former LCA kid comfortable with hierarchy into a proud Congregationalist. The work is done on the congregational level where the preaching is as pure as it can be, the sacraments are administered rightly, the faith is taught, the sick are visited, the dead are buried and all the people (preacher and laity) live out their Christian vocation in whatever form that may take. There is nuance to be considered here (as well the truth of how we are perceived by the wider church) but space does not permit it . . . Often, we are asked to do more for the Synod and we and the Synod are asked to do more for the ELCA. The primary work of “this church” is done in our congregations not in Fairmont or Chicago. I think the banner hanging above the Synod council table ought to read, “Is this agenda item helping our congregations increase the health of their discipleship?”

Synod Council | Laity | Mon Valley-Mountain Conference

Ellda Bennett of Saint Mark, Oakland MD (6627)
Office manager at St. Marks-Oakland. Book-keeping/accountancy knowledge. Pleasant, cheerful, efficient, willing to speak her mind. Ellda asks questions and takes initiative willingly.

Debby Borrelli of Saint Paul, Morgantown WV (6640)
Congregational Treasurer, Saint Paul Lutheran Church. Member of the Board of Directors, and Treasurer, Lutheran Campus Ministry at WVU. Long time participant, Women of the ELCA. Former Board Member, Community Lutheran Partners (CliP).Former Committee Member, LYO of the West Virginia-Western Maryland Synod.

Synod Council | Laity | Potomac Conference

William Hinkle of Saint Thomas, Charles Town WV (6026)
I have served 8 years on St Thomas Council, two years as Treasurer, and six yeas as President. During an absence of a permanent Pastor, I sought the advise and council of our Interim Pastor, and then my wife and I taught our two Confirmation students. I assisted with the consultation effort at Salem Lutheran Church in Maryland and later attempted to assist that congregation until they chose to leave ELCA. I graduated High School in 1965 at Laramie, Wyoming. I earned a BS Degree in Mathematics (University of the State of New York, 1982) and an MS Degree in Computer Science (Hood College, 1991). I enlisted in the US Army in 1965 and served until 1986, retiring as a Chief Warrant Officer Three. My family and I attended and were members of Lutheran Congregations in Massachusetts; Virginia; Frankfurt, Germany; and Maryland. After more than 20 years with the US Army, I had a second career in the civilian work force, serving as a Requirements Engineer, Program Manager, Executive Director, and Vice President. When I retired from the Army, my family and I moved to Charles Town, WV in November 1986 and joined the congregation of Saint Thomas Evangelical Lutheran Church, and my wife and I are still members (42 years). I was baptized and Confirmed at Our Saviors Lutheran Church in Casper, Wyoming. I am now retired for a second time. We are involved and support, as we can, the activities of St Thomas and Pastor Diane Day and family.

Elizabeth Rini of Saint Peter, Shepherdstown WV (6038)
Member St. Peters congregation council. Professionally: PhD in Nursing (RN), teach at Shepherd University.

Synod Council | Laity | Youth at Large

Agnese McAllister of Saint Thomas, Charles Town WV (6026)
Confirmed Youth-thoughtful, asks hard questions. Baptismal Sponsor for best friend just this past year.

Abigail Spray of Saint Johannes, New Milton WV (6639)
Member of my church council and chair of the evangelism committee.

Synod Consultation Committee | Clergy

Jacqueline Campbell of Saint Mark, Clarksburg WV (6632)
Retired pastor. Served Church of the Covenant, a federated ELCA/PCUSA congregation. Before that, served in SW Penn Synod, the Hatfield Ferry (2-point) Lutheran Parish. Plenty of experience navigating potentially difficult congregational issues. MDIV in the Town and Country Church Institute, from Gettysburg Lutheran Seminary. Incumbent, completing a 1-yr vacancy election to Consultation Committee. Has been diligent in that service.

Jess Felici of Calvary, Brandywine WV (16003)
Jess is the co-pastor of the Mountain Lutheran Parish, and currently serves on the Synod’s Candidacy Committee. She graduated from the Lutheran Theological Seminary at Gettysburg in 2012. Jess would be a valued member of this committee, and would be a level-headed voice when congregations are in conflict. She works well with others and is extremely organized.


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