Call Committee


Dear friends in Christ,

Greetings from the Call Committee!  We know that you have been hearing our committee mentioned in the prayers that you may keep us in your thoughts and pray for our efforts in this process to call a new pastor to the ministry of St. Matthew.  We are following a 9-step process as outlined by the ELCA on the Call Process.  Happy to report that we have checked off the first 3 steps!  As a team, we are working through step 4, which is one of the more involved and timely processes.  Let’s reintroduce you to the Call Committee and the roles that we have taken within the group:

Jill Heck - Chairperson

Christy Gabler - Vice Chairperson

Kate Ilg - Historian / Ice breakers

Troy Gerspacher - Liaison to Executive Council

Todd Costello - Liaison to the congregation

Jen Knaggs - Prayer Warrior / Devotions

Aaron Reising - Technology

John Burke - Technology

We thought we might share with you part of the language we are using to guide and perform this duty of “calling” a new pastor to St. Matthew.  

What is a Call?

The Call Process is NOT a pageant in which contestants present themselves to their best advantage so they will be the winners.  The Lutheran Call Process is unique because it is an effort to discern what God wants for the local church and for the whole Church in order that the Gospel may be proclaimed and the sacraments administered in accordance with the Gospel.  The Call Committee, the Council, and eventually the entire congregation participate fully in the process.  In the Call Process the Bishop, the Congregation, and prospective pastor work together with the guidance of the Holy Spirit to bring about a new partnership that is faithful to the Gospel, empowers the local church in its ministry, and strengthens the whole Church as people of God.

The Call Committee, with input from the congregation, and approval by the council, puts together a ministry site profile [MSP] which states the congregation’s reason for being, its mission, and the needed leadership skills and gifts of a pastor to work with them toward that mission.

At this point, we have had introductory and kickoff meetings with Pastor Bill and with the assistant to the Bishop, Pastor Karl Bierman.  We have also gathered multiple documents for review and discernment.  They include the Pastoral Search Survey from 2020, the Transition Task Force Summary, and additional support documents from the NEO Synod office on NEO church demographics, the call process, and the MSP.

Our goal is to be as transparent as we are able without jeopardizing the level of confidentiality we have been entrusted with.  We hope to bring you good news as we reach milestones in this process and continue to ask for your prayers, patience, and support.  If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me at or 330-391-1309.

Yours in Christ,

Todd Costello

2021 Call Committee - Liaison to the congregation


4-2-21 UPDATE
The Call Committee has met two times - once with Pastors Bierman and Diehm to review the call process, the second to share a devotional, get to know one another better, and address preliminary topics.  The Call Committee will meet again soon.

The Committee requests prayers from the congregation, the Executive Council, Five Star Ministries, and other church leaders.