God calls all of us and each of us to ministry in God’s world. Some are specifically called to the public, rostered ministry in the ELCA, which means serving as pastors and deacons in our denomination. Candidacy is the process of lifting up, accompanying, and preparing those who want to serve in rostered leadership in the ELCA. The Candidacy Process is meant to be a welcoming and joyful opportunity for people to discern how to serve in and through the church.


The Candidacy Process includes a number of phases, during which you are invited to listen, learn, grow, and be formed as you discern a call to rostered ministry. Below you will find an overview of these phases and what they entail:





An inquirer is anyone who is engaging in reflection, conversation, and discernment about the possibility that they are called to rostered ministry. This is a time for intentionally exploring one’s gifts, growing edges, and sense of call before officially applying to the Candidacy Process.

Inquirers should:

  • Be a member of an ELCA congregation and engage in the congregation’s ministries. Applicants to candidacy must be a member of an ELCA congregation for at least one year before applying for entrance.
  • Speak with your pastor and other members of the community about your sense of call. Talk to family members, friends, mentors, and others who know you well to refine your emerging sense of call. 
  • Read Called to Lead: God’s Call, Your Vocationa very helpful resource for discerning how God is calling you to use your gifts for the sake of the gospel for the sake of the world. Work through the suggested prompts and conversation starters within that resource.
    • (ESP) Leo Llamado a ser líder: El llamado de Dios, su vocación, un recurso muy útil para discernir cómo Dios te está llamando a utilizar tus dones en beneficio del Evangelio y del mundo. Trabaja a través de los ejercicios y conversaciones sugeridos en ese recurso.
  • Begin exploring seminary options, including these ELCA seminaries:
  • Contact Metropolitan New York Synod Candidacy Coordinator, The Rev. Becca Seely, for more information and to schedule a discernment conversation.
    • This conversation is an opportunity for you to share your emerging sense of call and to learn more about the ELCA Candidacy Process



The Entrance process for Candidacy is the first formal discernment by the Candidacy Committee and applicants of their readiness for Candidacy. To apply for Entrance, a candidate submits an application and various supporting materials to the Candidacy Committee.  The Candidacy Committee then reviews those materials and meets with the applicant for an Entrance interview. Following that interview, the Candidacy Committee votes on an Entrance decision. A decision to grant Entrance officially accepts an applicant into Candidacy. 


A few things to note:

  • Please DO NOT apply for Entrance BEFORE you have had a discernment conversation with the Candidacy Coordinator.
  • The process of applying for Entrance can take three months from start to finish. Please be aware of that timeline in your planning.
  • Normally, the 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.
  • Applicants should make themselves familiar with the expectations set forth in Definitions and Guidelines for Discipline of Rostered Ministers. Candidacy for rostered ministry brings increased attention to the life of candidates, and all candidates 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 MNYS Entrance Process, click HERE.



Endorsement is official action by the Candidacy Committee affirming a candidate’s demonstration of appropriate gifts and characteristics for ministry.

  • 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 the following:
    • Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE)—this is usually coordinated through your seminary
    • A seminary course in Lutheran Confessions
  • ​A candidate must be Endorsed in order to proceed with their internship


The final discernment decision in the Candidacy Process is Approval. At this point, the Candidacy Committee discerns the candidate’s gifts and readiness to serve and lead in this church.

  • Prior to Approval, a candidate must complete the following:
    • ​A formal internship—this is generally coordinated through your seminary
  • ​Once a candidate is Approved, they are ready for the formal ELCA Assignment Process.

Metropolitan New York Synod Candidacy Committee

Bishop Paul Egensteiner
Metropolitan New York Synod

The Rev. J. Elise Brown, Chair
Marble Collegiate Church, Manhattan

The Rev. Patty Avila
Iglesia Luterana Ascensión, Deer Park

The Rev. Dr. Reed Carlson
Assistant Professor of Biblical Studies and Director of Anglican Studies, United Lutheran Seminary

S. Dcn. Ingrid Compton
St. Stephen’s Lutheran Church, Brooklyn

S. Dcn. Renee Hamilton-Taylor
St. Luke’s Lutheran Church, New Rochelle

The Rev. Justin Lathrop
Ascension Lutheran Church, Deer Park

S. Dcn. Bill Mennenga
Redeemer Lutheran Church, New Paltz

The Rev. Kevin O’Hara
Emmanuel Lutheran Church, Pleasantville

S. Dcn. Lulu Paolini
Good Shepherd Lutheran Church, Pearl River

The Rev. Becky Resch
Candidacy and Leadership Manager, Region 7

Ms. Madelyn Soussoudis
Advent Lutheran Church, Manhattan


MNYS Office of the Bishop Candidacy Staff:

The Rev. Becca Seely
Metropolitan New York Synod Candidacy Coordinator

Leticia Silva
Metropolitan New York Synod Assistant Candidacy and Call Administrator/Worship, Music Coordinator


For additional questions or concerns, please reach out to The Rev. Becca Seely, MNYS Candidacy Coordinator, at [email protected].