Transition Update

Transition Update

May 8, 2024

Dear St. Andrew Congregation, 

The St. Andrew Council and Senior Pastor Call Committee wanted to take a moment to keep everyone up to date on our Senior Pastor call process. Since the Call Committee was formed in mid-March, considerable progress has been made as detailed below.

The first step in the process was to ensure that the Council and Call Committee were aligned as it relates to St. Andrew’s strategic priorities. In addition to conversations with congregational members, we relied heavily on information gathered during the listening sessions hosted by the Transition Task Force earlier this year. Having this direct input from so many people within the church was invaluable, and we thank you all for your candid participation.

Our agreed to priorities were then used to provide direction for the Call Committee and to develop the St. Andrew Ministry Site Profile. This information will be helpful as the Call Committee moves forward.

We are also blessed to have two experienced ELCA leaders supporting the Call Committee. In her role as an advisor to the Call Committee, Pastor Susan Tjornehoj brings a wealth of experience as the Senior Pastor of a large congregation, as well as her experience working in and with the Minneapolis Area Synod. In addition, our Synod Representative for our Senior Pastor Call process is Bishop Ann Svennungsen. The Call Committee has already met with and established a direct working relationship with both leaders. 

The Call Committee is now working to establish the process they will use for interviewing, discerning, and guiding their review of potential candidates. Having a solid foundation and process are critical to both the success of the call process and to help ensure the long-term success of St. Andrew’s next Senior Pastor.

Finally, I would like to address upfront why you will not hear candidate names in these updates. While the Council will provide whatever support we can, all actual candidates and interviews will be kept confidential. 

In closing, I invite everyone to please pray for the call committee: Ross Eichelberger (chair), Josh Eidem, Ruth Kimmelshue, Jillian Klein, Lori Langreck, Steve Moen, and Jim Smiley. 


Brendan Dolan
St. Andrew Council President 

April 3, 2024

Dear St. Andrew Congregation, 

The process for naming a new Senior Pastor is well underway. The Transition Task Force completed listening sessions and a Ministry Site Profile. The next, critical step was to name a Call Committee.

Naming a Call Committee is something we take very seriously. We want a group that purposefully reflects the congregation. We realize St. Andrew is a unique church with a wealth of capabilities, so we expect a Call Committee with strong leadership credentials. We also wanted to balance maintaining wisdom from the Transition Task Force with new perspectives from the congregation.

Fortunately, our church is blessed with an abundance of talent, spirit, and devotion within our membership. We are pleased to announce the members of the Call Committee for our next senior pastor.

  • Ross Eichelberger (Chair)
  • Josh Eidem
  • Ruth Kimmelshue
  • Jillian Klein
  • Lori Langreck
  • Steve Moen
  • Jim Smiley

Additionally, Pastor Susan Tjornehoj will bring her experience with the Minneapolis Area Synod and years of wisdom from a variety of churches as an advisor to the Call Committee. 

I, along with the rest of the St. Andrew Council are excited to have such an excellent group working on this task. Please join us praying for the success of this Call Committee.


Brendan Dolan
St. Andrew Council President


Dear St. Andrew Congregation,

As most of you know, a Transition Task Force was created by the Church Council to prepare St. Andrew for the call of a new Senior Pastor. The Transition Task force is nearing completion of its work, which included:

  • Completion of the Ministry Site Profile
    • Description of the church including its ministerial program areas, budget, worship attendance, and characteristics
    • Description of the role and expectations of the new Senior Pastor including years of experience, focus areas, ministerial qualities, and leadership ability
    • Contact information for interested candidates
  • Completion of Listening Sessions conducted by retired ELCA Pastor Blair Anderson
    • Sessions were held with over 150 congregants
    • A Report was generated and discussed with the Transition Task Force
    • The Report was discussed with Brendan Dolan, President of the Congregational Council and Interim Senior Pastor Peter Johnson
    • The Report will be presented to the full Congregational Council on 2/27
  • Connection with and Report sent to Bishop Ann of the Minneapolis Area Synod; by the St. Andrew Constitution, the church must seek input from the Synod

The next step will be for the Church Council to name members to a Call Committee. This could come as early as its 2/27 meeting. The Call Committee, per the St. Andrew Constitution, will consist of six voting members. There may also be additional Call Committee members who would be non-voting members. These members will begin the screening and search for a new Senior Pastor. The Transition Task Force also identified two search firms, each with considerable background in Church Pastor searches. These search firms may or may not be used as directed by the Call Committee.

We invite all members of the congregation to continue to pray for the Holy Spirit to lead, guide, and bless the ongoing Senior Pastor selection process.

With Thanks and Gratitude,

Jim Smiley
Transition Task Force Chairman

Brendan Dolan
Council President


Greetings St. Andrew Family,

I wanted to share a brief update on our transition process. At Tuesday evening’s Church Council meeting, we met with an external Interim Senior Pastor candidate. Following our conversation with that individual, the council voted unanimously to elect and confirm Pastor Peter Johnson as the Interim Senior Pastor of St. Andrew Lutheran Church. While Pastor Peter has already assumed all of the responsibilities of this role, this vote formalizes the process and his new role. 

Thank you to our council, pastors, staff, and many others for supporting the integrity of this process for the senior pastor role and to the congregation for keeping this group in their prayers. We believe that Pastor Peter’s experience and leadership will give our congregation and staff a strong path forward with the consistency and care needed during this transitional time.

Blessings and Merry Christmas,

Joy Altmann
Congregational President

Dear Members and Friends of St. Andrew,

Thank you for the opportunity to serve as your Interim Senior Pastor here at St. Andrew Lutheran Church.

Over the course of my 10 years of ministry here, I have benefited greatly from serving alongside my fellow staff and so many of you. What a dedicated and faithful group of people you are! We have lived out our faith commitment together to learn, serve, grow, share, and also have fun within our church and within God’s wider world. It has been a privilege for me to be a part of this. I look forward to the opportunity of continuing our ministry together in this new role.

I also look forward to honoring all of the Transition Task Force’s important work as it guides St. Andrew through conversations and plans for the future of our church’s leadership. God’s presence with us, celebrated this weekend at Christmas, reminds us that we are not alone and that with God, all things work for the good (Romans 8:28). I also thank you for your continued commitment to and prayers for your church and for us staff.

Merry Christmas to you all,

Pastor Peter Johnson
Interim Senior Pastor

December 16, 2023

Dear St. Andrew Congregation,

As previously communicated, a Transition Task Force has been created and is diligently working to prepare the background necessary for a Call Committee to call a new Senior Pastor. From time to time, we will keep you updated on our progress.

We’ve had two meetings. We have begun to fill out the Ministry Site Profile, a standard form that we got from and will return to the Synod. This profile will have two parts – it will tell prospective Senior Pastor candidates about St. Andrew Lutheran and it will have a profile of the qualities and background we are looking for in the Senior Pastor role. We expect to have the Profile prepared by the end of January 2024.

We will also utilize task force members’ contacts and others’ contacts to seek Senior Pastor candidates. These candidates will be ultimately be presented to the Call Committee. 

Input of the Congregation is important. There will be at few ways that interested members can give that input. Task force members will hold listening sessions beginning in January with standing committees, staff and other constituents. We will ask four to five questions in these one-hour meetings.

Additionally, we will be present at the annual Congregation Meeting on January 28 to get input in a separate session after the meeting. Additionally, you may submit your thoughts to

If you have further comments or questions, please also direct them to the email above.

With Thanks and Gratitude,

The Task Force:
Jim Smiley, Chair
Ross Eichelberger
Ruth Kimmelshue
Jillian Klein
Tim Maudlin
Steve Moen
Sara Ross