The Rev. Susan Candea

Bishop of Central States Synod - ELCA

The Rev. David Whetter

Bishop's Associate

Dave was ordained in 2007 and served as Associate Pastor at Holy Cross Lutheran Church in Overland Park, Kansas (2007-2009) and as Pastor at Salem Church in Lenexa, Kansas (2009-2019).  Prior to being ordained, Dave spent 20 years in a business career.  In his role on synod staff, Dave has primary responsibilities for Mobility (congregations in rostered leader transitions), First Call Theological Education, and Leadership Development. 


Dave and his wife, Jill, live in De Soto, Kansas.  They have three grown children and six grandchildren.  They love spending time with their family; however, they also love being “empty nesters.”  In their free time, Dave and Jill love to spoil their grandchildren, travel, and cook creative meals at home together.


The Rev. Donna Simon

Director for Evangelical Mission



As half-time Director for Evangelical Mission (DEM), Donna's primary responsibilities include shepherding congregations under formation and accompanying congregations undergoing intentional renewal. She loves to see what God can do in the midst of people formed for mission. Donna also serves as pastor of St. Mark Hope and Peace Lutheran Church, in the heart of Kansas City, MO.


Ms. Dawne Bockelman

Synodical Ministry and Special Events



As Administrator, Dawne serves the synod through the coordination and planning for the Synod Assembly, the Bishop’s Theological Convocation and other events. She assists the Bishop’s Associates with Candidacy, First Call Theological Education and financial matters. Dawne joined the synod staff in April 2012. Dawne and her husband Mark have two grown children.


Mr. Tim Anderson

Director of Communications



Tim serves as support staff, providing information and technology resources to Synod congregations through the Synod website, email newsletters, social media, and mobile applications.


Mr. Ben Perrin

Director of Disaster Response

Ben represents Lutheran Disaster Response in this new position on the Synod Staff.  Before coming to the Central States Synod, Ben served as the Manager of Disaster Services for Lutheran Family and Children’s Services of Missouri.   He currently serves as the Chair of the St. Louis COAD and is Vice Chair of the Governor’s Faith-Based and Community Service Partnership for Disaster Services in Missouri.  Ben is also a Licensed Professional Counselor who has experience working with children and families through an assortment of issues.  Ben lives in St. Louis with his wife Erin and their Children, Lucy and Andrew. 


Mr. Stephen Phelps

Regional Gift Planner


Stephen E. Phelps, MA, CFRE is the Regional Gift Planner for the Lutheran Planned Giving Partnership of the Central States and Arkansas-Oklahoma Synods. Stephen is a staff member of the ELCA Foundation and an integral team member of the ELCA’s Mission Advancement Unit. Stephen is responsible for identifying, cultivating, soliciting and securing new, ongoing and planned/estate gifts from individuals in support of synods, congregations, churchwide ministries and ELCA related organizations and institutions. He is available to work with individuals, congregations and ELCA organizations to assist them with stewardship, endowments and planned giving needs. Stephen brings over 25 years of experience in the fund development field. He and his husband David live in St. Louis.

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The Rev. Janice Kibler

Mission Investment Fund Area Representative



Janice has enjoyed the challenge and delight of parish ministry in congregations in Minnesota, Arizona, Colorado and Berlin, Germany. Her work of supporting God's people also included 11 years on the Central States Synod staff. Working with the Mission Investment Fund allows her to continue to encourage congregations and ministries through awareness of loan and investment opportunities. 


Ms. Jennifer Prinz

Regional Representative, Portico Services

As the Portico regional representative for ELCA Region 5 and the Central States Synod, Jennifer focuses on establishing and maintaining excellent member and sponsor relationships.  Some of this is done by facilitating workshops at synod assemblies, meeting with senior seminary students, first call Pastors and Deacons, large employers, and Jennifer annually meets with all of the 13 synods’ Bishop and their staff in her region.  She brings her gifts and deep passion for the well-being of the church’s leaders to this role.


A life-long Lutheran, Jennifer was born and raised in Overland Park.  She has more than 25 years of communications and relationship-building experience, in both faith-based, universities, and health care organizations.  Previously, she worked as a gift planner for the ELCA Foundation, serving the state of Illinois. Prior to that, Jennifer was Director of Professional Development at St. Ambrose University in Davenport, Iowa.


Jennifer earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from St. Ambrose University in Davenport, Iowa, and a Master of Public Administration degree from Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa.  She resides in Waverly, Iowa, where her husband is an ELCA Pastor at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church & School.