The Rev. Susan Candea
Bishop of Central States Synod - ELCA
The Rev. David Whetter
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.
The Rev. Aimée Appell
Director for Evangelical Mission
Pastor Aimée was ordained in 2010 and serves Peace Lutheran in Washington, MO. She has helped the congregation grow into community leaders as a congregation “Bound by Christ, to Break Boundaries.” Together, they have spearheaded several initiatives to build inclusion and dialogue in their community, including Vacation Culture School, Stories Matter, a local Juneteenth celebration, and community book discussions. In 2017, she received the Humanitarian Award from Church Women United of Franklin County. In 2018, she and her congregation received the Clergy Renewal Grant from the Lilly Foundation.
When not focusing on her call, she can be found spending time with family, knitting, crocheting, reading, or gardening. Mother to four wonderful children – Elinor, Holden, Grace, and Abby (as well as three dogs, two cats, a snake, and a gecko), she and husband Nelson, who is the director of the Washington Public Library, have been married since March, 2000.
Mr. Ben Godwin
As Administrator, Ben serves the synod through the coordination and planning for the Synod Assembly, the Bishop’s Theological Convocation and other events. He assists the Bishop’s Associates with Candidacy, First Call Theological Education and financial matters. Ben joined the synod staff in July 2022. He and his wife have two young children, Oliver and Gwen.
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.
The Rev. Adam Wutka
Director of Lay Ministry
Adam has been serving congregations in central Kansas since his ordination in 2005, and is currently the pastor at St. Mark Lutheran Church in Great Bend, KS. He joined the synod's PMA Team in 2017, having worked closely with several Parish Ministry Associates (PMAs) and Synod Authorized Ministers (SAMs) over the years in the Western Kansas Conference. In that time, he has also facilitated and co-facilitated several educational courses for PMA students through Bethany House of Studies and through the ELCA's Select Learning program. Adam joined the synod staff in 2020 as the part-time Director of Lay Ministry, overseeing the synod's PMA program and PMA Team, coordinating the use of PMAs and SAMs across the synod with the Bishop and her staff, and communicating with his lay ministry counterparts in other synods and educational institutions as the concept of authorized lay ministry continues to develop across the church.
The Rev. Barbara Jones
Rev. Barbara Jones is working part-time at the Central States Synod office overseeing the candidacy process. A cradle-Lutheran, Barb began her work in the church at First Lutheran in Maquoketa, IA as a teen-aged organist. Earning a BA in Christian Education from Wartburg College, she then taught at St. Paul’s Lutheran Day School in Michigan City, IN. Twenty-nine years she was in Pella, IA, raising her three daughters, teaching kindergarten/first grade, and being a church musician at Peace Lutheran. Barb finally heeded the life-long call to ordained ministry by earning an MDiv from Wartburg Theological Seminary. She served the people of Trinity Lutheran, Great Bend, KS as co-pastor with her husband, Rev. Jon Brudvig. While currently on-leave from call, she loves being Nana to her five grandchildren, all in the KC Metro, and is doing occasional pulpit supply.
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.
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.