We Presbyterians pride ourselves on doing things "decently and in order." Sometimes the procedures we develop may seem too rigid, but at other times the underlying orderliness is not immediately apparent.
During the meeting of Pittsburgh Presbytery at the Crestfield Camp and Conference Center on September 8, 2005, the Committee on Preparation for Ministry presented five inquirers (who have been exploring their sense of call) to be received as candidates (and continue a more intensive discernment process about their call to ministry).
The Presbytery voted to receive local Pittsburgh blogger John Creasy, a member of Memorial Park Community Presbyterian Church, as a candidate. The Presbytery also voted to receive inquirers Joan Hogge, Shanea Leonard, Robert Sparr and Brian Snyder as candidates. Congratulations to all! This is an important step on your paths toward ordained ministry.
At the conclusion of the committee's report there was a question from the floor from a minister who had concerns about the timing of the process of preparation for ministry. He was noticing that some of the individuals being received as candidates had already graduated from seminary, and would remain in the process for at least another year before they were eligible for ordination. Jim Tinnemeyer, the chair of the committee explained that the committee's process is a discernment process and that the fact that the person's educational timeline was not in synch with the discernment process of the church with the individual should not be a concern.
I agree that it is not in the committee's power to force the two processes to follow the same timeline. Our church's discernment process has some inflexible requirements, but is flexible enough to take into account the fact that the sovereign God calls individuals into ministry on God's schedule not on ours. I have seen seminary graduates, after they have all the academic degrees that are required, enter our discernment process. I have also seen people enter the process before they applied to seminary. Our church has a process that works for all because it accepts the fact that we are each at different stages of spiritual and academic development when we respond to God's call.
My articles about this Presbytery meeting are: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6
File under: Pittsburgh Presbytery, Crestfield, Presbyterian Church, preparation, ministry