The Rev. Timothy Cargal, Ph.D., serves as the Interim Coordinator, Preparation for Ministry/Exams for Mid Council Ministries of the Office of the General Assembly.
“... the Land that I Will Show You” is the blog of the Office of Preparation for Ministry/Examinations of the Presbyterian Church (USA). This blog is designed to serve as a resource for those discerning and preparing for a call to the ministry of Word and Sacrament as ordained teaching elders of the church. It will also provide a place for reflecting on and dialoging about the changing context of pastoral ministry in the early 21st century.
For quick announcements about changes or developments in the preparation process, dates related to exams or other key events, discussion boards, surveys, etc., you can follow us on Facebook at “Preparing for Presbyterian Ministry.”
I’m using this post to encourage those who follow this blog to help us get the word out about two very important things related to the online ordination exams at the end of this week. We have sent this information via email to everyone registered for the exams, but not everyone is diligent in checking their email. Beyond that, specialists in advertising say that getting a message across requires multiple exposures in multiple formats. So if you or someone you know will be taking ordination exams on Friday and Saturday, I hope you will reinforce this message.
Here is "The Most Important Thing" ...
Before the first testing date, all test takers should go to http://exams.pcusa.org and login to their account to view their profiles. Office of Preparation for Ministry/Exams staff will be much more available to assist those having problems several days before the tests than the day of the exam. Additionally, staff will not be available outside the business hours of the Presbyterian Center (8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Eastern time, Monday to Friday). Those who need to recover their username or reset their password should click on the "Forgot your password?" link on the "Account" login page.
Second, today we have released some new resources to familiarize folks with the exam system even before the testing dates. Two videos demonstrate the use of the online exams system. These videos may be useful both to those who will take the exams and to those who work with them on behalf of presbyteries, seminaries, testing sites, etc.
A whole new chapter has been added to the Handbook on Standard Ordination Examinations that covers and expands upon the information in the videos. The chapter discussing each area of examination has also been updated with the instructions for online exams. Also, those who are taking the Exegesis exam will need to review the material in that chapter specific to that test (how to provide references to research materials, returning to the exam site during the five-day testing period, etc.).
Both the Handbook and links to the videos are available from the ordination exams homepage, http://www.pcusa.org/exams. To be sure you have the latest handbook release, look for “2012 Release 1.3.1” on the second page of the downloadable PDF file.
Finally, we want to remind everyone once again about the policy changes the Presbyteries’ Cooperative Committee announced back in June regarding the availability of the church’s constitutional documents during the tests. The instructions now permit use of The Book of Confessions in all sections of the Theology exam, and use of both The Book of Confessions and the 2011-2013 Book of Order in all sections of the Worship and Sacraments exam. In both these tests as well as the Polity exam, test takers may use print editions, a PDF digital copy, or both. However, whether print or PDF, there can be no bookmarks, highlights, or annotations in the editions used during the exams.
But again, the most important thing is that everyone taking a test go to the examinations website (http://exams.pcusa.org) by early this Thursday afternoon (Eastern Daylight Time) and confirm that they can login to the system and try out the "Answer Entry Practice." If they need assistance, they should contact Office of Preparation for Ministry/Exams staff.