The Rev. Timothy Cargal, Ph.D., serves as the 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.”
It is proverbially said that the oft-eventful weather patterns marking the transition from winter to spring cause the month of March “to come in like an lion, and go out like a lamb.” While it remains to be seen how quickly things will settle in the grass like a lamb, it is certainly the case that this month has been a roaring lion of activity in the area of preparation for ministry. So, this blog post shares some odds and ends about recent and upcoming developments.
Office of the General Assembly Reorganization. On March 6, the OGA staff was realigned as part of a structural reorganization (check out these news releases for more information about the structural and staffing changes). Support of preparation for ministry including the ordination examinations is now provided through the Mid Council Ministries of the Office of the General Assembly. I continue to be the point person in this area, although in keeping with broader changes in titles within OGA the position is now “Interim Coordinator, Preparation for Ministry/Exams.” The new Mid Council Ministries structure will provide even closer teamwork with OGA staff responsible for constitutional interpretation, further strengthening what was already a close and productive relationship.
Online Examinations. My previous post marked both the end of regional reader gatherings and announced some changes coming with the next round of exams. There has been a positive reception to the news about the reduction in exam fees (to $75 per exam). In this post I want to let you know that we will also be extending the length of the registration period for the Fall 2013 and Spring 2014 exam cycles. Registration will now be open through the end of the month preceding the first day of exams. So, inquirers and candidates will have until July 31 to register for the August 23-24 senior exams and the August 30 Bible Content Exam. Registration for those tests will open on Monday, April 1. For the senior exams to be given in 2014 on January 31-February 1 and the BCE on February 7, the registration deadline will be December 31, 2013.
Updated Webpages and Resources. We recently completed making some updates to our webpages (with more to come as responsibilities of the former Office of Vocation shift from being a shared ministry with the Presbyterian Mission Agency to being completely within the new OGA Mid Council Ministries). An update of the “Advisory Handbook on Preparation for Ministry” has been posted, which includes a revised section on examining candidates in response to an “advisory opinion” on the ordination standards in G-2.0104b and a new section on working with immigrants in the preparation process. The “Handbook on Standard Ordination Exams” has also been updated for the 2013-14 exam cycle.
There are important meetings coming up at the end of April for the Presbyteries’ Cooperative Committee on Examinations (PCC) and in May for the General Assembly Special Committee on Review of the Preparation for Ministry Process. Keep an eye out here for more updates in the coming weeks.