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About this blog

The Rev. Timothy Cargal, Ph.D., serves as Assistant Stated Clerk for Preparation for Ministry in 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 of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). 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.”

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September 27, 2012

Updated "Advisory Handbook" Available

Cover of Advisory HandbookSeveral actions taken by the General Assembly this past summer affect the preparation for ministry process. In conjunction with the annual “Polity Conference” the first week of October, we are releasing an updated version of the Advisory Handbook on Preparing for Ministry in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). This edition also includes new materials in response to requests for expanded treatment of some topics. “Release 1.3” of the 2011/2013 handbook is now available for download from our website.

In all, six sections in the “Walking the Road Together” chapter of the Handbook have been updated. In order of their appearance in that chapter and together with the Book of Order paragraph to which they relate, here are brief descriptions of the changes:

Again, the full handbook can be downloaded from our website. Handout versions (in both Adobe Reader [.pdf] and Microsoft Word [.doc] formats) of each section of the handbook are also available from that same page.

To be sure you have the latest version, look for the date "October 2012" in the lower-right corner of the cover, and the words "2011/2013 Release 1.3" on the copyright page.

Categories: Ordination Process


September 14, 2012

Of Carts and Horses

One of the great questions now before the church concerns how it relates to its changing cultural context, and the types of leaders and forms of leadership needed to bring to reality a new relationship between church and culture. In this post I want to look at one particular aspect of that question—the relationship between leaders and institutional change—and whether we are in some ways "putting the cart before the horse."

I recently finished reading Diana Butler Bass's book, Christianity after Religion (San Francisco: Harper One, 2012). One of the key analytical structures utilized in the book ...

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August 31, 2012

"Early results are in..."

Well, the candidates have finished the first round of online testing for the senior ordination exams, and on the whole the early reviews have been very positive. That is not to say that there were not some problems or that there is no room for improvement.

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August 20, 2012

Countdown to Online Exam Launch

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 ...

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July 31, 2012

Online Exams Becoming Reality

It was six years ago this past spring that the Presbyteries’ Cooperative Committee on Examinations for Candidates (PCC) formed a task group to explore the possibilities for moving the paper-based examination system into the digital age. This past weekend PCC members became the first people to use an online system to answer an ordination exam question. In just four weeks, 511 inquirers and candidates will take one or more examinations online. In this post, I will describe the process we are engaged in to do all that we can to assure that the transition from paper to Internet goes as ...

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