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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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Posts with tag: ordination exams

August 21, 2015

Plagiarism in Ordination Exams

Copy & paste iconsDuring my six years working with the preparation for ministry process for the Office of the General Assembly, I had previously worked with presbyteries on three occasions investigating cases of plagiarism in the standard ordination exams. For the just completed Summer 2015 exams, I am now working with five presbyteries.

To be clear, I am not talking about cases of “technical” or “minor plagiarism.” I recognize that there are those who think that “sloppy” identification of sources or quotations that don’t follow “proper academic standards of citation” are not “really plagiarism.” Such examples of directly using words from the ...

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March 29, 2013

Gathering Odds and Ends

Bags labelled "odds" and "ends"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 ...

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October 31, 2012

Review of the Preparation Process

Committee around tableIn my “GA wrap-up” post last summer, I shared that the Assembly called for a special committee to study the overall preparation for ministry process with particular attention to the place of the standard examinations within that process. The committee was charged to bring recommendations to the next General Assembly in 2014. In this post I want to provide an update on that review. But first, a little background …

The last official review of the preparation process for teaching elders was conducted between September 1998 and October 2000 at the request of the General Assembly Council (now the Presbyterian Mission ...

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April 16, 2012

A Digital Handbook for Digital Exams

This fall, the standard ordination examinations will have a whole new "look and feel" as all five areas will be administered online for the first time. So that everyone from inquirers and candidates, to their presbytery committees, to the proctors at the testing sites can prepare for the changes, we are releasing a new edition of the "Handbook on Standard Ordination Examinations in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)."

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September 29, 2011

Why Ordination Exams? ... Future

Theology exam book laying atop laptop computerThe previous two posts have explored how the ordination exams began from a concern for equitable treatment of those preparing for ministry of Word and Sacrament and the principles formed to achieve this purpose of equitable treatment of candidates across the church. In this final installment in the series, I want to look to the future of the ords in light of changes to the exams process recently announced by the committee of the church responsible for their administration.

The current model for administering the Presbyterian Church (USA) ordination examinations is essentially unchanged since the tests began in the United ...

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