The Rev. Gradye Parsons, Stated Clerk of the General Assembly, launched the opening session of the Committee on General Assembly Procedures on Sunday by summarizing the work of the Office of the General Assembly. Parsons highlighted a recent leadership study done in partnership with the Committee on Theological Education and the General Assembly Mission Council.
Citing trends observed by Daniel Aleshire, executive director of the Association of Theological Schools, Parsons noted that two growth areas for the ministerial profession are “home-raised,” or homegrown, associates and bi-vocational ministers.
“Increasingly they will be part of our future, Lutherans’, Methodists’, Catholics’, everyone’s future, giving us a new understanding of what it is to be a minister,” he said. “I’m a child of Depression-era parents who could never have imagined my going to seminary and not getting a job, a manse and benefits. Because it is very different for students of today, we’ve got to figure out how to help that happen.”
Parsons took questions on a variety of issues, including the reliability of the electronic voting process, which became a concern Saturday night during the election of the Moderator. He assured committee members that the process would be rigorously tested for accuracy at the opening of the Assembly’s next business session.
Nonetheless, David Prewitt, elder commissioner from San Joaquin Presbytery, commended the Stated Clerk’s staff for its grace under pressure. “In the confusion with the electronic voting,” Prewitt said, “you and your staff handled yourselves with a certain amount of grace.”
“I’m glad it looked that way,” Parsons replied. “Our prayer life was enriched tremendously.”