Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Our presbytery offers a lay pastor program for elders who wish to serve churches as lay preachers. We are building a faculty and seeking students to have a new class this year.

If you read the Book of Order, the description of ruling elders is clear. The ministry of teaching and ruling elders is similar reflecting the reformed tradition of priesthood of all believers and clerical/laity equity.

Part of me thinks it is unnecessary to designate some elders as certified lay pastors. All elders should be prepared to assume the duties of that office. In reality, I know not all elders receive the preparation needed. Elder training in congregations varies from not much, if any, to a year's worth of Saturday meetings for study.

The new student roster may include a person who is not an elder. I'm uncomfortable with the idea of providing CLP preparation to someone who has not been called to this work through the congregation and who has not been ordained. The person may decide not to participate, so my concern may be moot.

The new class of CLP's will study preaching, teaching, theology and pastoral care. Along with these classes, they will begin to form their pastoral identity where they see their faith being transformed into the role of pastor. This formation will help them realize the resources they have in one another and as a group.

Having a student participate who has not yet received the approbation of God's people as an elder will detract from the purpose of the group.

One of the weaknesses of this presbytery is the fluidity of rules. While this may allow grace to flow at times (cannot think of an example here), we never know what is going on. One pastor's reception into the presbytery happens with little "vetting" or comment; another pastor goes through the pit of hell on the floor of presbytery. One pastor is allowed to make decision contrary to the B of O and our presbytery manual. Another pastor is criticised for not following the guidelines. Makes no sense to me.

Presbytery should allow us to work together without chaos. Should, but doesn't.
Whoever has the biggest voice or assumes the most authority or has the largest congregation, greatest age or whatever determinant, gets to pick the rules.

My "fairness meter" beeps incessantly.

St.Casserole, call me an Old School Presbyter


Presbyterian Gal said...

Hey there you OSP you!

Good thing you didn't call yourself and "Academic School Presbyter"

....you have an excellent point here

Jennifer said...

So, are you saying that your presbytery is bending the rules in the Book of Order to allow a non-elder to take the course? Call me very old school....but that sounds out of order to me. Also, don't CLPs have to take polity as part of their training?

G-14.0560, I believe! Perhaps your gang hasn't hung out enough with the new chapter 14!

Lydia said...


Just returned from a presbytery meeting where the majority of presbyters once again disregarded our polity . . . I had gone to the Stated Clerk, the chair of the Nominationg Committee and the person being nominated (not a member of our presbytery) to voice concerns. When the committee makes their report, "some people think this is out of order, but we nominate so and so." The Stated Clerk suggests we give him voice and vote so now he can be a part of out presbytery.

When someone tries to make a point of order the Moderator calls her out of order.

For two years we have been talking with him about changing denominations -- doesn't have the time to take ordination exams and do paperwork, but has the time to serve on one of the most important committees in the life (death) of our presbytery at this point in time!

What does one of the Charles Schultz's characters say, "GOOD GRIEF!!!!!"?

And the worse part about today was the person attacks.

On my three and 1/2 hour drive I wondered . . . what's the point?


PS. Protests have been filed.

1-4 Grace said...

totally good points and somethign that needs to be clarified in our work with the denominiation.

1-4 Grace said...

Oh and we just had a stated meeting where a paritcualr point was raised with a young man who was being questioned for ordination.
The question was one that was out of order, but nobody wanted to tell the *sshole was raised it, that he could not.
The one pastor that voiced concern was over ruled by the moderator.
It really sucked.

LittleMary said...

guess that makes me an old school presbyter also.

zorra said...

It's ridiculous and infuriating. I wish I had something more intelligent or pithy to say than I agree with you, I've seen stupid junk like this too, and I'm happy to be an Old School Presbyter.
We have a Book of Order for a reason.

Althea N. Agape said...

The whole idea of having a BoO is so that we have agreed ground rules within which to work together. Without them, we are just chaos and nobody knows what to expect and the only ones hurt are the ones trying to follow the rules of engagement. IOW, the bullies rule the day. Make you love polity. sort of.

Kathrynzj said...

Book of Order - double-edged sword.