Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Who is a minister?

If you are familiar with the African-American community in the South, a minister is anyone who has a good heart, helps the members of the congregation with their various and sundry needs, and occasionally preaches on a Sunday, even as a guest.  They aren't necessarily paid by the church, they're all very different, but they all have two very important things in common: love of God and love of people.  I think that this community's ability to accept even those that aren't ordained as clergy is a step in the right direction.

Today, the Presbyterian Church (USA) took a HUGE step and I'm so excited for what this means!  They changed the ordination requirements.

They used to say that all ministers, elders, and deacons live in “fidelity within the covenant of marriage between a man and a woman or chastity in singleness” (G-6.0106b in the church’s Book of Order).


Now they say, “Standards for ordained service reflect the church’s desire to submit joyfully to the Lordship of Jesus Christ in all aspects of life (G-1.0000). The governing body responsible for ordination and/or installation (G.14.0240; G-14.0450) shall examine each candidate’s calling, gifts, preparation, and suitability for the responsibilities of office. The examination shall include, but not be limited to, a determination of the candidate’s ability and commitment to fulfill all requirements as expressed in the constitutional questions for ordination and installation (W-4.4003). Governing bodies shall be guided by Scripture and the confessions in applying standards to individual candidates.

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