I started these posts by talking about a few reasons I want to be ordained. This short post goes into some detail about how the ECC (or the Covenant) goes about ordaining folks.
The denomination educates ministers at North Park Theological Seminary. For folks who study there, the process is slightly different. For people in shoes like mine, there are other steps. Part of the Covenant’s process includes taking classes ( 7 of them when I started, though that’s been changed to 4 classes nowadays) to orient people to the denomination; participating in particular experiences like retreats and conferences; reading books; attending Annual meeting and Midwinter; and connecting with other pastors inside the denomination. People are also expected to be supervised by a mentor who is already ordained and serving in the denomination. I should also say that to be ordained to what’s called “Word and Sacrament” in the Covenant, you need to have a MDiv. That’s a thorny issue for some, but I’ll come back to that in a few days.
As I said, these steps are a bit different if you attend our denomination’s seminary, but since I went somewhere else, I had to take supplemental courses and so forth. The classes were good because I knew nothing about this denomination before accepting my role at New Community. I was familiar with a few Covenant churches but that was it.
Further, the process above is very different from the one I went through in my first experience of ordination. Each denomination is different. Some ordinations are done through the local church only (like my first ordination). Usually Baptist and independent churches are in this category. Others are through connectional systems, also known as denominations, like the United Methodist Church or the Church of God in Christ. The Covenant is an example of the latter.
If I have a successful interview, if my paper doesn’t raise too many red flags, if all the reports and signatures concerning me come back positively, I will present myself before our Conference (a collection of churches in geographically close states) in the spring, talk about myself, and they will hand me off to the Annual meeting to be voted in. I’m omitting one or two things, but those are the basics.
Perhaps this post is completely irrelevant to you, and if you read it only to find that irrelevancy, you’re a great visitor to this blog!