Friday, February 03, 2006

St. Louis and a Second Chance

Sorry for the laps in posting, I as well as Quotidian Grace are currently in St. Louis, MO at the Association of Presbyterian Church Educators Conference. The big topic of conversation this year this the overtures to add a fourth office. Since one responded to it the first time I posted it I thought in honor of APCE I would give it one more try.

There are two overtures that have been sent to the 217th General Assembly (2006) of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) . Both Mission Presbytery and Shenandoah Presbytery have sent overtures to that present the creation of “a fourth office” for ordination. How do you feel about the addition of a fourth office. Do you think these or any combination of them has a chance of passing? If yes, why? If no, why not? What are the advantages of a fourth office? What, if any, are the disadvantages?

For more Information your can download pdf file of both overtures: Mission Presbytery—Overture #16-Minister of Christian Education; and Shenandoah Presbytery—Overture #31—Educating Elder.

The Association of Presbyterian Church Educators also has additional information.


Purechristianithink said...

I'm not sure--it seems like we're in enough anguish over ordination issues without adding this to the mix at this particular time.

Also, would this make it harder than it already is for churches to afford church educators? Not that I don't think educators should be adequately compensated, but I wonder if an unintended consequence would be that more churches would decide to go with volunteer leadership.

Anonymous said...

Calvin had a fourth church office in Geneva, that of a teacher for his academy.

I think it would be a good idea to ordain educators, including college professors who believe it is their calling from God to teach. Calvin respected, if not authored this argument, why should we differ?

will spotts said...

I do not know if Presbyterians historically had a good reason to part company with Calvin on this. I don’t know their original thinking, but it is obvious they were aware of Calvin’s views on the subject and still chose to organize themselves differently.

I can see advantages – both in terms of elevating education in the church, and in terms of providing some protection to Christian educators. But I also see 2 disadvantages. First, the requirement is education rather than demonstrated proficiency. Given our odd relationship with educational institutions (over which we rightly can exercise very little oversight) I’m not sure it is wise to make them gatekeepers for Christian educators. More importantly, both overtures create a relationship between Minister of Christian Education, or Educating Elder and presbytery that is analogous to the relationship between clergy and presbytery. This means that those having voice and vote will be further tilted away from laity. In the Shenandoah overture, they compound this by counting the educating elder as an elder for purposes of representation. This is not accurate given the relationship to presbytery of the position in question.

Quotidian Grace said...

I think PCIT and Will both have excellent points.

In my opinion, the controversy over ordination standards has the practical effect of preventing any momentum on these overtures about educators at this time.

Stewart said...

I wouldn't bank on either of these proposals passing.

Of the two I like the Mission Presbytery overture better. It more fully explains how the Presbytery would have oversight of the preparation of members for the new office, how the presbytery would ordain them to this office, and how the Presbytery would continue to supervise these ministers.