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Changes proposed for ordination and licensing

Changes proposed for ordination and licensing

Early ordination for elders and deacons and a strengthened Course of Study for local pastors are among proposals from a United Methodist study commission.

Indiana clergy pray over stoles for new pastors in Sierra Leone

United Methodist clergy in the Indiana Conference pray over stoles destined for newly ordained clergy in Sierra Leone. 2014 photo from the Indiana United Methodist Church.

Ordination of United Methodist elders and deacons would be faster and training of licensed local pastors more rigorous under proposals by the 2013-2016 Ministry Study Commission.

The commission’s just-released report is notable for issues it doesn’t address: namely, security of appointment for ordained elders.

And the report offers observations on challenges facing The United Methodist Church, stating that the denomination must respond to a rapidly changing culture while staying grounded in Wesleyan theology and practices.

“We want to ride that tension between those two — to adapt to the new complexities of our world, while still retaining historical stances,” said Bishop Grant Hagiya, commission chair and bishop of the Greater Northwest Area.

Ministry study commissions consist of bishops, other clergy and laity, and are a creation of General Conference, the denomination’s top lawmaking body.

The 2012 General Conference challenged the current commission to tackle a range of issues, including the “nature and grounding of the elder” and education for local pastors, a growing force in the denomination.

Some of the commission’s recommendations will be introduced as legislation at the 2016 General Conference in Portland, Oregon, while others are offered more generally.

To read more of this story from United Methodist News Service, click here.