From the Worldwide Faith News archives

[PCUSANEWS] Assembly approves ordination of educators

Date 21 Jun 2002 20:58:35 -0400

Note #7323 from PCUSA NEWS to PRESBYNEWS:

Assembly approves ordination of educators
June 21, 2002

Assembly approves ordination of educators

by Bill Lancaster

COLUMBUS, OH - The 214th General Assembly on June 21 decided to ask the 173 presbyteries of the Presbyterian Church (USA) to ratify constitutional changes that would allow the ordination of Certified Christian Educators (CCEs) as ministers of the Word and Sacrament.

The proposed changes provide for a window, or "grandparent period," during which educators certified by Dec. 31, 2003, and having five years' or more experience, could be ordained if their presbyteries waive education and examination requirements normally required for ministers. Such a waiver would require a three-fourths vote of presbytery, which could impose other requirements. The window would close on Dec. 31, 2007.
The changes also would make CCEs ordained under such waivers eligible to serve as associate pastors in the congregations they serve as educators.

The proposed amendments would require "demonstrated competency" in certain educational skills, and would permit a candidate for ordination to present a lesson plan rather than preach a sermon as part of his or her presbytery examination.

The Assembly's action also affirms additional educational requirements for ministers who want to be designated as educators; these requirements are to be enumerated in a manual rather than in the constitution itself. Ministers will have three options: an M.Div. degree plus a MA degree in Christian education; an M.Div. degree plus certification as a Christian educator; and an M.Div. degree with a concentration in educational ministry.

The Assembly took its action on the recommendation of the Church Orders and Ministry Committee, moderated by the Rev. Michael Lindvall of the Presbytery of Detroit. The committee based its recommendations on the Report of the Task Force on the Educational Design for the Ordination of Christian Educators.


The Assembly also approved constitutional changes to be sent to the presbyteries for ratification regarding the certification of Christian educators.  The proposed changes were based on the report of the Christian Educator Certification Council.

The changes would:

* Clarify that there are two levels of certified Christian educators - CCE, requiring an MA degree or equivalent, and Certified Associate Christian Educator (CACE), which requires a BA or equivalent;

* Add to the responsibilities of presbyteries regarding certified educators, including record-keeping duties and the examination of certified educators in worship and sacraments;

* Require compensation and benefits guidelines for CACEs, as already required for CCEs;

The Assembly, acting on the recommendation of the committee, disapproved one part of the report, declining to order that CACEs have the privilege of the floor with voice at presbytery meetings, or that CCEs ordained as elders have voting privileges. (CCEs already have the privilege of the floor with voice.)

The commissioners approved a measure that would include Christian educators in the membership statement of the committee on ministry.
They also approved a change in the language of the stated clerk attestation regarding a minister in good standing.  

Chapter XIV

	The GA approved the committee's recommendation to refer the matter of major revisions to Chapter XIV of the Book of Order to the Office of the General Assembly (OGA) for resubmission to the 2006 Assembly. OGA is to conduct "broad-based conversation" with presbyteries and others regarding the role of the constitution in the life of the PC(USA).
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