Petition 81215

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Candidacy (81215-MH-¶311)

Amend ¶¶311, 311.1, 311.2, and 311.3 as follows:
  
¶ 311. Candidacy for Licensed and Ordained Ministry
Persons, upon hearing and heeding the call to servant leadership through licensed or ordained ministry, shall contact the pastor of their local church, another ordained deacon or elder, or their district superintendent to inquire about the process of candidacy. Persons are encouraged to use the resources The Christian as Minister, and the Ministry Inquiry Process, and the Candidacy Guidebook.
  
¶ 311.1  Those seeking to begin candidacy for licensed or ordained ministry:
  a)    shall have been a professing member in good standing of The United Methodist Church. for at least two (2) years immediately preceding the application for candidacy; including a year of service in some form of congregational leadership, either in that local church or one agreed to by the district committee on ordained ministry, provided that in the case of an affiliate member, there has been a consultation with and approval by the charge conference of the home church;
      b)    shall apply to their district superintendent in writing, in a letter describing their sense of call to licensed or ordained ministry, for admission to the candidacy program with a copy for the district committee on ordained ministry; and
c)    shall be assigned to a candidacy mentor by the district committee on ordained ministry in consultation with the district superintendent;
d)    shall be registered through the candidacy mentor with the annual conference;
e)    shall complete with the mentor the preliminary studies in the Candidacy Guidebook in a way that gives consideration to the candidate's background and experience; and
f)    are encouraged to pursue their education at one of the United Methodist seminaries.
    
¶ 311.2  Those who have completed the process  met the requirements in § 1 and are ready to publicly declare themselves to be candidates for licensed or ordained ministry shall:
a)    consult with their pastor and committee on pastor or staff-parish relations after formulating a written statement reflecting their call to ministry and requesting recommendation for certification. The candidate shall be interviewed by the committee on his or her statement of call and Wesley's historic questions in ¶ 305;
    b)    be recommended by the charge conference. To be valid, such a recommendation shall be: i) approved by written ballot by two-thirds of the charge conference present at this meeting, provided that in the case of an affiliate member there has been a consultation with the pastor of the home church, and ii) the candidate shall have been graduated from an accredited high school or received a certificate of equivalency;
c)    continue the candidacy studies for ordained ministry with a candidacy mentor.
  
    c)    apply to their district superintendent in writing, in a letter describing their sense of call to licensed or ordained ministry for admission to the candidacy program, with a copy for the district committee on ordained ministry and prior to their first meeting with the DCoM;
    d)    be assigned a candidacy mentor by the district committee on ordained ministry in consultation with the district superintendent;
e)    be registered through the district committee on ministry with the Conference Board of Ordained Ministry, which will provide the names of candidates to be recorded with the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry;
f)    study with the mentor in the Candidacy Guidebook in a way that gives consideration to the candidate’s background and experience; and
g)    be encouraged to pursue their education at a United Methodist seminary
  
    
¶ 311.3  Candidates who have completed the requirements of § 1-2 and desire to be certified as candidates for licensed or ordained ministry shall:
a)    appear before the district committee on ordained ministry for examination on information submitted [¶311.2c];
         1)  Submit a written response providing evidence of understanding and expectation  
      concerning the following:
  i)    a copy of historic questions [¶331.2a] previously submitted to the SPRC/PPRC
      ii)    the most formative experiences of your Christian life;
iii)    God’s call to licensed or ordained ministry and the role of the church in your call;
iv)    your personal beliefs as a Christian;
v)    your personal gifts for ministry; and
vi)    how your personal relationships may affect your future ministry;
        b)    submit a written response providing evidence of understanding and expectation concerning the following: i) the most formative experiences of your Christian life; ii) God's call to licensed or ordained ministry and the role of the church in your call; iii) your future usefulness as a minister in The United Methodist Church; iv) your personal beliefs as a Christian; v) your personal gifts for ministry; vi) how your personal relationships may affect your future ministry;
      c)    submit a written response providing evidence of understanding of the ministries of local pastors, deacons and elders within The United Methodist Church;
      b)   complete and release required psychological reports, criminal background and credit checks. They shall submit, on a form provided by the conference board of ordained ministry:
      i)    a notarized statement detailing any convictions for felony or misdemeanor or written accusations of sexual misconduct or child abuse; or
      ii)    a notarized statement certifying that this candidate has neither been accused in writing nor convicted of a felony, misdemeanor, any incident of sexual misconduct, or child abuse.
        c)   provide other information as the district committee may require for determining gifts, evidence of God's grace, fruit, and demonstration of the call to licensed or ordained ministry; and
      d)   agree for the sake of the mission of Jesus Christ in the world and the most effective witness of the gospel, and in consideration of their influence as clergy, to make a complete dedication of themselves to the highest ideals of the Christian life as set forth in ¶¶ 102-104; 160-166. To this end they shall agree to exercise responsible self-control by personal habits conducive to bodily health, mental and emotional maturity, fidelity in marriage and celibacy in singleness, social responsibility, and growth in grace and the knowledge and love of God.  Where possible, the local church is encouraged to assist candidates with the expenses of candidacy.
     Add 311.4 as follows:

¶ 311.4  For the sake of the mission of the church and in consideration of the cultural realities of a particular area, Annual Conferences may adapt the requirements for candidacy.

Rationale

This legislation simplifies the initial steps in the candidacy process by reducing the required length of church membership and giving each annual conference the responsibility for registering and certifying candidates.  Candidates will then be reported to, but not registered or certified through, GBHEM.