Sunday, April 15, 2012

Inquiring Minds

A member of our congregation has become an Inquirer. Don't feel badly -- I didn't know what that meant either until God tapped me on the shoulder.

In the Presbyterian Church (USA), there's a rigorous course of study one must pursue in order to become ordained. Just taking an online course won't cut it. Candidates for ordination, once they've formally started the process, are called "Inquirers." It's a better term than student, as part of the process is for the person to inquire what exactly they're called to do. And sometimes, the answer isn't to be ordained.

In addition to some extensive coursework at an accredited school (in this case, Union Presbyterian Seminary), the prospective candidate must show growth not only in academic studies, but also in spiritual development, interpersonal relationships, personal and professional development. And the Inquirer should be an active member of a congregation (for the interpersonal relationship portion if nothing else).

Which means that a member of the Session (the governing body of the local church) is appointed to work with the Inquirer. The role of that person is to meet regularly with the Inquirer, and through discussion be able to assess candidate's development as they move towards the final step for ordination.

Our Inquirer asked that I be assigned the task of working with them -- and so that's how I came to learn about this process. Although I'm working with someone who's undertaken a major faith journey, I suspect I'll be going on a journey myself. Even after just a couple of conversations, I've learned a lot, and have been given much to think about -- some of which I might share in future posts.

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