October 2nd, 2018


Whither clergy education and credentials in The UMC?

I was intrigued by some chatter on social media recently among the clergy. There is a perennial set of issues associated with LLPs (Licensed Local Pastors) and Elders/Deacons (clergy with the full boat of credentials and permanent membership in the Clergy Executive Session of Annual Conference). Some of this is status-related, some is governance-related. And a lot of it is figuring out whether acquiring a seminary degree (on top of a bachelor’s degree) is worth the hassle and expense; will the Course of Study (COS) get you what you need, both in terms of education and advancement? Then, the conversation in one post went in another direction: If there is a split in The UMC and a new, more evangelical/orthodox/traditional denomination is formed, what do we think its clergy standards would look like? This is fundamentally unknowable now, but the anxiety expressed by some who will be faced with certain decisions if certain actions follow through from next February’s Called General Conference is real. Collapse )