(email from Clare Braun, Sent: 09 November 2003 21:43 PM)
I have been watching with interest the dialogue between Larry [Ogden] and Ken [Bellous]
re. the role of DPR/Council etc. and the ensuing directive. I am
involved in the "credentialling process." I am the chair of the
Association Ministry Committee (AMC) of the Niagara-Hamilton Association (NHA). I am in my second three year term on the AMC. I was ordained in 1998, and therefore have recent experience of the current process.
Here is how I understand the credentialling process. A person "steps"
into the ordination process because of a "paid" position in a church.
The person and the church need to do several things: Interview the
candidate. Stay on top of the many little steps the candidate follows in
the ordination track described by the Blue Book. The individual needs
to: a. arrange a meeting with the AMC and b. arrange for a meeting with
Credentials. One of the purposes of the Credentials meeting is to have
a supervisor for ministry appointed. At the end of the supervision year,
the candidate needs to meet with the AMC once again and go to
Credentials a second time. The purpose of this second meeting is to
obtain from Credentials the "if and when " letter. "If and when a
church decides/chooses to call an Ordination Examining Council ..."
I see three "equal" partners in this process of credentialling a
candidate: the church, the association and the Credentials Committee of
the DPR. Without the church desiring to have a credentialled and/or
ordained minister, neither the association nor the DPR becomes
involved. Without the Association being involved - according to current
structures, there is no legitimate Ordination Examining Council. Without
Credentials, the current process lacks a denominational label (That is
not a good word, but it will do for now.) There have been times when
Credentials would "process" a candidate without keeping the Association
informed and involved, and the AMC of the NHA has reached an
understanding that this "processing" will not take place. Furthermore,
when this Association was unable to get the quorum of churches at an
Ordination Examining Council, and decided to carry on with who was
there, we have received instructions from DPR that Quorum is needed."
And we have complied. Three necessary and equal partners, working
together towards the common goal of ordination and credentialling for
ministry - "checks and balances."
I must say I am really puzzled by the Executive Minister's comments re.
making DPR an authoritative vehicle to send forth the directive. It
doesn't follow at all! If there is a connection, it ought to be that
Council through DPR would consult with the Association and/or the
churches first before assuming authority to issue a directive. The
issuing of a directive of this nature is too grave a departure from
recent and past practices to base it on a variant reading of the role of
I am also wondering whether we are "between the times." - the structure
we know and the "new system for the new Century." I do know that the
Contact Persons at First Baptist Beamsville were never "contacted" about
this matter. We as a church were informed what we were to do and how it
was to be done. Would this directive have been issued under the old
rules? When I check the current By-laws, I cannot see any guidelines
there pertaining to the kind of action taken by DPR. Is this one of the
"tests" of the new system? What happens in the "between times"? Is it
possible we have left ourselves open for a variety of unexpected and
Beamsville Baptist Church
Chair, the Association Ministry Committee of the Niagara-Hamilton Association
Gathering of Baptists News Page