May 13 through May 19 I attended a school designed for people feeling God’s call into ministry but for whatever reason do not see seminary in their future. The education is called Licensing School and upon successful completion the Conference Bishop signs a licensed for ministry in a specific church(s).
The website of the United Methodist Church General Board of Higher Education & Ministry states the following:
A local pastor answers God’s call to serve the mission of Jesus Christ through serving a local congregation in The United Methodist Church. When appointed, the local pastor performs the usual duties of a pastor, including preaching and teaching; leading in worship and liturgy; receiving new members; performing the sacraments of baptism and The Lord’s Supper; and perf orming the services of marriage (where state laws allow), burial, and confirmation. The local pastor’s authority is only within the appointment setting and does not extend beyond it. The local pastor is not ordained, and serves under the authority of a license for pastoral ministry after completing the steps outlined in ¶ 315 of The Book of Discipline (2012) and meeting any annual conference requirements.
The week was full, very full. My friend Rachel said, “Licensing School is like drinking from a fire hose” and I agree with her. Our days started with a 7:30 a.m. worship followed by breakfast and then off to class, two in the AM and 2 in the PM. Lunch and dinner were both followed by worship with the majority of the worship services lead by students (in groups of three we planned and presented a service). The day ended after one’s homework was done, which for me was usually about 10:15.
The class included 20 students representing 7 states, including two from Minnesota, and 9 faculty. I would guess the age range to be roughly 30 to 75. This was a diverse group with varied skills and talents. It was a joy to be with each one of the students and faculty.
You might be wondering what comes next for me and so was I. I will be acknowledged at the 2017 MN Annual Conference, June 21, as a Local Licensed Pastor appointed to Mora and Ogilvie UMC churches. I am required to continue my education in a program called Course of Study that will start within the next 6 months and if I am able to stay on track will be completed in five years. The best part of my future is that I am appointed as pastor to the Mora and the Ogilvie UMC churches!
Thank you for holding me in your prayers and for being the caring and loving people that you are. I look forward to our future together as we grow more in love with Jesus and do His work of making disciples. To God be the Glory for He has done a continues to do for us.
Your Sister in Christ,