STEP 1 – Talk it out
Talk to your Pastor, Moderator of Session and/or other church official. You literally begin the process by telling your call story to this supportive friend/colleague. With this person, you can begin the conversation about appearing before your Session for their endorsement for Inquiry.
STEP 2 – Get loads of paperwork and read it
Please review the information found on the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)’s Preparation for Ministry website: http://gamc.pcusa.org/ministries/prep4min. Much of the information found there will help guide you through the application process. There is a link to all of the forms that will be used throughout your preparation for ministry, from the application to be enrolled as an Inquirer to the final assessment necessary to be certified ready to seek a call. Included on the website are links to articles and resources that may be helpful, as well as reminders of important dates and deadlines, such as registration for ordination exams.
STEP 3 – We appear before your Session!
If more than three years has elapsed since your church has had a member in the process of becoming an ordained Teaching Elder in the Presbyterian Church, U.S.A., a member of the Committee on Preparation for Ministry will need to meet with your Session. This person will inform and encourage your Session on how to support and care for Inquirers and Candidates, as well as discuss any changes in the process since the last time an Inquirer/Candidate was under care of the Session. Talk with your leadership about this visit and have them call the presbytery office to arrange such a visit.
STEP 4 – Fill out forms and submit them to your Session!
You will need to complete Forms 1A, 1B, 1C, 1D, 2A and 2B and submit them to your Clerk of Session prior to your interview with your Session. This is how they will learn about you and your call. Take your time and answer all of the questions thoughtfully and carefully. The content as well as the presentation of your paperwork and the thought and care put into answering each question will determine the initial impression you make to both your Session and the Committee on Preparation for Ministry.
STEP 5 – Appear before your Session
After you have submitted these forms to your Clerk of Session, set a date where you can meet and interview with the Session of your church. It is important that they hear your call story. When they endorse you for Inquiry, they will need to fill out the Session Evaluation and Recommendation, Form 1D, which includes the selection of an Elder to be a liaison between you and your Session. Both you and the Moderator of the Session also need to sign the Covenant Agreement and Inquirer Release, which is Form 2B.
STEP 6 – Start sending papers to the presbytery
After your endorsement by your Session, the following documents must be on file with the Presbytery office before your Inquiry interview can be scheduled.
- Forms 1A, 1B, 1C, 2A and 2B – Make sure that they are completely filled out and then ask the Clerk of your Session to mail them to the Presbytery office. The Clerk will fill out Form 1D on behalf of the Session and should include it with the other forms.
- Criminal Background Check Release Form – In addition, there is a form that allows a member of the Grace Presbytery staff to conduct a criminal background check. This is standard policy of Presbytery and cannot be waived. This will not cost you anything. Be advised that if there is a positive hit on your background check, it does not necessarily preclude you from coming under care of Grace Presbytery. In such an event, a member of presbytery staff and/or the Moderator of CPM will have a conversation with you regarding that past incident. We are called “Grace” Presbytery for a reason! We all have fallen short and this CPM will work with you to understand how you have dealt with any legal situation.
- Post-high school transcripts – You will need to have every institution of higher learning (community college, college, university, graduate studies, seminary, etc.) send an Official Transcript to the Presbytery office for inclusion in your file.
All of these documents need to be on file at the Presbytery no later than 30 days prior to your interview. The one exception to this requirement is the report based on your psychological evaluation, which will be sent directly to the Presbytery by Dr. Edwards. The next step explains the psychological evaluation requirement.
STEP 7 – Psychological Evaluation
All individuals who wish to come under care of Grace Presbytery as an Inquirer are required to undergo a psychological evaluation. It is up to you to schedule your appointment. Our psychological services provider is the Rev. Dr. Bill Edwards, Ph.D. When you contact him, mention that you are from Grace Presbytery and that you need an evaluation for the Inquiry process. Dr. Edwards will take it from there.
William L. Edwards, Ph.D.
Counseling Psychology & Consulting
8215 Westchester Dr. #232
Dallas, TX 75225
The cost of the testing is split three ways between Grace Presbytery ($200), your home church ($200), and you ($200). At the time of your appointment, you will need to bring a check for $400 to begin the process.
Once you have made your appointment, please send your psychological testing appointment date to the CPM support staff.
Please note that it takes approximately six weeks from your first contact with Dr. Edwards until the completion of his report, so please plan accordingly and give yourself adequate time.
A note about confidentiality: Your psychological evaluation and your criminal background check results are kept securely in a locked cabinet in the office of the Senior Director of Ministry and Church Transitions. Your evaluation will be copied for the committee to read on the day of your interview. Following your interview, the copies are destroyed and the original kept under lock and key at all times.
STEP 8 – Schedule your interview
After you have submitted all your paperwork and you have set a date for your meeting with the psychological services provider, call the presbytery office and set a date for your CPM Inquiry interview!
The rest of the Inquiry/Candidacy process is also filled with paperwork, programs, requirements, conversations, etc. etc. etc. However, once you become an Inquirer, you will be appointed a CPM liaison that will help guide you through the rest of the process.
Again, we look forward to hearing your call story and journeying with you through the process toward ordination to the Ministry of Word and Sacrament!