Back to School, Eyes Wide Open

To be empowered to preach and preside with any genuine authority, I need to get a graduate degree in theology or ministry that will qualify me for ordination in a church that won’t reject me on the basis of sex. The last academic class in theology I took was Calvin’s Institutes almost a quarter century ago, so I need to start with a fresh slate.

I’ve learned my lesson about jumping into a new church or a new career too quickly, without surveying my options and the pros and cons of each first. So my concrete goal is to find out by the end of 2020 the answers to these questions:

  • What churches ordain women, and what “faith affirmations” do each require that I might not be able to agree to in good conscience?
  • What are the ordination options? Part time or full time? What is typical compensation, if any?
  • What kind of degree or program leads most efficiently toward ordination? How long will it take? Can I get started while working my current job?
  • Can I get the church to pay for some or all of my required studies toward ordination? On what conditions?
  • To the extent I have to pay myself, how much will it cost? How can I plan and budget for that?
  • Is there a suitable seminary that is local to where I live now? What is the culture like at that seminary?
  • If there aren’t any suitable local options, where would I need to go to attend a seminary that will provide me with the kind of support network I’ve never had before and really need to thrive in my vocation?

I’ve been trying to schedule a meeting with the rector of the Episcopal church I’m currently attending to start learning some of this from her perspective. Maybe I have a meeting with her on Thursday but she hasn’t confirmed that yet. But that’s just a starting place, and I need to start researching a lot more beyond that to be confident in making an informed decision.

3 thoughts on “Back to School, Eyes Wide Open

  1. This is exciting Lillian…its a mix of so many emotions and many practical questions, how do we ensure that we can live into our call in sustainable ways for both ourselves and our families. When I decided to go to divinity school, it put my beloved and I in a financial crunch that we are still in. I am happy to put you in contact with friends of mine who went through the ordination process with the Episcopal Church (women, people of color, and queer folks), just let me know. As we discern the path, be mindful of the practical steps but don’t let those steps be too much of a distraction or limitation. Goddess does have a fun way of providing.

  2. Hi Lillian – the wisdom that you are carrying with you that you often are jumping too quickly really struck me. What dance does your body call you to do as you take the time to consider next steps? Diane

  3. You remind me of myself in the way you plan, organized and methodical…works for me, I hope it works for you. Where we differ is that you have made a plan and I have not! I am so excited to hear what you learn as you work your plan and I am excited to see where this leads you! When I first left the Catholic church, I too, was very careful about learning the creeds and doctrines of the churches I was exploring, which led me to the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod. Back then, however, I wasn’t wrestling with the question of women’s ordination so I would consider the LCMS today. I hope you’ll remain in the “fight” and maybe consider joining us as a member of FutureChurch http://www.futurechurch.org. Let us know how your meeting goes on Thursday…assuming the rector confirms it!!!

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