I think it is best to give some of the history of the preceding three years so that everything makes sense (at least I hope so).
My first step towards a leadership role in worship in the United Church of Canada began when I took a Lay Worship Leader course through Middlesex Presbytery. The courses ran over a period of two years and after successful completion I became a Licensed Lay Worship Leader.
The next step for me came when, in consultation with my minister, I became an Inquirer. As an Inquirer, I went through a one year discernment process with a Discernment Committee that was made up of one member from Middlesex Presbytery and three members of my congregation, one of whom I specifically chose as my support person. We met each month and discussed the various types of ministry that were available (ordained, diaconal, lay pastoral ministry) and where I felt my call was.
At the midway point, there was a revelation! I found out that even though I did not have a Bachelor’s degree, I could be eligible for what the United Church calls ‘the short course’ that would lead to ordination rather than the lay pastoral ministry route I thought I would take because of only having completed one year of university courses and already being 49 and not wishing to get into student loans and debt at this time in my life.
After completion of the year’s discernment, the Official Board of my congregation recommended me to become a Candidate to Middlesex Presbytery who then approved me as well. I also had an interview with London Conference for their approval.
The education part of this is taken through the Summer Distance Program at the Atlantic School of Theology. I was accepted into that program June, 2008 and I had my student supply placement in September, 2008. The way the program works is that for 6 weeks each summer I take 3 courses and during the fall and winter I take a further three courses online. This goes on for a total of five years. So for 6 weeks each summer I am in Halifax at school and for the rest of the year I am the student minister for two churches in Elgin Presbytery. I see it as concurrent education and ministry. This enables me to apply what I learn right away!
If all goes well graduation with my Masters of Divinity and ordination will be May, 2013. With my courses completed for the summer I have hit the midway mark.
If you feel you have a call to ministry… talk to your minister, Presbytery or the Personnel Minister with your Conference for information.
Also the Atlantic School of Theology can discuss the education component. The one thing that I have not mentioned is that there is financial funding available through Pine Hill Divinity Hall for United Church Candidates for Ordination that covers tuition.
This is a very general overview that I hope puts things into perspective