EVANGELICAL LUTHERAN CHURCH IN America (ELCA) - GUIDELINES ON CANDIDACY ISSUES FOR GERMAN STUDENTS OR PASTORS FROM THE EVANGELISCHE KIRCHE IN DEUTSCHLAND (EKD)
1. Candidacy Process Related to Individuals
2. Consultation with the from "Landeskirchen" of the Evangelische Kirche in Deutschland (EKD)
Pastors: The candidacy process for those who are "Ordained in Another Lutheran Church or Another Christian Tradition" is for ordained pastors. All guidelines should be carefülly followed in partnership with the candidacy committee of a synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA).
The prospective candidate meets with an Initial Assessment Panel, which includes the synodical bishop (or designee), the chair of the candidacy committee, and one other candidacy committee member. The prospective candidate visits with this panel at his or her own expense for the purpose of mutual discemment. This meeting is held prior to the entrance inter-view for candidacy. The churchwide Division for Ministry of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America convenes a review panel once an entrance or endorsement decision is made by the candidacy committee. An approval interview is scheduled once all recommendations have been met. STUDENTS: Students from Germany who have theological degrees but are not ordained must follow the normal steps of candidacy (entrance, endorsement, and approval) with the guidance of a synodical candidacy committee. The candidacy committee must consult with the DiNision for Ministry of the ELCA before any candidacy decisions are made. Once an applicant is approved for entrance into candidacy, the candidate affiliates with an ELCA seminary where the candidate's academic program will be reviewed by a panel convened by the Division for Ministry. The panel makes a recommendation regarding recognition of prior academic or field work, including "Spezialvikariat" and other accomplishments and study. The seminary provides direction for supervised clinical ministry and internship placements as well as for any additional preparation that may be necessary,
Parent Church in Germany
The synodical bishop must request a letter of reference from the candidate's parent church body regarding any German student or EKD pastor who seeks to be approved for ordained ministry in the ELCA. The EKD will provide comments and observations regarding the individual's relationship with the church. This should occur at the beginning of the candidacy process and should be directed to: Evangelische Kirche in Deutschland
Secretary for America Ecumenical Relations and Ministries Abroad
Herrenhäuser Strasse 12
D-30419 Hannover, Germany Fax: 49(0)5 11-2796-717
A copy of this letter from the synodical bishop must be sent to the Division for Ministry of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, 8765 West Higgins Road, Chicago, IL 6063 1.
3. Mission and Ministry of the ELCA
Any time spent in the United States prior to approval should include an immersion in the life and culture of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, including active membership in an ELCA congregation. The normal requirement of one-year membership in an ELCA congregation is the guideline for time to become fülly familiar with the practice of ministry in the ELCA. Providing opportunities for German students or EKD pastors to develop familiarity as well as skills so that they may serve well in ways that are fulfilling and effective in the ELCA is part of the responsibility of the synodical candidacy committee as well as the congregation. For those who have theological degrees from Germany, it is preferred that ordination would be into the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America after the candidacy process has been completed, as a way of further assimilation into the life of the ELCA.
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4. Intent to Remain in United States and ELCA
Prior to and during the application process for candidacy, the synod must examine the desires and goals of applicants to determine their plans for the future. A statement from the applicant that the intent is to remain in the ELCA for long-term service is to be part of the candidacy file.
5. Immigration Issues
While candidates for ordination do not have to be U.S. citizens, such candidates must pursue the appropriate immigration status with the govemment to allow for employment within the United States, The United States government has restrictions regarding those who seek change in status for religious purposes. lt is essential that candidates address this issue and report their status to the candidacy committee.
6. Approval, Assignment, and First Call
After all practical and academic requirements have been completed, including internship and clinical ministry (CPE), the candidacy committee will schedule and conduct the approval interview. The timeline for this process will vary, depending on the background of the candidate as well as familiarity with ELCA mission and ministry. Approved candidates participate in the Churchwide Assignment of Candidates under the direction of the Department for Synodical Relations of the ELCA. It is expected that candidates will be available to serve where they are needed for leadership in this church.
7. Record Keeping
The Division for Ministry maintains records for tracking German students and monitors the effectiveness of this cooperative effort. The synod candidacy committee should report such candidates and their progress to the director for candidacy in the ELCA Division for Ministry. Candidacy decisions and recommendations from the Review Panel should be reported.
Adopted by the Church Council of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America November 14,1999
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