Twenty-seven leaders among Grace Brethren clergy are meeting yesterday, today, and tomorrow at the Grace Brethren Church of Lititz, Pennsylvania, for a “Certification Summit” to discuss issues relating to the licensure and ordination procedures for the FGBC.
The group includes district examining board personnel and AGBM officers representing churches from Soldotna, Alaska, to Fort Myers, Florida. Dr. Jerry Young, who has been serving as research and development director for the Association of Grace Brethren Ministers (AGBM) is convening and directing the sessions. Because of the far-reaching nature of the Summit, he called the event “historic” in its proportions and potential impact.
Last night Dr. Tim Boal, the current president of the AGBM, laid out some issues for discussion and Dr. Young introduced the primary purpose of the Summit and conducted the get-acquainted sessions.
Today (Tuesday) the work began in earnest. Divided into four subgroups, the participants worked their way in four small-group discussion sessions through some 45 questions relating to how examining boards work, what changes might be necessary, and more. After each of the four breakout groups, a joint “reporting session” summarized each group’s findings for the entire group.
Chaplain endorsing agent John Schumacher talked about some of the particular qualification issues with military chaplains and Pastor Don Eshelman explained the IRS implications of the terms “licensed and ordained ministry.”
Tomorrow’s sessions will begin with an AGBM officers’ meeting at 7 a.m. followed by wrapup and “common agreements” sessions. The goal is to complete the sessions by approximately 10:15 a.m.
Members of the Lititz church are hosting many of the visiting clergy in their homes overnight, and are providing meals and hospitality for the group at the church building. Further discussion and finalization of many of the recommendations will come at the AGBM meetings this summer during the Celebrate06 sessions in Palm Springs, California.