By Tim Cargal, Office of the General Assembly.
The Presbyterian Church (USA) committee charged with preparing ordination exams has approved changes to administration procedures for the tests, complying with assignments it was given by the General Assembly.
At its annual meeting March 9–14 in Atlanta, the Presbyteries’ Cooperative Committee on Examinations for Candidates (PCC) voted to expand the time parameters for three exam areas and give presbyteries the option to incorporate oral examination components as part of online tests. The changes take effect with July exams.
“The PCC hopes that these changes will allow our candidates to more effectively demonstrate their ability to apply the training that they have received in practical ministry settings and help the presbytery committees that work with them to have a clearer picture of their readiness for ministry,” said the Reverend Steve Ranney, moderator of the PCC.
The PCC’s actions were in response to a mandate from the 221st General Assembly (2014), which received a report from a special committee formed by the 220th General Assembly (2012) to study of the preparation process.
The PCC was asked “to develop means to broaden the format of standard ordination examinations beyond time-limited essays, and include additional protocols that may integrate oral presentations into the standard examination process” (Minutes, 2014, Part I, p. 378 of the electronic version).
Exams covering Church Polity, Theological Competence, and Worship and Sacraments will all be impacted by the change related to time limits. Presently those tests are three-hour exams given over a day and a half. Candidates submit online responses to three different scenarios for each test.