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Series Explores the Idea of Spiritual But Not Religious
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PTS Welcomes Associate Professor of Leadership and Ministry
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Commissioned Ruling Elder Program
Since 1997, the Continuing Education Office has joined with the Presbyteries of Western Pennsylvania to provide training for people preparing to serve as Commissioned Ruling Elders (CREs) or Authorized Lay Preachers (ALPs). This coursework fulfills the course requirements of the Book of Order in the PC(U.S.A.).
This is an intensive training program that requires a serious commitment of time and energy. Careful reading of textbooks, perceptive participation in discussions, and thoughtful completion of writing assignments are expected of all participants. The program lasts two years and is presented in six three-month terms. A retreat focusing on spiritual formation opens and closes the program.
The program uses a hybrid schedule with classes offered online and face to face (F2F). The F2F classes meet one weekend each month at the Seminary in the spring and fall; there are no F2F classes scheduled during the winter months. The online classes use a course management system known as “Moodle.” Topics include preaching, reformed theology, worship and sacraments, pastoral care, Christian education, and polity.
The Seminary awards a certificate to those who complete this course of studies. Local Presbyteries maintain final responsibility for the commissioning and deployment of Ruling Elders and Lay Preachers. It is important to note that admission to the program is determined by the Presbyteries, not the Seminary. Approval to participate is dependent on one’s home Presbytery. Therefore, interested persons should contact their Presbyteries for further information about the program.
The current cohort was formed in late summer 2011. A new cohort will begin in September 2013. If you feel a call to consider becoming a CRE, speak with your pastor first. Then, contact your home Presbytery about enrolling in this program. Your Presbytery must approve your candidacy at the time of your application.
The Enrollment Requirements
Participants must be endorsed by their home presbyteries to enroll in the program. Participants who enroll in the entire program of F2F and Distance Learning courses are ensured a place in all of the courses. Once cohort members have been registered, students from other presbyteries in the Synod of the Trinity may register for the Distance Learning courses, with the same requirement for judicatory endorsement. All classes employ a pass/fail grading system.
Each cohort participant is expected to attend all F2F sessions and to complete all assigned work. In the case of emergency situations, any missed work must be made up. More than one absence in a F2F course must be negotiated with the instructor and may result in a failing grade for the class. Applicants should be aware that this is a rigorous program. Participants will need to spend significant periods of time on a regular basis reading, writing serious reflection papers and responding thoughtfully to the work of classmates.
Access to a computer and the Internet and the willingness to participate in online coursework are requirements for participation in this program. At the conclusion of the program, the Seminary will provide a certificate to those who have completed the course of studies. Remember that local presbyteries maintain final responsibility for commissioning and deployment of Ruling Elders and Lay Preachers. Completion of this program, therefore, does not automatically guarantee commissioning as a Ruling Elder or Lay Preacher.
2013-2015 Cohort Schedule
Spiritual Formation Retreat: September 6-7, 2013
Personal Formation: F2F
Online Training Course: Online
Term I: September 23 - December 20, 2013
Preaching: Exegesis: F2F
Christian Education: Online
Term II: January 6 - March 28, 2014
Reformed Theology: Online
Bible I: Old Testament: Online
Term III: March 31- June 27, 2014 (skip Holy Week)
Preaching: Homiletics: F2F
Bible II: Old Testament: Online
Term IV: September 8 - December 5, 2014 (skip Thanksgiving week)
Preaching Practicum: F2F
Bible III: New Testament: Online
Term V: January 5 - March 27, 2015
Bible IV: New Testament: Online
Term VI: April 6 - June 26, 2015
Pastoral Care: F2F
Worship: Liturgy and Sacraments: Online
Final Spiritual Formation Retreat: July 17-18, 2015
Celebration Worship: F2F
Tuition per course: $295 (12 courses)
Retreat charge: $195 (2 retreats)
Computer training: $50 (one time)
Other expenses: Books (costs vary)
Lodging at Seminary: (approximately $60/night)
Meals at Seminary (as needed)
Registrations for the 2013-15 cohort will be accepted in spring 2013. A non-refundable registration fee of $75 should be submitted with your registration. This fee will be applied to tuition charges for the first term.