Become an Ordained Minister

ordinained-ministerOfficial ordination into ministry is the symbolic, outward ceremony of an inward calling. There are those who have been ordained in traditional denominations, only to have their title stripped from them when they could not contain the radical, controversial, religious-barrier-breaking spirit of Jesus within them.

There are others who have been refused ordination through traditional means due to their race, gender, transgender, or sexual orientation. There are others still who have felt the call to become a minister, but have not gone through the traditional ordination process due to a lack of faith in the denominational churches.

If you are one who has felt the call and desires to be ordained through the Progressive Christian Alliance because of these reasons or others, please use the information on the contact page to get in touch with us. We will be happy to discuss and walk with you through your spiritual call.

Ministers of the PCA are not ministers in the traditional sense. These are men and women who no longer see the role of a minister as being yards ahead of their congregation, holding the torch, lighting the path, and guiding the way. The role of the minister within the PCA is to be among their community leading, learning, laughing, loving and growing in fellowship along the path together as one.

Share
20 Comments
  1. Hello,

    The reason I write to you is because I think I’m looking for a second opinion. Please pardon the length of my story.

    To offer you a frame of reference and so you’ll know I was not pursuing ordained ministry just for the money(!), I have worked in the insurance industry for 30 years, and for the past 11 make a very nice living working for a global insurance broker, where I manage a group of client consultants who offer technical expertise to client corporations in the U.S. and around the world. I don’t mention this to be a braggart, but simply to show that I have always been steadily employed.
    I have likewise never suffered from addictions of any type nor have I received treatment for mental illness, although my wife says I can be a little weird at times.

    In 2007 I entered the formal discernment process in the Episcopal Church following a call to ordained ministry that began as whispers in 1995. In true introvert fashion, I prayed and ruminated over it for 12 years before actually taking steps to enter the process.

    In March 2009, after 2 years of regular interviews with various diocesean committees comprised of clergy and laity, extensive background checks, financial disclosure, writing and preaching (as well as serving as a church staff member over pastoral care ministries and Stephen Minister trainer), I felt that I was on the verge of a new life chapter by entering seminary. All of the feedback from my committees on all aspects of my work was uniformly highly positive. I thought I was on my way.

    The only hurdle that remained was the thumbs up from our bishop. I’ll never forget my first meeting with our newly installed bishop in 2007 when he remarked that while he wasn’t saying I was old (I was 52 at the time, he was 48), he was looking to cultivate a “new generation of leadership” in the diocese. I never forgot that remark.

    Perhaps you can imagine how devastated I was when he told me that I was not being given the nod to proceed to seminary, and I was never given a satisfactory reason why, although I was easily the oldest of the 5 aspirants in our group. I formally withdrew as an aspirant that day, which hindsight tells me that was probably his hope. In retrospect, I don’t think I fit the profile: I’m older, bald, not that pretty, and I have a strong sense of who I am by virtue of my life experiences, spiritual, professional and personal. Honestly, I think that I was allowed to proceed in the process so as to give the impression of inclusion to all who might be interested.

    That was nearly 2 years ago. Through ups and downs – and there were many – my faith and my family sustained me through the storm that followed. I radically simplified my life. I became a benedictine oblate (after thinking about it for a couple of years, of course), and the daily liturgy of the hours and lectio keep my life soundly earthed in Christ. I remain active in our parish, although I am decidedly less enamored with the corporate church than I was. Looking back now,I think that what I felt were my strengths – the lessons of a life lived – became liabilities in the eyes of the church hierarchy.

    Don’t get me wrong – I’m not whining of mistreatment or complaining of age discrimination – mostly, I think I’m disappointed in myself for entering the process with such naive abandon, blindly trusting that God was in the process and for making myself so utterly vulnerable and transparent. This was the church, after all, and mine, I believed, was a holy and noble pursuit. I was not cocky or arrogant, but exhuberant with anticipation. This was the time for me to become what I was supposed to become. How wrong I was.

    I don’t know what led me to your website – well maybe I do – but what I have discovered is that while my opportunity to pursue ordained ministry within the context of the Episcopal church is history, what I understand to be my calling is not. I’m not interested in starting my own church or preaching from a street corner. I simply wish to quietly continue to be attentive to God’s action in my life and to minister to those who need it most. Does that require ordination? No. Is that something that still pulls at me from the inside? Yes.

    As Rumi puts in in one of his poems, for every buried treasure, there is a snake guarding it, and in order to access the treasure, you must kiss the snake. For all of the heartbreak that ensued, I lost my religion but I truly found my faith in the process, and for that I am eternally grateful. I am living more authentically than before, which I don’t think is something I could have learned in seminary. After all of this, I feel ever the more blessed, and I feel that I have something valuable to share with others.

    I’d be happy to share all of my discernment writings and sermons (2) if you have any interest whatsoever. Thanks for reading.

    By grace,
    Ralph

  2. Ralph,

    There is much that speaks to me in your story. I have heard variations of your experiences from many others, in different traditions.

    Let me say that I categorically disagree with the apparent position of your bishop. The church does itself a disservice when it seeks to silence the voices of either their youth or their elders.

    I further consider it a conceit that a representative of Christ’s church would assume a role of gate-keeper judging the suitability of those whom God has called. Far better (to the thinking of the Progressive Christian Alliance) that the church give of itself and work with those whom God has called to fulfill that calling.

    I would love to read more of your writings, and would welcome any conversations regarding discernment.

    Feel free to email us at info@progressivechristianalliance.org or me personally at roger@progressivechristianalliance.org

    Thank you for sharing your experiences with us. May you be blessed in your journey.

    Rev. Roger McClellan
    Progressive Christian Alliance

  3. I sympathize with all the stories of those who have been refused. I have a similar story.

    But my question is, why would anyone seek ordination in PCA?
    From your description of the role of an ordained person, it seems to me that that same person can do all of that without being ordained. Am I missing something?

  4. Judith,
    Sorry about the delay in response; as I did not see this comment appear until it was brought to my attention.

    Your question is a valid one, with no real easy answer. You rightly hint that in our understanding, the role of an ordained pastor is not on of being set above, and is in fact one that is lived and practiced in a community that should share the same goals and dedication. In truth, I could name many a lay person who has a greater ministry and impact than many ordained pastors.

    I suppose it all comes down to calling. I suspect that all of us who have sought affiliation or ordination through the PCA have done so in response to an unwavering sense of being led to take that symbolic or sacramental step of dedicating our lives to the service of God and our neighbor through ordained ministry. In my own case, it or was nothing I could easily define; but my soul found no peace until I answered that calling.

    I doubt that this provides and substantial answer to your question; but I can scarcely put into words the tugging at my own heart.

    Blessings to you in your own journey; wherever that may lead.

    Roger

  5. I talked to
    Rev. Terry McGuire and he told me to ask for an application for affiliation to the alliance.

    Thank you for your help,
    Linda Fessenden

  6. I would like an application for affiliation to the alliance. Thank you.

    Peter Walter

  7. I would like an application for affiliation to the alliance please. My address is 1736 Forrest Ave. Memphis, TN 38112 Thank you for your time and attention to my needs.

  8. I would like more information regarding seeking ordination with your organization.

  9. I was an ordained Protestant minister all my life, demitting approx. 2 years ago in order to unite with a branch of the Eastern Orthodox Church. And I love “my” church (in quotes because of course it’s not *mine*) … but Orthodoxy in general tends to be rather less than Progressive in outlook. I’d be interested in talking with someone about whether there are ways to be involved with PCA’s ministry. Thanks :-)

  10. I would be delighted to speak to you.
    Please email me. roger@progressivechristianalliance.org
    Peace,
    R

  11. I would like more information on ordination.

  12. Hi Mario. Please send an email to info@progressivechristianalliance.org for ordination information.
    Regards,
    R

  13. I have somehow lost the email containing the application for ordination. Please send me another one. Sorry for the inconvenience.
    Mario De Salvo

  14. I just sent an email to receive information on becoming ordain. Hope it reaches the right place.

  15. I know your busy but I have somehow lost in cyber space the ordination application you sent me some time ago. Could I trouble you for another.
    Thanks

  16. Roger are you still alive? I see you have not posted on this site since 12/15/11. If I am interested in ordination who should I contact?

  17. I would like information on becoming ordained into the PCA. I hope and pray your still around as I have not seem any posting in nearly a year.
    But I have been in the Ministry for 36.
    When the Organization I was in merged with another one, I disagreed with it and was kicked out and now they claim to not know me.
    Thank you for the information on ordained into the Organization.
    Dr. C.N. Turrell

  18. Mario,

    Roger is indeed alive and well, although both the growth of PCA and life in general have kept him hopping busy for some time. I am an ordained minister with the PCA, by the way, but not on the Leadership Council nor do I hold any position other than that of Minister.

    If you are interested in information, I suggest that there are two paths to follow.

    1. There are a couple of very active PCA Facebook pages. If you search Facebook for “Progressive Christian Alliance” you should have no problem finding them, and connecting with many people who are involved with the PCA.

    2. Email info@progressivechristianalliance.org for more information.

    Blessings.

    Tony

Leave a Reply

Login with Facebook:
Log In

Support the PCA

Help us in our mission

Newsletter

Subscribe to our newsletter and stay up to date with the PCA

Login Form