Christian Education Update

Strategic Evaluation for School of Ministry

As we as a Conference continue to evaluate how we accomplish our work and how we can accomplish it more effectively, we have begun to consider our education and training ministries as a Conference. We have clearly understood that the local churches desire to have leaders trained in using their various giftings, but the training and educational responsibilities have been distributed among a variety of our different councils and agencies. To be very specific, the training of lay people has been the responsibility of our Christian Education ministries as a Conference, while the training of our pastors has been the responsibility, since the early 1960s, of the Council on Ministry. In the last three years, we have moved increasingly towards grouping our training initiatives, especially as expressed in the SDBU initiative.

As our educational initiatives are increasingly part of a single program, it seems reasonable to ask if the oversight of this program should be undertaken by only one of our Councils. Accordingly, Director of Church Development and Pastoral Services, John Pethtel, and Director of Education and History, Nick Kersten, have approached both Councils to consider the possibility of moving all responsibility for training and education to the Christian Education Council. The groups are working together cooperatively to evaluate this possibility. More information on this will be forthcoming if all of the current leadership in both Councils agrees this is worth pursuing.

Child Protection Resolution Update

At this year’s General Conference meetings, a recommendation was adopted which required that all local member churches of the General Conference either (1) indemnify the General Conference against potential litigation and/or (2) pass their own child protection policy. This recommendation follows continued progress in the area of child protection over the past few years, under the guidance of the Christian Education Council and the General Council.

It is likely that some combination of both parts of the recommendation will ultimately become part of the Conference standard going forward, though churches will have the time necessary to meet this standard. The motivation for this standard is ultimately an affirmation of the autonomy of local churches which comprise the Conference. Up to now, there has been no affirmation legally that local churches took sole responsibility for the consequences and outcomes of their local policies. This affirmation is the core of what the General Conference will be formally seeking going forward.

Local churches should expect to receive additional communication in the coming weeks about the next steps in meeting the requirements of this recommendation.

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