New board will coordinate theological education in the RCA

On Monday, June 11, General Synod voted to form a permanent Pastoral Oversight Board (PFOB), which will “coordinate, evaluate, innovate, strategically anticipate, and collaboratively shape theological education” in the RCA.

The PFOB replaces the Pastoral Formation Coordinating Committee (PFCC), which was established by General Synod 2016 and given two years to put together a proposal to synod for a permanent committee.

The PFOB’s responsibilities will include:

  1. Coordinating the Certificate of Fitness for Ministry process in partnership with the classes and evaluating the overall effectiveness of the processes. (A Certificate of Fitness for Ministry is granted to M.Div. seminary graduates after they have been judged as qualified for ministry of Word and sacrament in the RCA. It entitles graduates to an examination for licensure and ordination.)
  2. Offering resources, support, and best practices for discerning the call of ministerial candidates and caring for ministerial candidates during the ordination process.
  3. Providing a forum for collaboration among the seminaries and the Ministerial Formation Certification Agency on ministerial formation and continuing education.
  4. Collaborating to form leaders capable of ministry in a multicultural world.
  5. Exploring collaboration between churches committed to forming pastoral leadership in their congregations and the theological agents.
  6. Facilitating commissioned pastor preparation among classes.
  7. Assisting the General Synod Council (GSC) in reviewing theological education assessment and any additional RCA funding that is requested.

The PFOB will have 13 voting members; in addition, the general secretary will serve as an ex-officio member (without vote). As much as possible, the PFOB’s membership will reflect the full diversity of the RCA. At least three members will be General Synod professors, and members will be nominated by the Commission on Nominations.

The PFOB will be directly accountable to the General Synod and will report annually to the General Synod on its work. The GSC and the PFOB will work with the Commission on Church Order to put together an official governing document to be approved by General Synod 2019.

Apart from costs for staff, which will be part of the GSC assessment budget, PFOB expenses will be covered through the assessment for theological education.

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