We engage every year in a wonderful process known as Ordination Examining Council. This has always been a community event. We have representatives from the three regions, staff, and Board. This year’s council will be held at the Carey Centre in Vancouver, BC, on May 6 and 7. Let me introduce you to the folk on this council:
O.E.C. Co-Chairpersons: Steve Simala Grant and Fay Puddicombe
O.E.C. Recording Secretary (non-voting): Doug Johnston
CBWC Executive Staff (non-voting members):
Jeremy Bell, Executive Minister (voting)
Dennis Stone, Alberta Regional Minister
Mark Doerksen, Heartland Regional Minister
Rob Ogilvie, BCY Regional Minister
Mentored Ministry Coordinator (non-voting):
Axel Schoeber, Carey Theological College
CBWC Table Officers (voting members):
Laura Nelson, President
Kayely Rich, Vice-president of Personnel and Program
Tim Kerber, Vice-president of Planning
Michael Hayes, Vice-president of Finance
Elected or Appointed Regional Representatives (voting members)
Alberta Regional Representatives:
BC/Yukon Regional Representatives:
Heartland Regional Representatives:
And let me introduce you to the candidates who are presenting themselves before the Council this week:
Amanda Strain, Edmonton
Robin Sloboda, Saskatoon
Grace Wulff, Vernon
Jeff Gullacher, Sherwood Park
Ricky Lee, Burnaby
Chuck Harper, Vernon
David Dawson, Victoria
Scott Carroll, Moose Jaw
Brad Warkentin, Winnipeg
The task of the OEC is not to rubber stamp what has been decided by a local church or a regional interview committee, but it is to sincerely discern and enquire of the candidate in an ongoing process.
Finally, let me draw your attention to a simple explanation of ordination and its process; this piece has been worked on over the years by Wayne Larson, Steve Simala Grant, and Laura Nelson in their roles as Chair of the Council.
Ordination and its Processes
One of the most serious aspects of our life together as Baptists in Western Canada is the examination of Candidates for ordination to the gospel ministry. Under Baptist polity, and in keeping with our understanding of the nature of the church, the ordination of a Candidate is the prerogative of the local church, while the official recognition of the Candidate is the prerogative of Canadian Baptist.
From the local church the call for ordination is issued; to the local church the recommendations of the Examining Council are returned; on those recommendations the local church acts. The church convenes the Service of Ordination and on its behalf those who have been previously ordained to the gospel ministry join with members of the local church to lay on hands, with prayer, for the plenitude of the Spirit and His gifts in thus setting apart a man or a woman to a life of ministry in the church.
But, although ordination is at the request, under the auspices, and by the authority of the local church, it is the custom in Baptist churches to request the fellowship of sister churches in this solemn act. To this end, sister churches are invited to send representatives to an Examining Council. Previously ordained ministers take part in the ordination service; and the Regional Minister normally conducts the service so that all may see that the universal church has a share in the solemn act of a local church.
In Canadian Baptists of Western Canada, by mutual agreement of the churches and areas, and at their request, the denomination convenes a central Examining Council each year. This council is composed of representatives elected by the Regional Executives or Advisory Groups, the elected officers of Assembly (President and Vice-Presidents), up to two representatives from a Candidate’s local church, the Executive Minister and the staff ministers (Regional Ministers and the Director of the Graduate Internship Program) who are non-voting members of the Council.
The Co-Chairs and Secretary of the Council are appointed by the Credentials Committee of Canadian Baptists of Western Canada. The Co-Chairs are responsible to ensure that questions are clear, that the Candidate is not harassed, that communication between both Council and Candidate is open, and that the business is conducted in an impartial and orderly manner.
Candidates are invited to the Ordination Examining Council at the request of the local church on the recommendation of the area in which the Candidate serves and by the approval of the Ministerial Credentials Committee when they have satisfied all requirements of the Ministerial Ordination Standards and Procedures (MOS&P).