CPM: Steps for Moving from Inquirer to Candidate

The Inquiry phase is a time when the inquirer begins to explore the issues around their sense of call. It is a time of questioning, testing and growth during the discernment process towards ordination. The following requirements should be met during this time period:

1. Field Education and Clinical Pastoral Education (certified unit):
During the preparation process, the inquirer/candidate is required to complete both a certified unit of Clinical Pastoral Education and a field education. One of these must be completed before advancement to candidacy. The advisory group may require both be done in the inquiry phase if it deems it necessary. Self- evaluations and supervisor’s evaluations must be submitted to CPM as part of the evaluative material that is collected during the preparation process.

Ordinarily, field education is completed during the course of seminary study and should be in a Presbyterian congregation. CPM expects to approve the site prior to the beginning of work. The term should be at least nine months of part-time (10 – 15 hours/week) or full-time for three months. The placement shall not be in the home church of the inquirer/candidate, but ideally in a context that offers a balance and contrast to the home church environment. Supervisor’s mid-term and final evaluations as well as the student’s evaluation must be submitted to CPM for review. The evaluations can be sent by mail to the Presbytery Office, attention CPM or by email to office@ptcaweb.org.

The Presbytery of the Twin Cities Area requires at least one unit of certified CPE in a hospital or other setting. The advisory group must pre-approve the proposed location.
2. Annual Consultation:
The CPM requires an annual consultation with all inquirers/candidates during the time they are under care of the Presbytery. Form 3 and Form 4 are used to compile information for this review. The CPM moderator coordinates the annual consultation schedule.

The CPM requires at least one annual consultation prior to review for candidacy.

An annual consultation will ordinarily include the inquirer/candidate, his/her session liaison, his/her pastor (when possible) and his/her advisory group. The consultation will begin with introductions and a time of touching base with the inquirer/candidate about their experiences, education and growth since last meeting with the committee. The growth objectives established at the previous meeting will be reviewed and new growth objectives will be discussed together. After about 40 minutes the inquirer/candidate will be invited to leave the group and a short discussion will be held with the Session liaison and pastor. They will join the inquirer/candidate while the advisory group finalizes recommendations to the full CPM. All are invited to return. The advisory group then shares its affirmations of the inquirer/candidate and its recommended growth objectives. The gathering will close in prayer. Shortly after this meeting, the adviser and inquirer/candidate will meet to fill out Form 4 reflecting the outcome of the consultation and to debrief the meeting. Copies of Form 4 will be shared with the inquirer/candidate’s Session and seminary.
3. Seminary Education:
Persons in the preparation process must attend a seminary accredited by the Association of Theological Schools in the United States and Canada (ATS).

The seminary course of study must meet all requirements of the Book of Order, and additional requirements established by the Presbytery of the Twin Cities Area. If an inquirer/candidate is enrolled in a non-Presbyterian seminary, he/she may be required to take specified courses in another seminary as required by the CPM.
4. Bible Content Examination:
The Bible Content Exam is one of the five required exams for ordination in the PC(USA) It is offered online twice a year and inquirers are encouraged to take it as soon as possible during their time under care.
5. Level I Boundary Training:
Passage from inquirer to candidate will not be approved unless the individual has completed the basic sexual misconduct prevention training course which is offered once during the year in the Presbytery of the Twin Cities Area. If an inquirer wishes to request approval for equivalent training in another setting, that request for equivalency approval should be made to the CPM and the Committee on Ethics, the Presbytery’s committee responsible for the sexual misconduct prevention training. Costs will be borne by the inquirer.
6. Fiscal Fitness:
Pastoral care for students and clergy includes caring for their financial well-being and that of their families. To that end, the Presbytery of the Twin Cities Area strongly recommends every seminary student under care to attend a financial planning workshop such as the Fiscal Fitness Workshop provided by the Board of Pensions. (Students will note that the Fiscal Fitness Workshop of the Board of Pensions is required for participation in the PC(USA) Seminary Debt Assistance Program which forgives debt if a person takes a call in a small, rural congregation.)

Inquirer’s Pre-candidacy Statements: Inquirers are required to complete six statements on specified topics that are a major part of the application for candidacy.
  1. A statement of his or her understanding of Christian vocation in the Reformed tradition and how it relates to his or her sense of call;
  2. A statement of personal faith which incorporates an understanding of the Reformed tradition;
  3. An analysis of at least one concept from the personal faith statement regarding what it suggests about God, humanity, and their interrelationships;
  4. A statement of what it means to be Presbyterian, indicating how that awareness grows out of participation in the life of a particular church;
  5. A statement of self-understanding which reflects the Inquirer’s personal and cultural background and includes a concern for maintaining spiritual, physical, and mental health;
  6. Statement of his or her understanding of the task ministers of the Word and Sacrament perform, including an awareness of his or her specific gifts for teaching elder and of areas in which growth is needed.
These statements will be submitted along with application Forms 5A and 5B to the session for review and consideration for advancing the inquirer to candidacy. In addition, a one page Statement of Motivation is required. This is not a Statement of Faith but is an opportunity to address one’s faith experience, participation in the life and mission of the church, and indications of how God has been guiding the person toward ordained ministry. All the essays and the statement of motivation can either be mailed to the Presbytery office, attention CPM, or they can be sent electronically to office@ptcaweb.org.

Please sign and mail forms 5A and 5B to:

Presbytery of the Twin Cities Area
2115 Cliff Drive
Eagan, MN 55112
Attn: CPM

Requests for Exceptions (“Extraordinary Inquirer or Candidate”): If for some reason an inquirer cannot meet all requirements, a request for an exception may be considered by the adviser and advisory group. Such a request must be made in writing to the adviser and the advisory group at least two weeks prior to the next meeting. Careful consideration will be given by the advisory group, and if it is determined that the request merits review by the full CPM, a recommendation will be prepared by the advisory group. All requests for exceptions must meet requirements of the Book of Order G-2.0610) and some may require approval by the Presbytery.
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