ALCOA, Tenn. (April 2, 2015) – Twenty-nine students will complete their third and final weekend of “Local Pastors School” April 10-12 at the Alcoa Conference Center, with the hope they will be licensed for an appointment to a Holston Conference congregation.
Enrollment is significantly higher than the 2014 enrollment of school enrollment of 18, said the Rev. Kathie Wilson-Parker, associate dean.
“They spend their own money on the course and take off from work to be here,” she said. “They come with a lot of enthusiasm and it’s neat to be with them.”
Candidates for Local Pastors School pay $650 plus $45 for books (sometimes with help from their local churches and districts) for three full weekends of classes in the first weeks of February, March, and April.
Wilson-Parker and the Rev. Dale Gilbert, dean of the school, teach classes such as “How to Lead a Worship Service” and “How to Prepare a Sermon.”
Other instruction includes “Pastoral Self-Care and Spirituality” by the Rev. Nathan Malone, “Making Sense of the Educational Requirements” by Michelle Levan, and “Our History and Heritage” by Michael Feely.
Students also practice together reading scripture aloud (“Slow it down,” Gilbert suggested) and plan and join in chapel worship and Holy Communion. During the March 13-15 weekend, Tina Morgan from Cleveland District used sign language to interpret a praise song, Wilmer Lopez and Marvin Lopez from Maryville District sang a hymn, and Pat Tipton from Kingsport District preached.
According to the United Methodist Book of Discipline, the local pastor is not ordained in the United Methodist Church but is licensed for pastoral ministry to perform the duties of a pastor. Graduates are recognized and receive their licenses at Annual Conference in June.
For more information, see our April 2014 story, “18 seek license through training over three weekends.”
Annette Spence is editor of The Call, the Holston Conference newspaper.