Sunday, October 18, 2009

Four Years Later: Redux

Last week I posted about the fourth anniversary of my forced resignation. I've been a pastor for over nine years, but the last four years have been spent in what is known as "Candidate Status". Candidate Status means, in short, that a pastor is not serving in a parish, but he is able to receive and consider Calls and can serve as pulpit supply for congregations needing a fill-in pastor. According to the by-laws of the Lutheran Church--Missouri Synod, a pastor can stay on Candidate Status for four years. My four years are up. Nonetheless, I still greatly desire to return to parish ministry.

I received the following message from the Southern District secretary on Friday:

Your status as Candidate ends this month as it marks your fourth year on this status. Our office will be changing your status to Non-Candidate. This will not impede your availability for a call. You can stay on Non-Candidate status for eight years.

This verifies an earlier message I received from President Schultz of the Southern District:

When your status expires you will move automatically to Inactive Candidate Status unless you indicate otherwise. You can remain on this for another 8 years. I will continue to circulate your information for call.

These messages are somewhat comforting. I'd been told by then-President Bergen that I could remain on Candidate Status for four years, but if I went to non-Candidate status, I would be unable to receive a Call. I've worried about that.

I may have good reason to be worried about that. Looking at a Q&A on the LCMS website (see point 5) I read the following:

Non-candidate CRM pastors, who only wish to remain on the roster of the Synod but are not interested in a call at the present time, may remain on the roster as non-candidate CRM for eight years, renewable once.

I believe my district president when he tells me that I am still eligible to receive Calls on non-Candidate status. The Handbook is not really all that clear about the Call eligibility of non-Candidate pastors (look on page 57 of your copy of the 2007 Handbook and see for yourself), so I can only trust the interpretation of my ecclesiastical supervisor.

Nonetheless, if I seem confused about where I stand, it's because I am.

Incidentally, this is post 100 on this blog. I would like to thank all of you who read this blog. Whether you post comments or not, the fact that people find this blog to be of interest is a source of constant amazement to me. Of course, if you're here because it resembles a train wreck and you can't help but look, I can understand that, too.


IggyAntiochus said...

I am not sure how they can just make you "inactive" as though you did not desire a call!

Also, if "non-candidate status" is for eight years and renewable once (for a total of 16 years), does that make you absolutely ineligible after that?

Then there is President Schultz's comment "...unless you indicate otherwise..."

Does that mean his office will keep your active status if you indicate you want it?

Hope I am not digging up too many wounds, here. I am just puzzled by the whole thing.

Vernon Wendt said...
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Vernon Wendt said...
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