Mary Ann Barclay, a candidate for ordination in The United Methodist Church, was approved by her District Board only to be removed from the ordination process before an interview by her Conference Board. Today, Bishop Dorff has overturned their vote, ruling that she is entitled to full examination by the Board of Ordained Ministry, which includes an interview. “In this case, the District Committee followed the process for candidacy and rendered a judgment. The Board of Ordained Ministry rendered a judgment but did not follow the process. Therefore, the candidate is entitled to full examination by the Board.” Read the full decision here.
It has always been my understanding that the ordination process in The United Methodist Church is meant to function as a relational and Spirit driven process. I experienced that throughout my journey in my home church’s recommendation, my previous District Committee in the Alabama-West Florida Conference, and certainly with my District Committee here in Austin. When we met last spring, not only did we have meaningful conversation about my call to ordained ministry but we also prayed together and reflected on the role of the Spirit and faith in the ordination process. When the Board of Ordained Ministry preemptively removed me from the process without ever interviewing me, relationship and Spirit guidance were also removed from the process. Fortunately, the Bishop has recognized that our denominational policies do not allow for candidates to be removed without this time together. This is important not only for me but for any future candidates in the process of ordination. Without this ruling, it could be said that boards could remove any candidate from the process without ever meeting with them.
I look forward to now having the opportunity to meet personally with the Board of Ordained Ministry. I find hope in the fact that this wrong is being corrected and I am eager to continue on this relational, Spirit driven process with the Board. I rely on the voice of the Holy Spirit to illuminate my understanding of faith, my call, and my place in The United Methodist Church.
Mary Ann Barclay
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Read more at United Methodist News Service.