Persons ordained in another Lutheran church or another Christian tradition may be admitted to the roster of ordained ministers provided that they meet and maintain the basic standards of the ELCIC for ordained ministers and be committed to the Lutheran Confessions of this church. (ELCIC Constitution, Article VII, Bylaws III.)
Ordained ministers of the ELCA shall be received by certificate of transfer following acceptance of a valid call from a congregation, Synod Council or the Church Council of this church with certification of their good standing on the Roster of the ELCA and with the approval of the bishop of the synod in which they are to serve.
An ordained minister in good standing of a church with which this church has established a mutual recognition of ministers shall upon acceptance of a call within this church be received by a certificate of transfer or equivalent documentation.
Applicants for ordination or for reception from other churches shall appear before the Examining Committee of the synod, and can be ordained or otherwise admitted only upon recommendation by such committee.
The Candidacy process provides all applicants to the roster an opportunity to engage in mutual conversations of discernment and assessment through a supportive partnership.
The applicant registers with the synod of residence. In the case of an applicant who does not reside in Canada, registration may be made to a synod where there is a familial or mentor relationship. The applicant contacts the synod bishop directly to discuss the possibility of registration.
The applicant provides the synod with the following information.
- Application for Candidacy
- Information Form
- academic transcripts for all post-secondary education (degree or non-degree)
- certificates of study (if any)
- documentation of supervised field experience, i.e. internship, clinical education, etc.
- statement or certificate of ordained status in another Lutheran church or Christian tradition
- letter of reference from applicant's current or former ecclesiastical supervisor
- immigration documentation (for those seeking to immigrate to Canada)
- copy of at least one recent sermon
- a personal statement, including the theological rationale, on why the applicant seeks to serve on the ordained roster of the ELCIC
- Child Abuse Registry check and/or criminal record check in the provincial jurisdiction
- recommendation of the ELCIC congregation where the applicant has been an active member for at least two years or explanation of circumstances when this is not possible.
Upon receipt of an application and related documents, the synod bishop conducts an interview with the applicant. The purpose of this interview is to determine the applicant's readiness to enter the candidacy process of this church. Entrance into the candidacy process is based upon the adequacy of the information provided by the applicant and the applicant's statement of intention to serve in the ordained ministry of the ELCIC. If the applicant comes from a church with which this church is related, the National Office shall be consulted by the synod in order to receive any additional information regarding the applicant that is available from the applicant's church body. After the completion of the interview and the receipt of the required information, the bishop may refer the applicant to Committee for Theological Education and Leadership (CTEL) or Candidacy Committee (CCOM) to continue the candidacy process.
The applicant shall participate in a psychological evaluation according to the procedures of the ELCIC and complete the usual steps prior to a initial endorsement. CTEL interviews the applicant and reviews with the candidate the academic and practical work that must be completed in order to fulfill the standards for ordained ministry. CTEL may require study at an ELCIC seminary, language proficiency study, supervised ministry assignments, or other appropriate preparation.
After these steps are completed, CTEL takes action on endorsement of the applicant. The decision options of CTEL include the following:
- immediate recommendation for examination of the candidate by the synod Examining Committee;
- recommendation for examination of the candidate upon the satisfactory completion of the recommended work;
- a decision to reconsider the candidate upon the satisfactory completion of the recommended work; or
- a decision not to endorse the candidate.
CTEL informs the synod bishop, the National Office and the candidate in writing of its recommendation at the earliest possible time. In the case of a decision to require further study or preparation, CTEL will maintain a relationship with the candidate. The national staff and the seminaries of this church are resources to the candidate and CTEL during the time of preparation.
Upon successful completion of the required work and the recommendation of CTEL, the candidate completes the written examination and colloquy as scheduled by the synod Examining Committee. A positive recommendation by the Examining Committee is necessary for the synod to approve the candidate.
After receipt and acceptance of a letter of call by the candidate, the synod bishop consults with the Office of the Bishop of the ELCIC concerning the reception of the candidate. The ELCIC will receive ordained ministers from churches which believe, teach and confess the Apostles, the Nicene, and the Athanasian Creeds. Those from other traditions will be ordained according to the Service of Ordination of this Church. The determination of how this policy applies in the case of each candidate is made by the Office of the Bishop of the ELCIC.
The beginning of service in ordained ministry for those who are received by the ELCIC from other churches is an important time. It is a time to establish significant relationships of support and growth. During the early years of service, it is recommended that the synod bishop offer the newly rostered pastor a mentor to assist in providing this support and nurture.