Chaplaincy is not a third option for rostered ministry. Rather, it's more of a specialization for those in the roster of Word and Sacrament or the roster of Word and Service. For many in Word and Service, the embodiment of service leads to the call to chaplaincy.
Chaplaincy candidates begin the same way as any other rostered leader in the ELCA, with:
Active participation in the life and ministry of a local ELCA congregation as a baptized Christian.
Conferral of a bachelor’s degree in order to prepare for professional graduate school.
Entrance into candidacy as an ordained leader on the roster of the ELCA.
Completion of a Master of Divinity (or its equivalent) at an ELCA seminary (preferred) or other accredited seminary.
Effective experience in ministry through completion of an internship (during seminary) and 36 months of parish experience (for rostered leaders of Word and Sacrament).
To become a chaplain, a candidate must then receive an ecclesiastical endorsement from ELCA Federal Chaplaincy Ministries, which requires:
Submission of an application and an “authorization and release” to ELCA Federal Chaplaincy Ministries.
Approval of the candidate’s bishop.
Six positive referrals, including one from the candidate's synod bishop.
Maintaining one’s status as a rostered leader with active participation in one’s synod.
Becoming a chaplain is more than just going to seminary and deciding to enter the chaplaincy. We'll discuss the steps you need to take to become an ELCA chaplain.
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