Have you noticed there is now one single ordination and installation service for deacons, ruling elders and ministers of the Word and Sacrament included in the Book of Occasional Services?

An explanation why is offered in a June 15, 2023, article by valerie izumi, a ruling elder serving in the Office of the General Assembly as an assistant stated clerk. The article – “One Theology of Ministry” – is the most recent installment of the Regarding Ruling Elders: A Monthly Series for Serving Faithfully. 

The article encourages ruling elders to think of themselves as theological beings and their ministry as a ruling elder as part of one theology of ministry.

“You’ll see that an important theological and structural difference [from the previous version] is that there aren’t separate ordination liturgies for deacons/ ruling elders and ministers of Word and Sacrament as in the 1999 Book of Occasional Services,” says the Rev. Dr. David Gambrell, associate for worship in the PC(USA) Office of Theology and Worship, in the article. “We wanted to emphasize that there is one theology of ministry and one service of ordination.”

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The monthly series is just one resource available from the Office of the General Assembly to help ruling elders and deacons gain knowledge and develop leadership skills. Other resources include:

  • Along the Road podcast about faith and leadership for ministry leaders of the PC(USA). Stream episodes on a favorite streaming service, or get more information and listen here.
  • Coming Alive in Christ online training for PC(USA) ruling elders and deacons based on the theological principles of the constitutional questions asked and answered in ordination. Find course materials here.
  • A webinar series with leaders who offer ideas about how ruling elders and deacons can actively participate in and support the congregation’s ministry work. Some topics include Care of Souls in a model that doesn’t rely only on the pastor; Breaking the Myth of the Presbyterian Fear of the “E” Word; and Good Stewards of God’s Grace looking at participation in various services and sacraments. Find archived links to the webinars here.