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Ministers/ Teaching Elders

Credentialing for new immigrant pastors


G-11.0404f. In the case of ministers for new immigrant fellowships and congregations, a presbytery may, if it determines that its strategy for mission with that constituency requires it, recognize the ordination of (G-15.0202) and enroll a new immigrant minister furnishing evidence of good standing in a denomination in correspondence with the General Assembly as a member of the presbytery, even though at the time of enrollment that minister lacks the educational history required by G-14.0310b–d. In the case of such a minister lacking such preparation, the presbytery shall undertake an evaluation of the minister's understanding of and proficiency in Bible, Reformed Theology, Sacraments, Presbyterian Polity, preaching, leading worship, pastoral care, and teaching. If the presbytery is satisfied as to the minister's preparation in and understanding of those areas, the presbytery may, by a three-quarters vote of those present, enroll that minister as a minister of the presbytery. Any presbytery taking such an action shall provide that minister with educational opportunities as seem necessary and prudent to the presbytery for that minister's successful ministry within the bounds of that presbytery. This section, when utilized, may result in exceptions to the procedures and requirements described in G-11.0403c, G-14.0310b–d, G-14.0313a–c.

Enabling conditions

  1. Existence of a New Immigrant Fellowship and/or Congregation,
  2. Presbytery strategy for mission with the Fellowship and/or Congregation,
  3. The minister must be in good standing in a denomination in correspondence with the General Assembly (G-15.0201).
  4. Presbytery shall evaluate the minister’s understanding of and proficiency in:

      a. Bible,
      b. Reformed Theology,
      c. Sacraments,
      d. Presbyterian Polity,
      e. Preaching,
      f. Leading worship
      g. Pastoral care, and
      h. Teaching.

Enabling actions

  1. The receiving presbytery confirms membership status of the minister via communication with the denomination of membership.
  2. The minister furnishes transcripts and other requested information to the receiving presbytery.
  3. The receiving presbytery does background and reference checks on the minister.
  4. The presbytery approves the recognition of the minister’s ordination by _ majority of those present at that meeting.


  • Recognition of ordination ties the action to the time and location of service in that particular fellowship or congregation (G-11.0405).
  • The minister is enrolled as a member of presbytery and temporarily has the rights and privileges of membership for that period of service (G-11.0405).
  • Recognition or ordination in a corresponding denomination is not equivalent to transfer into the PCUSA as Minister of Word and Sacrament.

Suggested models

  1. Assign mentor(s).
  2. Use the services of tutors in areas of deficiency (a rabbi for Hebrew, for example).
  3. Enrollment in CLP training courses.
  4. Seminary Lay Education programs.
  5. Experiential learning, such as, attending session meetings etc. in nearby congregations and presbytery committee meetings.


Pertinent Book of Order references

G-15.0201 Churches in Correspondence

The General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) is in correspondence with the highest governing body of those churches with which it has had historical relations outside the United States, and of those churches that are members of the ecumenical bodies in which the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) holds membership; and is in full communion with those churches so recognized by ecumenical agreements approved by the General Assembly.

G-11.0405a. A minister of the Word and Sacrament of another denomination in correspondence with the General Assembly, whose ecclesiastical relations have been certified by that denomination, who is serving a Presbyterian congregation in a temporary, noninstalled pastoral relationship (G-14.0513) other than organizing pastor, who has become a minister of a congregation or larger parish composed of denominational units, at least one of which is associated with the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), or who has become a minister serving a cooperative specialized ministry in which this church shares the sponsorship, or who has been jointly called to an administrative office by more than one denomination, one of which is this church, or a minister of a church outside the United States that is in correspondence with the General Assembly who is serving in a ministerial capacity in this church, may be enrolled for the period of this service as a member of a presbytery and have temporarily the rights and privileges of membership.

G-11.0405b A minister of another denomination, with whom the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) is in full communion (G-15.0201), may be called, examined, approved and installed as pastor or may serve in another ministerial capacity in this denomination and may be enrolled for the period of this service as a member of a presbytery with the rights and privileges of membership. The minister shall participate in the benefits plan of one of the denominations. If the minister is already participating in one plan, membership in that plan shall be retained. If the minister is not a member of any plan, one or another of the churches' plans shall be chosen by the minister. The congregation or other employing body shall pay the fees, dues, or premiums required by the plan to which the minister belongs.