M, T, W, Th - 8:30am-4:30pm 1111 North Main Street, Harrisonburg, VA 22802

City Church

A Community of Christ for Worship, Nurture & Mission

Commissioned Ruling Elder Information

Commissioned Ruling Elder/Lay Pastor Program
CRE Brochure

Common Abbreviations:
CRE – Commissioned Ruling Elder (same as CLP)
CLP – Commissioned Lay Pastor (same as CRE)
CPT – Committee on Pastoral Transitions
CRM – Committee on Relational Ministry.

Welcome and thank you for your interest in the Commissioned Ruling Elder program of Shenandoah Presbytery.  Commissioned Ruling Elders and Commissioned Lay Pastors are basically two names for the same thing.  CLPs were renamed CREs when the Book of Order was changed some years ago.  In coming years, CLP will likely be the default title. 

Shenandoah Presbytery has partnered with Union Presbyterian Seminary to provide the educational component of the program to prepare candidates for commissioned service. We are excited to offer this service that we believe will be reasonably priced and more accessible.  Most classwork from Union Presbyterian Seminary will be taken online and at home.  The classes are available to anyone regardless of their desire to pursue a commissioning track; however, space may be limited.

Shenandoah Presbytery has been blessed by a number of faithful elders who have been called and commissioned by the Presbytery.  It is no small thing to serve in any leadership role of a church, and serving as a regular worship and pastoral leader can be a rewarding call to serving on a team. 

How to Apply
We recommend reading through the policy, brochure and other materials on this site to familiarize you with some of the rationale and the process that we require of all candidates of the program. 

Discerning your call is not only a solo affair.  You will meet with your church leaders and Session, with the Oversight Committee (which currently is a subcommittee of the Committee on Pastoral Transitions), meet with a vocational psychologist who works with Shenandoah Presbytery, and with other peers and professionals. 

A number of application forms are available below.  Complete the forms and send them to:
Shenandoah Presbytery
attn: Kim Stroupe
1111 N. Main Street
Harrisonburg, VA 22802

During the process, a member of the Oversight Committee will be happy to meet with your Session to explain the Session’s role in your preparation if it would be helpful.  Your Session will also need to endorse you for this service as part of the discernment and application process. 

As the CRE/CLP program continues to evolve, please feel free to contact us with questions. 

Please read the following documents:
CRE Policy
CRE/ARE Application Form
CRE Covenant Agreement and Explorer/Disciple Release
CRE Session Endorsement Form
CRE Form B – Self-Reflection 
CRE Form C – Pre-Consultation Report
Starter Interview Questions
CRE Personal Information Report
Application for CRE Explorers to Enroll as Disciples

Dates for Union Presbyterian Seminary Classes in 2019/2020 are:
Phase I (Foundational) Courses
~Thursdays, September 5 – October 3, 2019: Biblical Interpretation with Dr. John Carroll

~Tuesdays, October 15 – November 12, 2019: Reformed Theology/Church History with Dr. Paul Galbreath
~Tuesdays, January 7 – February 4, 2020: The Christian Life with Dr. Cindy Kissel-Ito
~Mondays, February 24 – March 23, 2020: Mission and Evangelism with Dr. John Vest

Phase II (Practical Ministry) Courses
~Thursdays, September 12 – October 10, 2019:  Preaching the Bible with Dr. Rich Voelz

~Thursdays, October 24 – November 21, 2019:  Teaching the Bible with Dr. Cindy Kissel-Ito
~Thursdays, January – February 2020:  Pastoral Care with Dr. Carol Schweitzer
~Thursdays, February 27 – March 26, 2020:  Polity and Administration with Rev. H. Carson Rhyne
~Thursdays, April 16 – May 14, 2020: Worship and Sacraments with Dr. Paul Galbreath

Bible Survey Courses – self-paced to complete at your own pace on your own timeline.
New Testament Survey – led by Dr. John Carroll, Professor of New Testament (all web-based and paced by you)

Online portions of the courses are held from 7-9 p.m. ET on the dates listed.

Each five-week course costs $100, and requires the purchase of one book. Contact Tinsley Jones ([email protected]) for more information, or go to www.upsem.edu/pathways to read about the program and/or to register.

For questions or more information, contact Bob Osborne.