Resolution On a Minimum Age for Ordination
A substitute by Reference & Counsel to a resolution submitted by Philip Van Dam / Peter Suwak

Whereas, The ELCA does not have a minimum age for ordination;

Whereas, An increasing number of young people finish college and even graduate degrees before they are adults;

Whereas, It is our job to anticipate issues before they arise, and not just react as problems appear;

Whereas, It is possible, under current rules, for minors to be ordained, it is also possible, under current rules for such a pastor, to be defrocked for sexual relations with a minor who is older than the pastor;

Whereas, Some branches of the early church had a minimum age for ordination as a priest of 35;

Whereas, The Episcopal Church has a minimum age for ordination to the priesthood of 25;

Whereas, Current research suggests that judgement and decision making ability does not mature until 25;

Whereas, Life experience increases with age, and thus enlightens ones decisions;

Whereas, Many social gatherings of clergy involve alcohol; and

Whereas, The normal duties of a pastor includes carrying an open container of wine for communion in one’s car; therefore, be it

Resolved, That the West Virginia-Western Maryland Synod set a minimum age for ordination of pastors at age 25; and

Resolved, That the West Virginia-Western Maryland Synod in Assembly memorialize the Churchwide Assembly to set a minimum age for ordination as a pastor at age 25.


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