Quirks of Candidacy: Faculty Interview Edition

LTSP in the Fall, 2010. The next stage in my ordination process? The dreaded faculty interview.

Dun dun ddduuuunnnnnnnnnnn!

Yesterday I woke up early, put on a suit and tie, and headed to Penn Station to jump on the Bolt Bus to Philadelphia. The seats were not as comfy as I remembered, nor were their cup holders, but I was off to the Lutheran Seminary at Philadelphia for my faculty interview.

For those of you who don’t know, the faculty interview is part of the candidacy process. After my internship evaluation forms are submitted (which didn’t happen till October 10th – I know, I know), I’m required to visit the seminary I am affiliated with (LTSP) and be interviewed by various faculty members. These faculty members (two) are, in essence, a sub-committee for the entire faculty body. The candidate (i.e. me) am interviewed and the two faculty members write a report. The report will be presented to the entire faculty in November. The entire faculty body has an opportunity to amend, change, or enquire about that report. After the report is given (and/or modified), the faculty votes and sends a recommendation to my candidacy committee in New York. They can recommend that I should be approved for ordination, delay my ordination, or that I should not be ordained at all. Based on that recommendation, my candidacy committee in New York has the option of going one step “up” or “down” from what the faculty recommend. So, if the faculty said my ordination should be delayed, the candidacy committee is “allowed” to change that up one (I should be ordained) or down one (I should be denied). If the candidacy committee does make this change, the faculty must be re-consultant and a conversation between the faculty and the candidacy committee will ensue. There is, in theory, a chance that the candidacy committee could jump two steps (say, from denial to approval or approval to denial). If that happened, I’m not sure what processes would need to be followed but I’m hoping it would involve a very un-hilarious version of ABC’s “Wipe Out.”

Most of this process, especially the bit about the back and forth between the faculty and the candidacy committee, I did not know. My two faculty interviewers explained it to me before the beginning of our chat. They also told me that anything was fair game; they could ask any question about anything. Six weeks ago, I was asked who I wanted on my panel so I picked the two professors who I knew the best and who knew me the best based on my classwork. Before the interview began, I sat in a comfy chair and was promptly asked to step out of the room so that the two could develop their game plan. After ten minutes, I was ushered back in. I took my seat, the process was explained, and away we went. We chatted for an hour.

I had a lot of fun.

I’ll be able to report the final verdict once the November faculty meeting takes place but I really found the whole thing affirming and invigorating. I got to talk about faith, the church, the role of Word and Sacrament, and myself for an hour. Who doesn’t love talking about themselves? And it was worth the ridiculous commute. I left my apartment at 6:45 am and arrived at the seminary at 11:15 am. I left the seminary at 1:30 pm and arrived back at my apartment at 5:45 pm. I even had enough time to kiss the wife, hug the toddler, and see the back of a bunch of bishops during the installation of my seminary’s new dean before I had to rush uptown to a church council meeting. One more step finished in the process. Next up, fixing my approval essay (there are SO many typos in it), a candidacy retreat next Friday, then submitting a 16 page resume to the churchwide body by December 1.

I’m getting closer, God-willing.

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