During my morning run the idea for the following resolution to diocesan con/cans for the calling of an ordained minister to a parish came to me...
Be it resolved that the (appropriate section of the con/can of the diocese regarding the deployment of ordained ministers to a parish) be amended to include:
When a parish has decided upon its list of finalist for the call of an ordained minister those finalist will be provided with letters of recommendation for the parish from three of the following five categories of individual:
1) A member in good standing of the parish who is in High School.
2) A member in good standing of the parish who is between the ages of 21 and 35.
3) A minister of a local congregation that is not part of the Episcopal Church.
4) A director of a local non-profit that is in a ministry relationship with the parish.
5) An individual who regularly takes part in a ministry of the parish but does not regularly attend worship.
These letters of recommendation are to be held to the same standards of confidence as those provided by the applicant.
If a parish is unable to provide such letters it will be required to submit a report on why such a recommendation is not currently possible on one of the above categories for each letter it cannot provide. This report will be submitted to both the applicants as well as the diocesan TMO officer.
The above resolution's purpose is to provide a window into the parish for the applicant that might not be part of the normal search process. The specefic inclusion of youth and young adult reccomenders is not to place extra value upon them but to recognize that their voices are often not an active part in the call process. The inclusion of individuals from the greater community allows for a voice that is regularly not heard at all in the call process. These letters also recognize points of engagement that are crtical for a vital ministry.