Newly renamed Iowa Wesleyan University in Mount Pleasant hosted a school last May for licensing pastors who have not completed seminary training. The license grants authority for pastors to preach, teach, perform the sacraments of baptism and communion, and serve in other standard ministerial roles. These responsibilities are limited to each pastor’s appointment setting, but not beyond it, under the direct supervision of the superintendent.
Students spent several days in classes, studying such topics as worship, Christian education, pastoral care, and church administration. Once appointed and licensed, pastors are expected to continue pursuing their educational requirements with guidance from their district committee on ministry.
This year for the first time in the United States licensing classes were offered in French and Swahili. Deborah Coble Wise indicated that the courses were taught in English with French and Swahili translation, “giving everyone a wonderful and enriching cross-cultural experience during our week together.” The students are serving African immigrant communities in the East Central District. The Rev. Dr. Okitakoyi (Michel) Lundula and the Rev. Dr. Emmanuel Naweji, ordained elders in the Iowa Conference, served as translators.
The conference board of ordained ministry underwrites some of the costs for the licensing school with apportionment gifts from the United Methodist churches of Iowa.