Interview with the Board of Ordained Ministry
Last year at this time, I was going through not-quite interviews. This year, I made sure that everything was in my folder (though there was a scare a week and a half ago when I got a call telling me that in my folder I was additionally required to have a letter from my cluster leader verifying that I was participating in a cluster). I looked through the whole thing and was satisfied with what was there.
So today I went back to Worthington for the interviews. First we all milled around a bit, then we were lined up in our order (I was #7 of 12 - the order didn't mean anything; it was just a way for the board to line us up and keep track of who was where) and took our pictures. The woman before me played silly and stood sideways for a profile picture. Guy #9 asked where his number card was.
After we'd all been photographed, we all were found by the "primary reader" from our interview team. I was looking around because my reader had not found me, but I just figured that I should look around for someone who was looking around for someone. That seemed to work. Then we were brought into the church sanctuary, where we were introduced (by the primary readers). Each of them had a paper with our details - each but two of them, who recited the whole introductions from memory. I was impressed. After our introductions and prayer, we were led to our rooms to be interviewed.
My interview team consisted of 7 people (including the "silent observer" who made sure that the team got to the points they were planning on getting to). There were 3 women and 4 men. Aside from the one African-American woman, all were caucasian.
Their questions led me to believe that they had read my file thoroughly and that they had looked for areas to question me on. They didn't lob me softballs, but they were by no means mean spirited about it. It always seemed to me that they asked questions to clarify answers I had given or to make sure they knew what I believed. We talked a while about the fiasco from last year and my experience with the psychological profile (I told them about my assessor and how he had "scolded" me for one of my answers - they asked what I had answered, so I told them. It was a fill-in-the-blank and it said: "Criminals ______." There wasn't enough room to put a full answer, as I find this subject more complex than the space allowed for, so I simply filled in the blank with the following: "commit crimes." When I told the interview team how I had answered that particular question, they all laughed.
The team was all pleasant as they asked questions; I didn't feel like anyone was trying to "trap" me or trick me or bait me. They did ask tough questions, and I answered them honestly. The only problem I had was that two of the team members only asked one question each - and the only question the African-American woman asked was regarding my background in cross-cultural ministry and my willingness to serve in a cross-cultural appointment (I told her that I would have a lot of listening to do to help me understand the culture and that it would be quite an adventure). For most of the interview, however, I wondered what was going through her head, and I was sorry that I didn't get more questions from her. Likewise about the man immediately to my right, who only asked one question (regarding my preference for a traditional or contemporary setting).
Then I was asked to step out while they deliberated, and not long afterwords, they brought me back into the room, where they told me that they are recommending my status request be granted - that I would be given the status as Elder in Full Connection. The plenary session will meet and vote upon this recommendation and will respond with the result (tomorrow, by phone, if the vote is no, or by a letter if the vote is yes).