Thank God for PAT!

Nine years after a Lutheran Church — Canada convention passed a resolution calling for the creation of PAT (Pastors with Alternative Training) the first residential seminar is taking place!!!  The  Canadian Lutheran.ca reports, “For the first time, students enrolled in Lutheran Church–Canada’s Pastors with Alternate Training (PAT) program have gathered for one week of intensive study in Winnipeg. Fifteen students, mentors and instructors began meeting Friday, September 16 and will conclude Thursday, September 22. By the end of the ten sessions, the eight students will have spent more than 20 instructional hours studying Christian ethics; Church and politics; the Lutheran position on Natural Law and how it shapes ethics; and practical aspects of Lutheran witness and mission.  ‘In addition to the formal instruction the students have ongoing reading assignments; they meet with their pastor-mentors and engage in small discussion groups,’” explained Rev. Dr. Leonardo Neitzel, PAT program coordinator.”  To read more about this seminar and to watch a brief video on the PAT program, visit the Canadian Lutheran.ca.

Pastors with Alternative Training (PAT) was created as a result of Resolution 02.2.02, “To Provide for the Certification, Ordination and Installation of Pastors with Alternative Training” that was passed at the Lutheran Church – Canada convention in Kitchener in 2002.  The initial purpose of the PAT program is to provide Lutheran Church – Canada pastors for extraordinary, site-specific circumstances.  The goal of the program is to form men for pastoral ministry in unique situations that are ethnic, cultural or geographical, and where Word and Sacrament ministry is not readily available. The delegates voted to have the Council of Presidents and the two LCC seminaries develop an alternative program of study so that men might be trained and equipped to serve in unique cultural and contextual challenges.

While the norm has been to have candidates for the Office of Holy Ministry formed on
a seminary campus in a full-time status, such is not the case with students admitted to the PAT program.  PAT is designed to deliver a basic theological education using a variety of learning strategies and environments that is adapted to the individual learning abilities and needs of each enrolled student and his context.  In other words, the PAT student remains in his community, serving a local community of believers, while at the same time
being mentored by a local pastor(s) and taught courses by area clergy. Courses are also beginning to be delivered through means of online courses and annual residential seminars. Most of the PAT students have a 40 hour job. They have the responsibility of raising a family and they are the spiritual leaders of their community of faith. On top of these responsibilities, they take 20 PAT courses over a minimum 4 year period!

The PAT students are an answer to our prayer that God would provide pastoral and missionary workers for the vineyard! Pray that even more men might heed the call of the Lord and be received into the PAT studies program!

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