The ELCA has nearly 400 pastors from minority communities, says Fred Rajan, Commission for Multicultural Ministries director. Three-fourths of them are in the active ministry (not retired, disabled or on leave). But, Rajan notes, 12 percent of minority pastors are on leave from call, twice as many as non-minority pastors. At the same time there are more ethnic-specific congregations without a pastor than other ELCA congregations.
Just 55 minority students of 1,548 seminarians are enrolled at ELCA seminaries today, fewer than in 1988; and a nearly equal number, 54, are enrolled as candidates for the Alternate Route to Ordination--the majority in the PLTS Southern California Program.
Since there are fewer minority members in the ELCA, the pool of potential candidates for ordained ministry is smaller. This is true not only for the ELCA but for many other denominations as well. Rajan says, "All churches are competing for a small pool of candidates. If we become too selective or too demanding of these candidates, they may move to another church body." (See also editorial, page 58.)
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