Presbyterian Lay Ministers Bring Immigrants Closer to the Church

February 22, 2004

Source: The Christian Science Monitor

On February 22, 2004 The Christian Science Monitor reported on the results of the radical step taken by Presbyterians in 1997 of letting laypeople baptize and serve the Lord's Supper. "Now, the Presbyterian Church, like other denominations, is watching new urban ministries blossom as a result of the policy, as fledgling ethnic communities link up with America's established churches. The reason: A wider welcome for lay pastors means many immigrants no longer have to choose between having ties to a major church body and having a pastor who speaks their language... For established denominations, however, the influx of lay pastors is raising challenges of identity. If lay pastors can do the job effectively, why maintain a multitiered system for ministers? The question has denominations searching to justify old practices and rethinking theology of church in the process."