More CRE’s Preparing to Minister to God’s People
By Carolyn Visser
I can just hear the sighs of relief from the participants in the second training class of the Presbytery’s CRE (Commissioned Ruling Elder) program. They can see the light at the end of the tunnel—the last scheduled training class is in May!
This has been a wonderful group of ruling elders from several congregations across the state who have attended the classes at Westminster Presbyterian Church in Rapid City and at First, Mitchell part of the time and First, Wolsey the rest. We have had the joy of a couple of elders from Dakota Presbytery attending some of the classes, too. A total of 8 elders are completing the training and will likely be seeking to be commissioned by the Presbytery at its June or October meetings.
The CRE Training program is one of the special missions of the Presbytery and has been in place since 2014. A taskforce of the Presbytery was begun in 2012 to implement a training program and to oversee the CRE program. This has been in an effort to address pastoral needs of some of the smaller churches in the Presbytery. It is also one of the three ministries of the Presbytery for which matching funds are available.
CREs serve congregations as the sole pastor such as CRE Lee Green at Harmony, Hurley, CRE Ann Spitzenberger at Second, Flandreau, CRE Mark Werner at First, Madison, CRE Florence Hoff at First, Bison, CRE Jil Jennewein at Whitewood and Lead, and CRE Stephen Johnson at Willow Lake. Some do pulpit supply at one or two congregations one or two Sundays a month while others serve as interim or part-time pastors.
At the present there are no plans for another CRE training class, but that can change at any time. We try to make the locations convenient to those taking the classes. If you have an interest in taking the training, which could be of benefit to any ruling elder, serving on session or not, commissioned or not, please contact one of the taskforce members: The Reverend Dick Poppen, Moderator, CRE Stephen Johnson, The Reverend Janice Palmer, CRE Lee Green, The Reverend Dr. Carolyn Visser or CRE Jerry Lutkemeier.