Sunday, January 03, 2010


GOEs ... AKA General Ordination Exams ... start tomorrow.
Episcopal clergy will need no further explanation as to why prayers are in order.

In fact, GOE flashbacks are sometimes prompted by just the words -- General Ordination Exam -- and so if you're experiencing flashback symptoms step away from this blog and go do something -- ANYTHING -- other than think about church history, missiology, theology, et al. Walk a dog. Watch some football. Fold some laundry. If symptoms continue, breathe into a paper bag while clicking your heels together and saying "all will be well and all will be well and all manner of things shall indeed by well."
For anyone NOT familiar with the GOEs, they're basically the Bar Exam for Episcopal priests ... a week long exam administered this first week of January every year to those scheduled to graduate from seminary the upcoming spring and intended to test whether the seminary education in process is actually preparing the candidate for the ministry they're going to be called to post-graduation/ordination.
The Board of Examining Chaplains has lots of fun facts to know and tell about GOEs on their website ... but most of what you need to know is summed up in the words "week long comprehensive exam."
In a nutshell: It's gruelling.
So keep 'em in your prayers this week ... all those sitting for GOEs and all those who will read the exams ... and (what the heck!) all those who've taught our seminarians and all those who will minister with them and for the church they will help call into its becoming what God is calling it to be.
It's an awesome privilege -- to do this work we've been called to do. And sometimes it's good to be reminded about how hard we had to work to get to do it. To remember what it felt like to have three years of seminary and five years of discernment and all your community's trust and support (not to MENTION your bishop and commission on ministry!) all staring you in the face while you look at a blank word.doc and wonder where to even begin to answer the question!
,Ooops! Flashback alert! Time to step away from the blog and go walk the dog. Or fold some laundry.
,Later, Alligators!


Erp said...

No sample question to see how the laity (or the non-Episcopalian) would handle it? :-)

Caminante said...

OK, time to write about my GOE midweek rest experience... it was the same calendar set up with Epiphany landing on Wednesday which meant we got the day off and a bunch of us went to the lower East Side Turkish/Russian baths... the best thing I could have done.

Kirkepiscatoid said...

For the last several years I always pray for those taking GOE's, if only b/c I get PTSD flashbacks about my medical boards and my specialty boards!

netterjb said...'s not a flashback for me it's a flashforward to next year when I take mine. I've successfully navigated all the interviews, past the psych evals and now in find myself starting to anticipate what I will need to brush up on during the summer for January '11! Is it normal to already be having GOE's as part of your dream cycle LOL!

Thanks for reminding us that not only should we be praying for those ordained, but also for those who desire to speak prophetically to the next generation as well!



Erp -- just posted

IT said...

Ah, shades of PhD oral qualifying exams. In my class in my grad school, all 25 students had them on the same day (in the fall of the 2nd year). You fail, you leave; you pass, you get 5-8 more years to do research and write a dissertation (and remember lab science is a FULL TIME occupation, about 80hrs a week! ) I had my exam early in the AM, repaired to the student pub for vast amounts of dark beer, and left for a 1 week vacation the next day without knowing the results to recover.

I guess I passed, I finished my degree just under 4 years later. ;-)