One recent fall weekend brought a long-awaited event to Southern Adventist University for 18 students. The annual Ministerial Candidate Recognition program was held on September 23-24 in Thatcher Hall chapel. The event marks approved candidacy for theology and pastoral care students in the final phase of the ministerial program.
Steve Bauer, professor at the School of Religion, said that students who are approved as ministerial candidates have finished two of three stages of the ministerial program and have completed certain educational checklists. The recognition program is the School of Religion’s acknowledgement that these students are capable of being pastors and chaplains in the Seventh-day Adventist church.
“The Ministerial Candidate Recognition is an event honoring their accomplishments and giving them our endorsement,” said Bauer.
After the recognition ceremony, various conferences throughout the Southern Union begin to interview the candidates for positions as pastors and chaplains. The Southern Union interviews first, and then throughout the school year other conferences from the North American division come to talk with the students.
Jocelyn Prado, senior pastoral care major and ministerial candidate, looks back and remembers how she felt when she first came to Southern from a public university and into the ministerial program.
“It was intimidating and overwhelming at first,” Prado said. “I wanted to give up at certain points.”
Struggling to make ends financially and working hard to keep up grades, she thought her hard work had gone unnoticed. But there were many professors who took an interest in her as a person, not just a student. And that helped get her through the hard times.
“Southern was an exceptional training ground,” Prado said. “It’s easy to brag when you’ve come to fall in love with these people, many who’ve become my personal friends, not just professors.”