Vocational Orientation Program Prepares Future Methodist Leaders in Brazil
December 6, 2017
The General Board of Higher Education and Ministry (GBHEM) recently partnered with the Methodist School of Theology in São Paulo, Brazil to host an event for 87 Brazilian candidates for ministry, most between ages 17 to 25, in the Methodist Church in Brazil.
POV or Programa de Orientação Vocacional (Vocational Orientation Program) is an annual event that opens the school of theology to the candidates, introducing them to the faculty and staff, school structures and academic procedures. GBHEM’s Office of Specialized Theological Education emphasizes the focus on spiritual life during the event, encouraging participants to listen, discern and respond to God’s call for their lives.
“POV is an event that connects the seminary with the church by strengthening our future leaders in their call. It is one of the most important events we have,” said Rev. Wesley Gonçalves, FaTeo (Faculty of Theology of the Archdiocese of Brazil), president of the board of directors.
With participation from all 10 of the Brazilian Methodist Conferences, local coordinators are onsite to help guide the candidates interested in becoming clergy. In Brazil, candidates are required to complete two years of basic theological studies before attending theological seminaries. The two-year program includes reflections and guidance about calls to ministry.
The team responsible for organizing the event included representatives from GBHEM, Methodist School of Theology and Methodist Church of Brazil:
- Rev. David Martinez, director of Specialized Theological Education, GBHEM
- Rev. Matthew Charlton, Ph.D., assistant general secretary of Collegiate Ministry, GBHEM
- Demétrio Soares, planning team facilitator, International Relations of Methodist School of Theology
- Rev. Jonadab Almeida, Faculty and Ecclesiastical Relations of Methodist School of Theology
- Current students of the Methodist School of Theology (small group leaders)
POV prepares students for the four years of study in theology school. These students become sustained and equipped candidates who bring strong leadership and relevant contributions to local Methodist churches in Brazil.
Representing GBHEM, Martinez and Charlton shared ministry dynamics, reflections, lectures and knowledge with the 87 candidates. “The event is a great resource for the POV participants before they enter ordained ministry in the Methodist Church of Brazil,” said Martinez. “During the event, the candidates meet others from the Conferences, sharing challenges, experiences, perspectives and expectations for their service to the church. It offers spiritual reflection.”
Soares added, “The event is also important for the Methodist School of Theology, as it puts the seminary in connection with many of the young leaders before their academic journey. As a part of the first dialogues with GBHEM, this has been a key chapter in my life of service to the church. POV provides the new generation of clergy leadership time to listen, discern, answer and share experiences with those preparing for the same journey from different regions and contexts in Brazil. The event leads them to walk in respect and support of each other. It results in a well-prepared generation of leaders for our church.”
POV not only received great endorsements from the leadership of the church and school but also from the students whose journey to ministry was impacted by the event.
“POV Nacional brought me new eyes and the confirmation that I needed from God. Now, it is not only God´s dream but it has become my own dream too. It brings me new and transforming things to change a generation. I was impacted after I heard God’s voice during the event,” said Rafaela Roberti, 4th Conference of Brazil.
Filipe Piloto, Northeast Missionary Conference of Brazil, commented, “It was a huge opportunity to get, for the first time, a touch of pastoral ministry. The schedule was useful as it gave me the awareness of the challenges and the need to be prepared for ministry. During the days, I spent time with FaTeo faculty and students and I was blessed and encouraged to take my next steps.”
“POV participants are able to come to FaTeo as students next year who are already well connected with current students, well engaged in mutual care and taking the opportunity to build a strong community,” added Rev. Adilson Mazeu, FaTeo chaplain.
“A fruitful project, POV gathered future leaders from all conferences, providing time to meet with our school and listen carefully to their call,” said Almeida. “This gathering has significant meaning in their lives and ministry.”
To learn more about Specialized Theological Education at GBHEM, visit www.gbhem.org.
About GBHEM: As the leadership development agency of The United Methodist Church, the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry’s mission is to build capacity for United Methodist lay and clergy leaders to discover, claim and flourish in Christ’s calling in their lives, by creating connections and providing resources to aid in recruitment, education, professional development and spiritual formation. Every elder, deacon and licensed local pastor benefits from our training and candidacy programs. Many young adults find help in clarifying their vocation and God’s call in their lives through our leadership and discernment programs. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook: @GBHEM.