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Hoosier Musings on the Road to Emmaus

Wednesday, October 06, 2004

GOE prep

In the back of the mind of every senior seminarian in the Episcopal Church, there looms the presence of the General Ordination Exam. This is a lengthy (4-day) test, theoretically designed to verify our knowledge in the seven areas listed in our national canons:

(1) The Holy Scriptures;
(2) Church History, including the Ecumenical Movement;
(3) Christian Theology, including Missionary Theology and Missiology;
(4) Christian Ethics and Moral Theology;
(5) Studies in contemporary society, including racial and minority groups;
(6) Liturgics and Church Music;
(7) Theory and practice of ministry

The GOE's are administered the first of each year; this time that will be January 3, 4, 6 and 7. In anticipation of this, we are in the process of contacting various professors, to set up review/preparation sessions with them.

The first session is this evening. This one is more about approach than content; it promises a discussion of "How To Read the Question" and "Managing Anxiety."

It's a good pace to start; we as a class at Seabury are coming into this with varying levels of anxiety. Part of this is due to temperment: some people are simply more natural worriers than others. And part is due to the emphasis that the ecclesial authorities in different dioceses place on the results of these tests. Some bishops, and Commissions on Ministry, pay little attention to the GOE's; others set great store by them, using them as a primary gauge of fitness for ministry. I'm fortunate, in that my diocesan powers-that-be seem to be striving for a reasonable middle-ground at this point. The message we keep hearing from them has been quite comforting. It usually sounds something like "Do your best, of course. But don't worry about it."

Now, I'm not totally lassiez faire; I've begun to prepare, getting my books and files in order, and looking a bit at some old GOE questions and answers. However, I find that I'm not unduly tense, either. I think I'm at the calmer end of the Seabury scale at this point. So the "managing anxiety" portion of the program is not holding my interest much (Of course, this may change suddenly and without notice at the end of December. No promises.).

Suggestions on "How to read the question," however, will be most welcome. The one area over which I have concerns has to do with completing the required essays coherently within the time limits. I'm not an especially fast writer, when it comes to academic papers and such; I write well enough, but it takes me a while to get the words to express my thoughts in a complete, cohesive way that suits me. So beginning at the beginning, in an organized fashion, and looking at the question in as effective manner as possible, sounds very helpful.

I'll let you know how it goes.


Blogger Dawgdays said...

"Do your best, of course. But don't worry about it."

I'm sure you'll do just fine.

Laissez-faire? You?

October 06, 2004 10:43 PM  

Blogger Reverend Ref + said...

Jane as laissez-faire only if she can tell you how to do it :) Of course, for anyone who knows me, that statement is like the pot calling the kettle black.

Anyway, as for worrying about finishing in time, I think that's the biggest challenge of the test. I found that if I give myself a timeline it worked out okay. I know Jane & I have talked about this before, but for any other GOE taker, here's the basics of that conversation: Plan on 30 minutes to read and decipher the question, 30 minutes to outline/draft where you want to go, 2 hours to write, and 30 minutes to review/correct. I was usually done with the initial reading in about 15 minutes, but this should be enough time to tackle the half-day questions.

Peace my friend.

October 07, 2004 11:35 AM  

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