On Sunday, Feb. 24, ECO: A Covenant Order of Evangelical Presbyterians ordained its first pastor into the denomination, Rev. Jennifer Graffius, the Director of Chapel at Fuller Theological Seminary. She joins several dozen pastors who have already transferred into ECO, but Graffius is the first to complete the ordination process in the new Reformed denomination.
She was ordained at Glenkirk Church in Glendora, Calif., in front of a crowd of Fuller students and staff, church members, friends and family. ECO has validated her present position at Fuller as a position to which she could be ordained.
Dana Allin, ECO’s Synod Executive, preached in the worship service led by a high-energy band of friends from Graffius’ church and students from Fuller seminary. Allin noted that when Graffius interviewed with ECO’s Presbytery of the West, someone had leaned over to him and said, “This is an impressive woman. I’m glad she’s with us.”
He then described the hard calling of ministry from the text of Ephesians 4:11-16. He depicted the call as one of being both shepherd and prophet, someone who “guides people but tells it like it is.” Allin said that pastors serve the dual role of training and equipping people for ministry while also mending and restoring them to wholeness. He said that the strength for this mighty task comes from Christ alone.
Graffius was then surrounded with pastors, elders, and professors who prayed over her. When she stood to eager applause, she was tearful, grateful and ordained. She then presided at a service of the Lord’s Supper.
ECO’s Ordination Manual states, “Candidates for ministry must demonstrate significant theological and biblical competence as well as the necessary skills for pastoral ministry.” While Graffius holds an MDiv from Princeton Theological Seminary, ECO does not require an MDiv for ordination. Rather, equivalent master’s level programs may be considered for applicants, as the process is designed to take each applicant’s particular experience and history into consideration. Currently there are over 85 people who have contacted ECO concerning ordination and requested an application. ECO’s ordination manual is available online.
Fuller Seminary has been intentional about partnering with seminarians interested in ECO, counting ECO among those denominations with which it works closely. They have added a page to their web site dedicated to ECO students.