'Extra-ordinary,' in this sense, does not have to do with the candidate being different. (Organized religions have often made queer people feel different and even defective. More on that below.) And being 'ordained' often involves welcoming a candidate into a fellowship of ministerial colleagues. Being 'ordained' is, in a sense, becoming 'ordinary' in terms of having met certain standards. The American Protestant Union exceeds most denominational standards. Ours is a rigorous process that is described in more detail below. So, what is 'ordinary' about, then? The Oxford English Dictionary defines 'ordinary' as "exercising authority by virtue of office and not by delegation." Therefore, 'extraordinary' refers to the ecumenical (interdenominational) gathering of ministers from across Christendom who are affiliated with the American Protestant Union to extend the "right hand of fellowship" to those who have met high standards of ministerial excellence, theological education, emotional intelligence, and spiritual giftedness.
The Board of Directors, which in other circles might be called bishops, includes ministers ordained by various denominations and who deeply believe in the ecumenical vision of the American Protestant Union. These Directors also represent different genders, races, sexualities, abilities, geographical locations, class, and other social locations. Together, they mentor candidates for ordination (or "Candidates for Authorized Ministry") during their years of theological education, or, if a candidate has already completed their theological education and other requirements, then the Board forms a relationship with that candidate prior to being ordained. In all cases, a mentor is assigned to an ordained minister (or "Authorized Minister") for the first year of ordained life.
In order to become a Candidate for Authorized Ministry:
Once in the pool of Candidates for Authorized Ministry, a support system is formed (unless already in place):
Once theological education has been completed and a support system activated and utilized, the Candidate should schedule a meeting with the entire Board of Directors for a final meeting of mutual discernment. Topics discussed include a review of the Candidate's personal story, application materials submitted, seminary/divinity school transcripts,