Rare young pastor to be ordained in Lawrence

Something of an anomaly will occur Sunday in Lawrence – a pastor under the age of 30 will be ordained.The Rev. Josh Longbottom, the 29-year-old associate pastor at Plymouth Congregational Church, 925 Vt., has his ordination service scheduled for 4 p.m. Sunday. He is a native of Manhattan and graduate of Eden Theological Seminary in Webster Groves, Mo.The Journal-World wrote a profile of Josh and his brother JoJo back in September of 2006.Only 5 percent of pastors in the United Church of Christ – of which Plymouth is a member – are under the age of 40.And the issue certainly isn’t limited to the UCC denomination. Other statistics:¢ The Presbyterian Church says 29 percent of its clergy are 55 years of age or older, and the median age of seminary graduates is 42.¢ The National Catholic Reporter says there are more American priests over age 90 than under age 30.¢ The average age for clergy is around 52, according to a Duke University study, with average age of ordination of 29. The oldest average age (59) among pastors was at historically black churches (which, incidentally, also had the youngest age of ordination at 24).So what can be done to increase the number of young people in religious leadership positions? Any theories?_ – Faith Files, which examines issues of faith, spirituality, morals and ethics, is updated by features/faith reporter Terry Rombeck. Have an idea for the blog? Contact Terry at trombeck@ljworld.com, or 832-7145._