Written by Rachel Hackenberg
To our colleagues in the ministry of authorization and oversight:
On this Easter Monday, we celebrate with Mary Magdalene, "I have seen the Lord!" (John 20:18), and in this edition of the COMma newsletter, we celebrate the experiences of Christ that come in many spaces of ministry:
In ministry with military personnel…
Christ shows no partiality to meeting people in churches or in war zones, in Sunday best or in uniform. Our United Church of Christ military chaplains provide crucial ministry amidst difficult experiences, such as the recent Fort Hood shooting. For those Committees on Ministry working to support their military chaplains and/or for those congregations who seek to provide hospitality to veterans, UCC Endorser and Minister for Chaplains & Specialized Ministers Stephen Boyd (firstname.lastname@example.org) is available as a resource for military chaplain support and for workshops on the General Synod’s Resolution for Compassionate Care and Healing to Veterans.
In covenants for specialized ministry…
Specialized ministers and chaplains bear Christ beyond the walls of our churches: to hospitals, camps, psychotherapy appointments, police and fire halls, college campuses, and – as noted above – military personnel. In the United Church of Christ, the wider church’s connection to its specialized ministers is witnessed and affirmed through four-way covenants, samples of which can be found on the Committees on Ministry webpage. While four-way covenants are written uniquely for each specialized minister, Committees on Ministry are encouraged to develop these covenants with their specialized ministers as a matter of both support and standing.
In Facebook communities…
In the unending miracle of incarnation, Christ can be experienced through social media outlets! If you don’t already know, many of the UCC’s authorized ministers and Members in Discernment gather in various Facebook groups to share their joys and concerns of ministry and to connect across geographical distances. Such groups are facilitated and supervised by the ministers and MIDs themselves, and they can nurture positive relationships and vital ministries. When Committees on Ministry meet with their MIDs and authorized ministers for Information Reviews and Periodic Support Consultations, consider asking reflection questions about the ministers’ experiences of Christ online . . . as well as their support & accountability networks offline.
In our work of authorization and oversight, and in our own lives this Eastertide, may we encounter Christ with joy!
The Rev. Rachel Hackenberg
Ministerial Excellence, Support and Authorization (MESA) Team
Local Church Ministries, United Church of Christ
700 Prospect Avenue
Cleveland, OH 44115