Many Committees on Ministry struggle with cultivating effective Ecclesiastical Councils, whether because they have a hard time getting a quorum, the questions that get asked are not appropriate for the forum (“How would you help our youth group grow?”), or the candidates themselves are not adequately prepared.
"This individual has a call to spiritual direction and wants to go into private practice – can we ordain them to that call?” “Is a part-time call eligible for ordination?” “Can we ordain this candidate to a volunteer position?” “This person wants to start a new UCC church; is this something to which we can ordain them?”
“We have more than ten ministers who have not completed their annual Information Reviews in more than two years, and we have another six who refuse to participate in required boundary trainings or continuing education requirements. We’ve tried contacting them by phone and email; is there anything else we can do?”
With praise be to God for the thousands of conversations, emails, prayers, and edits which took place across the church: the 2018 UCC Manual on Ministry is ready for online pre-orders. Shipping will take place in November. God’s richest blessings on this project and heartfelt thanks for the collective contributions to this effort on behalf of the Church.
Annual committee turnover can be a great gift as well as logistical strain for Committees on Ministry, as new committee members bring fresh perspective and curious spirits but also need time to be brought “up to speed” on a committee’s current work and its function within UCC polity.
There are occasions when MESA is privileged to partner with Committees on Ministry on in-depth projects that benefit the whole church.
With the NBA playoffs underway and MLB opening day just behind us, it’s a great time to highlight one of the invaluable team players in this shared work of ministerial authorization, standing and oversight: the UCC’s Center for Analytics, Research & Data (CARD).
As the number of church pastorates declines and the number of specialized ministries increases, Committees on Ministry increasingly receive questions about endorsement for ministers who serve in certain institutional ministries (from VA hospitals to Federal Prison systems, from hospice facilities to college campuses).
The work of conducting a Fitness Review is one of the more spiritually, emotionally, and logistically taxing responsibilities of Committees on Ministry.
In celebration of the new year, I draw your attention to several new resources available from MESA.