Written by Rachel Hackenberg
Dear Committee on Ministry members,
On the occasion when I'm asked to talk about Local Church Ministries with a youth group or confirmation class that is touring the UCC National Offices, I use the image of the table to describe LCM's role in the United Church of Christ. (The word mesa, which serves as the acronym for the Ministerial Excellence, Support & Authorization Team, means table in Spanish.) “Think of all the tables in your church,” I say, “the communion table, the Sunday School tables, the coffee hour tables, the committee meeting tables. Local Church Ministries supports the work that is done at these tables through congregational vitality resources, lay leadership resources, faith formation resources, ministerial resources, and building resources.”
Of course, LCM’s work reaches beyond the tables in our local congregations. As the MESA Team, for example, we strive to support the tables around which Committees on Ministry meet through resources on ministerial authorization and oversight. Some of our support is available to you online: the updated Information Review Form to help COMs connect annually with authorized ministers, the letter templates for COMs supporting the endorsement of specialized ministers, the COM orientation materials, and more! My MESA colleagues and I also love the opportunity to support Committees on Ministry in person, providing workshops on the Marks of Faithful & Effective Authorized Ministers, conducting training for Response Teams and Fitness Reviews, facilitating COM Retreats, and again, so much more!
Additionally, at the beginning of June we embarked upon an important work that will ultimately support and impact the work of Committees on Ministry: the re-visioning of the Manual on Ministry by the Habakkuk Group, a denomination-wide committee of 17 persons who were selected by nomination process over the winter. We invite your continued prayers in support of the Habakkuk Group…
…and we welcome your invitations for MESA to support you, our Committees on Ministry, by paper or by phone or online or in person.
Blessings for the tables around which you gather,
The Rev. Rachel Hackenberg
Ministerial Excellence, Support and Authorization (MESA) Team
Local Church Ministries, United Church of Christ
700 Prospect Avenue
Cleveland, OH 44115