Written by Rachel Hackenberg
Dear colleagues on Committees on Ministry and Conference staff,
Welcome to the COMma newsletter! The Ministerial Excellence, Support & Authorization (MESA) Team is delighted to share this monthly resource on authorized & authorizing ministry with you. We’re especially pleased to be reaching many of you for the first time, as we corrected the technical glitch that was limiting COMma’s distribution. This newsletter is also newly mobile responsive, so it has improved readability on your smartphones.
In this season of Lent when many Christians choose to fast, this month’s edition of COMma encourages you to feast upon the following resources for working with authorized ministers:
The Marks of Faithful & Effective Authorized Ministers
While the annual Information Review is often a communication of paperwork, the Periodic Support Consultation is an opportunity for Committees on Ministry to meet in-person with authorized ministers. The new Journaling the Journey workbook provides questions and conversation starters that are useful for the Periodic Support Consultation; Journaling the Journey is based on the Marks of Faithful & Effective Authorized Ministers to guide the reflections of COMs and ministers alike.
Boundary Awareness Training
In many conferences, boundary awareness training is a requirement for continued ministerial standing, and occasionally the MESA Team is asked to recommend boundary awareness trainers for a regional event. Because MESA does not wish to create impressions of bias by recommending one trainer but not another, and because we are not equipped to vet every trainer’s curriculum, the MESA Team has formulated Marks of Faithful & Effective Boundary Awareness Trainers that we strongly commend to each Conference and COM.
New Ministerial Profiles System
The new Ministerial Profiles System is live, with an improved Ministerial Profile and an innovative visibility tool called the Snapshot! The new system empowers authorized ministers to advertise their skills and availability to judicatory staff, and it provides a search engine for judicatory staff to seek out ministers according to those skills and availabilities. Orientation tools for the new system are available online at www.ucc.org/ministers/profile, including two sample profiles to familiarize ministers, COMs and search committees with the updated Ministerial Profile.
Updated Pastoral Call Agreement
Along with the updated Ministerial Profile, an updated sample call agreement is now available online. The sample agreement interweaves the important language of covenant with the details of employment. Updates include improved language on insurance and termination, attention to intellectual property, and variances in the benefits for full-time, part-time and interim pastors.
In addition to these resources, the MESA Team is delighted to announce the selection of the working group that will undertake the Manual on Ministry’s re-vision. From 155 nominations submitted for this project, 16 persons were chosen; their goal, in the spirit of Habakkuk 2:2, is to write the vision of authorized ministry and to make it plain for the United Church of Christ. Please keep the Habakkuk Group in your prayers as their work begins.
Finally, please invite your colleagues to sign up for COMma on the UCC's Committee on Ministry webpage.
Blessings to you in this Lenten season,
The Rev. Rachel Hackenberg
Ministerial Excellence, Support and Authorization (MESA) Team
Local Church Ministries, United Church of Christ
700 Prospect Avenue
Cleveland, OH 44115