For Congregations considering ministry with the United Church of Christ
Shared Congregational Ministry
For congregations of
different denominations which are considering linking or sharing some
programming or staff, these documents can introduce you to some of the issues
and options. GEMS
(God's Ecumenical Ministry Shared) is for churches of different
denominations considering shared ministry. Getting Together:
Models and Processes for Local Church Cooperation describes five
different models to consider (Yoked, Cluster, Federated, Union
and Consolidated) and some characteristics and ways of collaborating.
Exploring Denominational Affiliation with the United Church of Christ
Is your congregation
interested in exploring and developing a deeper partnership with a
denomination? As a “United and Uniting”
denomination with congregations of many different backgrounds, we contain a
rich diversity and welcome conversation.
If you are already affiliated with a denomination, the first step is to
contact the local judicatory office of the denomination in which you currently
hold membership. In this way we keep
faith with our ecumenical partners, even as we respond to your inquiry to form
a new affiliation. Depending on the area you may relate to a
United Church of Christ Conference, or an Association. A first contact with the
Conference Minister in your area will put you in touch with those who will
engage you in the process of exploration.
Find your conference contact here.
In the United Church of
Christ there is an emphasis on the covenantal relationship between parts of the
church, and congregations who are in conversation about joining the UCC go through a gradual process of covenant
formation. While specific practices vary, a general outline of the process
includes up to three phases:
- The first stage
is a preliminary exploration, an introductory acquaintance, which helps a
church and Association decide if there is a likelihood for establishing a formal
- If both feel that
there is a likelihood of covenant, they will agree to develop that covenant
together. As with all relationships, it will take time and a wealth of shared
experiences to help this covenant fully develop.
- Should the development
stage conclude with a request for standing, in all likelihood the final stage
will be an affirmation of covenant for both parties.
Whether or not a congregation
eventually seeks and is granted standing in the United Church of Christ, this
exploration and development of covenantal relations can result in richer,
deeper ecumenical partnerships.
booklet contains a more detailed description of this process.
Considering a New Church Covenant in the United
Church of Christ: A Process for Exploring, Developing, and Affirming New
This booklet describes a process of mutual exploration which will help a
non-affiliated church explore the United Church of Christ along with a UCC
Association. The goal of the exploration process is to decide whether to enter
into a formal covenanted relationship.
"The gifts Christ gave were that some would be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ." - Ephesians 4:11-12