you considering specialized ministry?
What About Chaplaincy? will help you to explore ministry outside of a congregational setting, including many
types of ministry and issues of call, fit, and other perspectives.
you are called to specialized ministry…
The Called to Specialized Ministry? brochure will point you
to resources for further information.
is ecclesiastical endorsement?
not all- specialized ministry settings ask for “Ecclesiastical Endorsement” by
a minister’s denomination. There is a
distinction between Ministerial Standing and Ecclesiastical Endorsement. Ordination or the granting of ministerial
standing means that the person is deemed sufficiently prepared and equipped for
ordained ministry in, and on behalf of, the United Church of Christ.
endorsement is verification that the person is in good standing, has gained the
necessary qualifying experience (including at least one unit of Clinical
Pastoral Education and sometimes as much as 3 years of ministry experience), is
willing and capable of working collegially in a religiously and culturally
pluralistic setting without prejudice, understands that they are not to
evangelize in a specialized ministry setting, and has the maturity to represent
the United Church of Christ to the calling body organization.
Ecclesiastical Endorsement/Approval for Government Organizations covers
Military chaplains (including student chaplain candidates), hospital chaplains
for the Veterans Affairs, and prison chaplaincy for the Federal Board of
Ecclesiastical Endorsement for ProfessionalOrganizations covers all other
circumstances. Endorsement may be for a professional organization, a local
government, or for an employer.
Professional Organizations: APC, ACPE, AAPC, CPSP, etc.
Local endorsements (state, local,
regional): state prison, local fire
dept., city police dept., etc.
Employment: endorsement required by a retirement home,
hospice, medical center, etc.
Please note that not all employers require
More UCC Chaplains Needed
The United Church of Christ currently has 46 clergy serving as chaplains in the military services. A generation ago, we had three times that many. The decrease can be attributed to a number of factors, including the denomination’s stance as a Just Peace church, fewer seminarians and clergy who can meet the age and physical requirements and, in the past, the military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy.
Other mainline Protestant denominations have experienced a similar decline in the number of chaplains provided to the military and other government agencies. This has led to a void that more conservative denominations have been ready and able to fill. This influence has not been benign. Women, gays and lesbians, persons from liberal or non-Christian backgrounds, and others have been negatively affected. And our national interests have also been jeopardized.
Recently there has been renewed interest in chaplaincy by UCC clergy and seminarians. If you or someone you know may be willing to consider a call to chaplaincy, please get in touch with the Minister for Government and Professional Chaplaincies in Parish Life and Leadership. Call (216) 736-3850 for more information.
For the good of service members and their families and for the good of our country, we need to ensure that our chaplains will continue to be there to serve them.