Perspectives and Procedures for Ecclesiastical Authorization of Ministry
The changing landscapes of church and denominational life in the 21st century impact the form and function of ministry, including the ways in which the United Church of Christ calls, authorizes and oversees ministers. Consequently our Manual on Ministry, which saw its last update in 2002, needs reflection and re-vision -- a fresh, 21st century vision for authorized and authorizing ministry. To that end, the Ministerial Excellence, Support & Authorization (MESA) Team) formed the Habakkuk Group, tasked with seeing and writing the vision of authorized ministry and making it plain for the United Church of Christ. In 2017, the Habakkuk Group's work is being engaged through four regional events across the denomination.
A draft of the re-visioned Manual on Ministry is shared by the Habakkuk Group for the wider church’s discernment through engagement. This draft reflects feedback provided by judicatory staff, seminary partners, Committee on Ministry members, and national and ecumenical colleagues in 2016. An additional chart overviews the feedback received thus far by outlining which parts of the drafted MOM are ready to use and which ideas of the drafted MOM are still in discernment. The wider church’s continued reflection is invited during 2017 through use of the discussion guide and completion of a feedback form.
In 2017, a draft of the re-visioned Manual on Ministry was presented by the Habakkuk Group for conversation across the United Church of Christ. The group listened deeply to the wider church’s engagement of this draft, and at its December 2017 meeting, the Habakkuk Group worked to distill all of these conversations, placing the breadth of feedback alongside its own discernment in order to make the decisions necessary to move the drafted Manual on Ministry toward the next edition of MOM. Multiple denomination-wide surveys were also incorporated into this period of discernment including a survey regarding the use of Licensed Ministry in the UCC.
Click here to find a synopsis of the Habakkuk Group’s conclusions, including a detailed guide to advise the wider church about the aspects of the 2017 drafted Manual on Ministry that will be revised as well as those that will remain largely unchanged. We encourage Committees on Ministry and conferences to feel confident in their continued use of the 2017 drafted Manual on Ministry as an authoritative resource, noting the changes outlined in the synopsis.
The United Church of Christ Manual on Ministry is published in ten separate sections or booklets. Each section is available separately or as part of the complete Manual that includes all ten sections in a single binder. The ten sections are:
1. Partners in Authorizing Ministry
An overview of the covenantal relationships and underlying assumptions about authorized ministry, including the ministerial codes.
2. Student in Care of Association
Commentary, processes, and procedures for those preparing to enter the Ordained Ministry of the United Church of Christ.
3. Ordained Ministry
Commentary, processes, and procedures for Ordained Ministry, including Ordained Ministerial Standing.
4. Dual Standing and Privilege of Call
Commentary, processes, and procedures for those ordained ministers of denominations other than the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) who seek to serve in the United Church of Christ or who seek to enter the Ordained Ministry of the United Church of Christ. Ordained ministers of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) should see section 5, "Ordained Ministerial Partner."
5. Ordained Ministerial Partner
Commentary, processes, and procedures related to the reconciliation of ministries with the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ).
6. Commissioned Ministry
Commentary, processes, and procedures for Commissioned Ministry, including Commissioned Ministerial Standing.
7. Licensed Ministry
Commentary, processes, and procedures for Licensed Ministry.
8. The Oversight of Ministries
Commentary, processes, and procedures for the nurture and accountability of the ministries of the Church.
9. Ecclesiastical Endorsement
Commentary, processes, and procedures for those seeking to serve as chaplains in professional organizations and military or other U.S. government agencies.
10. Supplemental Materials
Commentary, appendices, and a glossary related to multiple sections of Manual on Ministry.