United Church of Christ

The Ministerial Excellence, Support & Authorization team

MESA In-Service Opportunities

Within the United Church of Christ, the Ministerial Excellence, Support and Authorization team (MESA) supports the critical implementation of denominational polity for authorized ministry, especially equipping the Committees on Ministry that determine authorization of those persons who hold or are pursuing ministerial standing.

In other words (to make metaphorical use of "mesa"), the Ministerial Excellence, Support and Authorization team serves as host at the table that is ministry in the United Church of Christ. Gathered at the table are authorized ministers, calling bodies, Associations, Conferences, and Committees on Ministry, to which the MESA team offers support and resources for faithful and effective ministry. Additionally, MESA's role as host includes the encouragement of ongoing conversation regarding issues of ministry in the 21st century.  

The MESA team works in a collaborative model to meet the needs of those at the table. Duties, responsibilities and contact information of each MESA team member are listed below, understanding that the goals and partnerships noted here are not designed to be exhaustive. 

Rev. Holly MillerShank, Team Leader of the Ministerial Excellence, Support & Authorization Ministry Team
700 Prospect Ave., Cleveland OH 44115
216-736-3881, millershankh@ucc.org
Essential Duties and Responsibilities
• Visions and articulates the changing needs of authorized ministers & leadership development in the United Church of Christ and ecumenically 
• Builds ecumenical and denominational partnerships to support and resource authorized ministers, conference staff and committees on ministry
• Provides leadership, oversight, and development of the Ministerial Excellence, Support & Authorization Ministry Team
• Serves as a connectional voice between the Ministerial Excellence, Support & Authorization Ministry Team and settings of the United Church of Christ

Rev. Stephen Boyd, Minister for Chaplains and Specialized Ministers
700 Prospect Ave., Cleveland Ohio 44115
562-301-1622, boyds@ucc.org 
Essential Duties and Responsibilities
• Recognizes and honors the diverse calling bodies within the United Church of Christ
• Supports bi-vocational authorized ministers and those serving in settings outside of the local church including but not limited to chaplains, educators, counselors, community organizers, ecumenical ministers, and denominational ministers 
• Supports authorized ministers serving in chaplaincy positions including but not limited to: Hospital Chaplaincy, Military Chaplaincy, College Chaplaincy, and Prison Chaplaincy 
• Provides the voice and perspective of the United Church of Christ in commissions and organizations related to specialized ministry 
• Serves as the endorser for government and professional chaplains
• Resources Committees on Ministry on authorizing and supporting specialized ministers

Rev. Elizabeth Dilley, Minister for Ministerial Support and Accountability
700 Prospect Ave., Cleveland OH 44115
216-736-3841, dilleye@ucc.org 
Duties and Responsibilities
• Assists in embodying the on-going covenant between authorized ministers, associations, conferences and the national setting of the church 
• Strengthens a culture of lifelong learning and continuing education among authorized ministers
• Equips Committees on Ministry to work with Local Church Ministers
• Works with partners to name and develop materials for boundary training and continuing education 
• Articulates guidelines for covenant and mutual accountability for authorized ministers including programs of oversight and fitness 
• Develops and maintains a denomination-wide record of results from UCC fitness review proceedings 
• Resources and connects programs of clergy cohort clusters including the Communities of Practice, 20/30 Clergy, African American Women in Ministry, and the Antoinette Brown Society

Rev. Dr. Renee Jackson, Minister for Ministerial Formation
700 Prospect Ave., Cleveland OH 44115
216-736-3842, Jacksonr@ucc.org 
Duties and Responsibilities

  • Cultivates a culture of call with Local Churches, including support of Local Church Discernment Committees
  • Supports opportunities for Members in Discernment
  • Undergirds COMs in the use of the Marks of Faithful and Effective Authorized Ministers
  • Liaison with the UCC History, Theology and Polity Network and the Regional Theological Education Consortium

Rev. Dr. Tony Clark Minister for Committee on Ministry Development and Leadership 
700 Prospect Ave., Cleveland OH 44115
216-736-3846, clarkt@ucc.org
Duties and Responsibilities

  • Coordinates on-line and in person trainings for Committees on Ministry
  • Develops and maintains COM resources
  • Supports the implementation of the 2018 Manual on Ministry 


Rev. Malcolm Himschoot, Minister for Ministerial Calls and Transitions
700 Prospect Ave., Cleveland OH 44115
216-736-3840, himschootm@ucc.org
Duties and Responsibilities
• Engages partners in researching, developing and disseminating resources on ministerial transition in the United Church of Christ 
• Supports interim ministers in the United Church of Christ and the UCC interim minister’s network
• Develops resources and support for conference staff engaged in search and call        
• Oversees the UCC Profiles Office including the UCC Ministerial Profile’s Portal, Ministry Opportunities Listings, and the development of a new Local Church Profile system
• Resources and supports ministers transitioning between calling bodies or into retirement 

Mr. Darrrell Ludwig, Profile & Ministry Opportunities Administrator
700 Prospect Ave., Cleveland OH 44115
216-736-3847, ludwigd@ucc.org
Essential Duties and Responsibilities
• Resources authorized ministers and conference staff in the completion of online documents relating to MESA, including the ministerial profile and ministry opportunities listings

Ms. Kathleen Sattler, Administrative Assistant-Endorsement Secretary
700 Prospect Ave., Cleveland OH 44115
216-736-3850, sattlerk@ucc.org 
Essential Duties and Responsibilities
• Provides administrative support to members of the Ministerial Excellence, Support & Authorization Ministry Team 
• Serves as the Endorsement Secretary for the United Church of Christ

Shared Commitments of all MESA Team Members
• A commitment to work collaboratively and collegially
• A commitment to demonstrate significant understandings of and appreciation of the faith, polity and practice of ministry in the UCC
• A commitment to demonstrate desire and sensitivity to work in diverse racial, ethnic, cultural and religious settings and attentive to implicit-bias in resources and trainings
• A commitment to responding to the needs of the church including ability to collaboratively conceptualize, author, and produce print and on-line resources.
• A commitment to demonstrate facilitation and workshop leadership in diverse setting of the church
• A commitment to adapt to new technology