United Church of Christ Special Mission Offerings (SMOs) exist to allow congregations and individuals to meet people at points of critical need in their lives. Though many options exist for direct, individual support of these needs, the SMOs allow a common witness and make a collective positive impact. Our church has identified four areas where these critical human needs exist:
• in places lacking health and educational resources and/or where disaster has struck;
• within systems of injustice which oppress daily life and opportunity;
• in the lives of church leaders without sufficient resources to live with dignity;
• in the nurture of youth and congregations just beginning their lives of faith.
We believe these SMOs collectively serve to lift people closer to the abundance and wholeness to which Jesus Christ has called us to work together to bring about.
One Great Hour of Sharing
Supports partners in countries with ministries that fund health, education and agricultural development, emergency relief, refugee ministries and both international and domestic disaster response, administered by Wider Church Ministries, Global Sharing of Resources.
This offering is received on the Fourth Sunday of Lent.
Strengthen the Church
Supports church growth, pastoral and lay leadership development, youth and young adult ministries within conferences and administered by Local Church Ministries.
This offering is received on Pentecost Sunday.
Neighbors in Need
One-third of this offering supports the Council for American Indian Ministry (CAIM) and two-thirds is administered by Justice and Witness Ministries to support a variety of justice initiatives, advocacy efforts, and direct service projects through grants.
This offering is received on First Sunday of October as part of World Communion Sunday.
The Christmas Fund
Provides direct financial assistance to retired and active United Church of Christ authorized ministers and lay employees and their surviving spouses, including pension and health premium supplementation, emergency assistance, and Christmas thank-you checks. A ministry of the Pension Boards, the offering is received annually on the Sunday before Christmas.
This offering is received on the Sunday before Christmas.
To order additional Special Mission Offering materials call United Church of Christ Resources at 800.537.3394 or to place or change a standing order call the Office of Philanthropy and Stewardship at 866.822.8224.
To order, visit UCC Resources Curriculum & Education
or call United Church of Christ Resources toll free: 800-537-3394.
If you visit pages below for information on resources, please be sure to return to
UCC Resources Curriculum & Education to place your order.
Shine: Living in God's Light
A Bible-based curriculum that teaches children about God's love through imagination, interactive biblical storytelling, and spiritual practices. Ages 3 through grade 8.
Order from UCC Resources here.
Deep Blue Kids: Where Kids Dive Deep into the Bible
A Bible-based curriculum packed with exciting stories, science experiments, arts and crafts, animated video storytelling, and active games. From birth through age 12.
Order from UCC Resources here.
Caffeine Youth Curriculum
Imaginative retellings of Bible stories that youth can relate to.
Order from UCC Resources here.
Human Sexuality Education
Our Whole Lives
A series of sexuality education programs for four age groups: grades K-1, grades 4-6, grades 7-9 and grades 10-12. Written by professional sexuality educators, the programs provide accurate information for parents, teachers and pastors to use with children and young people to help them learn about sexuality in the affirming and supportive setting of our churches. Learn more here.
Order from UCC Resources here.
Created in God's Image
A learning program written for adults. Ten sessions designed to last two and a half hours each. Sessions begin and end in worship. The remainder of each session is devoted to individual and group learning activities that enable people to explore the theme in a safe and structured group setting.
Learn more here.
Visit UCC Resources Curriculum & Education to see all of our curriculum and education offerings.
Gifts to Basic Support of Our Church's Wider Mission benefit the full range of the United Church of Christ mission across the country and around the globe.
Our faith is 2000 Years old but our thinking is not.
• Because of our belief in a continuing testament, we are attentive to God's creative movement in the world...
• We arrive early on issues of social justice, as evidenced by courageous "firsts" for racial justice, equality for women, and inclusion of gay and lesbian people.
• We prepare leaders who are open to and prepared for ministry in the present and future church.
• We train leaders who grow spiritually, who build up the church, and put their faith into action.
• We embrace and equip new kinds of congregations and new modes of leadership.
No matter who you are or where you are on life's journey, you are welcome here.
• Because we believe in extravagant welcome, we insist that God's table is open, not closed, and God's gift and claim in baptism are irrevocable…
• We demonstrate this through public professions of our identity/purpose: multi-racial, multi-cultural, open and affirming, accessible to all.
• We advocate justice for all as an extension and expression of faith.
• We are open to new ways of being church and forming Christian community.
• We affirm that cultural differences expand our ability to welcome more people.
• We strive to keep our perspective global in our partnership with people of faith around the world.
Never place a period where God has placed a comma.
• Because we believe in transformation, we believe the church's mission is changing lives - individually, systemically and globally...
• We identify, recruit, educate and support leaders who inspire others.
• We support churches and plant new churches as vital places of worship, learning, and justice advocacy.
• We change lives through our global partnerships, missionaries and advocacy.
Thank you for your partnership. Together we are changing lives!
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.
Build sustainable communities. OGHS supports self-help programs in more than 80 nations to build sustainable communities that enable people and communities to stand against and rise above hunger, disease, illiteracy, and other forces of injustice that deny and destroy dignity.
Respond to disaster. OGHS provides emergency and long-term assistance to people in the aftermath of hurricanes, tornados, storms, floods, tidal waves, fires, explosions, technological disasters, civil strife, war, or other natural or human-caused events. On average, OGHS responds to a disaster once every 2.5 days.
- Minister to refugees. OGHS responds with advocacy and help, hope and hospitality for people who have been uprooted from their home of origin. More than 30 million of the world's people are uprooted at any given time.
In cooperation with Global Ministries, Church World Service, Action by Churches Together, Interchurch Medical Assistance, Foods Resource Bank, Oikocredit, Freedom from Hunger and hundreds of local partners around the world, One Great Hour of Sharing is part of a remarkable network of service and caring that is efficient, effective and faithful. Administrative costs are typically less than eight percent annually.
The United Church of Christ unites with Christians in eight other Protestant denominations and Church World Service in One Great Hour of Sharing, thus multiplying the effectiveness and extent of our witness many times over.
The partnership we share with nearly 6,000 United Church of Christ congregations across the United States and Puerto Rico is where this remarkable miracle connecting UCC members to the world truly begins. The UCC annually channels more than $3 million dollars through One Great Hour of Sharing to humanitarian needs in the world.
The One Great Hour of Sharing offering is administered through Wider Church Ministries of the United Church of Christ.
To support this Ministry:
or give a generous gift at your local UCC church
or send your gift by mail, made payable to:
One Great Hour of Sharing
United Church of Christ
700 Prospect Avenue
Cleveland, OH 44115-1100
All gifts to One Great Hour of Sharing are tax deductible and 100% of designated gifts go to the designated area of response. Non-designated funds are encouraged. They allow One Great Hour of Sharing to address future hidden and forgotten emergencies around the world.
The Rev. Dr. John C. Dorhauer is the Acting Executive Minister of the United Church of Christ's Local Church Ministries.
The Rev. John C. Dorhauer, former conference minister of the Southwest Conference of the UCC, is the ninth general minister and president of the United Church of Christ.
Prior to his role at the Southwest Conference, Dorhauer served as associate conference minister in the Missouri Mid-South Conference, and also served local churches in rural Missouri. He has a Master of Divinity degree from Eden Theological Seminary and a Doctor of Ministry degree from United Theological Seminary, where he studied white privilege and its effects on the church.
Dorhauer is passionate about justice. Two statements that shape his theology are: "God is love. God is just." Along with his passion for justice, Dorhauer has a passion for and love of baseball – specifically the St. Louis Cardinals – music, literature and poetry. He has been married to his wife for nearly 31 years and they have three children.
Dorhauer was chosen as the GMP candidate by an 18-member search committee in February 2015. His candidacy was confirmed by the UCC Board of Directors by a two-thirds vote in March. He was elected at the 30th General Synod, which met June 26-30, 2015 in Cleveland.
Local Church Ministries is one of four Covenanted Ministries in the United Church of Christ. Our purpose is to encourage and support the church's congregations in the fulfillment of God's mission. Local Church Ministries' specific thematic areas can be found below:
These teams support local congregations in their concerns about growth, finances, liturgy and education; support ordained and lay ministers in their vocations; and manage with the Office of General Ministries, the UCC's publishing houses and distribution services.
To inspire donors, through purposeful engagement about the importance of philanthropy and stewardship within the UCC and its churches, to be active participants in transforming the world around us!
To create a culture of philanthropy that invites people to grow in generosity, in faith and in relationship with God and the United Church of Christ.
• Purposeful teaching on the importance of the stewarding of all resources.
• Fostering trust with internal and external stakeholders.
• Modeling what it means to reimagine the gifts of God – lived out through joyful engagement, efficient management of resources, and excellent stewardship of relationships and resources – equipping others to serve, to ask, and to give.
Together, lets re-imagine the gifts of God.
Please call us with any questions concerning gifts you have made, gifts you would like to make, the impact of your gift in the life of the church, and other gift reporting. We encourage you to call on us as a resource for congregational giving, stewardship planning and education.
700 Prospect Ave.
Cleveland, OH 44115