United Church of Christ

April 2019

Dear colleagues,   

Easter Greetings! This newsletter comes to you a week late to celebrate the Resurrection of Jesus (and in recognition that during Holy Week, many such emails go unopened).

The Ministerial, Excellence, Support and Authorization Ministry Team (MESA) is pleased to host a Members in Discernment (MID) Gathering in Cleveland on August 15-16, 2019. This annual event introduces MIDs to the national setting of the UCC, builds a foundation for vital and lifelong relationships in ministry, provides resources and information, and creates a space for mutual support among colleagues. Please encourage your MIDs to take advantage of this important opportunity!  

This event is limited to the first 50 qualified registrants, and MIDs may participate in this gathering only once during their process of discernment. Individual MIDs and their Associations are each asked to contribute $100 toward the cost of the event. Please contact your Conference/Association office, or Darrell Ludwig at ludwigd@ucc.org, for more information about travel scholarships, for the Association Contribution and Support Form, or any additional questions.

Registration information may be found here; the registration deadline is July 15, 2019 at 11:59pm Eastern time, or whenever maximum capacity is reached. Additional required forms, including the Association Contribution and Support Form, Scholarship Form, and FAQs, may be found here. The next Member in Discernment Event will take place April 23-24, 2020.

Questions for Reflection

  • What forms of support does your Association or Conference offer to MIDs?
  • Do you gather your MIDs together for any purpose – retreat, support, educational opportunities, conversation with COMs and judicatory staff?
  • How might you explore finding ways to build the relationships among the MIDs in your area?

Other COM News:

The MESA Team is hard at work finalizing Section 3 Resources for the Manual on Ministry. Each month, we will use this newsletter to inform you of uploaded resources available at the Manual on Ministry page. Access these materials from the website as needed; over time they will be updated periodically, with most recent revisions noted at the bottom of the document. Current resources have a blue stained glass banner and are easily identified as Section 3 Resources. This month’s uploads include:

Resources for Section 1 Theology of Authorized Ministry:

  • Transitional Discussion Guide for Committees on Ministry with Current Licensed and Commissioned Ministers
  • Sample Liturgy for Ordination

Section 1 Marks of Faithful and Effective Authorized Ministers:

  • Marks of Faithful and Effective Authorized Ministers

Section 1 Ministry of Committees on Ministry

  • Sample Ministerial File
  • Ministerial File Outline
  • Registrar Orientation and Instructions

Section 2:1 Members in Discernment

  • Local Church Discernment Committee Best Practices
  • Sample Outline of Discernment Expectations (Sample Member in Discernment Process Checklist)
  • Training Delegates in Preparation for an Ecclesiastical Council
  • Privilege of Call (Notice of an Ecclesiastical Council for Privilege of Call Candidates)
  • Notice of Ecclesiastical Council, Ordination
  • Ecclesiastical Council Agenda

Section 2:2 Ecumenically Ordained Ministers

  • Formula of Agreement Orderly Exchange (Updated in 2018)

Section 2:3 Ordained Ministerial Standing

  • UCC Ministerial Code
  • Access to Profiles Portal/Eligibility for UCC Ministerial Profile
  • Sample Liturgy for Ordination
  • Standings in Ministry Flow Chart

Section 2:4 Ministerial Standing for Lay Persons

  • Transitional Discussion Guide for Committees on Ministry with Current Licensed and Commissioned Ministers

Section 2:5 Calls, Covenants, and Endorsements

  • Template, Letter of Endorsement (ACPE)

Section 2:6 Accountability and Support

  • Sample Information Review Form
  • Periodic Vocational Support Guide (Five Year)
  • Periodic Vocational Support Best Practices
  • Upon Receipt of a Concern
  • Resources for Response Team Members
  • Recommended Guidelines for a Conference Minister Fitness Review (2018 version)
  • Guidelines for Effective Programs of Growth
  • Sample Fitness Review Notification Letter for Minister in Question
  • Sample Fitness Review Notification Letter for Local Church as Calling Body
  • Sample Fitness Review Notification Letter for Specialized Ministry Setting
  • Sample Fitness Review Notification Letter for Local Church as Place of Membership
  • Sample Agenda for Fitness Review Adjudication Meeting

The MESA Team is dedicated to supporting your vital COM work through regular trainings offered online. Please check this site regularly for updates. MESA will host a number of sessions introducing the new Manual on Ministry to the Church in 2019. This year, we are requiring advance registration, so click the link at least one hour in advance of the training (but as early as desired). Upcoming trainings include:

Marks Assessment with Renee Jackson
May 8, 2:00 – 3:30pm ET 
This webinar is designed to facilitate the understanding and use of the Marks of Faithful and Effective Authorized Ministers, particularly with Members in Discernment but also with authorized ministers.

Ecclesiastical Councils with Stephen Boyd
May 29, 7:00 – 8:30pm ET
This webinar addresses the appropriate timing, purpose, and scope of an Ecclesiastical Council. One of the final steps before ministerial authorization, an Ecclesiastical Council is an opportunity for an Association to meet and communally discern a Member in Discernment’s readiness for Ordination.

With deep gratitude,

The Ministerial Excellence, Support and Authorization Ministry Team


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