“We have more than ten ministers who have not completed their annual Information Reviews in more than two years, and we have another six who refuse to participate in required boundary trainings or continuing education requirements. We’ve tried contacting them by phone and email; is there anything else we can do?”
With praise be to God for the thousands of conversations, emails, prayers, and edits which took place across the church: the 2018 UCC Manual on Ministry is ready for online pre-orders. Shipping will take place in November. God’s richest blessings on this project and heartfelt thanks for the collective contributions to this effort on behalf of the Church.
It happens nearly every month: someone contacts the national setting, either with a question about something related to ministerial authorization or sharing their frustration or displeasure at a decision of a Committee on Ministry or a Conference/Association, and asking the national setting to “do something.”20
A persistent concern for ministers serving in settings beyond the local church is the deep disconnection and isolation many feel from their Associations and Conferences.
Excellent communication is an essential value of COM work, and that value is expressed in the ways that Committees keep records and communicate with individuals seeking or holding standing, congregations or other ministry settings, and other settings of the United Church of Christ (including other Committees on Ministry).
Dual Standing and Privilege of Call are temporary forms of standing/status for ministers credentialed in other denominations, but they are different and have different endpoints.
As part of the new Manual on Ministry, the Habakkuk Group helped to develop a new Ministerial Code by which all clergy would be held accountable.
The MESA team has recently released A Sure Foundation – a collection of best practices for the relationship between pastors and congregations.
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.
This week, a newly-elected Committee on Ministry chair called me to ask for input on a brief COM orientation she planned to lead. “I’m so glad you asked!” I replied.