February 2018

This month, the COMma newsletter shares specific information from Rev. Stephen Boyd, the Minister for Chaplains and Ministers in Specialized Settings, about the Clinical Pastoral Education component of Board Certification for hospital chaplains:

In the area of hospital chaplaincy, many hospitals now require Board Certification.  This process, with the guidance of the endorsement secretary, requires that a minister be endorsed by their denomination and complete four units of Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE). Currently, there are two groups of accredited CPE Training Centers that the Association of Professional Chaplains (the Board certifying agency) will recognize: the Association of Clinical Pastoral Educators (ACPE) and the College of Pastoral Supervision and Psychotherapy (CPSP).

A new board certifying agency, Health Care Chaplaincy Network in conjunction with Spiritual Care Association (SCA), has begun offering Board Certification with SCA training sites. The United Church of Christ has determined that our Committees on Ministry should not recommend that our MIDs and clergy train with SCA training centers if they are seeking certification through a professional agency, because the SCA does not require denominational endorsement. The Association of Religious Endorsing Bodies, of which the UCC is a part, released this statement:    

          “Endorsement attests to one’s suitability for ministry by a specific faith tradition in a particular setting; it demonstrates the faith community’s support for one’s ministry beyond faith community walls; it provides an assurance the endorsee is in good standing with the faith community;…  Unfortunately, the current Spiritual Care Association (SCA) credentialing practice disregards this attestation and negates the very value it seeks to render in the provision of spiritual care.” 

Clergy and Members in Discernment who are seeking certification through a professional agency for endorsement who have questions about this should reach out to the UCC Endorsement Secretary, Ms. Kathleen Sattler at sattlerk@ucc.org. Committees on Ministry should reach out to Rev. Stephen Boyd at boyds@ucc.org.

Questions for Reflection

  • Do you know what role your Committee on Ministry plays in the process of Board Certification for chaplains?
  • What is the value of denominational endorsement in this sort of chaplain specialty?

Other COM News:

UCC Scholarship Applications are now available online for a variety of individuals and groups. Ministry Education scholarships are available for Members in Discernment (some additional requirements may apply); Program Grants are designed for congregations and/or congregational leaders. Leadership Development Scholarships are intended for United Church of Christ undergraduate students, future seminary professors, African-American laywomen, and gifted persons with disabilities, among others. Global Ministry Scholarships support individuals within a United Church of Christ overseas partner church or international seminary. The deadline for online scholarships is March 1 at 5pm ET.

The MESA Team is dedicated to supporting your vital COM work through regular trainings offered online:

  • On February 20th at 7:00-8:30pm ET, join us to explore the Ministry of COMs.

  • On March 7th at 3:00-4:30pm ET, join us to explore Best Practices for Sabbaticals.

  • On March 19th at 3:30-5:00pm ET, go in depth in the new UCC Ministerial Code.

  • On March 22nd at 2:00-3:30pm ET, dig into ways to assess competence with the Marks of Faithful and Effective Authorized Ministers.

Each training is hosted by a member of the MESA Team, with space on Zoom for up to 50 participants. No registration is required; click on the title of the training you want to attend at the time it is scheduled to start.
Looking for a way to appreciate your Committee on Ministry members and to celebrate the particular church nerdy-ness & dedication that make possible Committee on Ministry work? Have a little fun and give the gift of our “Keep COM and Carry On” t-shirts, now on sale for only $5.00 at UCC Resources.
Praying for the depth of your Lenten studies and practices,

Rev. Elizabeth Dilley
Minister for Ministers in Local Churches
MESA – Ministerial Excellence, Support and Authorization
Local Church Ministries, United Church of Christ 


From The Ground Up

Categories: Column COMma

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