United Church of Christ

January 2020

Dear Committees on Ministry,

Blessings of Epiphany to you. Blessings of shadows and light, revealing, illuminating, and celebrating!

At the end of 2018, MESA was eagerly anticipating the published release of the new Manual on Ministry. We were ready for it not to be mysterious any more! When MOM was finally ready, the initial print run sold out in a few short months, and we entered a new print run to meet the incarnate needs of the life of the Church. Meanwhile we promised additional resources (Section 3) would appear online for use in a digital format.

Manual on Ministry Section 3 has become remarkably more complete over the course of this year, making it convenient for COM leaders to utilize practical tools of communication and covenant throughout their work. Find these links regularly by clicking on the blue bars within the lower part of the page at https://www.ucc.org/ministers_manual.

This December, we highlighted Section 3 resources that include rewritten orders for the liturgical celebrations of Ordination, the creation or renewal of a Lay Ministerial Standing Covenant, and the recognition of a Member in Discernment, all conducted within the setting of an Association. An additional liturgical piece highlights a celebration to take place within the local church, commissioning church members for special service.

The new Ordination service (related to MOM Section 2: Article 3) adds to ancient layers of meaning by incorporating language and values from “The Marks of Faithful and Effective Authorized Ministers.” The new Lay Ministerial Standing service (related to MOM Section 2: Article 4) enacts covenant in a deliberate way among all parties. The Member in Discernment service (related to MOM Section 2: Article 1) recognizes a particularly profound moment for a MID still in formation. These rites can be used in replacement of former orders of worship found within the UCC Book of Worship.

See and share the following links to make it easy – and less mysterious – to find these published liturgies. And May God grant new illumination, this Holy season!

Questions for Reflection:
How might you begin to incorporate these liturgical services into the life of your Association? With whom are you most excited to share these liturgies?

Other COM News:
The MESA Team is hard at work finalizing Section 3 Resources for the Manual on Ministry, available on 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.

At our MESA Team Retreat last fall, the team discerned that in 2020, MESA needs to prioritize the production of training videos for Committees on Ministry to be able to use at their convenience. As a result, MESA will not be offering live Zoom trainings for the first half of the year except in exceptional cases. During that time, MESA will still be able to provide in-person conference COM trainings, and to consult as needed. Further, knowing the value of live trainings involving multiple conferences, MESA will discern the best ways to offer Zoom trainings in the second half of 2020. In the long run, this will advance our shared goals of accessible and available COM training materials to meet the varied needs of the Church in different times, so we are grateful for your understanding.


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