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. Dual Standing is valid only for the duration of a minister’s call in a United Church of Christ ministry setting; standing in the minister’s originating denomination is concurrently retained. Privilege of Call is a valid status until the minister receives an authorizable call with a UCC ministry setting, at which time the COM votes to grant Ordained Ministerial Standing and credentials in the originating denomination are relinquished. These processes are described in greater detail in the article on Ordained Ministers from Ecumenical Bodies article in Section 2 of the draft Manual on Ministry, but here is a brief overview:
Those seeking Dual Standing apply to the Association Committee on Ministry. Their application should include: documentation of current ministerial employment in a UCC setting, a current criminal background check, a letter of standing form the original denomination; demonstrated knowledge of the United Church of Christ history, theology, and polity; demonstrated capacity to function in and appreciate the United Church of Christ. A meeting with the Committee on Ministry, in dialogue with the Marks of Faithful and Effective Authorized Ministers, may lead to a COM granding Dual Standing for the duration of a minister’s call within the UCC. Oversight for such ministers is held primarily in the denomination of origin; however, ministers must also adhere to any requirements for maintaining standing in the UCC (such as boundary awareness training, anti-racism training, attendance at Association and conference meetings). Once the minister leaves that ministry setting, they no longer have standing in the United Church of Christ. Ministers with Dual Standing are not granted access into the UCC’s Ministerial Profile System for Search and Call purposes.
On August 28 at 2:00 – 4:00pm ET, explore the role of Response Teams in the Fitness Review Process. is a status that, like Member in Discernment, is intended to be temporary, and is appropriate for ministers credentialed in other denominations with similar ministerial formation processes who seek to affiliate permanently with the United Church of Christ, leaving their denomination of original authorization and becoming an Ordained Minister in the United Church of Christ. Applications for Privilege of Call are similar to the applications for Members in Discernment, and the formation process for those seeking Privilege of Call may resemble the MID process, including an Ecclesiastical Council on the part of the Association to grant Privilege of Call. Once an individual receives Privilege of Call, they may use the UCC profiles system to seek an authorizable call. Once someone with Privilege of Call receives such a call, the COM votes to grant UCC Ordained Ministerial Standing, relinquishing their credentials in other ordaining bodies, and Privilege of Call ends. These individuals are now UCC Ordained Ministers and subject to all requirements for standing, including oversight by the COM. Note: Members of the Fellowship of Affirming Ministries are not required to relinquish their title or authorization with TFAM in the Privilege of Call process.
Committees on Ministry should ask their conference staff for assistance in identifying those who hold Dual Standing, are seeking Privilege of Call, or who currently have the status of Privilege of Call and ensure that the Data Hub is up-to-date. Currently, the Data Hub lists 167 ministers across 31 Conferences who either have or are seeking Privilege of Call. A quick spot-check indicates that many of these individuals actually have a call within the UCC and thus should have been granted Ordained Ministerial Standing. Likewise, the Data Hub lists 307 ministers with Dual Standing across 34 conferences, of which 93 individuals do not list a second denominational affiliation.
Such administrative work is easy to forget amongst all the other responsibilities of a Committee on Ministry, but keeping current on these matters helps COMs embody the extravagant welcome for which the UCC is known, and ensures that COMs are empowered for the work of both supporting and holding accountable those who hold standing in the UCC.
Questions for Reflection
- What plan can you develop to ensure that all persons who hold status or standing in the UCC are accurately listed in the Data Hub? How can you work with your Conference staff to find out who’s listed as holding which status or standing, and take the necessary votes to ensure that clergy who should have standing have it?
- How can you celebrate those who you vote to move from Privilege of Call to Ordained Ministerial Standing, even if such votes are overdue?
Other COM News:
- The MESA Team is dedicated to supporting your vital COM work through regular trainings offered online.
- On July 19 at 2:00 – 3:30pm ET, learn about COMs and Mental Health.
- On August 23 at 7:00 – 8:30pm ET, learn about best practices for Pastoral Relations Committees [this training is open to all, so please feel free to share this with clergy and congregations in your Association]
- On August 28 at 2:00 – 4:00pm ET, explore the role of Response Teams in the Fitness Review Process.
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.
Blessings and gratitude,
The Ministerial Excellence, Support and Authorization Team
Local Church Ministries, United Church of Christ