United Church of Christ

May 2018

Dear Colleagues,

The MESA team has recently released A Sure Foundation – a collection of best practices for the relationship between pastors and congregations. These resources support the healthy ministries of both pastor and congregation, including tools for Behavioral Covenants for congregations, Pastoral Relations Committees, ministry assessment and evaluation, social media guidelines, sabbatical resources, departure ethics, and more, along with recommended resources for additional guidance.

It is our hope that this resource be widely used by ministers serving in local churches as well as the leaders of those churches, striving together to be faithful in ministry. Many of these tools are best practices, not prescriptions for a single course of action. We encourage adaptations that fit local contexts while remaining consistent with this guidance and with the United Church of Christ’s Manual on Ministry.

By encouraging healthy relationships between pastors and the congregations they serve, these resources also serve to support the relationship with the local Associations. While pastors are called and employed by congregations, their ministerial standing in the United Church of Christ is maintained through Associations, which communicate the expectations for professional development through Committees on Ministry. Congregations also hold their standing in the United Church of Christ through their Associations. Therefore these resources assume as foundational the covenantal obligations between ministers, congregations, and Associations.

As Committees on Ministry members, we encourage you to familiarize yourself for this resource and begin to share it with pastors and congregations at the beginning of a new ministry together, and/or at a service of installation, or when you meet with clergy for Periodic Vocational Discernment. This resource can also inform Boundary Awareness Training within your Association or Conference. Copies of this resource have been mailed to all conferences, and additional copies may be purchased here.

Many individuals and congregations offered feedback for these resources, and we are grateful for their time, energy and support of this project. We are also grateful for you and for your ministry on behalf of the United Church of Christ, and we hold you in prayer with faith.

Questions for Reflection

  • What sections of this resource are most needed by the pastors and congregations in your Association or Conference?
  • Talk with your Committee on Ministry about ways you might share this resource with the churches and pastors in your Association or Conference.

Other COM News:

  • The MESA Team is dedicated to supporting your vital COM work through regular trainings offered online.
  • On May 23 at 3:00 – 4:30pm ET, dig into Departure Ethics for clergy, rooted in the UCC Ministerial Code and the Marks of Faithful and Effective Authorized Ministers.
  • The June 5 training, previously announced, is cancelled due to a conflict involving all national staff.
  • On June 26 at 3:00 – 4:30pm ET, explore Boundaries related to Social Media. 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
www.ucc.org/ministers

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