May 2019

This month’s COMma newsletter comes from the Faith INFO ministry team, and is a Call for Nominations for the Manual on Church Working Group:

To the members of the United Church of Christ,

The changing landscapes of church and denominational life in the 21st century impact many aspects of congregations, including ways that congregations are formed, reformed, and live in covenant with one another. Consequently, our Manual on Church – the volume that has previously articulated the formation and function of a local church – needs intentional discernment and engagement, building off of and expanding the draft that was last examined in 2004.

The Manual on Church is and will be a multi-year denomination-wide conversation led by a working group. The Faith Education, Innovation and Formation (Faith INFO) Team within Justice and Local Church Ministries is tasked with facilitating the manual’s transformation and presentation. We are seeking individuals represented by diverse facets of people and positions in the United Church of Christ; including but not limited to: lay people, clergy, church planters, conference staff, affiliated ministries, and beyond.

In addition to diversity and commitment, Faith INFO seeks persons with a sense of call and enthusiasm to this work of studying UCC understandings of ecclesiology (theological understanding of the nature and structure of church); function of the local church, and of listening for God’s guidance and movement, and of blessing the denomination with an insightful resource for local churches of today and of tomorrow.

All nominations will be reviewed by the Faith Education, Innovation and Formation (Faith INFO) team, with a vision for a final working group that represents breadth in life experience, theological and ecclesial perspective, church roles, and voice. Members of the working group will be asked to make a four-year commitment to this project, including an estimated 5 – 7 in-person gathering across those four years.

All members of the United Church of Christ are welcome to submit nominations, including self- nominations. The following information is necessary for each nomination:

  • Name and contact information (email, phone number, mailing address);
  • Brief overview of United Church of Christ experience;
  • Skills and perspectives that nominee would bring to the working group; and
  • Two names of references for the nominee, with contact information;

Nominations are open now through July 1st, 2019. 

To apply online, please visit

Alternatively, completed nominations can be mailed to:
Manual on Church Nominations
c/o Faith INFO Ministry Team, 700 Prospect Avenue E, Cleveland, OH 44115

Many thanks for your shared wisdom and insight through these nominations!


Rev. Dr. Chris Davies,
on behalf of the Faith Education, Innovation and Formation team

Other COM News:

Join MESA @ General Synod! We’ll be hosting a number of events in Milwaukee that may be of interest to you or to folk with whom you work, including:

  • Member in Discernment Breakfast – Friday morning, 9:00am in the Wisconsin Center, Room 203-C. Please have your MIDs register here.
  • COM Celebration of MOM – Sunday 7:30pm at the Street Festival.
  • Stop by the MESA tables at the Exhibit Hall for more information!

The MESA Team is hard at work finalizing Section 3 Resources for the Manual on Ministry. Each month, we will use this newsletter to inform you of uploaded resources available at 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. This month’s uploads include:

Section 1 Ministry of Committees on Ministry

  • Ministerial File Outline

Section 2:1 Members in Discernment

  • Member in Discernment application form

Section 2:6 Accountability and Support

  • Fitness Review Confidentiality Notices
  • Fitness Review Process Checklist
  • Media Guidelines in a Fitness Review
  • Best Practices for Unified Fitness Review Committees
  • Overview of Fitness Review Appeals
  • Communications with Covenantal Partners regarding Fitness Reviews

The MESA Team is dedicated to supporting your vital COM work through regular trainings offered online. Please check this site regularly for updates. MESA will host a number of sessions introducing the new Manual on Ministry to the Church in 2019. This year, we are requiring advance registration, so click the link at least one hour in advance of the training (but as early as desired). Here are some upcoming trainings, keeping in mind that MESA will not offer trainings in June because of General Synod:

  • May 29, 7:00 – 8:30 pm ET “Ecclesiastical Councils with Rev. Stephen Boyd. This webinar addresses the appropriate timing, purpose, and scope of an Ecclesiastical Council. One of the final steps before ministerial authorization, an Ecclesiastical Council is an opportunity for an Association to meet and communally discern a Member in Discernment’s readiness for Ordination.
  • July 11, 2:00 – 3:30pm ET MID Process with Rev. Dr. Renee Jackson. Come to this webinar to understand the key roles of Discernment Partners and the steps in the Member in Discernment process.
Categories: Column COMma

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