Dear Committee on Ministry colleagues,
With an increasing interest in chaplaincy and specialized ministry among UCC authorized ministers, COMs are being asked more and more to participate in processes of ecclesiastical endorsement. Ecclesiastical endorsement is more than a recognition that a minister is in good standing with the UCC, although that is one important component. Endorsement also verifies that the minister has qualifying experience for the endorsement sought, understands the nature of specialized ministry, and is qualified to represent the United Church of Christ in diverse and religiously pluralistic settings. Ordination is a pre-requisite for endorsement and endorsement is not transferable between denominations, so a minister seeking standing the UCC must be granted full Ordained Ministerial Standing before receiving ecclesiastical endorsement.
Ordination: Ordination is a prerequisite for endorsement. A Member in Discernment must first become ordained (and for certain endorsements, have additional ministry experience) before being endorsed. An ordained minister from another denomination who is entering the UCC through Privilege of Call must be granted Ordained Ministerial Standing before receiving ecclesiastical endorsement.
Government Endorsement: Ecclesiastical endorsement for a government position (including military chaplaincy, Veterans Affairs, and the Federal Bureau of Prisons) is recommended by the Committee on Ministry, then verified by the Ecclesiastical Endorser at the denominational offices of the UCC. Due to additional requirements, military chaplaincy is not an ordainable call.
Professional Endorsement: Ecclesiastical endorsement for a professional organization (such as the Association of Professional Chaplains or the Association for Clinical Pastoral Education) is determined by the Committee on Ministry, then validated by the Endorsement Office at the national offices of the UCC.
When a candidate first presents themselves to your committee for ecclesiastical endorsement, we strongly encourage your committee to reach out to the UCC Endorsement Office so that they may help shepherd the COM and the candidate through the process. Our Ecclesiastical Endorser is the Rev. Stephen Boyd, available at firstname.lastname@example.org or 562-301-1622 (Pacific Time). The UCC’s Endorsement Secretary is Ms. Kathleen Sattler, available at email@example.com or 216-736-3850 (Eastern Time).
Some questions to ask candidates for endorsement may include: