Committee endorses ‘multiple paths’ to ordination

The committee, which generally was overwhelmingly supportive of the pronouncement, made only minor structural changes to its language before voting – with only one dissention – to forward it to the full General Synod.
“There is no guarantee that someone coming out of seminary will be a qualified pastor,” said Robert G. Faulhaber, Jr., pastor of Marlborough Congregational UCC in Connecticut. “To assume that someone without a seminary education would not be qualified is a poor assumption.”
The close to 1,000 UCC delegates who have converged on Atlanta for the 25th biennial national gathering are expected to take up take up the pronouncement Tuesday.
The proposed pronouncement is a weighty statement that calls the church to its highest levels of conversation, action and implementation. The long-anticipated, widely-vetted document makes the case that regional training and mentoring can be effective models, in some settings, for educating people for ordination.
Like most mainline Protestant churches, the UCC has predominantly adhered to a European model of educating its clergy: four years of college followed three years of seminary.
But in the face of changing realities for the modern church – including increasing numbers of small, isolated congregations that do not have the resources to hire seminary-trained clergy – advocates say other models of receiving ordination need to be implemented.
“It isn’t the same to be in the UCC in South Dakota as it is to be in the UCC in the Chicago metropolitan area,” said Martha Baumer, a member of the writing committee that drafted the proposed pronouncement. “There are different understandings of church based on the diversity of geography. This is about the leadership needs of the church. It is a work in progress as life is a work in progress. It sets out where we are and where we hope to go if the Synod agrees.”
The Rev. Lynn Bujnak, the UCC’s minister for vocation and formation and an advocate of the proposed pronouncement said Sunday’s committee decision was a significant step toward culminating many years of work and discussion.
“I am happy about this but I am happy not just for my own sake but for all the people in the church for whom this has been an important issue and who have wanted something to be done for a long time,” she said. “We’ll see what happens.”
Categories: United Church of Christ News

Related News

UCC commemorates Juneteenth, exploring ‘healing as freedom, freedom as healing’

The comforting words to the African American spiritual “There is a Balm in Gilead” remind...

Read More

Generative Artificial Intelligence for local churches: policy webinar June 18

Register now for an informational webinar about managing risks and policy development on...

Read More

Love is Louder logos available for use during Pride month

As Pride month continues, many organizations want to show their support for their LGBTQIA+...

Read More