Hundreds discuss ‘multiple paths’ resolution

An hour before the official opening of a Synod already dominated by talk of three competing marriage-related proposals, Friday’s spirited conversation seemed to affirm a sentiment expressed last month by the Rev. John H. Thomas, general minister and president of the UCC, that “nothing the Synod does this summer will be more important than considering the ministry issues pronouncement.”
“The historic patterns of pastoral leadership really are in radical transformation,” said David Greenhaw, president of Eden Theological Seminary in St. Louis, one of seven UCC-related seminaries. “However, the new patterns aren’t yet in place. In considering this pronouncement, we will be asking ourselves questions that are fundamental to our life.”
The proposed “pronouncement” – a weighty statement that calls the church to its highest levels of conversation, action and implementation – is a long-anticipated and widely vetted document that makes the case that regional training and mentoring can be effective models, in some settings, for educating candidates for ordination.
Like most mainline Protestant denominations, the UCC most often has adhered to the European model of educating clergy: four years of college, followed by three years of seminary.
But according to advocates of the pronouncement, the changing face of the modern church mandates that, while not diminishing the significance of attaining a master of divinity degree, other models of receiving ordination be affirmed as well.
“I think that this is a case where we have some conflicting values,” said William McKinney, president of Pacific School of Religion in Berkeley, Calif., another UCC-related seminary. “It is the value of a learned clergy versus inclusiveness. What some of us are trying to say is, if you focus solely on the value of a learned clergy, then you are turning your back on churches for whom that is not a reality.”
Friday’s hearing provided an opportunity for anyone with an interest in the issue to participate in an open conversation before a General Synod committee discussed the proposed pronouncement on Sunday. The issue is slated to be taken up by General Synod’s 884 delegates on Tuesday.
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