November 2015

Dear Committee on Ministry colleagues,
This month, the MESA (Ministerial Excellence, Support & Authorization) Team highlights two particular programmatic resources that MESA provides to support your work with Members in Discernment and authorized ministers.
Member in Discernment Gatherings
MESA and its predecessor bodies have sponsored an annual gathering of Members in Discernment (MIDs) for a number of years. This is a very valuable experience that exposes MIDs to the United Church of Christ in a broader setting and gives them the opportunity to develop lasting relationships with others who will be their colleagues in ministry. The MID gathering is for anyone who is officially a Member in Discernment with a local Association for any form of authorized ministry – licensed, commissioned, ordained – in the United Church of Christ.
Past gatherings have been regionally-oriented on a three-year rotation. Starting in 2016, gatherings will be rotated seasonally in order to allow MIDs greater flexibility to participate according to their schedules. A summer MID gathering will be held in 2016 (third week of August); a fall gathering will be in 2017 (first week of October); and a spring gathering will be held in 2018 (first week of April). A MID may attend only one gathering during their process of discernment. Further details on specific gatherings can be requested from the Rev. Kathy Clark (, MESA’s Minister for Members in Discernment. We greatly appreciate your support of this event and your encouragement to your MIDs to participate.
Ministers and Chaplains in Specialized Settings
MESA’s Minister for Chaplains & Ministers in Specialized Settings, the Rev. Stephen Boyd (, has developed a series of workshops specifically aimed to support authorized ministers in specialized settings and chaplaincy positions. These workshops provide rich opportunities for ministers in specialized settings to connect with colleagues, to exchange best practices, and to network for ongoing support. Rev. Boyd’s workshop offerings include a boundary training customized to chaplains and ministers in specialized settings as well as gatherings and retreats for those ministers.
Rev. Boyd also facilitates conversations with ministers in specialized settings and with Committees on Ministry to discuss how the United Church of Christ supports its chaplains and ministers in specialized settings, the importance of the Four-Way Covenant for clergy in specialized settings, and the changing landscape of ministry and its importance in the business of COMs and in the question of authorizable calls. For those interested, Rev. Boyd can also share resources and programs for addressing the General Synod resolution on compassionate and healing care for our returning veterans.
MESA extends its gratitude for your ministry as Committees on Ministry, and we wish you peace and love for the Thanksgiving holiday.
Rachel Hackenberg

The Rev. Rachel G. Hackenberg
Minister for Committee on Ministry Resources & Conference Support
Ministerial Excellence, Support & Authorization (MESA) Team
Local Church Ministries, United Church of Christ

Categories: Column COMma

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