September 2015

Dear Committee on Ministry colleagues,

It’s a joy for the Ministerial Excellence, Support & Authorization (MESA) Team to be in ministry with you and to serve as a support to you in this work of authorization and oversight. Sometimes that joy is expressed through the smallest acts…
…like the updating of the UCC certificate order form! I hope you’ll chuckle with me as I tell you that MESA is genuinely excited to provide an improved certificate order form to Committees on Ministry, Associations and Conferences. This updated order form reflects changes that we’ve made to several certificates and clarifies which certificates are appropriate for which ecclesial events.

Particularly noteworthy are the changes we made to the Ordained Ministerial Standing certificate (and to its description on the order form), in response to your requests and also to some confusion that we’ve noticed in certificate orders. The text of the Ordained Ministerial Standing certificate has been revised so that the certificate can serve several purposes:

• for welcoming UCC ministers into your Association following the transfer of standing process;
• for providing verification of UCC authorization & standing (for example, to state governments that require proof of ordination for marriage officiants);
• for replacing a lost ordination certificate, or for honoring a name change after a minister’s original ordination;
• for granting UCC standing to those ministers who come into the United Church of Christ through the privilege of call process.

Because the text of the Ordained Ministerial Standing certificate is moderately different for a minister who was ordained by the UCC versus a minister who was ordained by another denomination but has become UCC via privilege of call, the updated certificate order form helps you make that same distinction when ordering an Ordained Ministerial Standing certificate.

MESA is pleased to have collaborated with UCC Resources on these changes, and we believe that the updated certificates and order form will improve your experience when ordering UCC certificates. We remind you that certificate orders must be placed by someone approved by your Association or Conference (such as a registrar or staff person), not by individual ministers.

Two additional resources to bring to your attention:

• Our denominational endorser, Stephen Boyd, is an invaluable resource and necessary support person for Committees on Ministry who are working with persons interested in ministry in the military, VA, or Federal Prison Board … and for Committees on Ministry who are considering the standing & fitness of an already-endorsed minister. Please make Stephen one of your Committee’s first contacts whenever these scenarios arise (

• MESA recognizes that the busy agendas of COMs do not always allow ample time for on-boarding new Committee members. While we hope that you create time during your COM meetings for ongoing training of the whole committee, there are also online materials to help individual COM members orient themselves to the work. The online COM Toolkit was developed following the Ministry Issues Pronouncement of General Synod 25 and offers an extensive overview of the ministry of COMs.

Blessings to you and gratitude for your work,
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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