Compassion in Action
Your service as a UCC Disaster Recovery Volunteer helps people rebuild their physical homes and is an act of presence that demonstrates the commitment to walk beside people as they seek to rebuild their lives. Together, we can be the body of Christ in the world. UCC Disaster Ministries has arranged the following opportunities for mission groups to help homeowners in the intermediate and long-term recovery process.
Serve as a group or as an individual for week-long periods.
Disaster Sites Accepting Volunteers
NEW! Eastern North Carolina (Dorian, Florence and Matthew)
Volunteers are now being accepted to repair and rebuild homes in Eastern North Carolina. Hurricanes Dorian (2019), Florence (2018), and Matthew (2016) caused severe flooding and wind damage. There are 15 centers accepting volunteers of all skill levels to help repair homes affected by natural disasters. Click here for more info.
Florida Panhandle (Hurricane Michael)
Volunteers are being recruited now to help repair and rebuild homes in the Florida Panhandle. Hurricane Michael caused extensive damage when it made landfall there as a Category 4 storm in October 2018. The storm's heavy rain, high winds, and extreme storm surges caused massive destruction in its path and spawned numerous tornadoes. Work is in Bay and Washington counties, which suffered significant home, crop and tree damage. The work is a variety. Roofing is a number one priority. All skill levels of volunteers are accepted. Groups are matched up with work that is suitable to their talents. Click here for more information and to volunteer.
Puerto Rico (Hurricanes Irma and Maria)
Work may include repairing cement roofs, light carpentry, metal and wood roofing repair, and painting interior ceilings and walls. Most of the work will be done in the Humacao city area, the hardest hit area in Puerto Rico. Click here for more information and to volunteer.
Volusia County, Florida (Hurricanes Irma & Matthew)
Repair/Rebuild homes. Roofing, gutting interiors, replacing insulation, siding, drywall repair and painting, flooring and other interior work as needed. Click here for more information and to volunteer.
BE INSPIRED – Create community. Practice discipleship. See God and other people and creation in new ways. Resources to help you prepare your group are available at UCC Mission Trip Opportunities.
LEARN – You are an important part of a larger system of response and recovery. Explore the networks in place for disaster response and recovery. Know your UCC Conference Disaster Coordinator. Follow UCC Disaster Ministries on Facebook at One Great Hour of Sharing (UCC).
SHARE – Your skills help rebuild and repair homes and lives. Construction skills: Framing, Plumbing, Roofing, Painting, Electrical, Landscaping
ADVOCATE – Use the authenticity gained by this experience to be a public voice for a just world for all in your local, state and national media and government bodies. Join Justice and Peace Action Network!
VIDEO RESOURCE - Houston pastors share the experience of going through Hurricane Harvey in this video, "Love Them Back to Life."
Disaster Ministries also has t-shirts available for sale in the UCC online store here.
What Matters includes a variety of resources to connect your questions of faith with the deep faith expressed by the UCC. Discover what matters through reflection, stories from UCC congregations and members, stories from history, Bible study, prayer, worship, and service.
Explore on your own or with others. There are plenty of suggestions for seekers, new member classes, baptism preparation or membership groups, or pastor classes. For ideas about how use What Matters with groups, click here. Discover the questions and insights of those not familiar with the UCC in the article "What Matters to Visitors and Seekers?"
To explore one of the six vital themes, simply click a photo below.
We Are One at Baptism We Thank God by Working We Listen for the
and the Table for a Just and Loving World Still-speaking God
What Matters to You? Matters to Us - Engaging Six Vital Themes of OurFaith by Sidney D. Fowler is a new book for individual or group study based on core themes of
the United Church of Christ.
Also available is What Matters for Children and Families by Frank Proctor based on the same six vital themes.
Order both new books by calling 800-537-3394
or from United Church Resources.
Get Copies of the What Matters brochures!
You can also order colorful, engaging brochures.
Great for visitors, inquirers, as well as long-time members.
To order, call toll free, 800.537.3394.
Cost: $15.00 per bundle of 50. Order from a variety of available covers with identical inside copy:
"Find Yourself. We have GPS." #LCMCV1A
"Please Return" #LCMCV1C
"United Not Divided" #LCMCV1D
What Matters is written by Sidney D. Fowler. Designed by Duy-Khuong Van (risingflare.com)
Copyright © 2005 - 2008 Congregational Vitality in the United Church of Christ.
The United Nations reports dire conditions for civilians caught in conflict. Violence continues to escalate in Syria, destroying the lives of civilians across the country. So far, more than 80,000 people have been killed in the conflict. Civilian installations, such as hospitals, schools, and water and sanitation infrastructure have been targeted, while countless homes have been damaged or destroyed. As conditions continue to deteriorate, civilians are bearing the brunt of the violence. From 1 million people requiring humanitarian assistance in April 2012, the number reached 6.8 million people by April this year. This includes 4.25 million Syrians who are internally displaced, as well as more than 3 million children.
Since the onset of the conflict in March, 2011, the UCC has supported the efforts of our partners across the region to respond to the crisis. Emergency food packages, hygiene kits, bedding, warm clothes and boots for children and portable stoves have been distributed and psychosocial support and health care is being provided. The UCC’s humanitarian reach includes displaced persons in Syria and refugee communities in Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey and Armenia.
The UCC has pledged continuing support to our partners and your gift is needed now.
$10 could provide a pair of shoes to protect a child from the scorching summer temperatures
$32 could buy rice, vegetable oil, beans, lentils, tomato paste and salt for a family of four for one month
$65 could provide a hygiene kit with soap, toothpaste, toothbrush, wound disinfectant and bandages
$91 could afford a blanket, mattresses, pillows and a cooking set
HOW YOU CAN HELP
- Pray for the people and communities across the Middle East region impacted by the violence in Syria.
- To support humanitarian relief, please make a gift payable to your congregation marked for “Syria Humanitarian Relief” with the request they be sent through your Conference office on to United Church of Christ, Financial Services.
Send gifts made out to United Church of Christ and marked in the memo portion “Syria Humanitarian Relief” to United Church of Christ, Financial Services; 700 Prospect Ave., Cleveland, OH 44115
Make a secure online donation to the International Disaster Relief fund. Please note “Syria Humanitarian Relief” in the Comments Box.
Thank you for your compassion and support.
Our Faith Our Vote, which seeks to engage and empower the public witness of the UCC, is deeply informed by our Christian faith and theological grounding.
Vote Faithfully Sunday
We invite you to join with our Ecumenical partners in observing the Sunday before election day as "Vote Faithfully Sunday." This is a wonderful opportunity to celebrate and uplift every voice in our community, reflect on our commitment to the common good and prepare to cast our ballots.
How will you observe Vote Faithfully Sunday? Here are some ideas:
- Download the Vote Faithfully Sunday Ecumenical toolkit: This toolkit provides helpful, nonpartisan resources for engaging with your congregation and community on Vote Faithfully Sunday. It includes:Worship Resources & Prayers; Action Steps including a Voter Pledge, Voter Mobilization Tips, FAQs & Election Protection Info; And more!
- Worship: Use the worship materials in the toolkit and below to celebrate Vote Faithfully Sunday
- Pledge: Invite your members to commit to casting a Ballot on November 8th. Download these "Vote Faithfully Pledge Cards" and collect them through your offering. Send them back to our DC office if your members want to join our UCC Justice Network!
- Get Out the Vote: Make sure every member of your congregation knows where they can turn for help if they have trouble casting their ballot. Share information about the Election Protection hotlines from our partners.
We have included worship resources to help congregations lift up and affirm the connection between corporate worship and the living out of faith in the public sphere. In this section you will find liturgical resources that reflect our call to pray for a more just, peaceful and compassionate world, and to engage in political and public efforts that will help bring it about.
- UCC Worship Ways: Seeds for Election Season Prayers
- UCC Worship Ways: Prayers to Help Counter Fears
- Trusting in the Source - Service Prayers for the Twenty-third Sunday after Pentecost
- Our Call to the Common Good - Prayers for a Sunday in Election Season
- Prayer: Prayer to the God of Love, Relationship and Community
|Possible Song Choices from Sing! Prayer and Praise
13 Love and Justice
16 Come to the Water
50 Song of Mercy
69 God Weeps
77 Blessed Are You
86 Taste and See
101 Make Us All One
112 Come to the Table of Grace
120 Dream God’s Dream
127 Dance of the Spirit
137 Come Sweet Justice
170 We Share a Hunger
178 Here Are Our Hearts
199 Go Make a Difference
NYE 2012 Medical Release Form
Step by Step Guide for National Youth Event 2012 Registration
The primary contact should be the first person to begin the registration process for your group. If you are not attending, select “Registrar – Not Attending”. After you submit your information, you will be prompted to “Add Attendee”. Add your group’s “Adult Group Leader”, the main contact who will be physically present during NYE.
As you enter your attendees, you must enter your group name the same each time. Entering the same name for your group helps insure each attendee is assigned to the same residence hall.
Questions and Information Requested
You will be prompted to answer questions regarding your groups travel information, such as expected arrival and departure information and method of transportation.
Please enter the total number of Youth and Adult attendees associated with your group. You are not held to this number. It will be used for the NYE Staff planning purposes.
The next series of questions refer to Emergency Contacts. We require at least one emergency contact per attendee. Only one is required. We ask the relationship to the attendee.
Housing and Roommate Requests
We ask that you match your attendees with roommates within your group. Purdue University Residence Halls only allow two attendees per room (2 youth or 2 adults). Roommate requests must be mutual and noted on each person’s registration. Adults will have the opportunity to purchase an upgrade to a single room for an additional $75. Roommates can be assigned at a later date but no later than May 21, 2012.
In order to provide a safe and comfortable experience for all attendees, please provide complete answers to the Special Needs section. We will ask the following questions:
• Do you serve as a special needs caregiver for an attendee? What is that person’s name and are they an adult or a youth attendee?
• Do you require a special needs caregiver? What is that person’s name and are they an adult or a youth attendee?
• Identify any special needs: mobility, medical, dietary, allergies, or other. Please select all the boxes that apply to that attendee. A text box will appear for you to provide details about these needs.
Workshops and Service Projects
Workshops and Service Projects are being added as they are confirmed. We will ask attendees to select their preference. Service project placements are limited to one day of service projects to provide an opportunity for other attendees to share in this experience. This policy will be strictly enforced.
Policies, Terms and Conditions
Each attendee must agree to adhere to the policies of United Church of Christ and Purdue University. The Adult Group Leader accepts responsibility for insuring that all attendees, parents and guardians associated with the group are familiar with the UCC Safe Policy, Covenants, Media Release Form and the terms and conditions required for registration. The forms are posted on this registration, on the main registration page as well as the www.ucc.org/nye website. Electronic signature is acceptable on all forms. A hard copy of the Medical Release Form will be required to travel with the Adult Group Leader. The forms may be downloaded and either emailed to NYE2012@purdue.edu or uploaded to the attendees registration.
Payment and Adding Additional Attendees
The payment page is next. If you are registering without payment, please select the check option. A minimum payment of $100 is required per attendee. You will be asked to add another attendee. You will repeat these steps for each attendee with slightly different questions for adults and youth. If you need to add registrations after your initial batch, just register them as attendees. You will not need to register yourself again.
Please refer to your confirmation letter for your group name. You will need to refer to your group by this name in all correspondences.
- Association of College and Religious Affairs: http://www.site.acuraonline.net/
- Ecumenical Campus Ministry Team (ECMT): www.higheredmin.org
- National Association of College and University Chaplains (NACUC): www.nacuc.net
- National Campus Ministry Association (NCMA): www.campusministry.net
- Student Ecumenical Partnership Network (STEP): www.stepnetwork.org
- World Student Christian Federation (WSCF): http://wscfconnect.org/
Campus Ministries and Academic Chaplaincies
- Beloit College: http://www.beloit.edu/slp/
- Bucknell University: http://www.bucknell.edu/x4663.xml
- Chapman University: http://www.chapman.edu/ChurchRelations/
- DePauw University: http://www.depauw.edu/student/religlife/
- Elon University: http://www.elon.edu/e-web/students/religious_life/
- Hiram College: http://www.hiram.edu/current/campuslife/religiouslife.html
- Huston-Tillotson University: http://htu.edu/students/religious-life
- Lakeland College: http://lakeland.edu/StudentServices/SpiritualLife/
- Massanutten Academy: http://www.militaryschool.com/page.cfm?p=301
- Oberlin College: http://new.oberlin.edu/office/religious-and-spiritual-life/
- Princeton University: http://www.princeton.edu/main/campuslife/religious/
- Rocky Mountain College: http://www.rocky.edu/student-life/student-support/ReligiousLife.php
- Tufts University: http://www.tufts.edu/chaplaincy/
- University of New Hampshire: http://www.unh.edu/campusministry/
- University of Rochester: http://www.rochester.edu/chapel/
- University of Vermont: http://www.uvm.edu/~ccm/
- Ursinus College: http://www.ursinus.edu/netcommunity/page.aspx?pid=3385
- Willamette University: http://www.willamette.edu/dept/chaplain/
- Yale University: http://chaplain.yale.edu/
- Andover Newton Seminary at Yale Divinity School, New Haven, CT; https://andovernewton.yale.edu/
- Chicago Theological Seminary, Chicago, IL; www.ctschicago.edu
- Eden Theological Seminary, St. Louis, MO; www.eden.edu
- Lancaster Theological Seminary, Lancaster, PA; www.lancasterseminary.edu
- Pacific School of Religion, Berkeley, CA; www.psr.edu
- United Seminary of the Twin Cities, New Brighton, MN; www.unitedseminary.edu
How am I called to be Christ's servant in the service of others? What does the Church need from me in order to proclaim the gospel to all the world and resist the powers of evil? How do I discern a call to ministry in the United Church of Christ? Ask the Question to explore paths of discernment, the requirements for education and formation, the possibilities and settings of ministry, and much more! Use the Discernment Travelogue individually or with a discernment support committee in your local church to develop a variety of practices for listening to God’s direction; the Travelogue is also available in Spanish.
In the United Church of Christ, ministerial formation and authorization are overseen by Committees on Ministry in local Associations (and Conferences acting as Associations). It is important for those who are exploring God's call to partner early with their home congregation and a local Committee on Ministry. Once an individual is in covenant with a local church and a Committee on Ministry, the person is designated by the Association to be a Member in Discernment. Members in Discernment seeking scholarships should review www.ucc.org/scholarships as well as www.ucc.org/ministry_education_scholarships; additionally, updated information on the Brown Scholarship can be found at http://ucfunds.org/the-brown-endowment/.
Annual gatherings for Members in Discernment (MIDs) are hosted by the MESA Ministry Team for the purpose of networking, sharing resources, and providing support. These gatherings are rotated seasonally (fall in 2017, spring in 2018, summer in 2019) in order to allow MIDs flexibility to participate according to their schedules. All gatherings are held in Cleveland, OH, and a MID may only attend one gathering during their process of discernment. Specific details and registration information for each gathering are emailed directly to MIDs approximately two months before the event.
A valuable discernment tool to assess one's educational, professional and spiritual formation is the document, Marks of Faithful and Effective Authorized Ministers, which you can also engage creatively through the workbook Journaling the Journey. Those Members in Discernment who are exploring a call to specialized ministry should be mindful of additional requirements for non-parish ministry settings.
Resources for one's education and understanding of United Church of Christ theology, history and polity can be found online at http://www.ucc.org/education_polity. Also linked on the polity webpage is a listing of UCC History & Polity Courses being offered online and in-person.
There are three forms of authorized ministry in the United Church of Christ: commissioned ministry, licensed ministry and ordained ministry. The Manual on Ministry serves as a guide for the authorization of ministry on behalf of the United Church of Christ; it is available online in PDF and in print from UCC Resources.
- A commissioned minister is authorized by an Association of the United Church to perform "specific church-related ministry which is recognized by that Association but does not require ordination or licensure." (UCC Bylaws) Typically, commissioned ministers do not perform sacramental ministry but are engaged in ministries (e.g. education, music, nursing) that the denomination values as part of its mission and ministry. Commissioning is dependent upon a recognized call to an organized body. A commissioned minister is a representative minister in the United Church of Christ, and one's commission is transferable to another Association when there is a new call within the same "specific church-related ministry."
- A licensed minister is authorized by an Association of the United Church of Christ "to perform specific duties in a designated local church or within that Association, mainly preaching and conducting services of worship for a designated time." (UCC Bylaws) Licensed ministry is frequently authorized by an Association, for example, when a local church needs pastoral and sacramental leadership but an ordained minister is not available. The Association, in consultation with the local church requesting a person's licensure, determines the specific duties and length of time for which the license is granted. A license is not transferable to another ministry setting or Association.
- An ordained minister is authorized by an Association of the United Church of Christ to preach and teach the gospel, to administer the sacraments and rites of the church, and to exercise pastoral care and leadership. An ordained minister is a representative minister of the United Church of Christ and is in covenant with the local church where (s)he holds UCC membership, the calling body where (s)he is engaged in ministry, and the Association acting on behalf of the United Church of Christ. Once granted, ordained standing is ongoing and transferable to another Association; standing is always subject to review and requires a mindful relationship between the clergyperson, Association and ministry setting.
"But now thus says the LORD, who created you, O Jacob, who formed you, O Israel: 'Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine.'" (Isaiah 43:1)
An increasing number of Members in Discernment and clergy feel called to serve in specialized ministries: from spiritual direction to campus ministry, from hospice chaplaincy to pastoral counseling, from intentional interim ministry to CPE supervision, and many more. Explore further information about Specialized Ministry in Professional Organizations and Specialized Ministry in Government Organizations.
Within the broad range and varied titles of specialized ministries, "chaplaincy" denotes institutional ministry—ministry on behalf of the church but outside a traditional church setting—in places like hospitals, prisons, and the military services. Chaplains especially must demonstrate the ability to work well independently and to function in religiously and culturally pluralistic environments.
While the United Church of Christ affirms multiple paths to authorized ministry, it should be noted that organizations employing chaplains and specialized ministers often require a Master of Divinity degree from an accredited seminary, credits in Clinical Pastoral Education, and special training; they also may have requirements for age and physical condition.
Many (but not all) specialized ministry settings ask for Ecclesiastical Endorsement by a minister's denomination. There is a distinction between "standing" as an authorized minister within the United Church of Christ and "eccleciastical endorsement" by the United Church of Christ. The granting of ministerial standing (ordination, commissioning or licensure) means that a person is deemed sufficiently prepared and equipped for ministry in and on behalf of the United Church of Christ. Ecclesiastical endorsement is verification by the denomination that an authorized minister is in good standing, has gained the necessary qualifying experience, is willing and capable of working collegially in a religiously and culturally plurastic setting without prejudice, understands that they are not to evangelize in a specialized ministry setting, and has the maturity to represent the United Church of Christ to the calling institution. Collected here are requirements and forms for Ecclesiastical Endorsement in both professional and government organizations; please note that not all employers require ecclesiastical endorsement.
Special Message: More UCC Chaplains Needed
The United Church of Christ currently has 46 clergy serving as chaplains in the military services. A generation ago, we had three times that many. The decrease can be attributed to a number of factors, including the denomination’s stance as a Just Peace church, fewer seminarians and clergy who can meet the age and physical requirements and, in the past, the military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy.
Other mainline Protestant denominations have experienced a similar decline in the number of chaplains provided to the military and other government agencies. This has led to a void that more conservative denominations have been ready and able to fill. This influence has not been benign. Women, gays and lesbians, persons from liberal or non-Christian backgrounds, and others have been negatively affected. And our national interests have also been jeopardized.
Recently there has been renewed interest in chaplaincy by UCC clergy and seminarians. If you or someone you know may be willing to consider a call to chaplaincy, please get in touch with the Minister for Chaplains and Specialized Ministers. For the good of service members and their families and for the good of our country, we need to ensure that our chaplains will continue to be there to serve them.
Located within Associations (and Conferences acting as Associations), Committees on Ministry embody the crux of the United Church of Christ's covenantal relationships. At their best, the committees invite and facilitate critical participation of authorized ministers, calling bodies, Members in Discernment, lay leaders, Associations and Conferences in that covenant in order to foster the relationships needed for healthy and effective ministries. Promoting and clarifying the Committee on Ministry role to local congregations can benefit those covenantal relationships; sample brochures from York Association (Maine Conference) and Western Association (New York Conference) can be adapted by COMs for this purpose.
2019 Online Trainings for Committees on Ministry
DUE TO A TECHNICAL ISSUE BEYOND MESA’S CONTROL, ALL 2019 TRAININGS BETWEEN APRIL AND DECEMBER NEEDED TO BE RE-CREATED. KINDLY RE-REGISTER FOR ANY TRAINING YOU PREVIOUSLY SIGNED UP FOR. WE APOLOGIZE FOR THE INCONVENIENCE.
The following online trainings are available throughout 2019 for members of Committees on Ministry. Each training is hosted by MESA via the Zoom platform, with a maximum of 50 participants per training. In 2019, we do require registration: attendees click on the appropriate Zoom link to register at least an hour in advance (but as soon as the training is posted). Trainings will engage the new Manual on Ministry materials. Questions about a particular training can be directed to the listed MESA Team member.
Fitness Review/Response Team Training with Elizabeth Dilley
October 1, 7:00 – 9:00pm ET
This training provides an overview of the Fitness Review Process, with an emphasis on the role of the Response Team.
Ecclesiastical Councils with Stephen Boyd
October 23, 7:00 – 8:30pm ET
This webinar addresses the appropriate timing, purpose, and scope of an Ecclesiastical Council. One of the final steps before ministerial authorization, an Ecclesiastical Council is an opportunity for an Association to meet and communally discern a Member in Discernment’s readiness for Ordination.
MID Process with Renee Jackson
November 21, 7:00 - 8:30pm ET
Come to this webinar to understand the key roles of Discernment Partners and the steps in the Member in Discernment process.
Marks Assessment with Renee Jackson
December 12, 7:00 – 8:30pm
This webinar is designed to facilitate the understanding and use of the Marks of Faithful and Effective Authorized Ministers, particularly with Members in Discernment but also with authorized ministers.
Pastoral Relations with Stephen Boyd
December 17, 7:00 – 8:30pm ET
This webinar focuses on the purposes and benefits of a Pastoral Relations Committee, addressing concepts like fostering healthy communication, appropriate and inappropriate roles of a Pastoral Relations Committees, and practical aspects such as setting up and maintaining a healthy committee.
For orientation to Committee on Ministry work:
Members of Committees on Ministry can explore their vocation and the basics of their work using the Committee on Ministry Toolkit, a comprehensive and interactive resource designed to aid in the training of Committees on Ministry. The COM Toolkit includes orientation resources for new committee members, case studies, guidelines for ministerial oversight, scholarship and education programs for Members in Discernment, and a breadth of forms needed for Committee on Ministry Work.
The foundational Manual on Ministry is available online, as is a compilation of UCC polity resources. Both the COM Toolkit and the Manual on Ministry are useful webpages for Committee on Ministry members to bookmark.
Also useful to Committees on Ministry is the discernment resource, Marks of Faithful and Effective Authorized Ministers, developed from the 2005 Pronouncement on Ministry Issues. In particular, Committees on Ministry might use the Marks Assessment Rubric and Journaling the Journey for concrete application of the Marks in conversation with Members in Discernment and authorized ministers.
For an overview of the diversity of Committee on Ministry structures and procedures across the United Church of Christ, committees are encouraged to read and reflect upon the Committee on Ministry Research Report (conducted 2014).
For work with those seeking ministerial standing:
Access to the Ministerial Profiles Portal [PDF]
Access to the UCC Ministerial Profiles Portal depends upon a person’s ecclesial status (Member in Discernment, Privilege of Call, Ordained Ministerial Partner), ministerial authorization (Licensed, Commissioned, Ordained), and ministerial standing (e.g. leave of absence, retirement, termination). Please review the PDF to understand how the actions of Committees on Ministry correspond to individuals' access to the Profiles Portal.
Covenant of Discernment and Formation: Preparing for Authorized Ministry in the United Church of Christ [PDF]
This brochure overviews the process of discernment and the roles of each partner covenanting in this stage of preparation for authorized ministry in the UCC.
Regional Theological Education Programs
There are a variety of UCC-sponsored and other regional education programs available locally. Some of their offerings may be appropriate for part of the preparation for authorized ministry; other RTEP offerings may be used for continuing education of authorized persons. Contact your local Association and/or Conference for additional information about RTEP opportunities. Regional offerings of UCC History and Polity Courses are curated online by the UCC History and Polity Teachers Network in conjunction with MESA.
Dual Standing and Privilege of Call [PDF]
This document clarifies the distinction between "dual standing" and "privilege of call" within the United Church of Christ for those ordained in denominations other than the UCC.
Formula of Agreement/Orderly Exchange (FOA) [PDF]
Significant understandings have been developed between the UCC, Presbyterian Church (USA), Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, and Reformed Church in America, whereby we recognize and honor each other's faith, practice and ministries. The Formula of Agreement for the Orderly Exchange of Ordained Ministers allows ministers of one denomination to be invited to consider serving a congregation in one of the other denominations. Such invitations are extended by judicatory staff, thus allowing ministers in one denomination to serve congregations in another denomination. Conference or association staff can assist ministers seeking more information.
Formula of Agreement/Orderly Exchange (FOA) and Ordained Ministerial Partner Standing (OMPS) [PDF]
There are distinct differences between the FOA and OMPS agreements. The former agreement, between UCC, Presbyterian Church USA, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, and Reformed Church in America, provides the opportunity for the minister of one denomination to be invited to consider serving a church on one of the other denominations. The latter agreement with the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) provides opportunity for ministers in each denomination to search for a position in the other communion. This document outlines the processes to be followed for the FOA/Orderly Exchange and OMPS. Conference or association staff can assist those seeking more information.
For work with authorized ministers:
Information Review Form for UCC Ministers [PDF]
The regular information review between authorized ministers and Committees on Ministry is a basic tool for attending mutually to the covenantal relationship.
Leave of Absence [PDF]
Leave of Absence is a good and unbiased standing in the UCC for those authorized ministers who are neither active nor retired. This flowchart can help Committees on Ministry discern when to grant Leave of Absence.
Support for a Fitness Review [PDF]
On-site training for COMs, Conference staff, and Conference or Association Response Teams regarding the work of situational and fitness reviews is available from the MESA team. The training offers an introduction to the principles, priorities and processes of a fitness review. To schedule a training, contact MESA team leader Holly MillerShank.
Per Section 3 of the Manual on Ministry, "a four-way covenant is motivated by the Church's conviction that ordained ministers in ministries other than in local churches need to be active and participating members of a local church of the United Church of Christ and that calling bodies have the responsibility to the ecclesiastical system when they employ an ordained minister." Four-way covenants are written uniquely according to the setting of ministry and in conversation between the minister, Association, local church and place of ministry/employment, as a matter of both support and standing. Sample four-way covenants include a covenant for judicatory ministry and a covenant for hospital chaplaincy.
Government and Professional Endorsement
Ecclesiastical endorsement is verification by the denomination, to a government or professional organization, of an authorized minister's good standing, experience and maturity. Not all employers require ecclesiastical endorsement. Sample endorsement letters and application forms are included on the Ecclesiastical Endorsement page.
Boundary Awareness Training
Committees on Ministry and Associations/Conferences often cooperate in planning boundary awareness training for authorized ministers. Please review these Marks of Faithful and Effective Boundary Awareness Trainers when planning such events; these guidelines have been developed by the Ministerial Excellence, Support & Authorization (MESA) Team.
Guidelines for Authorized Ministers
For ethical expectations and accountability guidelines: UCC Ministerial Code of Ethics, Departure Ethics and Social Media Boundaries.
For work with congregations:
Resources for Local Church Leaders
Including committee guidelines, liturgies and study guides, the Leaders Box, and more
Manual on Church: Perspectives and Procedures for Association and Local Church Covenantal Partners [PDF]
This resource explores the covenantal relationships between local congregations and Associations (or Conferences acting as Associations). It is to be used by and with Committees on the Ministry, Association and Conference staff, and local church leaders to foster dialogue and increased understanding of what it means to "walk together in all God's ways" as expressions of the church.
Ministry During the Interim Time [PDF]
A guideline of expectations for interim ministry, including observations on the accountability of interim ministers (especially useful to Committees on Ministry) and the compensation of interim ministers (especially insightful for congregations in transition).
Considering a New Church Covenant in the United Church of Christ [PDF]
This booklet describes a process of mutual exploration which will help a non-affiliated church explore the United Church of Christ along with a UCC Association. The goal of the exploration process is to decide whether to enter into a formal covenanted relationship. See also the page for congregations considering ministry within the United Church of Christ.
Congregations Sharing Ministry
Two primary documents are available for congregations considering sharing programming, staff, space and/or merged ministry. GEMS (God's Ecumenical Ministry Shared) is for churches of different denominations considering shared ministry. Getting Together: Models and Processes for Local Church Cooperation describes five different models to consider (Yoked, Cluster, Federated, Union and Consolidated) and some considerations for collaborating.
When a Church Leaves the Denomination [PDF]
A 2004 address by Barnet M. McKee to the Council of Conference Ministers.
"The gifts Christ gave were that some would be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ." - Ephesians 4:11-12