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.
2020 Online Trainings for Committees on Ministry
The following online trainings are available throughout 2020 for members of Committees on Ministry and authorized ministers. Each training is hosted by MESA via the Zoom platform, with a maximum of 50 participants per training. Registration is required: attendees click on the appropriate Zoom link to register at least an hour in advance (but as soon as the training is posted). Questions about a particular training can be directed to the listed MESA Team member.
Search and Call During a Pandemic with Rev. Jeff Nelson
Search and Call During a Pandemic –Rev. Jeff Nelson, Minister for Ministerial Calls and Transitions, will share best practices on how to navigate the challenges to the search and call process that the COVID pandemic presents, including offering highlights from a new MESA resource on this topic. This webinar will be for ministry candidates, search committee members, and Conference search and call staff. It will be offered on Wednesday, July 22nd at 3:30 ET.
Book Study on Saying No to Say Yes with Rev. Tara Barber and Rev. Stephen Boyd
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Recently MESA offered two Zoom sessions on Pastoral Relations Committees. The response from Committees on Ministry and Pastoral Relations Committees (PRC) was significant, which indicated that there is a need for conversation and information about this important committee in the life of our congregations. One takeaway from those presentations was that there was a need for ministers to participate, share their experiences and have input into what a healthy PRC would like.
We would like to start this conversation with a denominational-wide conversation around the book, Saying No to Say Yes (David C. Olson and Nancy G. Devor, authors, available online and from local sellers). After reading the book, we are inviting ministers (limited to 25 at each session) to join us for a discussion. Following those conversations, MESA plans a latter opportunity to reconvene with interested parties to discuss boundaries, parameters and expectations for healthy Pastoral Relations Committees in their ministerial settings.
Welcoming Ecumenically Ordained Ministers with the Rev. Elizabeth Dilley
What do the acronyms OMPS and FOA stand for, and what do they mean? What is the difference between Dual Standing and Privilege of Call? Do ministers from other denominations need standing in the UCC in order to serve? What is the role of the COM when a congregation is considering a candidate ordained in another tradition? Join Elizabeth Dilley for conversation and exploration of how the UCC welcomes ecumenically ordained ministers.
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.
“Discerning a Call to Ministry in the United Church of Christ
An overview of the process of discernment and the roles of each partner covenanting in this stage of preparation for authorized ministry in the United Church of Christ can be found at this link: Discerning a Call to Authorized Ministry Other resources can be found in the Manual on Ministry Section 3 Resources for Section 2, Article 1, “Members in Discernment".
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. More information can be found in Manual on Ministry Section 3 Resources for Section Article 2: Ecumenically Ordained Ministers or by contacting Conference or association staff.
Formula of Agreement/Orderly Exchange (FOA) and Ordained Ministerial Partner Standing (OMPS) [PDF]
There are distinct differences between the Formula of Agreement and the Ordained Ministerial Partner Standing agreements. The Formula of Agreement for the Orderly Exchange of Ordained Ministers, an agreement among the United Church of Christ, 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 in one of the other denominations. The Ordained Ministerial Partner Standing, an agreement among the United Church of Christ, the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), and the United Church of Canada, provides the opportunity for ministers in each denomination to search for a position in the other communions. The document, Formula of Agreement/Orderly Exchange (FOA) and Ordained Ministerial Partner Standing (OMPS) [PDF] outlines the processes to be followed for the FOA/Orderly Exchange and OMPS. A simplified flow chart may be found in the document Ecumenically Ordained Flow Chart . More information can be found in Manual on Ministry Section 3 Resources for Section Article 2: Ecumenically Ordained Ministers or by contacting Conference or association staff.
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
Leave of Absence is a good and unbiased standing in the UCC for those authorized ministers who are neither active nor retired. This flowchart, Leave of Absence [PDF], can help Committees on Ministry discern when to grant Leave of Absence. Other resources Committees on Ministry may find useful are a Sample Covenant for Leave of Absence and an Application for Leave of Absence found in the Manual on Ministry Section 3 Resources for Section 2 Article 3: Ordained Ministerial Standing.
“Three- and Four-Way Covenants
Relationships among a Local Church, an Association, the person who holds a form of United Church of Christ ministerial standing, and the ministry setting beyond the Local Church (if applicable) are made explicit with a Three- or Four-Way Covenant. United Church of Christ Ministers serving a United Church of Christ Local Church work within a three-way covenant, while those who serve a setting beyond a Local Church are work within a four-way (or more) covenant. 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. These covenants reflect that all authorized ministers in the United Church of Christ 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. Sample Three-Way Covenant and Four-Way Covenants and other resources can be found in Manual on Ministry, Section Resources for Section 2, Article 5: Calls, Covenants, and Endorsements.”
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.
"Support for a Fitness Review
Digital or in-person training for COMs, Conference Staff, or Association Response Teams regarding the Fitness Review process 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 Rev. Elizabeth Dilley. More resources, including a Resource for the Response Team, can be found in the Manual on Ministry Section 3 Resources for Section 2 Article 6: Accountability and Support.”
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
All Authorized Ministers in the United Church of Christ are held in covenant to the UCC Ministerial Code. More information and discussion of the ethical expectations and accountability guidelines for Authorized Ministers in the United Church of Christ can be found in A Sure Foundation: Resources for the Relationship Between Pastors and Congregations, which includes best practices for social media boundaries, ethical departures, annual reviews/assessment of ministry, Pastoral Relations Committees, sabbatical leave, as well as ethical codes for pastors and congregations.”
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
A Guide for Interim Ministers and other resources, including a Guide for Congregations during the interim time and the Call Agreement Workbook can be found at https://www.ucc.org/ministers_search-and-call.”
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.
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
Welcome to UCC Mission Trip (USA) Opportunities
Work teams needed in U.S. Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, Hurricane Harvey - Port Arthur, TX, and Volusia County, Florida. - Hurricane Irma & Matthew Recovery
Mission Inns - Check out these churches providing hospitality spots for groups traveling for mission trips, justice rallies or all church events
UCC Mission Trip Opportunities
The United Church of Christ national setting recommends sites within the United States that host mission opportunities for groups. These host sites are rooted in local communities and utilize volunteer groups in their on-going service within those places. Volunteers experience God’s presence among new people and in new places. UCC Mission Trip Opportunities are short-term, lasting up to a week. Explore Disaster Recovery Mission Trips, Service Learning Mission Trips, and Justice Immersion Experiences.
MISSION TRIP LEADERS:
INDEX OF MISSION TRIP SITES:
Additional Opportunities for Service and Justice Immersion: Through the Partners in Service Program, UCC Volunteer Ministries partners with local agencies to place individual volunteers for opportunity for individuals to share and receive skills and gifts and capacity building for the organization. Young Adult Leadership development placements available Summer Communities of Service and year-long UCC Young Adult Service Communities.
UCC Mission Trip Opportunities, is your OCWM (Our Church's Wider Mission) at work. Through your contributions to OCWM basic support, you are maintaining the infrastructure to make possible the networks and partnerships that provide these service opportunities and long-term relationships in local communities. OCWM - Changing Lives!
Politics is often taken to be a dirty word, but political processes are simply the way communities organize their common life. For people of faith, public policy is never merely politics. It is a way of living out the commandment to love our neighbor as ourselves.
It is fitting for local congregations and church structures across the country to develop nonpartisan programs to help the faith community reflect upon the political order. The Our Faith Our Vote Campaign is designed to help you discover the ways in which you, as an individual and as a congregation, can get involved in the political process.
Our country is in crisis in many ways. It is time for well minded, engaged and faithful people to speak out and get involved in the political process. Let's go public with our faith! We'll show you how!
Guidelines for Congregations and Clergy on Political Action
Because the political activities of churches are limited due to their IRS Tax exempt Status, it is important to know what your rights are. This guide will help you understand what kind of activities UCC churches can undertake to raise our voices in the elections in ways that are legally protected. Download.
- “IRS Code Prohibitions on Political Campaign Interventions,” Memo from UCC Office of General Council.
- "Consequences of Losing Tax-Exempt Status," Memo from UCC Office of General Council.
- See full IRS Guidelines
The first phase of the Our Faith Our Vote campaign is to launch a voter registration drive at your church. Our goal is to have every eligible voter at your UCC church registered and voting. The publicity that your voter registration effort receives in the church will likely spark a conversation about the importance of expressing our faith through civic participation and getting your church members out to vote. Download.
Observe National Voter Registration Day on September 22, 2020!
- Check out our voter registration tips.
- Register to vote.
While it's true that churches as 501(c)3 organizations cannot support or oppose a candidate for political office, there are many ways to appropriately and faithfully engage in dialog about the issues at stake. For examples, check out our issue briefs on campaign financing, immigration, mountain top removal, etc. Download.
Organize a Candidate Forum
Many people do not vote because they don't feel connected to the candidates or the issues at stake in an election. Holding candidate forums helps open up the communication between candidates and their constituents and gets people interested in an election. Where better than your church to hold an open dialog? Think about the officials running for office in your community. This guide can help you plan an event that makes sense for your church, whether it be a full fledged debate or a coffee hour with the candidates. Download.
An average election in the United States has around 60% of the eligible voting population turning out at the polls. There are a variety of reasons that people don’t get out and vote: their job schedule does not allow it, they are away and didn’t apply for an absentee ballot, disillusionment with the political atmosphere, among others. With the rise in popularity of suppressive voting legislation, we may see an even lower turnout than normal in this election. What can we do to get out the vote?
Colleges are the perfect place to engage people about the elections. By working on a campus you can work with students, professors, and the community at large to develop creative and effective ways both to encourage voter registration and increase voter participation. The campaign can serve as a focal point for common discourse, promote the vital responsibility of citizenship and enhance the role of the campus as a setting where ideas and issues are openly and vigorously debated. No where else will you find more energy and passion than on a college campus. Check out our College page for some ideas. Learn more.
Youth bring a unique perspective and tangible energy to election year activism. Although young people under 18 may not be able to legally cast their votes, their voices can still be heard. There are a number of ways for youth to participate in elections and make an impact on their future. This guide contains some to get you started. Download.
Mission Trip Opportunities within the United States
||Small seed grants encourage and support participation of groups from UCC congregations and affiliated organizations to engage in international hands-on mission and service opportunities through UCC/Disciples Global Ministries in areas of disaster, development or refugee ministries. Read More...|
|CWS Kits (Health, Baby and School kits) are needed year round for distribution in times of disasters and rehabilitation. Visit the Church World Service website for instructions on assembly and shipping kits. Read more...|
|Assist in resettling - Church World Service Affiliate office.|
All gifts to One Great Hour of Sharing are tax deductible and 100% of designated gifts go to the designated area of response. Non-designated funds also are highly encouraged. They allow One Great Hour of Sharing to address hidden and forgotten emergencies around the world.
Full Members of the UCC Council for Higher Education
- Catawba College, Salisbury, NC; www.catawba.edu
- Chapman University, Orange, CA; www.chapman.edu
- Defiance College, Defiance, OH; www.defiance.edu
- Dillard University, New Orleans, LA; www.dillard.edu
- Doane College, Crete, NE; www.doane.edu
- Drury University, Springfield, MO; www.drury.edu
- Elmhurst College, Elmhurst, IL; www.elmhurst.edu
- Heidelberg University, Tiffin, OH; www.heidelberg.edu
- Huston-Tillotson University, Austin, TX; www.htu.edu
- Illinois College, Jacksonville, IL; www.ic.edu
- Lakeland College, Sheboygan, WI; www.lakeland.edu
- LeMoyne-Owen College, Memphis, TN; www.loc.edu
- Northland College, Ashland, WI; www.northland.edu
- Olivet College, Olivet, MI; www.olivetcollege.edu
- Pacific University, Forest Grove, OR; www.pacificu.edu
- Piedmont College, Demorest, GA; www.piedmont.edu
- Rocky Mountain College, Billings, MT; www.rocky.edu
- Talladega College, Talladega, AL; www.talladega.edu
- Tougaloo College, Tougaloo, MS; www.tougaloo.edu
Historically Related Colleges and Universities
- Beloit College, Beloit, WI; www.beloit.edu
- Carleton College, Northfield, MN; www.carleton.edu
- Cedar Crest College, Allentown, PA; www.cedarcrest.edu
- Elon University, Elon, NC; www.elon.edu
- Fisk University, Nashville, TN; www.fisk.edu
- Franklin & Marshall College, Lancaster, PA; www.fandm.edu
- Grinnell College, Grinnell, IA; www.grinnell.edu
- Hood College, Frederick, MD; www.hood.edu
- Ripon College, Ripon, WI; www.ripon.edu
- Ursinus College, Collegeville, PA; www.ursinus.edu
- Westminster College of Salt Lake City, Salt Lake City, UT; www.wcslc.edu
WHAT MATTERS TO YOU? MATTERS TO US
Engaging Six Vital Themes of Our Faith
What Matters to You? Matters to Us - Engaging Six Vital Themes of Our Faith provides essential reflections on core themes of the United Church of Christ, while inviting new and long-standing members alike to consider their own identity and faith formation.
What Matters to You? Matters to Us - Engaging Six Vital Themes of Our Faith in both its online and print versions is adaptable to various congregational settings. View deas for Teaching and Learning for examples on how use this resource.
You can order the entire printed resource by calling 800-537-3394 or from UCPress.com.
God is Still Speaking, .... Ready, Set, Grow! The Evangelism Ministry Team is glad to present these e.word resources for congregations and disciples to grow in the vitality of their witness to the still speaking God. This resource contains a new e.word Volume 4.1 and all the articles found in all six volumes.
New vision churches
Nearly 100 new and renewing congregations of the United Church of Christ have requested information and assistance from the Evangelism Ministries Team. The Evangelism Team is actively involved with many of these congregations. Click here to find a new or renewing congregation near you.
is a website designed for anyone, clergy or lay interested in evangelism and looking for resources that will help them understand more fully what the Bible requires of us. The information will assist you in sharing the grace of God and the salvation of Jesus Christ with others and encourage you as individuals and as churches to awaken to the many opportunities you encounter each day to be an evangelist. Here you will find stories about evangelism, religious humor, some of the more popular trends, recommended resources, and links to many of the other Christian evangelism sites on the internet as well as links to the evangelism Web sites of the Evangelism Connections partners.
Evangelism Connections is a partnership of evangelism staff persons from the following denominations: African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church, American Baptist Church, Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), Church of the Brethren, Evangelical Lutheran Church of America, Presbyterian Church of Canada, Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), Reformed Church of America, the United Church of Christ, The United Methodist Church and Net Results.
Item Number: ECE102
Title: "In Our Own Words: Youth Speak Out About Living the Life"
12 for $8 or $.75 per copy
For assistance, please phone customer service at 1-800-537-3394
or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Other Vital Resources
Why do we need to do things differently?
Where do we start?
Transitioning your church
Advertising/marketing/reaching new people Denominational issues
Hispanic churches/ Resouces en el espanol
African American churches
Evangelism and worship
Financial and stewardship