Minister for Chaplains and Ministers in Specialized Settings
700 Prospect Ave.
Cleveland, OH 44115
Requirements for the ecclesiastical endorsement of a specialized minister in a professional setting can be found on the Ecclesiastical Endorsement page and in the Manual on Ministry, Section 9. Please note that some rules have changed or are not covered in the Manual. Additional guidelines may be provided in coorrespondence with the Endorser (Stephen Boyd, Minister for Chaplains and Specialized Ministers) and the Endorsement Secretary (Ms. Kathleen Satter).
Professional organizations for specialized ministry:
American Association of Pastoral Counselors (AAPC): www.aapc.org
American Correctional Chaplains Association (ACCA): www.correctionalchaplains.org
Association for Clinical Pastoral Education, Inc. (ACPE): www.acpe.edu
Association for Professional Chaplains (APC): www.professionalchaplains.org
College of Pastoral Supervision and Psychotherapy (CPSP): www.cpsp.org
Council for Health & Human Service Ministry (CHHSM): www.chhsm.org
UCC Professional Chaplains and Counselors (UCCPCC): www.uccpcc.org
International Conference of Police Chaplains (ICPC): www.icpc4cops.org
National Institute of Business and Industrial Chaplains (NIBIC): www.nibic.com
National Association of College and University Chaplains (NACUC): www.nacuc.net
National Campus Ministry Association (NCMA): www.campusministry.net
Ecumenical Campus Ministry Team (ECMT): www.higheredmin.org
Some specialized ministry settings may ask for ecclesiastical endorsement by a minister's denomination. Please note that ordination and ecclesiastical endorsement are separate procedures. 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 pluralistic setting without prejudice, understands that they are not to evangelize in a specialized ministry setting, and has the maturity to represent that United Church of Christ to the calling organizations.
Collected here are requirements and forms for ecclesiastical endorsement in both government and professional organizations.
Basic requirements for ecclesiastical endorsement for ministry in government organizations include:
+ Ordained ministerial standing in the United Church of Christ
+ Bachelor's degree
+ Master of Divinity degree, or its equivalent, from an accredited seminary
+ Minimum of one quarter of clinical pastoral education or advanced supervised counseling training
+ Three years' experience in the practice of ministry (exceptions for Reserve/National Guard)
+ Ability and willingness to work in religiously pluralistic setting
+ Qualities/skills suited to the particular chaplaincy
The endorsement process and requirements are outlined in the United Church of Christ Manual on Ministry, Section 9. If you are interested in applying for government chaplaincy, please contact Stephen Boyd, Minister for Chaplains and Specialized Ministers who serves as the denomination's Endorser, before filling out the Application Form for Ecclesiastical Endorsement/Approval for Government Chaplaincy.
Seminarians interested in military chaplaincy may seek Ecclesiastical Approval, since the student is not an ordained minister and so cannot seek ecclesiastical endorsement. Military chaplain candidates must be enrolled full-time in seminary, have membership in a local UCC church and Member in Discernment status with their Associations/Conferences, and receive recommendations from their Association/Conferences.
Basic requirements for ecclesiastical endorsement for ministry in professional organizations include:
+ Ordained ministerial standing or a commission in the United Church of Christ
+ Bachelor's degree
+ Master of Divinity degree, or its equivalent, from an accredited seminary for ordained ministers; Master's degree in an appropriate field of study from an accredited university for commissioned ministers
+ One quarter of clinical pastoral education
+ Three years' experience in the practice of ministry
+ Perceived gifts in the ministry of pastoral care and counseling
The endorsement process and requirements are outlined in the United Church of Christ Manual on Ministry, Section 9. Please note that some rules have changed or are not covered explicitly in the Manual on Ministry. Additional questions regarding guidelines may be directed to the Endorser (Stephen Boyd) or Endorsement Secretary (Kathleen Sattler).
Use the Application Form for Ecclesiastical Endorsement for Professional Organizations for first-time endorsement, endorsement when moving from one level to a higher level within the same organization, or endorsement for an additional professional organization.
(For chaplains already belonging to APC ONLY, who need to meet the APC's five-year maintenance requirement, please use the Application Form for Continued Ecclesiastical Endorsement for APC. Note: APC sends out letters every January asking chaplains to send in a letter confirming continued endorsement with their denomination; APC's intention is not to have the chaplain apply for endorsement all over again but to assure that the chaplain is still connected to his/her denomination.)
Endorsement letter templates for Committees on Ministry:
"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
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.
The United Church of Christ coin symbolizes the covenant relationship between the church and its chaplains serving in the Armed Forces, Department of Veterans Affairs and Federal Bureau of Prisons. It is presented as a mark of trust and an expression of gratitude.
The seal of the UCC is imprinted on one side of the coin. Around the seal is a sunburst, signifying that our church's inclusive expression of the Gospel is to "shine forth" in the chaplain's ministry. The words called, chosen, and sent forth to serve remind a chaplain that (s)he is called by God to this specialized ministry, chosen to represent the United Church of Christ, and sent forth to be God's servant in the service of others.
The reverse side of the coin bears the seals of the government entities to which the UCC chaplains are endorsed. In the center of the coin is a globe, surrounded by compass points, symbolizing that these ministries are provided in the U.S. and abroad. The words of appreciation on the outer ring acknowledge that government chaplains serve both God and country, creating a relationship that must always be held in dynamic tension.
Liturgical and Pastoral Resources:
The War and Pastoral Care of Soldiers, Military Families, and Chaplains
Holy Joe's Café Coffee House Ministry
Homemade Camouflage Stoles
Order for Reaffirming the Covenant between a Pastor and Congregation upon return of a pastor from service as a chaplain. A number of military chaplains endorsed by the United Church of Christ serve in the National Guard or Reserves. Some of these chaplains are also local church pastors. For the past several years, a number of these pastors have been mobilized for lengthy deployments to Iraq or Afghanistan. Once their deployments are over, the chaplains usually return to their parishes to resume their ministries. Just as they go through a period of readjustment as they rejoin their families, they also need to readjust to being pastors again. It is important to understand this, and to recognize that it's part of the relationship between the pastor/chaplain and the church.
Chaplain Deris Rice, an Army Reserve chaplain who served in Iraq, worked with the Rev. Jeanny House, his Associate Conference Minister (Northwest Association, Wisconsin Conference), to produce a liturgy that would help reestablish his relationship with his congregation. The edited version of this liturgy, available on this page, is suitable for use by other congregations. We are grateful to Chaplain Rice and Rev. House for their original liturgy and for granting permission to offer the edited version for your use.
News of UCC Military Chaplains:
Government organizations for specialized ministry:
The Federal Bureau of Prisons (FBOP): www.bop.gov
U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA): www.va.gov/chaplain
U.S. Air Force Chaplain Service: www.usafhc.af.mil
U.S. Army Chief of Chaplains: www.chapnet.army.mil
U.S. Navy Chaplain Corps: www.chaplaincare.navy.mil
Military Chaplains Association (MCA): www.mca-usa.org