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.
Application Forms and Letter Templates for ecclesiastical endorsement in both governmental and professional organizations can be found in the Manual on Ministry, Section 3 Resources for Section 2 Article 5: Calls, Covenants, and Endorsements.
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 2, Article 5. 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 2, Article 5. 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.)
“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