Dear Commission on Ministry colleagues:
I am looking forward to many of us being together for the first time as the new Southeast Conference Commission on Ministry, to kick-off this year well with an orientation and initial meetings on July 15 and 16. You are all invited to gather at the Southeast Conference offices on Friday, beginning at 1:00 p.m. The office is fully accessible, and is located in Atlanta (click for directions).
I am pleased to announce that the Rev. Malcolm Himschoot, UCC Minister for Ministerial Transitions, will be with us from Cleveland. He will have lots to share with us about the role of a Commission on Ministry in the United Church of Christ, authorization for ministry, tools and resources for our work. By the end of our weekend together, we will have a better understanding of: practices of discernment; commissioned, licensed and ordained ministry; ecclesiastical councils; privilege of call; dual standing; requirements for standing and transfer of standing; three-way and four-way covenants; communities of practice; situational support consultations; fitness reviews; ministerial profiles, trends in the vocation of ministry . . . and the scope of our work. Our plan is to show you the Big Picture, with encouragement for this work, as well as to prepare you with practical skill-building exercises.
Here is a proposed schedule for our time together:
- 1:00 Opening and Introductions
- 2:00 MESA, Committees on Ministry, and the Marks (Case Studies)
- 3:30 Break
- 4:00 Discernment, Authorization, and Ecumenical Relationships
- 5:30 Dinner
- 6:30 Worship
- 7:00 Workshop on Oversight: Regular and As-needed Procedures, and Ethical Requirements
- 9:00 Gather with worship
- 9:15 Trends, Issues and Opportunities in the Vocation of Ministry
- 10:30 Break
- 10:45 Resources for Local Church Pastorates
- 12:00 Lunch
- 12:45 Introducing our COM Structure and Teams: PAM, S&N, MOST
- 1:00 Initial team meetings: Priorities and Plans
- 2:00 COM Meeting (COM Agenda July 16 2016)
There is no expectation for future COM meetings that all team members will attend; you will always be welcome, but not expected, because each team will have a representative at COM meetings. However, if you can attend this meeting, please do; I think it may be helpful to everyone to see how COM works. If you are a PAM, S&N or MOST team member (but have no interest in being a team leader) and not a COM officer or member-at-large, you may prefer to leave at 2:00 p.m. I plan for us who attend the 2:00 COM meeting to be finished and on-the-road home (or ready for a night on the town) by no later than 4:00 p.m.
If you play an instrument and would be willing to contribute to our worship times, please bring it with you!
In preparation for this time, and your COM service, please explore and review the UCC website (www.ucc.org/ministers) as well as the Manual on Ministry (UCC MOM Section 1 Partners in Authorizing Ministry).
I will follow up with more information relevant to the particular teams on which you may serve.
Valerie Coe Lowder
Chair of the Commission on Ministry