Syllabus and Readings
All required reading assignments may be downloaded from this website or from other websites available on the worldwide web. Other practical field assignments may be made requiring interviews, site visits, or attendance at meetings. Additional reading related to the topics covered is encouraged, but not required. These UCC Institutes are enrichment opportunities for all members of the UCC who want to learn more about the history, governance, theology and ministry of the UCC.
Goals for the Ministry Institute:
(from the Essentials document)
- Forms of ministry: licensed, commissioned, ordained; ministerial partners (CC/DoC) emerging patterns for authorized ministry; ministry of all the baptized
- Structures and patterns of accountability, i.e., ordination, standing, discipline
- Ministerial ethics (Ordained Minister’s Code, in MOM; other ethics documents)
- Understandings of ministry in the UCC: “embodiment” and “empowerment” models
- The ecumenical heritage and stance of the United Church of Christ
IF THIS IS YOUR FIRST INSTITUTE, read the complete “Short Course on the History of the UCC”
- BEFORE YOU DO ANY OF THE ASSIGNMENTS PLEASE WRITE (no more than one single spaced page) answering the question: How do you reconcile your understanding of the Reformers’ doctrine (i.e Martin Luther, etc.) “priesthood of all believers” with the notion that Protestants still have clergy? Explain with you think or do not think an inconsistency exist here. Also, explain “priesthood of all believers.”
- INTERVIEW (by phone or in person) an ordained UCC clergyman/woman and ask them the same question. Continue your conversation asking them to tell you what ordination, or authorization for ministry in the UCC means to them? How do they understand ministerial authority? Where do they get it and how do they lose it?
- BRIEFLY ASK three people-friends under the age of 30 (churched or unchurched) what they think about clergy. Do they trust them? Do they think clergy are important? Could they imagine being clergy themselves? Why? Why not?
TOPICS OF STUDY:
- Historical understandings of Ministry in UCC history and in contemporary society.
- Theological Grounding (from the Manual on Ministry)
- Barbara Brown Zikmund, Empowerment and Embodiment: Understandings of Ministry in the United Church of Christ
- Nevin, The Reformed Pastor Lecture– View of clergy in the Reformed Mercersberg tradition.
- Henry Yordon, “My Vision of a New Jerusalem”–One pastor describes his ministry
- Concepts and Understandings of ministry and oversight in the UCC.
- UCC Constitution (read Article VI “The Ministry”) and the Bylaws of the UCC (read sections 101-159)
- Randi Walker, Covenant Community How does the idea of covenant shape UCC understandings of ministry?
- Ministerial authorization: Calls, covenants (from the Manual on Ministry). What is a three way covenant and what is a four way covenant?
- “Episcope or Oversight” by Randi Walker
- Clyde Steckel, Authorizing Ministry in the United Church of Christ
- Clyde Steckel’s assessment of how UCC understandings of the church have changed since 1957
- Jonathan New, “Balancing Piety and Intellect: Perspectives on the Ministry Issues Pronouncement of General Synod 25,” Prism (2008)
- Ordination, Search and Call, and Clergy Ethics in the UCC
- The Order for Ordination to the Ministry
- The Order for the Installation of a Pastor
- A typical “Charge to a church”
- Criminal Background Check
- The Ordained Minister’s Code
- Safe Conduct Policy. Look at the suggested policy guidelines for local congregations to use in developing their own safe church policy.
- Marks of Faithful and Effective Authorized Ministers of the United Church of Christ
- How the UCC participates in Ecumenical Discussions about ministry.
- The UCC Partnership Agreement with the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) regarding ministry, especially the 1989 commitment to Partnership.
- Read the sections in the UCC Constitution and By-Laws (sections 116-127) about partner ministerial standing.
- The Formula of Agreement between ELCA, PC(USA), RCA and UCC. What does it mean for ministry?
- READ the ecumenical Faith and Order document Baptism, Eucharist, and Ministry
- READ the UCC Response to Baptism, Eucharist and Ministry (noting UCC concerns related to ministry)
SUMMARY OF PRE-INSTITUTE ASSIGNMENTS:
- READ the Short Course on the History of the UCC (if you haven’t taken the history institute)
- WRITE A PAGE about why you think Protestants still have clergy.
- INTERVIEW an ordained UCC person.
- ASK three people under 30 years of age what they think of clergy and why.
- READ about various understandings of ministry/ordination in the historical traditions of the UCC. (embodiment, empowerment, higher calling, covenant, episcope, ecclesiology)
- REVIEW the Orders of Service for Ordination and Installation.
- READ the procedures and ethics of ministry in the Manual on Ministry
- READ about recent Constitutional changes related to “ministry” and the analysis of these changes by Jonathan New in his Prism article. [Link broken]
- READ about ecumenical issues involving ministry: the UCC/Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) partnership and the Formula of Agreement.