If you are pursuing Ecclesiastical Endorsement as an Authorized Minister of the NCNC-UCC, you can find all the information about the process here: http://www.ucc.org/ministers_endorsement
Ecclesiastical Endorsement in the NCNC-UCC is done through the Committee on Ministry, Section B. You may contact the committee to schedule an appointment by emailing the scheduler, email@example.com
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.
The following 4 steps are the basic instructions for first-time ecclesiastical endorsement followed by additional information. Please note you are responsible for reading the entire process including the important helpful information printed after instructional steps 1 through 4.
MANUAL ON MINISTRY, Section 9 – Ecclesiastical Endorsement Please read the appropriate instructions in the Manual on Ministry, Section 9, Ecclesiastical Endorsement (Read the correct portion: first half is on Government chaplaincy; second half is on Professional organizations which is what you want) found at: http://www.ucc.org/ministers_manual Use this as a guideline along with any email or verbal instructions. The instructions have evolved over the years so combining this information will help make the process clearer.
UCC APPLICATION FORM FOR ENDORSEMENT The application form can be found on the website by going to: http://www.ucc.org/ministers/pdfs/professional-organizations-ecclesiastical-endorsement-form.pdf
Please print the form and fill it in using blue ink to distinguish the original from a copy. Signing and dating in blue ink is a requirement for the application form. You must hand in the original application form. Please note that faxes, Xerox copies, scanned copies or email attachments are not acceptable.
After making a copy of the entire packet for yourself, please give the original application and original supporting documentation to the Committee on Ministry of your UCC association or conference. Do not hand it in the day of the meeting since they need to make copies and distribute it to the members ahead of time. The members need sufficient time to read and review your materials.
Then set up an appointment to be interviewed by the Committee on Ministry. You cannot meet with just a partial packet. All papers must be there together
ENDORSEMENT LETTER After you are interviewed and endorsement granted, the Chair or other authorized person from the association or conference will write a letter of endorsement, addressed to the APC but mailed to Kathleen Sattler so it can be stamped first with the UCC seal. The link to the template for the letter of endorsement is found below. Please use this new template since the APC has moved and this template has their new address. Please point this out to the person who will type the letter. Many people use the old template already present on their computers and don’t know to use the new one on our website. http://www.uccfiles.com/docs/Letter-Template-APC-Initial-Endorsement.doc
The Chair then sends the UCC Endorsement Secretary your paperwork. Do not have them mail the letter directly to the APC since it will not have the gold emblem. The letter must also be mailed from the address of the national setting
NATIONAL SETTING Rev. Stephen Boyd is the Minister for Chaplains and Specialized Ministers and the Endorser for the United Church of Christ. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org. Kathleen Sattler is the endorsement secretary and can answer most questions for you. She can be contacted at email@example.com or (216) 736-3850. The paperwork will be reviewed and then if everything is in order, the letter will be stamped with the UCC seal. We send the original to APC with a copy to the applicant. The applicant should store this copy along with the copy of their endorsement packet for future reference. We return your paperwork and a copy of the letter to the Chair so everything can be filed together at the UCC association or conference.
IMPORTANT HELPFUL INFORMATION:
- Make a Copy of your Packet: Always make a copy of your endorsement packet in case it gets lost in the mail. Save this copy with your important papers for future reference. When you receive a copy of the endorsement letter, add the letter to this packet and save.
- Certificates and Diplomas: Never send originals of certificates or degrees. If your certificate or diploma is in a frame, please make the best Xerox copy you can and use that in your endorsement packet. Transcripts are not necessary unless a copy of your diploma is not available. If transcripts are sent, they do not need to be sealed.
- CPE Unit: For your verification of one unit of CPE, a copy of a certificate will suffice. If you do not have that, a copy of one of your evaluations by a supervisor would show you passed the unit.
- Recommendation Letters: A. Letterhead, Signature and Contact Information: All letters must be current, originals, dated, and typed on official letterhead. If the letter is not on official letterhead, letterhead must be created containing all of the following information: name and title, company and mailing address, email address, and phone number. If you have letterhead but some of that information is not included in the letterhead, it must appear below the signature on the letter. When you ask someone to write you a letter, advise them ahead of time of the needed contact information and if possible, ask them to sign with blue ink to help distinguish the original from a copy. Blue ink is not a requirement but a preference for reference letters; whereas, blue ink is a requirement for the application. B. Content: The letter should state the purpose is to recommend endorsement and state specific reasons why the writer recommends you for endorsement. The letter should focus on the specialized ministry in which you want endorsement and speak of your special abilities in this field. If possible, two or more of your references should be from a present supervisor who knows your work and personality well, a past CPE Supervisor or a co-worker who belongs to APC and understands what the expectations of APC are. Regardless of whom you choose as references, the writers should be well respected and known in their field or at your workplace and be able to speak of your work skills. C. Letters written for APC: If someone sent a reference letter for your APC application, you can make a copy of it and have it count as one of your references if the letter to APC meets our criteria. That is the only time a copy of a reference letter is acceptable. Any other letter must be the original. D. Letters not acceptable: Faxes, scans, copies, emails. Please do not use your ordination letters in place of endorsement reference letters nor letters of reference that someone wrote for you to find a job. The letters must be written for the purpose of recommending endorsement in a specific organization. Letters cannot be combined to recommend you for several organizations or purposes. Each specific organization requires a different skill set.
- Background Disclosure Statement (part of the application): A profile is not needed for endorsement in professional organizations. However, you do have to fill out the last three pages of the application even though the heading sounds like it involves a profile. The last three pages of the application are considered the background disclosure statement and should be sent to the national office as part of the complete application. One page is merely a consent form giving permission for the COM Chair and the endorser to talk about any questions on the following two pages of check marked answers. All questions must be answered. Remember to sign and date all three pages in blue ink (pages 5, 6, and 7). Using blue ink to sign and date the disclosure statement is a requirement as part of the application which also needs to be signed and dated in blue.
- Interview with Committee on Ministry: If you scheduled an appointment with the Committee on Ministry ahead of time thinking you would be done with your packet in time but are not, then you must reschedule your appointment until the packet is complete.
- Method of Mailing: The original application, original supporting documentation and original letter of endorsement need to be sent via the US Post Office or special delivery service rather than a fax, copy or scanned attachment to an email since we need original signatures and original documents.
- Timeline for Processing: Please allow one month processing time to complete your endorsement packet. Endorsement packets received during the month of December may take up to six weeks to complete due to vacations and the closing of our national offices during holidays.
- Endorsements do not Transfer: Please note that one ecclesiastical endorsement for a certain organization or situation does not cover you for a different organization.Each organization needs a letter addressed to that specific organization. Even if the professional organization states they will accept an endorsement from another organization, the United Church of Christ does not allow that.
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: