“Let the wise also hear and gain in learning, and the discerning acquire skill.” (Proverbs 1:5)
In the Northern California Nevada Conference we recognize that learning is the work of a lifetime and occurs through education, experience, and exposure. Lifelong Learning is the umbrella term we use, and it incorporates Mandated Reporter Training, Boundary Training, Anti-Racism and Racial Justice Training, and Continuing Education.
Section B of the Committee on Ministry is responsible for defining requirements and monitoring compliance with these requirements for Authorized Ministers. Section A has a parallel responsibility for Members-in-Discernment. Authorized Ministers (meaning, ministers with standing in the Conference) are responsible for reporting completion of training through the Minister’s Portal.
Cycles and Durations:
Effective January 2021, tracking of Lifelong Learning is done on a calendar year basis, with January 1 representing the start of a new year.
- All Authorized Ministers in the NCNC must complete 15 hours of Lifelong Learning each year in order to maintain their ministerial standing with the Conference. Hours spent on Boundary Training, Anti-Racism and Racial Justice Training and Continuing Education in a particular year count toward the 15 hours and up to two hours spent on Mandated Reporter Training.
- The three-year cycle starts in the year in which an Authorized Minister receives standing in the Northern California Nevada Conference. Ministers transferring into the Conference are required to have Mandated Reporter Training before their transfer of standing is approved and Boundary Training and Anti-Racism and Racial Justice Training within one year of transferring their standing unless they have had training that meets NCNC’s requirements within the previous two years. Training requirements for each ministerial status are as shown in the table below:
Ministerial Status Mandated Reporter Boundary Training Anti-Racism & Racial Justice Continuing Education Active (including Leave of Absence) Yes Yes Yes Yes
Retired Yes Yes Yes No Exempt No No No No
- If you are a minister who has been approved by the Committee on Ministry Section B for Exempt Standing, you are NOT required to complete Mandated Reporter Training or 15 hours of Lifelong Learning (which includes Boundary Training, Anti-Racism and Racial Justice Training, and Continuing Education) and you agree, in return, that you will not participate in any kind of public ministry. To learn more about exempt standing click here.
- Mandated Reporter Training has changed! You will no longer take the separate general training; it’s included in the training specific to clergy. Mandated Reporter Training is required every three years. This means that if an Authorized Minister fulfilled their Mandated Reporter Training any time during 2021, they must take this course again any time in 2024, 2027, etc.
Boundary Training is six hours within a single calendar year, followed by two years without training being required, and then the cycle repeats.
Anti-Racism and Racial Justice Training is six hours within a single calendar year; followed by two years, each of which has one hour of required training, and then the cycle repeats.
Continuing Education shall be 15 hours per year, every year. Continuing Education can take many forms, as described below.
The sum of of the above four forms of Lifelong Learning (i.e., 1) Boundary Training, 2) Mandated Reporter Training, 3) Anti-Racism and Racial Justice Training, and 4) Continuing Education (for active clergy only) must be 15 hours per year. Consequences for not fulfilling these requirements are described at the end of this article.
How to Fulfill Lifelong Learning Requirements
Mandated Reporter Training: The only acceptable form of Mandated Reporter Training is the online training related to child abuse reporting provided by the California Department of Social Services. Ministers who work with elders may want to take in addition the elder abuse reporter training which would then be reported as Continuing Education hours.
Boundary Training is offered at least twice each year by the Conference. Refer to Upwellings, the NCNC newsletter, for future offerings or check the NCNC Calendar link.
- Currently acceptable alternatives to the NCNC training are listed below. If you find another training you would like to take, in lieu of any of these trainings, you must submit a request to the COM-B co-chairs via email to firstname.lastname@example.org. The request to COM-B must include the length of the training, a detailed description of the curriculum that will be used, and a clear description of the structure, interaction between participants, as well as how participation is measured.
o Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) of Northern California Nevada: Basic Clergy Ethics and Boundaries in-person training. Note: no current offering.
o The Ministerial Boundaries Training course, with at least six contact hours, offered by the City of Refuge Note: no current offering.
o FaithTrust Online Course: Healthy Boundaries 101 Note: no current offering.
Note: The Boundary Training offered by Convergence (f.k.a. the Center for Progressive Renewal) and the half-day training offered at the Pacific School of Religion do not meet the Conference’s requirements at this time.
Anti-Racism and Racial Justice Training: The six hours of Anti-Racism and Racial Justice Training required every three years will be provided by the Conference twice a year. See Upwellings, the NCNC newsletter, for current offerings. The Anti-Racism training provided by the Christian Church-Northern California Nevada, The Damascus Project of the Wisconsin and Minnesota Conferences’s 40-Day Lenten Practice: Strengthening Emotional Stamina to Counter White Fragility and Meadville Lombard Theological Schools’ Beloved Conversations on Race and Ethnicity are acceptable alternatives.
Our current trainings are full, but our partner denomination, the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), is offering a Racial Justice training course which can be used to fulfil this requirement.
Additionally, Authorized Ministers are required to receive and document one hour of education or experience in the intervening years. This will be offered at the Authorized Ministers’ Retreat and the NCNC Annual Gathering.
Continuing Education: Authorized Ministers are required to complete the balance of the 15 hours of Lifelong Learning as Continuing Education, based on topics chosen by the minister to meet their individual needs (classes either directly relevant to their areas of focus or classes that broaden their knowledge), language study, etc. Documentation to support the education hours must be provided and can consist of a certificate or a description of the activity and how it was relevant and helpful to the minister.
Consequences of Non-compliance
In order to hold a standard of ministerial excellence for those with ministerial standing in the Conference, and to protect the Conference from potential liability, the following consequences will be followed for those who do not complete lifelong learning requirements:
- Step 1: The minister will be notified in writing of the Life-Long Learning requirements of which they are out of compliance and offered options for how to fulfill the requirements. They are given six months to complete the requirements and be considered in compliance.
- Step 2: If, after six months, the minister is still out of compliance on one or more of the requirements a certified letter will be sent notifying the minister that standing has been suspended. The minister has six months from the date of the letter to complete the out-of-compliance requirements and, upon doing so, will be immediately reinstated to full standing. The minister will not need to report the suspension of standing on any future profile.
- Step 3: If, after another six months (one year from first being notified of being out of compliance) the minister remains out of compliance, standing will be terminated. The minister can be reinstated once they complete the requirements but will need to report the termination of standing on all future profiles.