If you are pursuing Ecclesiastical Endorsement as an Authorized Minister of the NCNC-UCC, you will want to review information about the process on the UCC Website.
Ecclesiastical Endorsement in the NCNC-UCC is done through Committee on Ministry, Section B. Please alert the NCNC office at the Conference House about your intent to begin this process and be linked to the appropriate COM-B leaders. Email the office or phone (510) 247-8990.
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 organization(s).
Please note you are responsible for reading and understanding the entire process including the important helpful information.
Manual on Ministry, Section 9 Article 5: Calls, Covenants, and Endorsement. Please read the appropriate instructions in the Manual on Ministry. 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.
Application Form for Endorsement. 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, you will submit the original copies to the Conference House for your COM-B appointment. Mail the packet or hand deliver to NCNC-UCC, 1320 Willow Pass Rd, Ste 600, CA 94520 Your appointment will not be scheduled until this entire packet is received in the Conference House.
Endorsement Letter. After you are interviewed and endorsement recommended, the COM-B co-chairs will write a template letter of endorsement and forward it to UCC Church House in Cleveland so it can be stamped first with the UCC seal. You may review the template letters on the national UCC website if you wish.
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. In the United Church of Christ, it is the Authorized Minister who is primarily responsible for their professional ministry, not the Conference or National Setting. We cannot always oblige a request to forward information we have on file in the event a record must be re-created.
- 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 Church House closures during the winter festive season.
- 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 2:5. 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 2:5. Please note that some rules by professional organizations 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.)