You don’t have to go it alone.
For congregations and pastors, ministry can be tricky business. One valuable support in both good times and difficult ones is your Association Committee on Ministry.
We make ourselves available to meet with leaders of churches which might be struggling with their pastoral leadership, or facing other challenges that they do not feel they can handle alone. We also meet with clergy who are experiencing difficulty in their ministry. These meetings are called Situational Support Consultations.
The Committee on Ministry supports the health and vitality of the churches in the Association. We work to promote healthy congregations and clergy, and to support and facilitate discussion when problems arise. We are also the authorizing body for clergy who wish to hold ministerial standing in the York Association.
Here’s what the York Association bylaws say about our role: We are “responsible for the care and standing of congregations and authorized ministers. The committee shall be guided by the most recent Manual on Ministry of the United Church of Christ” (available at www.ucc.org/ministers/manual).
What We DoYour Committee on Ministry serves as a covenant partner to the clergy and churches of our Association to help them do ministry in a healthy way. Our Association bylaws say our role is to be: “responsible for the care and standing of congregations and authorized ministers. The committee shall be guided by the most recent Manual on Ministry of the United Church of Christ” (available at www.ucc.org/ministers/manual). We typically meet once a month, and additionally with individuals and local church committees as the need arises. We work with Members in Discernment (seminarians and others discerning where God may be calling them to ministry) on their journey towards ordination, commissioning, licensure, or other service in the church, and ensuring that they are prepared for the roles to which they are called. We recommend candidates to our Association for Ecclesiastical Councils. We participate as Association covenant partners in services of Ordination, Installation, and Commissioning for clergy and leaders in our Association. We invite new clergy serving in the Association to meet with us to help get them acclimated with the York Association. We meet with Interim ministers serving in the Association to support their ministry. We invite clergy leaving ministries in the Association to meet with us to talk about their experience serving here. We provide Periodic Support Consultations – “check ins” – with clergy to see how things are going and to offer any assistance we might be able to provide. We invite churches, after calling a new pastor, to set up a service of Installation. We inform churches of significant ordination anniversaries of their ordained leaders and members. We perform Fitness Reviews for clergy who may have committed an ethical violation.
Who We AreYour Committee on Ministry (CoM) is comprised of eight members (laity and clergy) of the York Association, as well as a representative of our Penn Central Conference Ministry Staff. Your CoM is responsible for authorizing and overseeing ministry and for the care and well-being of our churches and clergy. The lay and clergy members of the CoM are nominated by the York Association Nominating Committee and approved by delegates to the York Association Meeting. We act in covenant with our Association, our local churches and clergy, and our Conference, and with the whole United Church of Christ. A covenant is a sacred commitment to relationship. We typically meet once a month to undertake our business, but often meet more often with individuals and local church committees as the need arises.
Contacting the Committee on MinistryWhen should I contact the CoM? If there is a concern that you feel is not being resolved adequately at the local church/congregational level, then you should contact us. Who should we contact on the CoM? Ideally, the Chair, the Rev. Dani Neff, or the Conference Ministry Staff representative, the Rev. Dr. Nora Foust, should be contacted. You may also contact your church’s CoM liaison. Who should contact the CoM? Ideally, it should be a leader of the congregation, such as the president of the Consistory or chair of the Council. However, anyone can contact us. What happens after you contact the CoM? The CoM will take your concerns seriously and determine how we might best respond. Who will know I have contacted the CoM? We will honor the confidence of any communication you have with the CoM to the extent allowed by law. What will the process look like? Our goal is to facilitate healthy communication and to promote reconciliation and healing. Each situation is unique and will be handled as such.