From the Worldwide Faith News archives

UCC Synod urges conversation on licensed and ordained ministries

From George Conklin <>
Date 09 Jul 1999 13:24:39

United Church of Christ
Office of Communication
700 Prospect Ave.
Cleveland, OH 44115
contact: Barbara Powell
phone: 216-736-2222

PROVIDENCE, RI - July 6 1999 -
Synod urges conversation on licensed and ordained ministries
by Clifford L. Willis
        Associations, conferences and seminaries of the United Church of Christ
were called upon today, July 6, to begin dialogue on “Licensed and Ordained
Ministries in the United Church of Christ.” That dialogue also will include
input from persons affected by decisions resulting from the discussion process.
        The purpose for this resolution is dialogue and the hope for possible
future action, said Cathleen Starck Willey. The Wisconsin Conference member
chaired the sponsoring committee. There is a clear mandate, she said for
dialogue on issues pertaining to licensed and ordained ministry.
        While there was widespread support for dialogue, a provision concerning
the possibility of alternative routes toward ordination received mixed
responses. Some committee members saw such a move as lowering the quality of
ministry in the United Church of Christ.
        Others, however, saw it as a natural response to efforts already begun
to otherwise prepare persons for authorized ministries in the church. “The
train has already left the station,” said Chairperson Willie, though programs
differ among conferences and authorizing bodies.
        “This resolution is process oriented,” said the Rev. William Hulteen,
executive director of the UCC’s Office for Church Life and Leadership, to the
committee. “It’s asking for engagement. It’s not asking for answers.”
        Other dialogue points, said Hulteen, concern ways to strengthen
appreciation for UCC history, polity and practice of ministry; strengthen the
incare process; and clarify the nature and purpose of licensed ministry.
        The resolution calls for the Office of Church Life and Leadership (and
its successor) to bring a status report to the 23rd General Synod a report, and
submit any recommended bylaw revisions and constitutional changes related to
authorized ministries in the United Church of Christ to the 24th General Synod.

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