On Sunday, May 6, the Central Association will be holding their Annual Meeting in West Boylston. I am pleased to say that my name will be on the list of new officers and committee members to be voted in at that gathering. I will be serving on the Central Association Committee on Ministry. According to UCC polity, Associations are delegated with the function of recognizing, authorizing and maintaining ordained, commissioned and licensed ministry. Each Association has its own Committee on Ministry, which examines applicants who are discerning a call to ministry, monitors the progress of their preparation for ministry, examines their fitness for ministry and either approves or denies their authorization for ministry in the UCC. Often a member of the Committee is assigned as a kind of mentor to a particular candidate for ministry. When the Committee on Ministry is satisfied that a candidate for ministry has met the requirements of training and education for ministry, the next step is to schedule an Ecclesiastical Council. Delegates and clergy from all churches within the Association attend the Ecclesiastical Council to hear the candidate present their Ordination Paper and answer questions. Upon the recommendation of the Committee on Ministry, the Council votes on whether to approve the candidate for Ordination.
As you can see, Committees on Ministry are entrusted with one of the most important responsibilities in the United Church of Christ. It is a sobering and demanding duty but also a very gratifying one. I know this from personal experience. Prior to coming to Westminster, I served several years on the Committee on Ministry for Franklin Association, including two years as Chairman of the Committee. There is a big difference in the size of those two Associations, though. Franklin Association contains 19 churches. Central contains 90 churches and stretches north to south from the New Hampshire to the Connecticut border and east to west from Milford to Ware.
The Committee on Ministry meets on the third Thursday of every month, so I will not be in the office on those dates.