Clergy and Church Information & Forms
Select from the following list to read information on that topic and access forms.
Southwest Conference Information
United Church of Christ (National Setting)
Boundary Training for Active and Retired Clergy
All clergy with active standing are required to complete Boundary Training once every five years. Any pastor who is not active, and who has been inactive in ministry for more than five years, must complete Boundary Training before having their standing activated.
Clergy who have gone more than one year without being in compliance will be informed by the Chair of COCAM A that they have 6 months to complete the training or their standing will be terminated.
Pastors who lose their standing as a result of this policy can have their standing re-activated after successfully completing Boundary Training, and after having met with COCAM A. However, it will be a part of their permanent record that they had their standing terminated with cause, and such action will have to be reported on all successive profiles or resumes that they circulate through the Search and Call process.
A requirement for maintaining authorized ordained ministerial standing in the Southwest Conference is participation in boundary training every five years. The Committee on Church and Ministry recognizes that boundary training typically focuses on active clergy so COCAM has developed a special boundary training to meet the needs of clergy in this unique stage in life. Participating in one session fulfills your boundary training requirement as long as you are retired.
Clergy will be required to take a Retirement Boundary class once within the first three (3) years of retiring. Clergy who retired before October 2011 and have taken boundary training in retirement have fulfilled this boundary training requirement. If a retired clergy becomes active in ministry and is not compliant with the current five (5) year policy, he/she must participate in Boundary Training within 12 months of becoming active.
UPCOMING BOUNDARY CLASSES
Next anticipated Boundary Training class will be April 21 prior to Annual Meeting in Phoenix.
Annual Information Review, for SWC Ministers
All authorized ministers must participate in regular information reviews in order to maintain their authorization (United Church of Christ Manual on Ministry). If you did not complete a form for the period Jan 1-Dec 31, please contact the Southwest Conference Office at 602-468-3830.
Marks of Ministry
This document was prepared by the national church to aid persons in discerning for ministry. It may also be helpful to authorized clergy evaluating their ministry. There are four sections: Spiritual Formation for Ministry, U.C.C. Identity for Ministry, Personal and Professional Formation for Ministry, and Knowledge and Skills for Ministry.
Ministerial Authorization Policies
COCAM is implementing more stringent requirements for authorized ministry. Licensed and Commissioned ministers will be required to have a criminal background check, a self-disclosure statement, and a psychological evaluation. These requirements are already made of all ordained ministers and now will be standard for all authorized ministry: ordained, licensed, and commissioned.
Background Disclosure Statement
Background disclosure statement form for ministry authorized by the United Church of Christ.
Please use this form whenever money is sent to the SWC office.
Amounts designated for each category should be listed next to the appropriate line item. Anything not specifically listed should be designated in the “Other” section.
Print and send 2 copies of the completed form along with your check(s) that equal the total on the form. Please make a hard copy for your records.
When sending camper money, fill in the total amount paid toward each camp and list the specific camper names and the amount associated with each camper in the bottom section of the form or on an attachment. If you have any questions, please contact the SWC office.
Health Care Tax Credit
As a part of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act signed into law by President Obama in March 2010, small employers may qualify for a refund of a portion of the health insurance premiums they have paid. As a result of efforts by the Church Alliance, an association of chief executive officers of denominational benefit programs, the IRS guidance makes clear that churches can be eligible for the tax credit.
Church Annual Report Forms
Thank you for your help in this important effort. By completing these forms, you enable the United Church of Christ to maintain accurate and current information on UCC churches and ministerial staff, as well as provide information that will assist Conferences, Associations and the national ministries of the denomination to identify and understand trends in membership, attendance and other factors that will impact programs and policies.
The forms associated with the year end 2015 will be available on this website in December 2015 and due by January 31, 2016 to the SWC office.
Clergy Profile System
In 2014 the national United Church of Christ implemented a new clergy profile system.
Find opportunities online. Search by keyword, Conference, or type of position: Volunteer – Missionary – Musician – Summer camp staff – Pastorate – Chaplaincy. The Spirit moves in many directions - Take a look!
Ministry Opportunities [Link]
2015 Compensation Guidelines for Authorized Ministers
This resource is entitled "Supporting our Ministry" because ordained clergy, commissioned and licensed ministers are called and compensated for the sake of the whole church's ministry and mission. Any who recommend, determine or evaluate compensation for those leaders, therefore, need to understand compensation in the context of the whole church's ministry.
The Conference Committee on Church and Ministry and Conference Staff conducts a statistical survey annually of the past year church staff salary/housing packages actually paid by the churches in the conference as reported by the churches in their year end reports. This information is taken into consideration to update salary and housing recommendations.
Polity and UCC History Classes
Those persons wanting to take a class on the history and polity of the United Church of Christ, whether for their own enjoyment or as a requirement for ministerial authorization, may take advantage of classes offered from time to time.
To view upcoming class schedules, visit the Center for Progressive Renewal [Link]
Search and Call Process of the Southwest Conference
The Southwest Conference posts openings on the UCC Employment Opportunities on the national website, www.ucc.org. If a minister is interested in being considered for a church opening posted there, then she/he asks the National Profile Office to send his/her profile to the Southwest Conference. Then the minister contacts the Southwest Conference Office to request that his/her profile be sent to that particular congregation. If the minister wishes to see the local church profile, then she/he must contact the church directly.
Health and Dental Benefits
The UCC Medical and Dental Benefits Plan assists thousands of clergy, lay employees and their dependents meet ever-increasing healthcare costs. Information regarding all health, dental and vision benefits can be found on The Pension Boards' website.
Financial Best Practices
One way to be responsible stewards of our resources is through effective management structure and internal financial controls. In any size church it is very important that appropriate and reasonable controls be implemented to protect the temporal goods of the Church. These policies and procedures are not intended to be all-inclusive or applicable to every possible situation but, to the extent possible, if implemented will assist the Church to design effective internal controls.
Cell Tower Contracts: What You NEED to Know
This webinar explained key provisions that churches should have in their contracts, why cell tower leases are "gold mines", lease terms to avoid, and more.
For more information, contact John Pestle, Partner (Chair of Telecommunications Group) at:
Direct: (616) 336-6725
Cell: (616) 481-0491
United Church of Christ (National Setting)
Ministerial Excellance, Support and Authorization (MESA)
This section of our national setting's Web site has resources on committees on the ministry, local church leadership, ministerial authorization and endorsement, ministerial formation and the search and call process.
Pastoral Call Agreement
When a local church calls a minister to a new position, it is customary that the terms of the call be agreed to in written form. The sample Pastoral Call Agreement is provided for use by local churches in developing a call agreement.
Making Our Churches Safe for All
This updated resource helps congregations develop their own policies and practices to protect children and others who are vulnerable to abuse or mistreatment.
Transitions and New Beginnings
This resource has been developed to be as comprehensive as possible and will help your congregation say good-bye to your current pastor, identify transition leadership, and finally welcome a new pastoral leader. It is important to remember that your Conference staff will be companions on the journey. Their knowledge and experience will be helpful as you prepare your Local Church Profile and as you receive Ministerial Profiles from individuals who may have the gifts, skills, and interests to be your next pastoral leader.
Manual on Ministry
The Manual on Ministry contains perspectives and procedures for ecclesiastical authorization of ministry and is published in ten separate sections or booklets.
The Leaders Box
This 20-year old resource has been updated for today's needs, and continues to provide guidance in many of the "nuts and bolts" of church life.
Interim Minstry Guidelines
Insurance Board Letter Concerning Employee Dishonesty
During the past few years, the IB Program has seen an increase in the number and size of Employee Dishonesty claims. We have been notified by our Carrier that continued claims experience like this will affect the Program's ability to maintain the limit we currently enjoy. Employee Dishonesty claims are generally preventable. The key is to reduce or eliminate opportunity or temptation by following proper financial controls.