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

POLICY

Active:

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.


Retired:

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.

The Marks of Faithful and Effective Authorized Ministers of the United Church of Christ [PDF]

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.

Background Disclosure Statement [PDF]

Remittance Form

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.

Remittance Form [PDF]

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.

The Pension Boards - New Tax Rules for Health Care Reimbursement [Link]

Massachusetts Conference UCC - Credit for Small Employer Health Insurance Premiums [Link]

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.

View a short video tutorial [Link]

Ministry Opportunities

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.

Supporting Our Ministry [PDF]

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.

The Pension Board [Link]

2015 UCC Health and Dental Plan Rates [PDF]

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.

Internal Controls and Best Practices [PDF]

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

View a recording of this Webinar [Link]

Cell Tower Leases and Buyouts: The Church’s Perspective [PDF]

Cell Tower Leases - Do’s and Don’ts for Churches [PDF]

 

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.

Leadership and Ministry [Link]

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.

Sample Pastoral Call Agreement [PDF]

Sample 3 and 4-way Covenants [PDF]

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.

Making Our Churches Safe for All [Link]

Making Our Churches Safe for All: An Introduction to Abuse Prevention for Local Churches [PDF]

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.

A Pilgrimage Through Transitions And New Beginnings [Link]

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.

Manual on Ministry [Link]

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.

The Leaders Box [Link]

Interim Minstry Guidelines

This document describes some common understandings and procedures for this form of Ministry, as they have been developing in the United Church of Christ.

Interim Ministry Guidelines [PDF]

Sample Interim Ministry Covenant [Word Doc]

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.

Employee Dishonesty Checklist excerpted from IB Program Loss Manual [PDF]

Ernst & Young Financial Planning