What is the Magna Carta All About?
In a Nutshell:
A codification of policies and guidelines elaborating and/or strengthening standing provisions of the UCCP Constitution and By-laws pertinent to the ministry of churchworkers
The Term Explained, Its Usage, and Relevance:
The term Magna Carta (Great Charter) after its confrontational beginnings at Runnymede, England between a tyrannical king and his libertarian subjects in the early 13th century of the previous millennium, has been popularized by peoples throughout the world. Subsequent “great charters” have contributed to the evolutionary development of contemporary universal human rights concepts. These include the French Declaration of the Rights of Man (L’Droits d’l’Homme) and the Second Amendment to the American Constitution better known as the Bill of Rights. Despite or perhaps due to its limited context and concepts, the English Magna Carta had become the catchword for any codification of specific sectoral rights and privileges. The original Magna Carta also defines how a king may govern and therefore contains procedural rules and duties. Various groups have used the term Magna Carta to enumerate members’ rights, duties and conduct. We have the Magna Carta for Teachers in the Philippines (Ganzon Law in the 1960s). There was in the House of Representatives an archived bill (Lagman) called the Magna Carta for Students Rights and Welfare intended to improve on and supplant the Education Act of 1980.
Numerous groups have, in one way or another, adopted their own “magna cartae”, if at the very least, to call attention to themselves as distinct entities. The Roman Catholic Church has its Canon Law for members of the priesthood as distinct from ecclesial laws governing the laity. The greatness of a certain charter is as far as those under it or those who subscribe to it are willing to go and achieve. Greatness might neither be a fact nor a given. It is, however, a noble aspiration and intention and not evil per se. We church workers are embarking on an immeasurably great ministry.
The original Great Charter (Magna Carta is Latin because that was the official royal court language even in England) was, indeed, the result of a confrontation. Most of our modern human rights are results of confrontations and upheavals. Confrontation, however, is not, again, an evil word. It is a fact of life. It is synonymous to contradiction. Change happens because of contradictions. It may or may not be violent. Having our own Magna Carta for Church workers is not necessarily a confrontation between the clergy and the laity. It is not for the purpose of showing the distinctive superiority of the clergy over the laity. After all, what is clergy but laypersons who were set apart yet never estranged from the lay? The term laity actually means people (of God) and the clergy are part of that peoplehood. The ordained are set apart because they have functions specific to them. To perform specific functions entails corresponding knowledge, skills, attitudes and orientations. If one is not going to the ordained or clergy status, he/she does not need those aforementioned. The laity, of course, has its own specificity. Again the distinction is not meant for negative confrontation between members of the one body. There will remain a confrontational dimension. In this dimension, we prefer the phrase creative tension. There is always tension between encountering forces. The tension between the clergy and the laity should be characterized by creativity in doing the ministry.
As churchworkers, we are always in confrontation with the realities of our times. To have our identity enfleshed in a Magna Carta is to define who we are in the course of ministerial engagement. As priests we are intercessors. While Christ is the ultimate intercessor between God and humanity, our intercession takes on the essence of advocacy. We are advocates of the people’s issues and concerns and connect with them as they confront daily threats to existence. As prophets in the Old Testament tradition we confront the powers that arrogate upon themselves the power that belongs only to God. As preachers, we proclaim the Good News of God’s Reign over the bad news of pretender rulers. As pastors, we do not only lead the flock to green pastures but are ready and able to defend them with rod and staff against predators positioned in dangerous highways and byways. In other words, we are able to confront because our identities, duties and responsibilities tell us so and compel us to duly equip our selves for the task.
After a lengthy and tedious but rewarding process, this document is now being presented for the direct benefit of our churchworkers with the fervent hope that such benefit for one sector may redound to the general welfare of the entire flock of the United Church of Christ in the Philippines. The discussions within and comments sent by our conferences and various individual and collective entities have invaluably enhanced this Magna Carta for Churchworkers. Those comments and discussions show a dynamic and committed constituency. Several historical documents such as the previous Clergy Manual, the Manual for Ordination, copies of present and previous Constitutions and By-laws, the Statement of Faith and the Vision, Mission and Goals of the Church/Strategic Plan served as maps to guide us during the drafting journey. These documents provided us with references to the historical and historic development of the Church in general and of our churchworkers in particular. In their context, these past documents addressed concerns. Many of their formulations are still valid and legitimate except that some have been overtaken and superseded by polity changes, i. e., Constitutional amendments. Today, at least for our time, given our limitations and smallness, we write our Magna Carta. Like all charters, these Magna Carta is not meant to be everlasting; it is not meant to stand the test of time but the test of relevance. In all likelihood, succeeding generations will come up with their own, either as a continuation, an enrichment or a replacement of what we have today. In the meantime, let us face the day’s challenges.
A Companion Book
This is a companion book for all who intend to see the faith journey of churchworkers from the time the call to the ministry was discerned and processed during the preparatory stage of recruitment and ministerial formation to formal entry (licensing and ordination), actual assignment and performance of tasks (pastoral, pedagogical, etc.) up to retirement.
As they journey along, curious readers as well as the churchworkers (being readers of this document themselves) would be able to see the paths where they should continue to tread, the obstacles they need to hurdle (better yet, challenges they have to overcome), the tempting sidetrips they have to avoid and the material, spiritual and moral rests and pitstops (benefits and incentives) they may enjoy in an exciting albeit perilous journey.
For those who are not churchworkers, this provides them with a picture of what the journey would be if they themselves feel the call to join and embark on the formal ministerial journey. For those who wish to remain in their own journey as laypeople but who want more opportunities for the ministry, this is also a travelogue for unordained workers including lay preachers.
the ministry of the church
The ministry of the Church shall be take into consideration the following:
- The Church is called and sent to serve the people of God. Our service or ministry is premised on our faithfulness and obedience as disciples and apostles of Jesus Christ. All Christians therefore are ministers of Christ (Matthew 28:18-20).
2. The ministry of the Church is a multi-faceted, multi-tasked endeavor. To do the mission entrusted to us means that we have to address wholistic concerns of humanity and creation (John 10:10). The Church cannot afford the dichotomy of spiritual and material, sacred and secular, heavenly and worldly and must strive to look at the totality of such mission.
3. The ability to address such multiple concerns from following our call to minister relies heavily on the appreciation and practice of our gifts or talents (I Corinthians 12:1-11). We also call these gifts knowledge, skills, attitudes and orientation.
4. Having appreciated these gifts, a number would be set apart or consecrated to devote their lives wholly to the ministry as primary vocation. Others will remain in the daily secular struggle for sustenance but will find time to participate in the ministry (I Corinthians 12:28-30). Hence clergy and laity. This Magna Carta shall focus on those who are ordained/set apart or consecrated to the whole time and whole life ministry of the Church. The dynamics of lay ministry shall be tackled in a separate but similar document.
5. Being set apart and consecrated does not mean estrangement or alienation from the laity. In fact, such rites signal our full integration with the whole community of faith or people of God and immersion in their life-death-resurrection struggles. The set apart and the consecrated shall then harness their gifts to the fullest as they embark on their integrative service to the community of faith. Despite the many functions, we are still one Body of Christ (I Corinthians 12:12-26).
6. Harnessing these gifts to the maximum entails recognition of potentials, sharpening these potentials through step-by-step formation and training from the education and nurture programs of the Local Church, preparatory apprenticeship, formal ministerial formation, and further/continuing education to testing in ministerial practice the theories learned.
7. Equipped with sharpened gifts, the church worker shall then strive to commit him/herself to a full time ministry. As a general principle, the ministry is full-time because the Christian faith is a whole-time affair. Full- or part-time service pertains to the amount of working time contributed by the Church Worker to the whole ministry of the Church depending on his/her circumstances and availability.
8. The computation of service time is primarily on the framework of kairos (fullness or quality of time) more than on chronos (chronological time). The number of hours spent by the church worker should equally be measured qualitatively according to the demands of the programs and services rendered by the church. It is the duty of the church worker, by way of reminder, to inspire the church for more quantitative and qualitative ministry through expanding program areas and concerns. He/she should not lie contented on what is presently done by the church by way of activities. While he/she does not think of programs for the church, he/she should enable the church leaders and members to venture into more dynamic and substantial ventures for the ministry. In other words, both the church worker and the church should feel bound to a fulltime ministry.
9. In terms of chronological time, a full-time church worker is expected to work in her/his pastoral assignment at least 5 days a week, and takes her/his pastoral assignment as primary vocation. Since all Christians are called to ministry, this is in the same sense as any other person engaged in secular professions observing standard number of days and hours in their work. The ability to work to the best of one’s abilities for substantial working hours is based upon one’s understanding of his/her work as vocation or calling.
10. While the church worker must not make as his primary concern financial and material gain, the Church shall exert all efforts to devise more substantive salary standardization and benefits schemes in order to realize full-time service for all church workers. Notwithstanding the financial remuneration and job description, church workers are expected to serve. This service shall not, however, mean being treated as employees of the church in the secular sense but as servant-leaders, called by God and sent by the Conference to be managers and executive officers of the Church.
11. Engagement in other professions outside the ministry, if unavoidable, shall be premised on “the tent-making of Paul, Priscilla and Aquila,” that is, enabling and supporting quality ministry. Church workers engaged full-time in a secular profession to the detriment of the quality of his ministerial working time shall be advised by his/her Conference to consider channeling his energies and efforts instead to the ministry of the laity including but not necessarily up to giving up his/her ordination or commission. The Church may explore and study possibilities for contextualizing, setting directions and programming secular professional engagement in apostolates for its church workers (cf. Roman Catholic Jesuit and other models where priests are encouraged and supported in education for secular disciplines, e.g., priest-lawyers, priest-physicians, priest-engineers, inter alia). The bottom-line, however, for these possibilities remains to be effective and holistic ministry.
12. Church workers reach the culmination of their ministry. They either retire or die. In any of these stages, the Church shall ensure that such Church workers receive their just due in terms of benefits and through other support systems as a way of showing respect and appreciation to those who had been faithful servants.
The Call to and Preparation for the Ministry
Section 1. Recruitment for the Ministry of the Church
In her journey as People of God, the Church has always expected her workers to have a strong sense of calling as manifested in their active participation in the life-work of the local church. This calling is nurtured by deep communion with God and varying experiences, exposures and training that enhance their capabilities to steadfastly express their personal commitment through intellectual, ethical, physical, emotional and spiritual gifts necessary for the work of the ministry of the Church and for the proclamation and living out, through faith in Jesus Christ, the sovereignty and life-giving presence of God in the world.
The Holy Spirit bestows on faith communities diverse and complementary gifts and members of these communities are called to discover, develop and employ these gifts for the building up of the Body of Christ (Eph. 4) as she helps enable the world to know and experience the Creator’s gift of life in its fullness (John 10:10).
The Church therefore needs women and men who would commit themselves to be enablers of faith communities so they would be “salt of the earth” and “light of the world,” (Matt 5:13-16). Enlistment into the ministry is indeed a committed response to the act of God in Jesus Christ in calling and choosing, through the Holy spirit and the faith communities, women and men to be church workers (John 15:11-17).
The experiences of the UCCP in her over half a century of life, mission and ministry have made her more aware of the great and urgent need to be more intentional and systematic in the preparation, nurture and development of church workers for the different ministries of the Church. The ministry is at the heart of the implementation of the mandate of the Church to have disciples of Jesus in the entire world (Matt. 28) and bring a new beginning and new life for all humankind and creation (John 10/2Cor. 5/Luke4/Rom. 8). The implementation of the mandate of the Church through committed, adequately equipped church workers who would help enable faith communities for witness in the world goes through a continuing journey from recruitment to retirement and beyond.
Section 2. The Recruitment Process
A. As the primary locus of mission, the local church “recruits, recommends, and supports candidates for its varied forms of ministry” (Constitution, Art. V, sec. 4.e.). The local church therefore, through the Church Council, the Board of Christian Educators and the Church-Recognized Organizations, is responsible for recruiting prospective candidates in preparation for the ministry. When done seriously, sincerely and systematically, the recruitment process may come to prospective candidates for the ministry as the divine “call” they have been wanting to hear to confirm their desire to enter into full-time ministry of the Church.
The recruitment process starts in consciously scouting for candidates especially from the ranks of the youth. The ability to recruit and the availability of recruits is greatly enhanced by how the Christian education and nurture program of the church has prepared and formed members from childhood. Recruitment is further effected by and with close coordination with parents who help enhance the identified gifts and talents of their children who are prospective recruits for the ministry of the church. The recruitment process intentionally emphasizes gender equality and gender justice. This gender emphasis will remain a non-negotiable feature in the recruitment of candidates for the ministry, in ministerial formation and in the ministry of the UCCP.
2. Prospective candidates for ministerial preparation are endorsed by the Board of Christian Educators to the Local Church through the Church Council.
3. The Local Church, through the Church Council, recommends and endorses the candidates to the Conference Ministerial Formation Committee which reviews all the requirements; 1) academic records, 2) church endorsements, 3) pledges of support, 4) physical examination, 5) essay on the candidates’ journey of faith and why s/he desires to prepare for the ministry.
4. The Conference Ministerial Formation Committee interviews and screens the candidates. The screening includes having the candidates undergo psychological testing. Those who meet the requirements are recommended by the Conference Ministerial Formation Committee to the Conference Council for approval as ministerial formation students and confirmed by the Conference in its annual session.
5. The approved apprentices shall then proceed to the one-year Apprenticeship Program.
Section 3. The Apprenticeship Program
The one year Apprenticeship Program aims to offer venues to help the church discover the potentials of those who desire to go into ministerial formation for the ministry of the Church. The program will be conducted in Local Churches designated for the purpose. The apprenticeship centers are expected to provide the apprentices exposures to and experiences of a dynamic and wholistic ministry. The program intentionally aims to have the apprentices experience varying situations in their exposure, including exposures to tensions and conflicts that crop up in the local churches and in the different ministries of the Church as people endeavor to journey and witness together to the life-giving presence and transforming love of Jesus Christ.
a. Objectives of the Program
- Expose the apprentices to the different aspects and faces of the ministry of the Church.
- Guide the apprentices in developing appreciation and understanding of the various aspects and faces of the Church’s ministry and their roles in these ministries.
- Prepare and assess the apprentices as regards their gifts, capabilities and potentials for growth and maturity in relation to the ministry of the Church.
b. Responsibilities of the Apprenticeship Centers
- Provide the apprentices a wide variety of support systems available in the host local church and in the different ministries of the Church.
- Organize Sponsor Families that will host the apprentices.
- Encourage, inspire and support the apprentices in developing
- Steadfast faith in Jesus Christ and a wholistic understanding of the ministry of the Church.
- Regular devotional life and study time.
- Lively reading habit and interest in a wide variety of subjects
- Respect for cultural heritage
- Gender sensitivity and gender justice
- Sense of dignity of own personhood and of others
- Capacity for listening and empathizing
- Compassion for the suffering and the needy
- Healthy and wholesome relationships
- Stewardship of time, talents and resources
- Care for the environment]
- Simple, humble, selfless and courageous lifestyle
- Emotional, physical, intellectual and spiritual fitness for the life and work of the Church
- Recognition of personal weaknesses and strengths and potentials for change
- Ability and humility to recognize and admit errors, prejudices and biases
- Ability to accept praise and recognition humbly and gratefully
Section 4. Support Groups and Mechanisms for the Apprenticeship Program
a. An Apprenticeship Committee is formed to monitor, offer guidance and counsel and other forms of support and encouragement for the apprentice in close coordination with the host Local Churc
b. The Apprenticeship Committee shall be composed of the following:
- The Pastor of the Host Local Church
- A Church Worker serving in the specific ministry of the intended apprenticeship
- Representative of the Board of Christian Educators of the host Local Church
- Representative of the Board of Elders of the Host Local Church
- The apprentice is presented by the Chair of the Conference Ministerial Formation and the Conference Minister to the Local Church where s/he is to be assigned.
- The Conference Ministerial Formation Committee and the Host Local Church of the apprentice shall to ensure adequate provisions for apprenticeship and for ministerial preparation, which may include the following:
- Personal contributions from the apprentice and/or his/her family
- Home Church of the apprentice
- Apprenticeship Center
- Churches within the circuit/parish/district cluster of the apprentice
- General Assembly
- The Apprenticeship Committee, together with the apprentice, plans and designs the apprenticeship program.
- The Apprenticeship Committee schedules periodic meetings with the apprentice. In the meetings the apprentice submits a progress report.
- Special meetings may be held upon request by the Apprenticeship Center and the apprentice.
Section 5. Apprenticeship Evaluation and Certification Procedures
- After thorough evaluation of the apprentice at the end of the apprenticeship year, the Apprenticeship Committee recommends to the Conference Ministerial Formation Committee any of the following;
- Approval for ministerial formation
- Extension of apprenticeship
- Disapproval or deferment of candidacy
- The approved apprentice is endorsed by the Conference Ministerial Formation Committee to the Conference during its annual session.
- The Conference certifies the approved apprentice as ministerial student and endorses her/him to a Ministerial Formation Center.
FORMATION for the Ministry
Section 1. Ministerial Formation
Ministerial formation is the preparation of members of faith communities who will become church workers, assume leadership and responsibilities in these communities and commit themselves to full-time work in enabling and nurturing, encouraging and empowering faith communities to proclaim the Gospel in word and deed and witness to God’s life-giving presence in the world in Jesus Christ. Those who enter into the process of ministerial formation, their Local churches and Conferences are always reminded that those who go through ministerial formation are church workers of the whole United Church of Christ in the Philippines and should be ready to be assigned where their talents, gifts and capabilities are urgently needed.
To perform their roles effectively and faithfully church workers need confidence and competence in doing their responsibilities as interpreters of the faith for faith communities and the larger world. The Christian heritage must then be taught in such a way that it becomes accessible to those engaged in ministerial formation as resource for discerning and discovering God’s self-revelation in Jesus Christ for the “building up of the Body of Christ” and equipping her for dynamic and effective witness and service in the world.
Equal emphasis is given to the fact that truths of the Christian heritage can also be discovered in people’s cultures and experiences. These, too, are basic components of ministerial formation.
Section 2. The Ministerial Formation Centers
The Ministerial Formation Centers aim to offer a most conducive, dynamic, helpful, friendly and gender-just atmosphere possible for the preparation and development of candidates for the ministry of the Church into learned and educated, effective and efficient, competent and committed church workers. The Ministerial Formation Centers should encourage and enhance community life among the candidates so that they continue to be attuned to the presence and work of the Holy Spirit in their own lives and in their community and to be empowered to live and serve in faithfulness to Jesus Christ.
The Church has recognized and accredited ministerial formation centers wherein students shall enroll for their basic formation depending on their proximity and/or degree program. The list of accredited ministerial formation centers may be requested from the Theological Education Board through the Office of the General Secretary. Likewise, Conferences shall be furnished an updated list. The possibility of cross-enrollment shall be left to the discretion of the Church and the ministerial formation centers. Allowing students to enroll abroad or in non-accredited institutions is a matter of study and discretion by the Church. As a matter of policy, no student shall be allowed on pain of rescission of approval of studies with future consequences on ministerial status, to choose what ministerial formation center to enroll in on his/her own.
Section 3. Entrance into the Ministerial Formation Centers
- A ministerial student who has completed 2 years of college will be recommended for bachelor level degrees in the Ministerial Formation Centers in the areas of Theology, Christian Education, Kindergarten Education of Early Childhood Education major, Church/Sacred Music.
- A ministerial student with a college degree will be recommended for graduate level courses in the Ministerial Formation Centers (Master of Divinity, Master of Christian Education, Master of Sacred Music)
- Documents required for enrollment at the Ministerial Formation Centers:
- Essay on why the student wants to be a church worker.
- Endorsements from the candidate’s Local Church and Conference
- Transcript of Records
- Medical examination results
- Psychological testing results
- Pledges/schemes of financial support
- Certification by the Ministerial Formation Committee
Section 4. Role of the General Assembly in Ministerial Formation
Through the Theological Education Board acting under the direction of the Council of Bishops , the General Assembly shall
- Provide mechanisms for assessing and evaluating the work of Ministerial Formation Centers, curriculum review, faculty development and relationship with the Local Churches and Conferences.
- Grant scholarships to ministerial candidates to supplement financial contributions from the candidates’ family, Local Church, Conference and Jurisdiction.
- Facilitate exchange of personnel, students and common use of resources among the Ministerial Formation Centers to bring about the quality of ministerial preparation required by the Church.
- Facilitate, in coordination with the Internship Directors of the Ministerial Formation Centers, their internship programs, field exposures and summer programs.
- Design, implement, monitor and evaluate continuing education for Church Workers.
Section 5. The Role of the Conference in Ministerial Formation
Through the conference Ministerial Formation Committee, the Conference shall
- Design and implement mechanisms to guarantee adequate financial support for ministerial students.
- Promote and supervise formation of students for the ministry of the Church.
- Set up mechanisms for regular communication and consultation with the Ministerial Formation Centers for continuing counsel and care for ministerial students.
- In consultation with the Office of the Clergy, provide guidance and supervision for students in internship, field exposure and summer programs.
Section 6. Field Education in Ministerial Formation
- Field Education is an integral process of theological education. Through this program ministerial students are enabled to put into practice the theories and principles learned in the classroom setting. This educational process also helps students develop a growing capacity to engage in critical thinking, disciplined reflection and continuing exploration in the many aspects of the ministry.
- Field education emphasizes that the ability of church workers to engage in ministry can be greatly enhanced by engaging in ministry itself and attempting at all times to improve the quality of that involvement.
In sum Field Education is an integrative factor in ministerial preparation where students bring their classroom knowledge and theories into the field and their experiences from the field into their classroom discussions and reflections. In the process the students grow in their capability to articulate and verbalize their learning while they also grow in their ability to undertake more demanding tasks in the field.
- Included in the ministerial formation program are the following phases of Field Education:
- Concurrent Field Education is done by the student while on campus. It is a week-end assignment that takes place within the three (3) years of the student’s residence in the Ministerial Formation Center. Venues for Concurrent Field Education are Local Churches and Church-Related/Owned Institutions and special Church-based projects in areas close to the Ministerial Formation Centers.
- Summer Field Education is done in 2 summers, each lasting for six (6) weeks. Areas of Summer Field Education shall include any of these ministries of the UCCP; rural life, urban-industrial, campus, clinical pastoral education, ecumenical and community.
- Internship shall be done by assigning students before their senior year (or post-senior, on a case-to-case basis) to a pastoral charge or ministerial position for two (2) semesters within one (1) ecclesial year. Wherever they may be assigned, the final decision for such shall rest with the Settlement Committee of the Conference where the intern belongs.
Internship serves to test in practice the theories, knowledge and skills learned in the classroom and also as time-off for introspection and reexamination of one’s vocational path and.
Students who have, at least, five years of experience as a licentiate may have the privilege of exemption.
- Each Ministerial Formation Center shall have a Field Education Director who shall coordinate the implementation and supervision of the Field Education Direction program of the school and together with the students design a program for reflections and assessment of their summer work in their respective areas of exposure.
- The Conference Ministerial Formation Committee acting as the Field Education Committee together with Conference Minister, in coordination with the Ministerial Formation Center Field Education Director, designates a Local Church as Exposure Center that will host regular reflections of Field Education students facilitated by the Exposure Center Coordinator, an ordained Church Worker with a master’s level Ministerial Formation Center degree and with at least 5 years experience as Church Worker.
- Concurrent Field Education students meet monthly with the Exposure Center Coordinator. Shared reflections will be the subject of further discussions in the Ministerial Formation Centers with the Field Education Director.
- Interns shall meet quarterly with their Field Education Director for reflection, assessment and supplemental seminars. It is advisable and strongly suggested that the Conference assign a mentor-counselor from among the nearest and accessible ordained or diaconal ministers to care for the intern.
Section 7. Over-all Supervision of the Field Education Programs
- The over-all supervision of the Field Education Programs is coordinated by the UCCP Office of the Clergy.
Section 8. Summer Field Education Program Process
- Interview of students by the Ministerial Formation Center Field Education Director.
- Communication by the Field Education Director of the MFC to the Office of the Clergy, UCCP National Office and to the Conference where such students belong, on students going into summer exposure. Exposure Centers are furnished copies of the letter.
- Summer exposure students are informed of the orientation programs and actual schedules arranged by the Exposure Centers for summer exposure students.
- As far as practicable, exposurees must be given time to attend their Conference Annual Sessions, ministerial students having been classified as voting members of the CAS with usual standing policies that they should be present before any action is taken on their behalf. Such attendance to CAS shall be counted as part of the exposure proper.
- Daily logbook of participants include recording of experiences/activities and theological reflections.
- Periodic visits to students by Ministerial Formation Center Field Education Director.
- Report-Writing by participants at the close of the exposure program with copies furnished to the Ministerial Formation Center Field Education Director, Exposure Center Coordinator, and the Office of the Ministry, UCCP.
- Evaluation and group reflection of the summer exposure participants with the Field Education Directors of the Ministerial Formation Centers and Exposure Center Coordinators facilitated by the Office of the Ministry, UCCP.
WORKERS IN The Ministry of the Church
Church Workers of the UCCP shall be classified as:
Section 1. Ordained Ministers
- Ordained Ministers are those who have been called and set apart for the Ministry of the Word, Sacraments, Liturgy, and Pastoral Care and Leadership in the Church of Jesus Christ. Their talents, gifts and capabilities are seen to mirror the grace of God in Jesus and their contributions to the ministry are recognized and affirmed by the faith communities, as they respond to God’s call by offering themselves in leadership as Ordained Ministers. The covenant of the Ordained Ministry is a full-time and lifetime commitment, and those who enter into that covenant dedicate whole life to the disciplines and lifestyle the covenant requires.
- The Ministry of the Word includes proclamation, preaching and teaching. By this the ordained minister not only does the proclamation, preaching and teaching but also inspires others by his/her leadership to participate and take active and significant roles in this line of the ministry. He/she should be sufficiently trained, promptly prepared, eloquent in his/her delivery and able to gauge the impact of his/her preaching and teaching on the congregational life and individual lives of members.
- The Ministry of the Sacraments includes administration of Baptism and the Lord’s Supper and through these acts, the ordained minister helps enable the church to internalize the meaning of unity, community and solidarity and to strive in order that these sacraments may be concretized and realized in the daily life of the community of faith and beyond it. He/she should have thorough biblical, theological and ethical understanding of the sacraments in their meaning and application.
- The Ministry of Liturgy includes leadership in the acts and rites of public worship and other liturgical activities including the solemnization of marriages. Through this ministry, the ordained minister is able to mirror the everyday experiences of the community of faith through the liturgical movements, themes, symbols and rites and that these become actual synthesis, culmination of daily existence and signal to commence a new week or day of mission and ministry possibilities. He/she should exercise creativity and resourcefulness in the preparation of the worship.
- The Ministry of Pastoral Care and Leadership means the over-all shepherding and administration/management of the congregation. Shepherding includes spiritual nurture, empowerment, care and protection of the flock. The ordained minister while finding it useful that he/she is trained in the aspects of church administration and management should bear in mind that this pastoral leadership is primarily biblical, theological and ethical in its premise as distinguished from secular professional management. This means that whenever discussing a certain program or activity, he/she should be able to provide the biblico-theological and ethical perspectives rather than be unnecessarily drawn towards the whole gamut and details of the action. For example, the pastor’s working knowledge of finances and fundraising does not mean that he/she will do the actual accounting, bookkeeping and solicitation. His/her understanding of variances in the financial standing is meant to prompt him/her to exhort the people towards their proper stewardship roles.
- The ordained minister shall be accorded the title Reverend.
- Qualifications for Ordination
To qualify for ordination, one must:
- Be a graduate of a formal ministerial formation program in any of the approved ministerial formation centers of the church and have previously obtained at least two consecutive years of full-time satisfactory pastoral work as a licentiate in a Local Church. (By-Laws, Article II, Section 2a.)
- Specific formal theological education programs for the ordained ministry shall be, based on the present offerings of accredited ministerial formation centers, as follows:
- Master of Divinity
- Bachelor of Theology
- Bachelor of Arts in Theology
- If a graduate of a four year theological program of other theological institution, not otherwise accredited by the UCCP, (i) undergo probationary pastoral work for two (2) years under supervision of a UCCP pastor in a Local Church, (ii) submit himself/herself to a required orientation course under the direction of the Conference Examination Committee in coordination with the Office of the Clergy, (iii) affirm his/her acceptance of, and adherence to, the Constitution, By Laws and statutes of the Church, and iv) have previously obtained at least two (2) consecutive years of full-time probationary work as a licentiate in a Local Church (By-Laws Article II, Section 2b.)
- If without formal theological training, have substantial pastoral experience as a licentiate for at least five (5) years and have undergone studies and instructions in the ministerial formation programs of the Church. (By-Laws, Article II, Section 2c)
- Be certified through the examination process established by the Church as to his/her maturity, satisfactory preparation, growth in knowledge, experience and commitment to the ministry and mission of he Church. (By-Laws Article II, Section 2, d.)
- Candidates for ordination shall not be less than 21 but not more than 55 years of age at the time of their ordination.
- The Ordination Process. The ordination to the ministry of men and women called for this purpose shall be standardized for the entire UCCP, as follows:
- The Local Church, in which the candidate ministers, recommends the ordination of the candidate to the Conference through a resolution of the Church Council;
- The Conference Examination Committee receives the resolution of the sponsoring Local Church and requires the candidate to undergo the following:
- psychological test prepared by the Office of the Clergy,
- practical examination which shall include inquiry into the lifestyle, his/her standing among peers and in the community, as well as his/her performance as a Local Church Worker, and
- theoretical review and examination conducted in an accredited ordination review center, the results of which include the identification of the strengths and weaknesses of the candidate, and
- Based on the results of the tests and examinations, the Conference in Session upon the recommendation of the Examination Committee, shall then decide whether or not the ordination of the candidate shall be approved, deferred, or denied. In the case of deferment or denial, the candidate shall be apprised of his/her weaknesses and deficiencies with the view of helping him/her overcome these within two (2) Years.
- The Bishop assigned to the Jurisdictional Area or his/her duly authorized representative, also a Bishop, shall preside over the ordination. (By-Laws, Article II, Section 3a-d)
- Prescribed Vestments and Symbols during the Ordination Rites
The primary vestments of ordination shall be the ministerial gown, clerical collar and the stole. Symbols may include the anointing oil, the shepherd’s staff and others which the ordinand feels significant to the occasion. It shall be required that the ordinand be given a copy each of the Holy Bible, the UCCP Constitution and By-Laws and the Magna Carta for Church Workers to remind him/her of the faith and order foundations upon which he/she engages in ministry. The Bishop shall issue the Certificate of Ordination to the ordinand at the close of the rites.
- The liturgical rites of Ordination shall take place during the Conference Annual Session.
- The Ordinand’s Vow
I, name, do solemnly promise to be faithful to my calling as a minister of Christ set apart to serve the people. I will, at all times, obey and adhere to the heritage of faith and order of the Church as embodied in the Holy Scriptures, in its creeds and ethical teachings, in the Constitution, By-Laws and other statutes. I shall dedicate myself to my tasks even beyond the call of duty and consider my efforts as gain enough. I shall remind myself that I lead as a servant and serves as a leader. As God is my witness, so let me remain steadfast as I pronounce this vow. Amen.
Signature____________________Date of Ordination____________________
Section 2 Consecrated Workers
There shall be formally trained church workers who shall be consecrated by the Church to serve in specific lines of ministry.
- Diaconal Ministers
- Diaconal Ministers are those who are called and consecrated to serve in specific lines of ministry such as Christian Education, Church Music, Counseling, Chaplaincy, Early Childhood Education, Youth and Campus Ministry and some Practical Theological areas in Ministerial Formation such as Christian Educational Ministry, Church Music and Research.
- Specific formal ministerial formation programs for the diaconal ministry shall be, based on the present offerings of accredited ministerial formation centers, as follows in the areas of Religious/Christian Education, Church/Sacred Music, Early Childhood Education/Kindergarten Education and Special Studies in Clinical Pastoral Education or Chaplaincy in addition to baccalaureate degree
- Candidates for consecration to the diaconal ministry shall not be less than 21 but not more than 55 years of age at the time of their consecration.
- The consecration process shall be the same as that of ordination except that all examinations in their specific lines of ministry shall be administered by the Conference Examination Committee until such time that the Church is able to come up with a similar review and examination process.
- The liturgical rites of consecration shall take place during the Conference Annual Session.
- Diaconal Ministers may seek ordination provided that they shall have undergone additional studies in whatever they lack in terms of academic preparation as per scrutiny of the Examination Committee.
- The primary vestment of consecration shall be the orarion* (see glossary). The anointing oil, towel and basin (cf. John 13; Jesus washing the feet of the disciples) may be used as symbols. It shall be required that the consecrated worker be given a copy each of the Holy Bible, the UCCP Constitution and By-Laws and the Magna Carta for Church Workers to remind him/her of the faith and order foundations upon which he/she engages in ministry.
- The diaconal minister is both a title and an office and may be abbreviated in correspondence as DM. When referring to the office, the specific line of ministry may be appended (DM for Christian Education, DM for Sacred Music, DM for Early Childhood Education, etc.). Those who were classified as Christian Education Workers, Bible Women, Director of Church Music, etc. prior to this Magna Carta shall continue with their job descriptions and may now use the new title of diaconal minister.
- The Diaconal Minister’s Vow
The vow of consecration shall be the same as that of the ordinand (Section 1, g above) except that in lieu of “set apart”, the term shall be “consecrated”.
- Licentiates (lifted from the By-Laws, Article II, Section 6d)
- Licentiates are those who are called and licensed to serve in the pastoral ministry but who still lack the full qualifications for the ordained ministry. This clarifies that the licentiate is a transitional status and a step towards ordination.
- Licentiates are assigned to definite locations within the Conference area and may be permitted to administer the Sacraments.
- To qualify for a Licentiate, one must have undergone two (2) years of theological training proper in an approved ministerial formation center or other pastoral formation programs of the UCCP.
- The licensing process shall be the same as that of ordination except that all examinations shall be administered by the Conference Examination Committee until such time that the Church is able to come up with a similar review and examination process.
- Renewal of authority to administer sacraments shall be on an annual basis after submission to the Conference through the Examination Committee of requirements (letter of renewed intent, endorsement by the church council with attached performance evaluation result [instrument to be designed by the Office of the Clergy], biblico-theological reflection on ministerial experience and new plans/perspectives for continuing ministry).
In instances when there arise problems and controversies, except of judicial or disciplinary nature, the Examination Committee shall first summon the licentiate and such other parties as may be involved, for a clarificatory interview before granting renewal.
- The licensing rites shall take place during the closing liturgy of the Conference Annual Session.
- Except for the anointing oil and the Holy Bible, no other symbol may be used during the licensing rites. He/she shall, however, be reminded of his/her faithfulness to the statutes of the Church. In the performance of his/her duties during liturgical services, he/she shall wear the stole.
- The licentiate who has not finished formal ministerial formation may qualify either for the ordained or the diaconal ministry provided he/she had five (5) satisfactory, consecutive full-time service in a local church, undergone additional, substantial and trainings/seminars/institutes accredited by the Church in addition to all the other requirements.
- The licentiate shall have the title Conference Licentiate which may be abbreviated in correspondence as CL. He/she may also be called pastor by virtue of his office in the pastoral charge.
Section 3. Ministerial Students
- Ministerial Students are those who are undergoing formation and training for the ministry of the church. They are voting members of the Conference Annual Session as provided for in the UCCP Constitution (Article VI – The Conference, Section 2d). Their ministerial service starts from the moment they are recognized by the Conference as such and subsequent enrollment in the Ministerial Formation Centers.
- Rights and Privileges
They shall be entitled to all the rights and privileges made available by the Church while undergoing preparation and education for the ministry, as follows:
- to participate in Annual Sessions and other activities of the Conference
- to avail of scholarship grants and other assistance as provided or facilitated by the Church during their studies
- to have a mentor-counselor or life coach* who shall accompany them in their ministerial formation journey
- to be given allowances, compensation and other benefits while they are assigned to local churches
- Duties and Responsibilities
- As Student Church Workers, they shall faithfully adhere to the Constitution, By-Laws and other statutes of the Church in the performance of their assigned duties not only in Local Churches and to the Conference having care over them as in faithful attendance to activities where their presence is needed and in developing and practicing volunteerism by taking the initiative during activities and gatherings of the Local Church and/or the Conference.
- As scholars, they should bear in mind that scholarship is more of performance rather than assistance. Their stay in the Ministerial Formation Centers means that they must:
- study diligently
- be models of promptness in the submission of their academic requirements and to aspire and strive for quality in their academic achievements.
- ensure that every work submitted must not only be done for the sake of satisfying academic requirements but that such work may find actual and immediate usability in and relevance to the mission and ministry of the Church
- be intellectually honest in doing research and to shun the crime of plagiarism
- be active participants and leaders in co-curricular affairs of the ministerial formation centers always mindful that they represent the interests and witness of the Church.
Section 4. Status of Church Workers.
Church Workers shall either be on active or retired status.
- Active Church Workers are classified as follows:
- Church workers officially and regularly assigned by the Conference to:
- Local Churches
- Church Owned Institutions such as Ministerial Formation Centers, and
iii. Wider bodies and programs.
2) Church workers officially and specially assigned to
- Church-Related Institutions (including ecumenical ministerial formation centers) and ecumenical bodies;
- to ministries overseas
3) Church workers without official assignment are those who are not assigned to any charge but whose names are included in the roll of church workers.
- Church workers on official leave of absence are those who have given formal notice to the Conference of their intention whether to take a furlough, sabbatical, sick leave. Failure to give formal notice may be met with appropriate sanctions. Furloughs may last up to two ecclesial years. A church worker shall be entitled to a sabbatical leave after 6 years of continuous service with the duration dependent on the purpose of the sabbatical.
- Retired church workers
Retired Church Workers are those included in the list of retired workers as covered by Article VII of the Magna Carta for Church Workers.
Section 6. Rights and Privileges of Church Workers. (lifted from the By-Laws, Article II, Section 11)
Church Workers in good standing shall have the following rights and privileges:
- To participate in all Conference sessions.
- To avail of the pastoral care, continuing education and other developmental programs of the Conference for Church Workers.
- To avail of the benefits granted by the Church to Church Workers.
- To be given a Church assignment.
- To vote and be voted upon in the Conference.
Section 7. Oversight and Support Systems.
- Conference Committees on the Ministry (By-Laws Article II, Section 8)
- Ministerial Formation Committee. The Conference shall appoint upon nomination of the Conference Minister, a Ministerial Formation Committee composed of three (3) active ministers and two (2) lay persons who shall have oversight of the recruitment, apprenticeship and formation of ministerial students of the Conference. The Committee shall assist students in their work and needs, and certify to their progress and standing to the Conference.
- Examination Committee. The Conference in Session or its Conference Council, shall appoint, upon nomination of the Conference Minister, a Examination Committee composed of five (5) members, three (3) of whom must be active ordained ministers and two (2) lay persons, not otherwise church workers, whose duty is to examine candidates for certification, licensure or ordination, including renewal of recognition of lay preachers, and those transferring from other communions.
- Settlement Committee. (By-Laws Article II, Section 9a &, b)
- The assignment of Church Workers shall rest with a Settlement Committee, composed of two (2) active ministers and three (3) lay persons, to be appointed by the Conference. The Conference Minister and the president of the Church Workers’ Organization shall be ex oficio members of the Settlement Committee, without vote. The Settlement Committee shall meet at least annually before the meeting of the Conference.
- The Settlement Committee shall, as far as practicable, ensure that:
- all Church workers shall have assignment in the local churches of the Conference and its recognized ministries;
- every local church and worshipping congregation shall have at least one church worker to take care of the life and work of the church;
- initiate arrangements for assignment in the absence of a call from the Local Church or congregation; and
- examine and confirm the arrangements on the call made by the Local Church or congregation.
- Office of the Clergy. There shall be an Office of the Clergy under the direction of the Council of Bishops which shall have oversight of all matters concerning church workers of the UCCP including ministerial formation, orientation/reorientation, continuing education programs and active and retirement benefits.
ROLES, MOVEMENTS AND ACCOUNTABILITY
IN THE MINISTRY
Section 1. Duties and Responsibilities of Church Workers (items in boldface are lifted from the By-Laws, Article 2, Section 14; those in plain type are addenda for purposes of this Magna Carta.)
- As a Church Worker, to strive for maturity in spirituality, rectitude, faithfulness and stewardship.
- As a Learner, to learn humbly together with the congregation from the wisdom of Scriptures, and the way the Spirit that works through the individual lives of Church members and world events.
- As a Teacher, to lead and enable others to grow into mature personhood after the manner of Jesus and so together attain unity and oneness in Christ.
- As a Counselor, to help Church members discern through the guidance of the Holy Spirit, the deeper meaning and significance of crucial events in their lives and so allow healing and renewal to take place.
- As a Leader, to guide the congregation to be open to the promptings of the Holy Spirit to discover where the Church is, where she ought to be going and what she ought to be, and together move and act in faithfulness to God’s will at every historical moment of their life.
- As a Steward of God’s creation, to care for and manage wisely together with the congregation, all that God sends into their lives as individuals and as a Church in terms of material gifts and giftedness so that they may share with those in need and all may enjoy fullness of life.
- As a Priest, to intercede for the people and to lead them to intercede before God for others and for all creation.
- As a Prophet, to speak courageously the will of God whenever and wherever the prophetic message is demanded in critical issues and human events in order to help empower the faith communities in making their united responses.
- As an Evangelist, to constantly remind the faith community of the need to proclaim the good news of salvation to everyone and the new beginnings Jesus brings to every person.
- As a Preacher, to offer self to the task of interpreting the Scriptures for the faith community and to lead the faithful in discovering the truth of Jesus’ declaration, “Today this Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing!”
- As a Community Builder and Organizer, to manage the local church so that every member may discover her/his role, develop and employ gifts, talents and resources, and endeavor always to organize the church and the larger community for joint endeavors in bringing about life-promoting, peaceful and just communities.
- As Ecumenical Justice and Peace Advocate, to lead the faith community to work actively with other faith communities, institutions, agencies and organizations towards enabling especially the deprived and needy to know and experience a fuller life that the Church has always pursued so that the Church of Jesus Christ may witness to God’s presence in the world as one in the midst of differences and help build with all others a better world.
- As a Pastor, to be one with the flock in whatever situation so that the community of faith may grow in their love for one another and witness together in joy and gratitude to God’s steadfast love for all and ensure continuity of the work and line of full-time church workers through systematic and purposive recruitment.
- As a Church member, to be constantly aware that s/he is a part of the community of believers who seek earnestly to be with one another in faithfulness to God’s purpose for all creation.
Section 2. Procedure for the Call of Church Workers
The procedure for the call of church workers shall include the following: (items in bold face are lifted from the By-Laws, Article III – The Local Church, Section 10)
- The Church Council shall constitute a Church Worker’s Call Committee;
- The Committee shall send a request to the Conference Settlement Committee for a Church Worker stating the needs of the Local Church and the desired qualities of the Church Worker;
- The Conference Settlement Committee shall recommend a Church Worker it deems appropriate for the Local Church making the request;
- Upon acceptance by the Committee of the recommendation, it shall submit the same to the Church Council for approval;
- Once approved, the Church Council shall endorse the recommendation to the congregation for confirmation;
- The confirmation shall be conducted in an appropriate time during the regular Sunday worship service; and,
- Upon confirmation by the congregation and acceptance of the call by the Church Worker, the installation ceremony shall be held in consultation with the Conference Settlement Committee.
- The Conference Minister or his/her representative shall officiate on the installation rites.
Section 3. Assignment and Term of Church Workers
- The term of a church Worker assigned to a Local Church, Conference programs or special Conference project shall be for two (2) years but not exceed for four (4) years. Within the 2-4 years framework, the Conference may peg the number of years in a term for purposes of synchronization. He/she may be called for more than one (1) term but not to exceed three (3) consecutive terms. Review and evaluation of performance during terms may be conducted under the supervision of the Conference.
- The term of a Church Worker assigned to a Church-Related/Owned Institution in response to a call by the latter shall be according to satisfactory mutual agreement by the Conference, the Church Worker and the Institution. Before assignment is finalized, the Church Worker shall first undergo the processes required according to the policies of the UCCP.
- Ordained or Diaconal Ministers who will opt to become ministerial formators shall first satisfactorily serve fulltime in the Local Church/es for a period of not less than two (2) years after ordination or commissioning and must undergo further studies in a graduate institution approved by the Church. This is so to provide the substantial and relevant experience in the field aside from the theoretical academic preparation.
- Ordained or Diaconal Ministers who will opt to become chaplains shall first satisfactorily serve in the Local Church/es for a period of not less than two (2) years in addition to fulfilling the requirements of the institution where the chaplaincy is intended (e.g., military [ordained ministers only], police, hospitals, schools).
- Ministerial Formation Centers, after determining that a student has the potential for faculty development/graduate studies shall advise the Conference having charge of the student of this future possibility to set in motion the process of eventual teaching. The Conference after seeing to it that the student/minister had served in the local church/es according to standard policies shall then advise the Ministerial Formation Center of the availability of the student/minister for further studies and teaching. The graduate studies may be done simultaneous with the assignment in local churches or other Conference programs/agencies provided that the same shall not be in conflict with the demands of the assignment. Having been admitted to the faculty, the church worker may serve in the institution until retirement.
- In order to facilitate determination of potential ministerial/theological formators, Ministerial Formation Centers, in consultation with the Office of the Clergy and the Conferences, shall develop a career-mapping program, led by Academic Deans, Offices of Student Affairs or any equivalent structure, for ministerial formandi based on their performances, attitudes and commitment from their first to senior year.
- The term of a Church Worker assigned in response to calls made by development agencies and ecumenical bodies here and abroad recognized by the church shall be according to satisfactory mutual agreement by the Conference, the Church Worker and the Agency/Body. Before assignment is finalized, the Church Worker shall first undergo the processes required according to the policies of the UCCP.
- Church Workers who are on assignment to Ministerial Formation Centers, Church-Related/Owned Institutions and Ecumenical Bodies locally shall be encouraged to take up weekend local church assignments, their workload and distance permitting, so as to keep in touch or maintain connection with the local church/grassroots base. At the minimum, they shall be expected to have an active involvement in a Local Church.
- Special assignment of a Church Worker to a non-Church-Related Organization or Institution may be allowed by the Conference provided that the Conference enter into a memorandum of agreement with such organization/institution outlining conditions in order to protect the integrity of church workers (GA2002-96 #2).
- The term of a Church Worker on loan to another Conference shall be two (2) years, after which s/he must return to his/her original Conference. A Church Worker desiring to stay after this period shall be advised to file a transfer to the Conference where her/his present assignment is located.
- A Church Worker’s sabbatical leave shall be two (2) years allowed after six (6) years of continuous fulltime service. Beyond the 2-year period the Church Worker will be classified as “unassigned worker”. The sabbatical should coincide with the expiration of the term of the church worker in his/her assignment and official permission of the Conference shall be sought. Care should be exercised by the Conferences in allowing simultaneous sabbaticals so as not to unduly disadvantage the settlement processes by the lack of available church workers.
Section 4. Admonition and Suspension of Church Workers (By-Laws, Article II, Section 5)
In cases of flagrant neglect of duty, indulgence in sinful temper or word, or disobedience of any order or statute of the Church, the admonition upon the erring Church Workers shall be given by the Conference Minister or a duly designated member of the Conference Committee on Discipline and Conflict Resolution; and if there be acknowledgement of the fault, proper repentance and a promise to reform, the Church Worker may retain her/his good standing.
On second offense, the Conference Minister or duly designated member of the Conference Committee on Discipline and Conflict Resolution shall take with him/her the Jurisdictional Bishop and shall strive to bring the Church worker to repentance.
On third offense, and if there be no satisfactory repentance by the Church worker, the latter shall be subject to the penalty of suspension from his/her office.
Section 5. Termination of Status of Church Workers (By-Laws, Article II, Section 6)
The status of Church Workers can be terminated only by death, separation and expulsion from the ministry.
- A Church Worker shall be considered separated from the Church Workers’ roll of the Conference when s/he
- Gives official notice to the Conference of her/his desire and decision to be separated from the Church Workers’ roll of the Conference; or,
The ministry continually broadens and the church worker may find him/herself expanding his/her areas of concern and engagement. This may include direct participation in political governance and legislation of the church worker as a personal or collective crusade on behalf of larger society. In observance of the principle of separation of Church and State, church workers who run for political positions in government locally and nationally shall be considered automatically resigned from the ministerial roll and in the performance of ecclesial and liturgical duties (EC 92-44). Such resignation shall commence from the day of filing of candidacy and actual sitting (in the event of election) and end after one (1) year from candidacy and/or end of electoral/appointive term. The same policy applies to those who are appointed to executive and judiciary positions. Those who are serving their terms whether as elected or appointed to government positions shall, however, be reminded, counseled and prayed for by the Church to maximize their positions to live out the witness and service of the Christian faith while at the same time observing the proper ecumenical spirit in their dealings with people.
- Takes on secular employment for at least three (3) consecutive years and does not obtain a leave of absence or recognition for special ministry.
- Delistment from the ministry
A Church Worker shall be delisted from the ministerial roll of the Conference when s/he fails, without valid excuse, to attend at least three (3) consecutive annual sessions of the Conference.
- Expulsion from the Ministry
A Church Worker shall be expelled from the Church Workers’ roll on any of the following grounds;
- Having actively worked against the interest, unity and integrity of the Church;
- Having intentionally violated the provisions of the Constitution, By-laws, and other statutes of the Church;
- Having habitually committed such acts which do not befit a Church Worker as enunciated by the spiritual, moral and ethical standards of the Church; and,
- Having been convicted by final judgment of a crime involving moral turpitude.
Section 6. Reinstatement of Church Workers (By-Laws, Article II, Section 7)
A Church Worker who has voluntarily withdrawn from the ministerial roll and who wishes to be reinstated as Church Worker in full standing, shall apply to her/his Conference for reinstatement. The Conference shall require of him/her a copy of the record of his/her original connection and status and if satisfied that he/she remains qualified in terms of integrity, competence and dedication, the Conference may reinstate him/her to full standing.
Section 7. Reception of Church Workers from Other Churches
Whenever an ordained Church Worker from another church presents himself/herself to the Conference, the Conference may receive him/her provided he/she fulfills all the requirements for ordination of the UCCP. An ordained minister from a member church of the National Council of Churches in the Philippines (NCCP) must present a certificate of transfer and clearance from the proper authority of his/her church, undergo the required orientation course under the Office of the Clergy, and affirm and adhere to the Constitution, By-Laws and other statutes of the UCCP. (By-Laws, Article II, Section 4)
Section 8. Transfer to Another Conference or Church (By-Laws, Article II, Section 10)
A Church Worker desiring to transfer to another conference or Church shall secure a written release from the Conference or its Conference Council to be signed by the Conference Minister and Conference Secretary.
Section 9. The Church Worker’s Code of Ethics
I, __________, called of God to be servant of the Lord Jesus Christ, to proclaim the unsearching riches of his love, with the guidance of the Holy Spirit, voluntarily adopt the following principles in order that through dedication and self-discipline, I may set more worthy example of those whom I seek to lead and serve.
- MY PERSONAL LIFE AND CONDUCT
I shall develop and nurture a disciplined and dynamic devotional life, meditation, prayer, and time management.
I shall practice a systematic regimen that would keep me physically, emotionally and intellectually fit, and be responsibly, effectively and efficiently responsive to the demands of the ministry.
I shall share and enjoy quality time with, nurture and sustain gender-just, edifying and life-enhancing relationship in my family.
I shall develop and practice honest stewardship of resources, live within my income and will not leave unsettled debts with members of the Church, fellow-Church Workers and others.
I shall build a personal library and nurture serious, systematic study to keep abreast with current thoughts and trends in the different areas of disciplines in the field of ministry and national and international events.
I shall demonstrate a Jesus Christ-like life in my personal relationships, attitudes and conduct towards all peoples regardless of race, gender, class and creed.
I shall develop and put to life “fruits of the Spirit”, namely: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.” (Galatians 5:22)
- MY RELATIONSHIPS WITH THE PARISH/ASSIGNMENT AND THE LARGER COMMUNITY
I shall perform my duties and responsibilities with zeal and enthusiasm until released in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution and Bylaws and the Magna Carta for Church Workers.
I shall commit myself to service over remuneration.
I shall dedicate and commit myself to the prophetic, evangelistic and ecumenical traditions of the Church towards empowered, unhindered and united witness of the faith community to the life-giving and death-eradicating presence and power of God in Jesus Christ in the world.
I shall commit myself to uphold at all times, trust and confidence shared by parishioners and respect for every member of the faith community.
I shall observe impartiality in administrative, pastoral and other responsibilities to preserve and enhance the unity and integrity of the Church.
I shall lead and teach by example so that other members of the ministerial team and church staff may be inspired, encouraged and enabled to offer their best.
I shall dedicate myself to establish harmonious relationships with the faith community and the larger community without compromising Christian principles and ideals just to gain the reputation of being a “good” person.
I shall actively and responsibly participate in community affairs and concerns; be open and principled in working with government units and agencies, non-government and people’s organizations, Churches and other institutions, towards the establishment of peaceful, gender-just and life-promoting communities.
III. MY RELATIONSHIP WITH KINDRED CHURCH WORKERS
I shall foster cooperation with and among my kindred Church Workers and refuse to enter into any competition with them, in order to secure a place of honor.
I shall render services to kindred Church Workers and their families in every way possible and will never accept fees for such services.
I shall uphold at all times the integrity of my kindred Church Workers and thus shall not speak ill of the character or performance of both predecessors and successors and other Church Workers.
I shall bring before the proper Church body, without spreading any rumor, cases of flagrant misconduct of kindred Church Workers in the spirit of desiring to offer help.
I shall respect the sanctity of pastoral charges and thus shall not provide ministerial services, such as: officiating weddings, baptisms, memorial and thanksgiving services, and other special occasions to former or other Church assignments except when formally invited by the incumbent Church Worker to do such.
I shall be open to and respect differing personal convictions, thinking, positions, stances of kindred Church Workers on theological and other issues and concerns, and shall strive to work towards healthy and dynamic sharing of convictions and concerns.
I shall be committed to preserving the unity and integrity of Churches, thus shall not proselyte from any Church directly and indirectly.
I shall offer retired Church Workers in the congregation all opportunities to contribute to the edification and strengthening of the faith community and shall dedicatedly continue giving loyal support to kindred Church workers even after retirement.
I shall respect and uphold procedures and processes in relation to Church assignments and thus shall refuse to make overtures to or consider overtures from a Local Church/other assignment where the Church Worker has not yet finished or terminated his/her term.
I shall protect kindred Church Workers from unnecessary burdens by refraining to send to their Local Churches/assignments questionable solicitors by referring them instead to established charitable institutions and government agencies.
THE MINISTRY WITHOUT BORDERS
Section 1. Special Assignments to Churches and Ecumenical Bodies Overseas
The UCCP recognizes the challenges of the widening field for her mission and ministry as part of the Church of Jesus Christ in the world and for the opportunity for UCCP Church Workers to participate in carrying out the mission of the Church overseas. Thus the UCCP may assign qualified Church Workers to Partner Churches and Ecumenical Bodies/Agencies overseas, and grant full recognition to UCCP Church Workers who have already been in overseas assignments with Partner Churches before the promulgation of the UCCP Magna Carta for Church Workers.
Section 2. Qualifications for Assignment Overseas
- Having served in a Local church or other assignment for at least six (6) years.
- Certified by the Conference Minister, in consultation with the Conference Settlement Committee, to be a Church Worker in good standing, and endorsed by the Conference.
- Abide by the policies of the UCCP on special assignment overseas;
- Possess the qualifications required by the overseas assignment.
Section 3. Assignment of Church workers overseas shall go through the selection and settlement process through the Office of the General Secretary. The selection and settlement process includes the following:
- Upon receipt of the request for an overseas assignment stating the need of the inviting Church and the qualifications/skills desired, the General Secretary shall inform the Bishops assigned to the Jurisdictional areas to announce the invitation to the Conferences through the Conference Ministers/Councils and submit list of available qualified Church Workers;
- The incumbent Bishops and the General Secretary shall evaluate all the qualified candidates submitted by the Conferences in case the Partner Church does not specify a person and prepare a short list of three (3) candidates from which one (1) will be chosen and sent to the inviting Church;
- The General Secretary shall officially place the call with the Conference, through the Settlement Committee, which will release the Church Worker chosen by the inviting Church;
- In instances where a Local Church overseas calls a particular Church Worker, the negotiations will be between the inviting Local Church and the Church Worker. After the negotiations the assignment may be made official by the UCCP through the General Secretary.
- The selection and settlement process shall culminate in the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding by the inviting-receiving Partner overseas, the Church Worker, and the UCCP General Secretary.
Section 4. The UCCP covets the opportunity to provide all UCCP Church Workers with overseas assignments varying avenues for them to express their solidarity and unity with their co-workers in the Philippines and UCCP faith communities in their ministries and struggles for justice and peace and establishing gender-just and life-enhancing communities.
Section 5. The UCCP shall allow all UCCP Church Workers with overseas assignments the right to retain their membership/standing in their Conferences. The UCCP and the Partner Church shall together define policies on membership, assignments, rights and privileges, duties and responsibilities in order to guide the working relations between the UCCP, The Partner Church and the subject Church Worker with a view to enhancing, strengthening and expanding such partnership.
Section 6. UCCP Church Workers who may be granted dual membership shall be entitled to all the rights and privileges and shall perform the duties and responsibilities of UCCP Church Workers as provided in the Magna Carta for Church Workers. While attendance to Conference Annual Sessions may be waived for practical reasons of distance and financial limitations, all Church Workers assigned to Churches abroad shall render annual reports regarding their locations/assignments, situation and activities. Failure to communicate despite reminders from the Conference for three (3) consecutive annual sessions shall result in delistment from the ministerial roll.
Section 7. The development of projects in the UCCP initiated by a Church Worker assigned overseas and the sourcing of fund support for such projects shall be in accordance with the UCCP Projects Development and Management policies.
Section 8. Church Workers who are working prior to this Magna Carta in non-partner denominations may develop partnership relations on behalf of the UCCP and/or his/her original Conference subject to approval after a study by the UCCP on the nature and character of the overseas denomination where he/she is presently connected.
Section 9. A returning retired Church Worker with dual membership who desires to work in the UCCP may be given special assignment subject to the provisions of the Magna Carta covering retired Church Workers.
Section 10. A qualified Church Worker who applies for work overseas in a Church/De-nomination whether for a limited duration or eventual migration must first seek permission from the Conference where he/she belongs as well as from the Office of the General Secretary in addition to fulfilling all requirements for admission by the Overseas Denomination where he/she intends to work.
Section 11. All Church Workers who had been staying abroad especially those who are assigned to overseas denominations before the adoption of this Magna Carta shall be given the opportunity to be reinstated in their original Conferences so as to be classified under special assignment overseas and be given specific tasks in developing partnership programs/linkages between their original Conference and its counterpart judicatory/wider body. Partnership preference shall be with Churches who are already partners of the UCCP at the country-to-country level so that the same may be replicated in the intermediate level (e.g., conference-to-conference or its equivalent, sister/brother churches, program to program).
Section 12. Church Workers abroad whose original Conference no longer exists due to re-clustering/realignment may connect with the existing Conference which geographical boundaries encompasses or covers their previous Conference.
BEYOND THE ACTIVE MINISTRY
Section 1. Retirement
Church workers reach the age or circumstance wherein he/she is placed on retirement. Retirement is not to be seen as the end of ministry but rather as a new phase when one could look back on and take a much needed respite from a rigorous yet rewarding labor in the vineyard of the Lord. It is also an opportunity for a church worker to explore new avenues and possibilities for ministry hitherto not given focus.
Church Workers may be placed in the retired list of the Conference according to the following categories:
- Those who, after at least ten (10) years of faithful, active and fulltime service, but due to illness, disability or some other infirmity, may be placed in the retired list of Conference Church Workers by vote of the Conference. Once approved they start receiving their pension benefits.
- Those who, after at least twenty (20) years of faithful, active and full-time service may elect to retire, provided that the retirement pension from the Church will be given her/him at age sixty (60).
- The mandatory retirement age for all workers shall be sixty-five (65) years, provided that they had served faithfully, actively and full time for at least, ten (10) years prior to retirement.
- Pension benefits will be the same for all Church Workers regardless of positions held in the Church before retirement until such time that the Church is able to come up with a strong and stable program of pensions and incentives.
- Enjoyment of pension benefits by retirees will be a minimum of ten (years). If they pass away before the 10-year period, the pension benefits will be sent to the spouse or the most needy beneficiary for the balance of the 10-year period.
Section 2. Re-calling Retired Church Workers
- Retired Church Workers who are still physically, intellectually and emotionally capable, and have the desire to continue to serve in the ministry so that their expertise and long years of service and experiences will continue to be shared with the Church, may be subject to re-call to serve as teachers, lecturers, program consultants in the local church, conference or the GA, COIs, CRIs and ministerial formators in the MFCs.
- Assignment of retirees as pastors to local churches shall be on an interim basis pending availability of an active church worker.
- Stipend for re-called retired Church Workers shall be the responsibility of the judicatory/institution that made the re-call.
Diaconal Minister. A title borrowed from the United Church of Canada to classify church workers engaged in the ministry of education and other service apart from the ordained ministry. It is also a recent development in the United Methodist Church. From the previous order of deacon (whose only difference from elders is that they do not have any vote in their conference but both serve as pastors), they now have this new classification although the difference is that they ordain them for ministries other than the pastoral. It is proposed in this Magna Carta that we use the term for those previously classified as Christian Education Workers, Directors of Music and Early Childhood Educators. We have expanded the scope of their work by including those who are engaged in non-military chaplaincies, counseling or clinical pastoral education and campus ministries. Up to this day, even with Constitutional changes, a number of our women workers still address themselves and are addressed by members as deaconesses. To use diaconal minister is decidedly more inclusive of male church workers who are similarly situated.
Orarion. It is a stole worn diagonally from the left shoulder down to the hip. This is to distinguish those who are in the diaconal ministry from the ordained. This is commonly used by the Roman Catholics, Anglicans and Evangelical Lutherans. The diagonal stole represents the towel by which Jesus girded himself before he washed the feet of the disciples to symbolize servanthood. An apron once represented the towel but its use has become outdated with the passing of time.
Consecration. Its means “making holy”, “sanctifying” and “setting apart”. By these meanings, it could be synonymous with ordination. Traditionally and ecclesially, we give the meaning “setting apart” to the act of ordination. Ordination, while having the sense of being set apart has, however, another definition, that of decreeing or ordering and therefore becomes a permanent mandate. In fact, consecrated workers, may aspire to be ordained, that is, from engaging in a specific, limited line of ministry to embracing the ministry in its fullness.
Sabbatical. A leave privilege granted to those who have served fulltime continuously for six (6) years. The seventh or sabbatical year may be used to take a must needed rest for replenishing energies. It may also be used for doing research, writing or further studies.
Furlough. A furlough is a break similar to a leave or sabbatical. It is usually the time, in the case of missionaries, to return for a period to their home countries for rest or other tasks/jobs. For our usage, this may apply to those who would seek the permission of the Conference to take time off from the ministerial task for engagement in other jobs including secular employment or business for a limited or temporary period.
Life Coach. A recent phenomenon in business, program and human resource development administration. A coach is someone who joins the one being coached in designing the game plan or ministerial plan, in this case, looks at strategies and tactics, gives instructions and critique but lets the player or church worker perform his/her role as befits his/her training and assignment. There are agencies providing training seminars for life coaching.
- The draft shall be presented to the National Council Meeting (October) for its approval.
- The approved document shall then be presented to the Annual Sessions of the Conferences in 2009 for their ratification.
- The Office of the Clergy shall take care of any additional correction or amendment for incorporation in the final document.
- After ratification and final corrections as to content and style, the Office of the General Secretary shall duly inform all constituencies of the Church that the Magna Carta for Church Workers shall be implemented at the start of Ecclesial Year 2009 (June 1).
- The Magna Carta shall then form part of the statutes of the Church.
- Policies that may run counter to the provisions of the Magna Carta shall be deemed superseded and rescinded.
- The Constitution and By-Laws shall continue to govern matters concerning Lay Preachers until such time that a separate manual for lay ministry shall have been drafted and approved.
- Licentiates who still have the ability and opportunity to complete their requirements shall be reminded by their conferences that the licentiate status is transitional and should lead to ordination. The Conferences with the help of the Office of the Clergy shall exert all efforts to prepare licentiates for eventual ordination. No longer shall licenses be granted to those who do not have the perspective of ordination.
- Licentiates who no longer have this ability and opportunity shall be allowed to serve until their retirement.
- Members of the Church who are currently serving as ministerial formators but who have not formalized their ministerial status with their conferences shall be given one ecclesial year to comply with all requirements. It is the intention of the Magna Carta that foundational courses (Theology/Ethics, Biblical Studies and History) as well as Church Administration, Pastoral Care, Christian Education and Liturgy be reserved for those who are in the ordained or diaconal ministry of the Church. Ministerial formation centers may only allow lay members to teach in non-foundational courses (Research and Community Ministries).
- Retirees who are invited to teach in ministerial formation centers shall be considered adjunct faculty. Their terms may be renewed annually. As a matter of respect, ministerial formation centers may not be unilaterally terminate such retirees but shall first be asked if they are still willing to continue as adjunct faculty. They shall be given the additional task of preparing or mentoring potential successors in their specific academic areas.
- Diaconal stoles shall be designed and manufactured by the Church for prospective candidates for consecration to the diaconal ministry.
- The Office of the Clergy under the direction of the Council of Bishops shall have oversight in matters relating to the formal ministry of the Church in the national level.
- At the Conference level, the Committees on the Ministry (Ministerial Formation and Examination) and the Settlement Committee shall work in coordination with one another to ensure smooth implementation of the Magna Carta. The Office of the Conference Minister shall lead in these coordinative efforts.
- Appropriate bodies of the Church led by the Office of the General Secretary shall be immediately convened to flesh out policies such as on sabbatical leaves, furlough, and corresponding benefits to enable implementation of all such provisions of this Magna Carta within the span of 1 ecclesial year after its ratification in time for the Quadrennial General Assembly in 2010.