Search & Call
Introduction to the Search and Call Process
within the United Church of Christ
The mutual call by God of an ordained minister and local church is a foundational relationship on which ministry is built in the United Church of Christ. The search and call process within the United Church of Christ was designed with a number of commitments in mind. Some include:
- A commitment to an open search process. This commitment is lived out in the assurance that any person can have access to the materials within her or his own Ministerial Profile, that any appropriately authorized person can have her or his profile submitted to any United Church of Christ calling body, and that full disclosure of all relevant information by all parties is encouraged.
- A commitment to equal access for, and parity among, all ministers. Toward this end, we circulate only the official profile form, neither advantaging nor disadvantaging persons due to disproportionate access to sophisticated videography, expensive print materials, etc.
- A commitment to the minister being proactive on his or her own behalf in the search process. Unlike some other church bodies, the United Church of Christ does not appoint persons to positions. Rather, the person herself or himself is responsible for contacting the appropriate placement staff person(s) to pursue positions in which he or she is interested. Ministers are strongly encouraged to have their profiles sent to specific Conferences through the Geographic Availability section of their Snapshot, to follow up with each Conference and express interest in particular openings, and to request that their Ministerial Profile be submitted to particular ministry locations.
- A commitment to balance the respective interests and concerns of the various parties within a search and call process. Usually this commitment involves balancing the concerns of those seeking positions with those calling bodies looking for candidates. An example may be the length of the Ministerial Profile. Clearly persons completing a Ministerial Profile may find the length somewhat daunting. On the other hand, search committee members wish to have as much information as possible before making decisions about interviews. The current practices seek to balance these and other contrasting interests.
- A commitment to responsive service to ministers, calling bodies, and conference/association placement personnel. Considering a new setting for ministry is both an exciting and stressful time. The Southern New England Conference regional staff are committed to doing whatever we reasonably can to facilitate your search process, within available resources.
Although particular aspects of the Search and Call process may vary among conferences, there are clear norms which are honored and practiced throughout the United Church of Christ. Some of these include:
- Persons seeking new opportunities learn of openings primarily through the Ministerial Opportunities webpage,
- Persons interested in a particular position request of the Conference's placement staff that their profile be sent to the church. In the Southern New England Conference, such a request should be directed to Martha Goodman (for Masssachusetts and Rhode Island) at email@example.com, or to Jill Ford (for Connecticut) at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- The national Profiles Office only circulates complete Ministerial Profiles.
- The national Profiles Office will not knowingly circulate inaccurate or incomplete information.
- The Southern New England Conference circulates only those Ministerial Profiles that they receive through the national Profiles Office.
Search and Call practices particular to the Southern New England Conference are:
- The local church search committee has full ownership of its church profile. A candidate may have access to a summary church profile, attached to a church's listing on the Ministry Opportunities webpage, but the full profile will be sent by the search committee at its discretion, generally to candidates in which they have interest.
- Regional or placement staff will not send a candidate profile to a search committee without the consent of the person seeking a call. A candidate will always be contacted to give their consent to be considered for a position.