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Our Pastors
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> Our Pastors

Our Pastors

The United Church of Christ recognizes that God calls the whole church and every member to participate in and extend the ministry of Jesus Christ.

In most of our churches there is an Ordained Minister of the United Church of Christ - one of its members who preaches and teaches the gospel, administers the sacraments and rites of the church, and provides pastoral care and leadership.

Our former Regional Conference Minister, Michael Caine, charged each of us in local congregations to support the pastors we have chosen to lead us . And he suggested that pastors and those in the congregation remember twelve truths for living faithfully through conflict.

Michael also provided guidelines on how to approach the process of finding a new pastor when that need arises.

The attached interim ministry liturgy creates a promise between an interim minister, the congregation and the Metropolitan Association as an interim minister begins service with a congregation.

To help assure our pastors are aware of the power dynamics in pastoral relationships, the New York Conference in cooperation with our Suffolk and Metro Associations periodically offer Boundary Awareness Training to our ordained clergy.

If you are wondering about a church vocation - a call to serve God through ministry in the church - visit www.askthequestion.org . There are video testimonies from others who have thought about a call, there are resources for prayer and study and an online forum about church vocations. Even if you're just curious, check out www.askthequestion.org.

Persons seeking to be "in care" of the Metro Association or seeking to be ordained in the Metro Association will find descriptions of these processes, checklists and applications in our resources regarding Ministerial Standing in the Metropolitan Association.

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Support the Pastors You Have Chosen

(Michael Caine offered the following charge to the congregation at Rev. John Barrett's Installation as Senior Minister at West Center Congregational Church in Bronxville. "But," he said, "the charge wasn't specific to that congregation. It speaks of my hopes for all our churches, and in that spirit, I now share it with you:)

So, church.I charge you with:

  • developing an abiding appreciation and a contextualizing gratitude for the nature of your pastor's work  and the blessing of her service among you; not because what she does is more important or better than what anyone else does, but because she has been called to serve the church so that you may better serve others;

  • accepting your pastor for who he is and getting to know him well, in all his wonderful, human peculiarity, rather than projecting on him your images of what a pastor should be. Do this because calling of a pastor is not about what we want, but, instead, when it's faithful, it's about who God has chosen.

  • understanding that church, if it's really "church," is to be transformative-of individuals, communities and the world; do not doubt, distrust or attack your pastor when or because she challenges you to change;

  • offering your best and your assistance to your pastor in the work of this church, because the world's need is currently greater than the church's capacity to meet that need, and if the only ministry a congregation offers is what one person can accomplish, the church is in trouble;

  • actively seeking to grow in faith day by day, and preparing yourselves weekly for worship, because your pastor's sermons and prayers can only be as effective as the spiritual openness, depth and readiness of the congregation (members, friends and visitors) gathered for worship.

  • this one I don't charge you with; instead I plead with you. speaking to your pastor directly, openly and honestly, trusting in Jesus' presence and the Spirit's power, especially when it would be more comfortable and easier to complain to others' about what you are displeased with, worried about, or disapproving of.

And finally, I charge you with. providing your pastor with the means, time and space away from the duties of this parish, so she can attend to her personal life, her family, her needs to be human, and not only return to you rested, renewed and restored, but also with the stamina to maintain a vital ministry over time.

Amen, church?

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Guidelines for Seeking a New Pastor

Each United Church of Christ church calls its own pastor. There are guidelines which help congregations find a pastor who best meets their needs and vision. These guidelines include:

The first job of the committee searching for a new pastor is creating a "Church Profile".
The form is provided in

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