Accountability Process: Information Review
The purpose of the annual Information Review is to provide current contact and ministry information to Committees on Ministry about each person who holds standing in that Association.
Persons who hold standing are obligated to participate
in Information Reviews annually, and Committees on Ministry are obligated to provide annual communication to those with standing about the Information Review and to maintain up-to-date ministerial files and committee records (including ongoing cooperation to ensure regular updates to the UCC Data Hub).
Based on the information collected (of, at times, the lack of information collected), the annual Information Review may result in a variety of outcomes:
Standing affirmed. All basic requirements for continued standing are met, i.e. Boundary Training every three years, participation in review processes.
The Committee updates records as appropriate.
Changes in ecclesial records. Standing is affirmed; however, the Committee on Ministry notices significant changes from the previous year. The Committee initiates further communication to verify changes in ministry setting or ecclesial standing. The Committee may notice, for example, that a change in information indicates that ministerial standing should be transferred and it may initiate that process. The Committee filed and UCC Data Hub are updated accordingly.
More information needed. The use of the Information Review form by the minister does not clearly demonstrate that the requirements for standing are being met,
and the Committee on Ministry contacts the minister for additional information. The collection of the annual Information Review Form may be an opportunity for the Committee on Ministry to pray over the forms for the ministers and ministry represented on behalf of the Association.
Standing suspended or removed. The requirements for standing are not being met for two or more consecutive years. The Committee on Ministry invites conversation and clarification with the minister regarding reasons
why the requirements have not been met; a process of support or accountability may be appropriate at this time. Should the person refuse to participate or communicate, the Committee may vote to remove standing.
The annual Information Review may provide an opportunity for the Committee on Ministry to recognize significant ordination anniversaries, as well as an opportunity to communicate any changes in standing requirements or upcoming opportunities for fellowship and/or vocational support.
In the event that an Information Review (or lack thereof) reveals that the requirements of ministerial standing are not being met, the Committee of Ministry takes the following steps:
Committee on Ministry contacts the person with standing to indicate that the requirements for standing are not being met and/or that necessary documentation has
not been submitted. The requirements for standing are emphasized, and opportunities to meet those requirements are highlighted. A grace period of six months is communicated clearly, during which time the minister is encouraged to meet the requirements they have missed. The Committee on Ministry documents
its communication as well as the response of the minister.
If the individual continues to participate in the requirements of ministerial standing, the Committee
of Ministry chair and/or Conference or Association staff member should reach out to the person to inquire about and respond to any pastoral needs that may affect the person's ability to participate in requirements of standing. Depending on the circumstance, the minister and the Committee on Ministry may discern that Leave of Absence or Exempt Standing is appropriate.
If, after the six month grace period, the person
has not fulfilled the requirements of standing and
has not engaged the Committee on Ministry to make
a plan for meeting those requirements, the person is considered to no longer be upholding their obligation to the covenants of ministerial standing. At this time the Committee may vote to suspend ministerial standing.
The committee clearly communicates
its decision to the minister, warning of the potential
for termination of standing and outlining options
for meeting the requirement of ministerial standing
(or recommending Leave of Absence or Exempt Standing, if appropriate). This communication is best sent by certified mail. The person's ministry setting and Local Church of membership are notified of the suspension,
and the UCC Data Hub is updated. The person's Ministerial Profile is recalled, if in circulation.
If the person complies with the requirements of standing within six months of this suspension to the Committee's satisfaction, the person will not be required to report this suspension on their Ministerial Profile in the future.
These actions should be accompanied by an ongoing effort to address any pastoral needs of the person,
which may affect the Committee's discernment about the person's capacity to meet the requirements of ministerial standing. Documentation of suspension and of renewed compliance with standing requirements are added to the Ministerial File.
If, six months after the conclusion of the grace period
(one year after the Committee's first indication to
the person that the requirements of ministerial standing have not been met), the person has not fulfilled the requirements of ministerial standing or re-engaged
the Committee, the Committee on ministry terminates ministerial standing (with bias) and communicates
their decision to the minister, to the ministry setting,
and to the person's Local Church of membership.
The UCC Data Hub is updated to indicate the termination. Suspension: if ministerial standing is suspended and the minister is not currently engaged in a Three or FourWay Covenant, it is expected that they will refrain from all ministry-related activities, including service on a Conference-wide committee or pulpit supply.
If the person seeks to have their ministerial standing reinstated, they must return to the Committee on Ministry that terminated their standing. Even if later reinstated, all terminations of standing must be reported on subsequent ministerial profiles.