Introduction & Overview

Search and Call is the process of searching for a pastor to call to serve a local UCC Church. Most people who are involved in this process are lay leaders and members involved in your church’s pastoral search committee. We have gathered together all the resources you need to be successful in your search for a new pastor! Please take a moment to become familiar with the search and call process and the provided resources.

Each church is assigned a Minister from the Maine Conference Staff. This staff member will serve as a coach and support resource for your committee throughout the entire search and call process. They will answer your questions, and do their best to help you find the idea candidate to serve your congregation.

Below you can find the essential documents and resources to help you get started! To your left you can also find documents, templates, and resources for each step of the search and call process. Remember to check back regularly or ask your assigned Conference Minister for the latest updates and newest resources.

Documents & Resources

What is this thing called Covenant?

The Church Shaped by Covenant “We Covenant with the Lord and with one another and doe bynd our selves in the presence of God, to walk together in all his waies, according as he is pleased to reveal himself unto us in his blessed Word of truth.”Salem, 1629Within the United Church of Christ, the various expressions of the church relate to each other in a covenantal manner. Each expression of the church has responsibilities and rights in relation to the others, to the end that the whole church will seek God’s will and be faithful to God’s mission. Decisions are made in consultation and collaboration among the various parts of the structure. As members of the Body of Christ, each expression of the church is called to honor and respect the workand ministry of each other part. Each expression of the church listens, hears, and carefully considers the advice, counsel, and requests of others. In this covenant, the various expressions of the United Church of Christ seek to walk together in all God’s ways. UCC Constitution, Article III, paragraph 6. “God bestows upon us the Holy Spirit, creating and renewing the church of Jesus Christ, binding in covenant faithful people of all ages, tongues, and races. God calls us into the church to accept thecost and joy of discipleship, to be servants in the service of the whole human family, to proclaim the gospel to all the world and resist the powers of evil, to share in Christ’s baptism and eat at his table, to join him in his passion and victory. From the UCC Statement of Faith,”adapted by Robert Moss Covenants differ from contractsA covenant is descriptive rather than prescriptive. Unlike a legal agreement, covenants do not operate under a contractual quid pro quo, i.e. “you paint my house, and I’ll pay you.” Rather, covenant is a broader promise: “we will walk together in all God’s ways” rather than a restrictive list of the specific things each partner must fulfill. In covenant, the partners must keep trying to discern what those ways are.

Covenant promises are to be taken very seriously. Covenant does not dissolve automatically at the point that the parties disagree or experience discomfort, or when change occurs. Relying on the guidance of the Holy Spirit to maintain and strengthen their mutual covenant, partners will work intentionally and diligently. Covenant knits us together. Regrettably, covenantal partners sometimes see differences as difficulties. Bound by covenant, all settings of Church agree to walk even with people whomwe experience as difficult. As John Winthrop declared, we are “knit together as one” despite all our diversities. Covenant demands mutual respect, regardless of the status, behavior, or achievements of our covenantal partners. In summary, covenant requires great spiritual maturity. Humility and patience, compassion and justice hold us to the mission of being “united and uniting.” We may wish for more concrete assertions in our covenant promises. Still, the United Church of Christ affirms the open-ended faithfulness of God who has established covenant with us. “Constituted by divine grace, what holds the United Church of Christ together from the human side are two things: a common faith in Jesus Christ as sole Head of the church, and sets of covenant promises exchanged by the covenantal partners.”The United Church of Christ has been characterized as “a covenanted relationship of autonomous units of church life—a relationship delineated but not regulatedby a constitution and bylaws.”Clearly, that dynamic tension between autonomy and covenant are at the heart of what it means to be the United Church of Christ. We have chosen, repeatedly, not to be solely separate churches, each acting alone. We have chosen, repeatedly, not to exercise apostolic hierarchy that insists on top-down regulation. We have insisted, always, on the importance of “walking together in all of God’s ways.”

Step 1 ~ Pastoral Resignation

The first step in the Pastoral Search Process is the pastor of the church submits their resignation, once it has been accepted typically the congregation is then notified along with the Maine Conference Office. This is when the leadership of the church and the Maine Conference first meet to begin planning the search for the church’s next pastor.

Step 3 ~ Making a Local Church Profile

A critical step in the search and call process is completing what we call a “Local Church Profile”. This is essentially a small little bio about your church that will be shown to potential pastoral candidates.

Step 5 ~ Calling a Pastor

Alright, now with the perfect candidate it is time to make it formal and official!

Step 6 ~ Preparing for a New Pastor

Your congregation has voted, your new pastor is almost ready to arrive. Time for some last minute planning.

Resources

Templates and Forms

Contact

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Rev. Deborah J Blood

Conference Minister
Work Phone: 1.207.530.9591
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Rev. Darren L. Morgan

Associate Conference Minister
Work Phone: 1.207.530.9592