Commissioners Strongly Approve Proposal on Leadership

On the last day of the 43rd General Council, a strong majority of commissioners approved the one proposal before them under the theme of Leadership—"Formation for Church Leadership"—and directed General Secretary Nora Sanders to implement it. It calls for collaboration with United Church theological schools and competency assessment by the church through Supervised Ministry Education and field placement experiences.

The proposal emerged out of the previous General Council, where the Working Group on Leadership Formation for Ministry presented a proposal called “Faithful, Effective and Learned Leaders for the Church We Are Becoming: Competency-Based Approach to Ministerial Education.” The 42nd General Council referred that proposal to the General Secretary for further work and discussion at GC43.

A task group established in 2017 examined four components through which ministerial leadership candidates find their way to a life of service: Call, Credentialing, Competency and Assessment, and Continuing Education. The group affirmed that the first three components are not linear and may happen at various points on a person’s journey.

During discussion sessions at GC43, commissioners noted that the report focuses on preparation for ordered ministry, and does not deal with preparation for service as a designated lay minister. There were also questions about what accountability means and how the Office of Vocation would hold ministry personnel accountable for continuing education.