Committee on Ministry
The Committee on Ministry Policy outlines the purpose and function of this committee.
Purpose of the Committee on Ministry
The purpose of the Committee on Ministry (COM) is to assist the Minister(s), Staff, Board of Trustees, and other lay leaders and members in promoting the well-being of the congregation’s total ministry. Ministry is everything a congregation does to fulfill its mission. The COM is involved in monitoring, educating, evaluating, advising, and protecting the congregation’s ministry. It embodies shared ministry, in concert with our Minister and the Board of Trustees. It is one of the primary structures within the congregation for demonstrating the empowerment of mutual trust and for modeling reconciliation and healing.
Functions of the Committee on Ministry
The Committee on Ministry will:
- Provide ongoing education to the congregation regarding its mission.
- Take a leadership role in EUUC when it comes to issues of EUUC ministry and covenants of right relations.
- Provide a conduit through which the Minister(s), Staff, and congregants may make known any ideas or concerns about the ministry of EUUC and work with the minister and other committees to facilitate solutions to identified problems. Any person whose concern must remain private maintains responsibility for that concern. In order to foster openness and integrity, concerns that must remain private do not become concerns of the congregation. People whose concerns must remain private are invited to share those concerns with a member of the Committee on Ministry, a member of the Lay Ministry team, or a member of the Executive Team, with the understanding that no private concern will lead to action on the part of anyone in the congregation.
- Aid the Minister(s) in carrying on an effective ministry by being available as a sounding board. This is not meant to be a substitute for professional support, which should come from colleagues who understand the unique issues of professional ministry. Rather, it provides the Minister(s) with a group of caring and open laypeople who will give honest and pertinent feedback and advice relative to the effectiveness of the ministry of the Minister(s) within the context of the congregation’s total ministry.
- Solicit ideas for enhancing the ministry of EUUC and listens for concerns of members as they participate in the life of the congregation.
- Help conduct a formal congregational evaluation of professional and shared ministry as often as every three years, making a written report with recommendations to the Board of Trustees and the congregation. In other years, the COM will ask for verbal, interactive feedback at a variety of opportunities and in various methods, for example, by hosting a table during coffee hour or by holding a forum.
- Educate itself about ministry and, in partnership with the Minister(s), support planning efforts for continuing education of the congregation for its growing understanding of congregational ministry. To continually interpret to the congregation the nature and scope of work of the Minister(s), including clarification of role expectations and realistic priorities for the Minister(s).
- Participate in evaluating the Minister(s) in accordance with procedures laid out by the Ministerial Fellowship Committee of the Unitarian Universalist Association during times when a Minister is in Preliminary Fellowship, and in cooperation with the Minister(s) and the Board of Trustees when a Minister is in Final Fellowship.
- Facilitate, in cooperation with the Board of Trustees, Executive Team, and/or Lay Ministry Team, resolution of conflict within the church that could have a negative impact on the ministry of EUUC. The COM will help process concerns and complaints with an aim towards reconciliation. (See Policy for Addressing Concerns & Conflict, below.)
The COM will consist of four members, who must have the confidence of the Minister(s), the Board of Trustees, and the Congregation. They must be perceived as having a firm commitment to the overall health of the congregation, as opposed to a special interest within the life of the congregation. For this reason, it is strongly encouraged that the COM members not be current Board members or committee chairs. Individual members will have been members of EUUC for at least three years, during which time they have demonstrated the following skills and characteristics:
- Stature and respect in the EUUC community
- An understanding of the concept of shared ministry
- Excellent communication skills
- An ability to maintain confidentiality
- Ability to build a working relationship with the Minister(s), Staff, and other church leaders
- Ability to represent the whole EUUC religious community, not just the clergy, the congregation, or any specific group.
Members shall serve for terms of three years, with the terms staggered to allow one or two new members to be selected annually to replace the one or two retiring members. Every year the Minister and the Board shall each submit the names of candidates they recommend as new COM members. The Board and the Minister shall collaborate in selecting one or two of the candidates, as needed to fill vacancies, as mutually acceptable COM members. Selections shall be completed in time for the June meeting of the COM. The COM will provide an orientation session for new members.
The COM will have regular meetings with an agenda for each meeting that ensures that over time, all major aspects of the congregation’s ministry will be reviewed. Additional meetings can be scheduled as needed or as called by the Minister(s) or the COM chair.
The COM may meet in Executive Session using the same procedures as the Board of Trustees. If the COM meets in Executive Session without the Minister(s) there will be an Executive Session including the Minister(s) immediately thereafter at which the content will be shared with the Minister(s).
The COM will report to the Board according to Board procedures. The information the COM collects will be communicated to the Board of Trustees, minister, staff, appropriate committees and groups within EUUC, and the congregation.
Brief descriptions of Committees on Ministry may be found in: (1) The UUMA Guidelines, (2) The Congregational Handbook, and (3) Churchworks.