The ordered ministry of Clergy Support Memorial Church has two orders of ministry: the Ordained and the Appointed.
Both hold the office of Clergy and both have the same status but differ as to function.
Both orders have individuals who are set apart from other members of the church as spiritual leaders. Being set apart is not restricted to ordination but will include members of the churches Appointed Designated Minister program. This program is a legitimate act of recognition and a serious and long-term commitment to Ministry by the candidate. [See Notes Below.]
The following will attempt to outline and describe the function of an Appointed Designated Minister as having a function different than that of the Ordained Minister in the Church.
While the Ordained Minister’s main focus is on serving those within the church structure, the Appointed Designated Minister’s main ministry focus is on members of the general public beyond the traditional church culture. Their focus is on outreach and church growth.
The Ordained Minister’s main focus is on pastoral care serving those within the church structure. The function of an Appointed Designated Minister is to conduct Life Events like marriage, funerals or memorial services, and child welcoming or dedication services and ceremonies for people outside the church and for Clergy Support Memorial Church units without ministers.
We hope our Appointed Ministers, by establishing a relationship with those non-members who call upon us, will be free to call upon us again in the future for other events of pastoral care, such as baptisms, funerals, visitation in hospitals and old age facilities.
This program is not unique to us. It is modeled and patterned on the Unitarian Chaplains’ program who use weddings to the general public as their primary method for church growth. Having Appointed Ministers who are not ordained to fulfill that function is modeled on the Church of Christ (Brethren). It does not have any formal ceremony of elevating its ministers which it calls ‘ordination’. Like our Appointed Ministers, they are, however, accorded a spiritual status by the church because of their status and function and able to solemnize marriage.
Appointed Designated Ministers are pleased to provide this church growth and outreach service to people who want a religious or spiritual ceremony, both to the wider general public and to Clergy Support units without a minister.
These special Appointed ministers represent our church in the wider community. They are expected to serve in a manner that celebrates and dignifies the special occasions they commemorate, adding spiritual depth to the lives of individuals and communities. They should always interact with the wider community in a professional manner and be able to articulate and model our Church’s rites and usages.
It is therefore important for all Appointed Designated Ministers to be approved and appointed by its Board, through the office of the chief Governing Official. For clarity’s sake, it is important to observe again, that Appointed Designated Ministers, while regular ministers in both status and function, are not Ordained.
This vocation as an Appointed Minister is a journey involving Spirit-filled enrichment and learning, requiring humble offering of self, demanding prayerful discernment and courageous risking, exercising visionary and communal leadership, promising joy and meaning, and daring to imagine God’s abundance in a world of love and respect.
This article makes the point that Appointed Designated Ministers are the same as Ordained Ministers in status but differ in function. Both hold the office of minister and may use the honorific title ‘Rev’.
Secondly, Ordained Ministers minister primarily to those within the Fellowship while the Appointed Minister is focused on outreach and church growth for those beyond the reach of traditional church culture and to those members without the benefit of Ordained Ministers.
Thirdly, both orders of ministry are set apart as spiritual leaders. One is Ordained at a service of public worship, the other is appointed by the Chief Governing Official at the behest of the Board.
- For a detailed outline of the Unitarian Church’s Lay Chaplaincy program see here.
- Much of the forgoing commentary is drawn from: Nevena Belovska (ed). Charities Handbook:The Comprehensive Guide For Canadian Charities 19th edition. Canadian Council of Christian Charities 2016.p 257ff, in which we hold membership.
- Official ‘Statement of the‘Appointed Designated Ministry’ of Clergy Support Memorial Church approved at the Church Annual Meeting (March 16th, 2001).