The Committee on Church and Ministry (COCAM) and the regional ministers are the primary contact points for pastoral transitions and authorization. COCAM, which is comprised of three regional committees, is composed of clergy and lay leaders from all sizes of congregations from all over the state. They serve for a term of four years, meeting with candidates for ordination and licensure as well as counseling and overseeing authorized ministers. COCAM is the body that makes final decisions to grant or terminate authorization for ministry in the Florida Conference, on behalf and for the benefit of the whole United Church of Christ.
Regional minister for the Western Region – Rev. Leslie Etheredge, (727) 201-4526, firstname.lastname@example.org
Regional minister for the Eastern Region – (Northeast and Southeast) Rev. Dr. Raymond Hargrove, (386) 761-3092, email@example.com
MESA administrator – Rev. Leigh McCaffrey, (407) 835-7501, firstname.lastname@example.org
Help! We need a new pastor!
Whether your pastor is retiring, moving to another church, or you’ve simply agreed to part ways, the regional ministers are available to help your church find both short-term coverage and a more permanent pastoral presence. Call your regional minister as soon as you know that there will be a vacancy. You will most likely have a meeting of your governing board at which the regional minister will explain the search and call process and lay out some options for the near future. That may include an interim or designated term pastor or pulpit supply minister(s). Once you have plans in place, A Pilgrimage through Transitions and New Beginnings will help guide you through the process of forming a search committee to locate a new leader. As part of that process, you’ll assemble your Local Church Profile (template available as PDF or Word document) to share with the candidates you are considering calling as your pastor.
Our pastor needs a vacation / sabbatical / parental leave
Your regional ministers can make suggestions for pulpit supply minister(s) or longer-term pastoral coverage. By following their suggestions, you can find someone who has the skills to meet your needs as well as a sensitivity to your church’s culture and history.
More local church resources
I feel called to serve God as an ordained minister. What should I do?
Schedule a meeting with the pastor of your church. If you do not currently belong to a UCC church in the Florida Conference, click here to find some congregations in your area. In order to prepare for ministry in the United Church of Christ, you need to be a member of a local UCC church. Your pastor can help you prepare to meet with the governing board or deacons of your church to talk about your call to ministry. Then contact your regional minister for next steps. These are detailed in the UCC Manual on Ministry.
Here are some of the Marks of Ministry that the Committee on Church and Ministry uses in its discernment process with candidates:
And here is a brochure outlining the process.
I feel called to serve God, but I don’t know if I want to be ordained. What should I do?
Schedule a meeting with the pastor of your church. If you do not currently belong to a UCC church in the Florida Conference, click here to find some congregations in your area. Your congregation, pastor, regional minister and the Committee on Church and Ministry walk with you on your journey to find the right training and authorization to do what God has called you to do. Currently, you might choose to pursue becoming a licensed minister or to be empowered by your local congregation for a particular kind of service.
Another resource that may help you discern your particular call is Journaling the Journey.
I am already ordained in another tradition but would like to have standing in the United Church of Christ.
If you have standing in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), you can find out what you need to do to obtain standing in the UCC here.
If you are ordained in another tradition, you would need to seek privilege of call in the United Church of Christ, or dual standing for a particular ministry. Details are here.
I would like to apply for a pastoral position at a local church.
Openings for pastoral leadership in local churches are listed in UCC Ministry Opportunities. You must have a validated UCC profile to apply. If you hold UCC standing and have not completed a profile, you should start here. If your profile has been validated, e-mail Rev. Leigh McCaffrey at email@example.com, and she will send your profile to the search committee. If the search committee is interested in continuing the conversation, they will contact you. The Conference office does not send profiles of local churches to candidates unless we are requested to do so by the search committee.
It is the policy of the Florida Conference to send only validated UCC profiles to search committees. If you have questions about a particular local church, please contact the appropriate regional minister.
I hold standing in another association of the UCC and would like to serve as an interim minister.
Authorized ministers interested in serving as interim or stated supply pastors at Florida churches should complete the interim profile template (available as PDF or Word document) and send it to the Conference office. The appropriate regional minister will contact you. Clergy serving churches are required to participate in professional ethics education or boundary training as outlined by the conference or association in which you hold standing.
I am interested in serving on the Committee on Church and Ministry. Where do I volunteer?
I have another kind of question about ministry. Who should I contact?
If your question is about a particular church, feel free to contact your regional minister. If you are not sure which region is involved, email Rev. Leigh McCaffrey at firstname.lastname@example.org or call the Florida Conference office at (407) 835-7501 for help.
God is still speaking