PATHWAYS TO MINISTRY
As a gift to our brothers and sisters beginning this unique and sometimes strange journey named “candidacy,” we offer this glossary of terms and acronyms specific to candidacy in the East Ohio Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church. Although these definitions are not exhaustive or authorized, it is our hope and prayer they will give new travelers at least enough candidacy language to ask for directions along the way!
Annual Conference – A meeting or conference scheduled once each year, as you might have guessed. In this case, however, the term “annual conference” is used to refer both to an annual meeting andthe group which meets annually. Specifically, the term “annual conference” refers to the annual meeting of delegates from United Methodist churches in a geographic area and to the United Methodist clergy and churches in that geographic area. Our annual conference (or “Conference,” as it is often called) includes all UM clergy and lay representatives from all the churches in East Ohio. The annual four day meeting of the East Ohio Annual Conference will begin the second Monday in June at Lakeside, OH. See “East Ohio Annual Conference” below or go to www.eocumc.com for more info.
Apportionments – The money local churches contribute to their District and Conference to support District, Conference, and General church (international) United Methodist missions and ministry. Sometimes called “benevolences,” or “shared ministry giving,” they are usually called “apportionments” because each church is “apportioned” or assigned a specific dollar amount each year according to a formula, which is that church’s “share” of the missions and ministry support.
Bishops – Bishops are elders elected by clergy and lay delegates to Jurisdictional Conferences and consecrated by bishops for general oversight of the United Methodist Church. Bishops are usually appointed to oversee and supervise the UM clergy and churches in a geographic “Episcopal” area, which is usually an “annual conference” or two. Bishops lead laity and clergy in mission and ministry; and consecrate, commission, ordain, and appoint licensed and ordained ministers to serve the church and the world. Bishops are elected for life, and may be assigned to lead an Episcopal area for up to three four-year terms.
BOM (Conference) Board of Ministry
Board of Ordained Ministry – The Conference committee responsible for many aspects of ordained ministry, including recruiting candidates for ordained ministry and guiding them through a process of education, training, and ordination. Candidates for ordained ministry meet with the Board during interviews prior to commissioning and ordination.
BOD – (The) Book of Discipline
The Book of Discipline – A book of governance for The United Methodist Church. The product of 200 years of Christians working together, this UM book of covenant lays out processes which guide Methodists in governing themselves. It also includes copies of historical documents and doctrinal standards. The laws contained in the book (including policies affecting candidacy) may only be changed by the General Conference—a group of representative United Methodist clergy and lay delegates which meets once every four years.
This book is updated and reprinted every four years after General Conference, and is organized not by page number or chapter, but by “paragraph number.” This United Methodist Publishing House resource is available at www.cokesbury.com.
BOW – (The United Methodist) Book of Worship
(The United Methodist) Book of Worship – A key UM reference book including basic patterns for worship; services of word and table (Communion or the Lord’s Supper); Baptism; marriage; death and resurrection; healing; and other worship services, blessings, prayers, and resources. Order at www.cokesbury.com.
Cabinet – The Bishop and 10 District Superintendents comprise the Cabinet of the East Ohio Annual Conference. The Cabinet’s primary responsibility is the appointment of clergy. They typically meet several days each month, often at the Conference Area Center.
Calling – Traditionally “calling” is used to name the specific ministry or ministries to which God “calls” us. Both lay and clergy are “called” to serve God. However, sometimes licensed and ordained ministers use the term “calling” to name the specific experiences which led them to pursue licensed or ordained ministry.
Candidacy – The process of discernment during which a candidate considers licensed or ordained ministry, and may become approved and equipped for that ministry. “Candidacy” is a specific part of a lifelong spiritual journey of discerning God’s callings in our lives.
Candidate – A person considering licensed or ordained ministry. See also “candidacy.”
Clergy –A licensed or ordained minister. Through our baptism, we are all called as “lay” ministers. However, clergy ministers have been called and equipped for the specific ministries of Service, Word, Sacrament and/or Order. See also “deacon,” “elder,” and “licensed local pastor.”
Conference – See “annual conference” and “East Ohio Annual Conference.”
Conference Area Center – The Conference “headquarters” building, housing the offices of the Bishop, Conference staff, East Ohio Credit Union, and United Methodist Foundation offices, and is located at 8800 Cleveland Ave., NW., North Canton, OH 44720, (330) 499-3972, (800) 831-3972, Fax: (330) 499-3279 www.eocumc.com.
Charge Conference – A local church charge conference includes every member of the governing body (usually a church council) of a United Methodist Church plus its appointed clergy. This group must meet once each year to review church goals and objectives, elect church leaders, and set clergy salaries. However, charge conference meetings may also be called when needed by a Pastor and/or District Superintendent. Candidates seeking certification will need approval of their congregation’s charge conference during the Exploring phase of candidacy.
(The) Christian As Minister – Reading through this “red book” (as it was fondly called, until it was recently reprinted with a multi-colored cover!) with a clergy or lay guide is recommended by our
Conference during the Inquiring phase of ministry. This GBHEM resource may be ordered at www.cokesbury.com.
Deacons – Ordained ministers called to the ministries of Word and Service. A Deacon in full connection is called to connect the local congregation and the community as a minister who “sends forth” the congregation into the world. Their call is to interpret the concerns and hurts of the world through issues of justice and compassion. Deacons are servant leaders who preach and teach the Word of God, and conduct weddings and funerals; however they do not administer the sacraments (Baptism and Holy Communion) or order (lead administratively) the church. Deacons are usually appointed as associate pastors at larger churches, usually as administrators, musicians, or educators. However, deacons may also be appointed to serve “beyond the local church” in “extension ministries.” Deacons do not “itinerate” (agree to move or be appointed by the Bishop where needed), but they do serve under appointment. Instead of being appointed by the Cabinet as elders, or local pastors, deacons “find their own” place of service and then request Episcopal appointment.
District – One of several smaller geographic areas within a UM annual conference. In the East Ohio Annual Conference, there are 10 Districts, named Canal, Firelands, Mahoning Valley, Mid-Ohio, North Coast, Ohio Valley, Three Rivers, Tuscarawas, and Western Reserve. Districts are supervised by District Superintendents, who usually work out of an office in a church or office building within the District, along with a District Administrative Assistant.
dCOM – District Committee on Ministry
District Committee on Ministry – Committee responsible for all candidates for licensed and ordained ministry in one District or geographic area. Candidates who choose to seek certification may meet with their dCOM for a certification interview. Certified candidates must be re-certified by dCOM annually. Candidates ready for commissioning are recommended by dCOMs to the Conference Board of Ministry (BOM) for additional interviews. District Committees on Ministry also license and re-license all the local pastors serving in the District.
DS – District Superintendent
District Superintendent – An elder appointed by the Bishop to the Cabinet, and assigned to oversee the ministry of all clergy and churches in one District or geographic area of the Conference, usually for a term of six to eight years. District Superintendents serve as the key supervisor for all candidates and clergy. Contact information for all DS's can be found at www.eocumc.com.
DAA – District Administrative Assistant
District Administrative Assistant (DAA) – Because she or he is the Administrative Assistant to the District Superintendent and often works hand in hand with dCOM chairpersons and registrars, DAAs usually play a key informational role in the District.
EOC – East Ohio Annual Conference
East Ohio Annual Conference –“Annual conference” or “Conference” refers to all the United Methodist clergy and churches in one geographic area. The “East Ohio Annual Conference” is one of 2 UM Conferences in the state of Ohio. It includes the northeast half of the state - 10 Districts; over 700 congregations; over 1100 active and retired clergypersons. Our Episcopal leader: Bishop Tracy S. Malone. Conference “headquarters” is the Conference Area Center, 8800 Cleveland Ave., NW., North Canton, OH 44720, (330) 499-3972, (800) 831-3972, Fax: (330) 499-3279 www.eocumc.com.
Elders – Ordained ministers called to the ministries of Service, Word, Sacrament, and Order. Elders are servant leaders who preach and teach the Word of God, administer the sacraments (Baptism and Holy Communion), and order (lead administratively) the church. Elders are usually appointed as pastors or associate pastors of churches, but may also be appointed to serve “beyond the local church” in “extension ministries”, usually as chaplains, administrators, or educators. Elders agree to “itinerate” (move and be appointed by the Bishop where needed.) District Superintendents are appointed and Bishops are elected from the ranks of elders.
Episcopal – Of or relating to a bishop. So, an “Episcopal area” is an area under the supervision of a Bishop. Bishop Tracy S. Malone is assigned to the East Ohio Conference.
FAQ – Frequently Asked Questions
GBHEM – General Board of Higher Education & Ministry
General Board of Higher Education & Ministry – The general (or international) United Methodist Church agency in Nashville, Tennessee, which relates to United Methodist colleges, universities, and seminaries; and trains, supports, and tracks candidates and ordained ministers.
General Conference – This legislative body of the (international) United Methodist Church is comprised of clergy and lay delegates from all over the world and meets once every four years.
Journal – A record of the minutes of the preceding annual conference, including a clergy and lay leadership directory and church statistics (membership, apportionments paid, etc.) Available on-line at www.eocumc.com.
Lay – A church member who is not a licensed or ordained minister is a “layperson.” (Through our baptism, we are all called as ministers. However, lay ministers have not been called and equipped for the specific ministries of Word, Order, Sacrament and/or Service.)
Licensed Local Pastors – Certified candidates, who receive a pastoral appointment, attend a one-week licensing school; agree to begin Course of Study (which requires two to four weeks of study at a seminary every year for at least five years) and return every year to their dCOM for approval and re-licensing. Local pastors may be licensed to perform all the duties of a pastor in the particular church or churches to which they are appointed, including Baptism, Communion, marriage, burial, confirmation, and receiving members. Licensed local pastors are not required to earn a Master of Divinity degree or itinerate (move outside a local geographic area) are not guaranteed appointment; and usually serve as sole pastors of smaller congregations.
Mentor – A mentor is a clergyperson who guides a candidate or group of candidates through a particular phase of the candidacy process. There are three types of mentors: a Candidacy Mentor, a RIM Mentor and a Local Pastor Mentor.
Candidacy Mentors – lead candidates to discern callings and complete selected portions of the Candidacy Guidebook from Candidacy Summit through certification (at least 6 months.)
Residency in Ministry Mentors – lead candidates to effectiveness from commissioning through ordination; and help candidates prepare for ordination interviews.
Local Pastor Mentors – supervise and encourage local pastors from appointment until completion of basic Course of Study.
MIP – Ministry Inquiry Process
Ministry Inquiry Process – Reading through this “purple book” (as it is often fondly called) with a clergy or lay guide is recommended by our Conference during the inquiring phase of ministry. This GBHEM resource is updated every four years, and can be ordered at www.cokesbury.com.
P/SPRC – Pastor/Staff Parish Relations Committee
Pastor/Staff Parish Relations Committee – Committee in every United Methodist Church which is responsible for all candidates for ordained ministry. This committee also assists pastor(s) and church staff members as they assess their gifts and set priorities for leadership and service. Candidates seeking certification will need to meet with their congregation’s P/SPRC Committee during the Exploring phase of candidacy.
RIM – Residency in Ministry
Residency in Ministry – Mentor-supervised clergy peer groups, retreats, and experiences required for all provisional members. The RIM experience is designed to connect incoming new ministers with colleagues and mentors, and with the resources and expectations of the Conference and the general church. After candidates are commissioned, they become provisional members of the annual conference. After commissioned members complete their educational requirements, they participate in DCM for the three year provisional membership period prior to ordination as deacons or elders and full membership in the East Ohio Annual Conference.
UMH – (The) United Methodist Hymnal
The United Methodist Hymnal – Available at www.cokesbury.com along with a hymnal supplement “The Faith We Sing,” this key UM resource includes traditional hymns, songs, musical responses, Psalters (Psalms,) prayers, and other worship resources.
The East Ohio Conference Office:
located in North Canton, OH,
near Akron-Canton Airport.
8800 Cleveland Ave. NW
North Canton, OH 44720
Local: (330) 499-3972
Toll Free: (800) 831-3972
Fax: (330) 499-3279
Monday through Friday
8:30 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.
© EAST OHIO CONFERENCE. All Rights Reserved.