THE CALLING OF DISCIPLES - Reprinted by Permission of Qi He
Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. (1 Peter 4:10-11)
Peter clarifies that the term ministry applies to all types of special services, or intellectual pursuits as long as it serves or benefits a community (even outside of church.) It means you are bringing your unique talents to serve the community at large.
In the United Catholic Church we embrace the fact that all women and men are called by their baptism to ministry. The ministries include:
· Hospital and Hospice Chaplains
· Prison Chaplains
· HIV and Aids Ministers
· Social Justice Action
· Spiritual Direction
· Small Faith Communities
These are but a few of the ministries currently in practice in the United Catholic Church.
Do all of these ministries require ordination? NO! But, they do require special training and certification.
Do you feel the desire to share your gifts with others? Please contact Bishop Hollis Dodge to assist in your discernment and discover the possibilities to serve others through the power of the Spirit.
We are glad you have come to this page and are potentially discerning a call to feed and take care of the Lord’s flock with us.
The call to ministry is a wonderful thing and we wish to encourage you in your consideration of what your call means. A call to ministry is also a serious undertaking; ordination is a lifelong commitment, and your felt inward call should therefore not be acted upon hastily but be given time to grow and be fully discerned. If you have done that and possess the conviction that you have an inward call to lifelong ministry, the second step is an outward affirmation. In the United Catholic Church, the outward affirmation has two parts, first an affirmation by people in your local community, and then also by this church on behalf of the whole church and the apostolic tradition. This step involves deliberately testing and assessing your potential for service to the body of Christ.
In our discernment of a candidate’s call, we are looking to affirm that the individual has the capacity to teach and preach Christian Catholic doctrine in good conscience, and with an understanding and personal conviction that is accountable to the faith which has been passed on to us by the apostles.
A psychological profile is done as the first step in the process. Here we are seeking to determine if the candidate possesses the personal gifts for ministry including a realistic self-awareness, the ability to work patiently with others, and the ability to share agape love in service to others. A background check is also performed. The academic study thresholds for the Deaconate and Priesthood will be discussed with the Vocations Director, Bishop Hollis Dodge. These minimal thresholds are designed to be flexible while still ensuring that the people you will serve as a cleric will be supported by someone who has the educational credentials to be effective in their ministry and is not negotiable.
The Process and Application page describes the contents of the multi-part application that is submitted, and also the process used by this church to evaluate a candidate for either incardination or ordination in more detail.
There are some other caveats you should also keep in mind as you consider if the United Catholic Church is the right home for you:
The United Catholic Church holds to local church theology, and therefore our scope of service and ministry is limited to North America.
The United Catholic Church ordains or incardinates a cleric only in relation to an approved ministry; we do not support general ordination. It is therefore very important that you are able to clearly and comprehensively work out what it is that you intend to do in ministry given the ordination you seek. Having a generic or loose idea is not sufficient; as part of your application, you must present a clear and well-defined plan on how you practically are or plan to go about doing this ministry.
If your goal is chaplaincy and you are seeking a chaplaincy endorsement as a United Catholic Church deacon or priest, please note that you must first serve as a working cleric in the United Catholic Church at the level of ordination that will be required by your goal position, before the endorsement you seek will be given.
Lastly, we believe that ordination to the ministry is a lifelong call and not just for a season. Clergy people in this church are therefore also expected to maintain an active approved ministry going forward and to participate in continuing education.
May God guide you and bless you on your journey to serve Him and His people!