Guidelines for Clergy Affiliation with the UECC

 

This document will set forth general guidelines for postulants (new clergy) or existing clergy, either ordained deacons or priests. For existing clergy, the general process leading to incardination or ordination will be included.

All information in this document can be changed, without notice or reason, by the presiding Bishop.

As an organization we wish to provide a safe haven for all clergy, whether they are new to their calling or existing presbytery. In our world today, the after affects of past adversities have engulfed our faith. Rampant denominationalism, schisms, abuse of power, intolerance and general hypocrisy have undermined the very foundations of the church universal.  We truly empathize with our fellow clergy who desire nothing more than to bring our faith to the people humbly and to the best of their abilities within their calling. Existing Clergy: have you been in a position of abuse or misuse by other organizations? Tired of the rhetoric, church politics and secular politics eroding your faith? Tired of rampant intolerance, bigotry and general misbehavior? Wish to find shelter from the insanity that seems to be prevalent in many organizations today?

We offer an opportunity to join our organization and to work closely with us to limit the politics and intolerance. Whether a new clergy member seeking their calling or the experienced presbyter who is disenfranchised with their current organization, we may have a home for you.

First, we must state that it is not a requirement to have a degree from an accredited seminary to join our organizations. While we respect and heartily accept any candidate with a degree from an accredited institution, we will not thrust that requirement upon others. The only real advantage to an accredited program is the secular "arts and general" classes MAY or MAY NOT transfer to another institution if someone leaves the seminary. No seminary in the nation is accredited within the laws of the United States by the Department of Education. They are accredited by private accreditation associations that may not agree on accreditation standards. These organizations may or may not allow transfer credits, accreditation is incredibly expensive, and that cost is passed on to the seminarians. With the financial issues of many large church organizations, funding for scholarships is waning. Very few prospective clergy are willing or able to expend $450-$700 or more per credit to obtain a degree at these institutions. And many of the mainstream churches still require a Masters minimum. The masters alone is in the $60,000 bracket.

Remember only the "arts" classes are accredited, and not the theological components.

There are many independent churches that have formed their own non accredited seminaries. Obviously some are better than others. None the less, many are sincere in their efforts to return to ancient tradition, and to train seminarians in a monastic fashion, at their own speed, and teaching not only theology but hands on "how to". Martin Luther is the perfect example, he was trained and practiced under his confessor father, Von Staupitz. Luther was a PRACTICING ORDAINED priest nearly a year before being sent to university for theological training, in order to be a instructor. For close to 1800 years of history university was predominantly the purview of clergy who wished to teach theology. 

These independent non accredited seminaries are allowed full and unrestricted degree granting authority for "theological/Religious" degrees. Period. Under the laws of the United States and also under the 83 signees of the Hague Convention, these seminaries grant binding theological degrees that are above and beyond the laws of the secular universities and above the private accreditation organizations. These international laws are the basis for Faith Based Organizations.

Most non accredited seminaries voluntarily follow the general requirements set down by the Department of Education here in the United States.

Is there something beyond accredited or non accredited seminary training? That is a resounding yes! You will find organizations that choose to do the ancient form of monastic (one on one) training to fit the needs of their organization, not the assumed requirements forced by the canons, rubrics, theology or divinity of other groups.

Accredited seminaries have become big business, with multi-millions of dollars spent by institutions. Religion in the context of clergy is a calling and not a business. 

For the new clergy seeking their calling (postulants): (Training and discernment)

A criminal background check is required before the process begins. This criminal background check is at the expense of the candidate. 

Each postulant, with no previous experience, will go through an accelerated training process that is tailored to fit with their religious background. The concentration will be on the Trinity, sacraments, ethics and general rubrics of the liturgy. The postulant will be required to follow a program of discernment that can be viewed at https://sgecc.org/index.php/vocations/discernment. This discernment will not, real or imagined, lead to any form of degree, non accredited or otherwise. This is a mission with it's roots in the monastic training ethos. 

After initial training/discernmtn the postulant may become and ordained deacon. The new deacon must then determine if they have a calling to become a licensed minister or priest. The new deacon must perform as a deacon for a probationary period. This time period is at the discretion of the presiding Bishop. As an deacon, they will practice as any presbyter.

A deacon will be allowed to provide holy communion ONLY under the authority of a bishop, and cannot consecrate with wine or host. The hosts/wine will be provided by a presiding Bishop. The deacon cannot perform Confirmation. The deacon must request Holy Oils from the presiding Bishop if required. Deacons, if registered in their respective counties/states may perform marriage. Deacons are fully expected to perform priestly services to the public or form a congregation.

At the end of the probationary period the postulant will discuss with the presiding Bishop the intent to become either a licensed minister or priest in apostolic succession. It is the sole responsibility of the bishop to determine the future status of the postulant, and if becoming a priest in apostolic succession, determine if more discernment is required.

It is understood within the context of the canons of this church, the newly consecrated deacon agrees to follow the basic canons and rubrics of this organization. None the less, the deacon and all parties agree, in whole or in part, that the deacon's religious practice is otherwise autonomous.  The deacon and all parties agree, in whole or in part, to hold this church, members, affiliates or fellowships harmless for any legal or moral actions of the newly consecrated deacon.

There will be a simple certificate of completion presented at the completion of the discernment. A certificate of Ordination will be provided.

 

For the existing clergy seeking their calling within this church: (Discernment and Incardination/Ordination)

A criminal background check is required before the process begins. This criminal background check is at the expense of the candidate.

For existing licensed ministers or priests of apostolic succession, the following process will be enforced. The candidates will be required to hold multiple telephone interviews with the presiding Bishop. The presiding Bishop will work with the candidates to perform a written interview/discernment based on the discernment process viewed at https://sgecc.org/index.php/vocations/discernment.

This is not training. This process will require the candidate to create an interview/discernment essay based of prescribed reading materials and questions, many of which may be outside the canons and rubrics of this organization. The intent is to drive out the personal beliefs of the candidate in detail (biblical knowledge, theology, divinity, moral precepts, ethics). This process will also allow the candidate to examine the readings or questions either with pro or con statements. This process is to supplement the verbal interviews. 

Once complete, the process will lead to either incardination or ordination. For incardination of an existing priest of apostolic succession, it is a requirement to provide written proof of the apostolic succession in question. It is the sole right of the presiding Bishop to accept or reject an apostolic succession. This will be discussed in detail with the candidate. In the church today it is not unheard of to be requested to ordain into a new apostolic succession.

At the time of incardination or ordination, the candidate will sign the canons, beliefs, priestly promise and ethical guideline documents of this organization.

There will be a simple certificate of completion presented at the completion of the discernment. A certificate of ordination or incarnation will be provided.

 

Bishops

Existing bishops that may desire to join us will be discerned via an ad hoc process at the sole discretion of the presiding Bishop of this organization. The bishop candidate will agree to follow the intent of the canons, beliefs, rubrics and ethical practices of this organization. At the time of incardination , the candidate will sign the canons, beliefs, priestly promise and ethical guideline documents of this organization.

The bishop candidate may be requested to practice as either a titular or diocesan bishop. This process is at the discretion of the presiding Bishop.

A certificate of incardination will be provided.