Manual for Appointed Ministers

Outreach Mission Statement

The Clergy Support Memorial Church (CSMC) Appointed Designated Ministry (Appointed Ministers) Program helps couples and families in need of meaningful rites of passage ceremonies, at places chosen by them, by recognizing their personal beliefs and wishes, while being sensitive to the needs of others who attend the ceremony, and reflecting CSMC values that afford respect and acceptance of those who follow different paths of faith while not sacrificing the theology of CSMC. This approach is also known as the Relational Evangelism Program.

The primary purpose of this outreach program in our fellowship closely resembles the Unitarian Church program. It is to provide quality rites of passage in a manner consistent with CSMC endorsed principles for members of the general public. The program also serves the following secondary purposes:

  1. to assist non-CSMC couples & families to connect with CSMC.
  2. to promote or showcase CSMC values.
  3. to enhance the spiritual growth and development of chaplains themselves.

To implement this program of outreach, CSMC calls upon its Appointed Ministers to perform this ministry of Pastoral Care. (In some contexts, we call upon certain Ordained clergy to help implement the program.)

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The Appointed Minister’s Duties

An Appointed Minister’s duties with regards to Life Ceremonies may include:

  1. officiating at services of rites of passage (weddings, funerals and memorial services, child dedication services)
  2. preparing the service in consultation with the couple
  3. arranging for and conduct rehearsals of wedding services as needed with the couple
  4. ensuring that final arrangements for services are well coordinated
  5. ensuring that the legal requirements for Provincial registration of marriage are met
  6. maintaining a Church Register on each Life Celebration solemnized (weddings, funerals and memorial services, child dedication services)
  7. providing the necessary data regarding couples and services to meet the reporting requirements of the Church’s chief governing official.

Purpose of the Outreach Program

Our Appointed Ministers prepare for and officiate at rites of passage (weddings, funerals and memorial services, child dedication services) for the general public.

Appointed Ministers are registered with provincial governments in order to be licensed wedding celebrants.

Since outreach is an important part of church growth these Ministers are expected to perform rites of passage in a manner that celebrates and dignifies those special occasions in human life, adding spiritual depth to the lives of all concerned.

Appointed Ministers are always expected to interact with the wider community in a professional manner, and, to understand and be able to articulate and model CSMC principles and practice.

Qualifications

An Appointed Minister must:

  1. be approved by the Board of CSMC
  2. be actively involved in the life of his/her civil community, prior to acceptance
  3. articulate why he/she wishes to become a part of this ministry
  4. be willing to adhere to the Code of Practice for Appointed Ministers (see below)
  5. be willing to adhere to the Conflict of Interest Guidelines (see below)
  6. be willing to conduct all standard rites of passage: weddings, memorial services and funerals and child dedications
  7. be able to provide or arrange transportation to the service
  8. be able to work flexible hours, and respond quickly to requests, and be knowledgeable of the internet.
  9. have certain academic achievements or demonstrate a life experience analogous to academic training.

Qualities

Because rites of passage mark some of the most important events in people’s lives, and because the Appointed Clergy constitutes a significant outreach to the public by CSMC, all clergy must have:

  1. a working knowledge and commitment to the principals of CSMC and the ability to articulate and model CSMC principles and practice
  2. the maturity and ability to cope in crisis situations
  3. the ability to communicate easily with people in a spirit of empathy, helpfulness and concern
  4. an effective public speaking voice and manner
  5. self-presentation and conduct which favorably represent CSMC.
  6. the ability to conduct rites of passage with sensitivity to and acceptance of varied cultural, spiritual and religious traditions
  7. a sense of personal responsibility and commitment to the outreach program and the capacity to work both independently and as a team member with the chief governing official of the church.

Training and Enrichment Expectations

All clergy are expected to successfully complete initial training, approved by CSMC.

In addition, Clergy are expected to attend regular enrichment training sessions within reasonable limits of time and cost.

Conflict of Interest Guidelines

In order to maintain the integrity of this outreach program, those holding the office of Appointed Minister must avoid situations which could create a possible or perceived conflict of interest. It is important to remember the role of the Minister in this context is solely to provide rites of passage.

The following are specific areas of potential conflict of interest that must be avoided:

  1. Using the role as a primary source of income for the Minister or the Church.
  2. Providing, concurrently, a similar service as an independent business or for another organization without disclosure of the dual role to the chief governing official.
  3. Agreeing to requests not to identify oneself as a Minister of CSMC. This contravenes the stated purposes of the outreach program, which are to promote and showcase CSMC values and to assist members of the general public to connect with CSMC.
  4. Clergy must always identify themselves as a CSMC minister when acting on behalf of their Church.

Clergy Statement of Purpose

The Code of Practice is a statement of the cleric’s serious intent and expresses their common concerns and loyalties.

As an Appointed Minister of CSMC, I give full assent to this Code of Practice.

Self

  1. I commit myself, before all else, to an honest and responsible performance of my duties and my role as a Clergy.
  2. I take responsibility for my spiritual development and growth.
  3. I will identify areas of weakness and improve them with training, mentoring, etc.
  4. Knowing my limitations, I will seek help when in difficulty.
  5. I will sustain in my own mind respect for the outreach program.
  6. I will refrain from words and actions (or simply behaviour and attitudes) that degrade the Outreach Program or are destructive to the body of the wider Church.

Colleagues

  1. I will do my best to support my colleagues and to keep, for them, an open mind and heart.
  2. I will respect confidentiality between colleagues.
  3. I will not speak disrespectfully or in derogation of any colleague.
  4. When critical of a colleague, I will speak responsibly, temperately, and constructively.
  5. I support fair and equitable sharing of ceremonial requests.
  6. When co-officiating, I will work in cooperation and in accordance to clearly defined responsibilities.

Community

  1. I will hold to a single standard of respect and help for all members of the church and larger community.
  2. I will respect the confidentiality of private communications.
  3. I will respect the private and intimate boundaries of others’ lives, and I will not trespass on those boundaries for my own advantage. My relationship with families requesting special services remains professional.
  4. I will avoid exploiting the needs of another person for my own purposes, e.g., continue a dependent relationship beyond a service.
  5. I will treat with respect and sensitivity the religious beliefs and cultural traditions of others.
  6. I will strive to live and to speak in a way that exemplifies the best of CSMC values and traditions.

An evaluation of a lay chaplain’s performance should include:

  1. demonstrated commitment to personal spiritual growth
  2. attendance at and contribution to initial and ongoing training opportunities
  3. evidence of respectful consideration of those persons with whom she/he interacts
  4. the quality of the preparation and presentation of rite of passage ceremonies
  5. the maintenance and prompt submission of required activity and financial records.

Behaviour

Attention should be given to behaviour such as:

  1. being consistently late or unprepared for ceremonies; assuming a role or exercising responsibilities beyond that of a celebrant, such as providing therapeutic counseling to individuals or families
  2. initiating what might be construed as sexual or physical harassing behaviour; making demeaning comments about colleagues
  3. lacking stewardship in managing and/or reporting financial and/or activity records
  4. responding selectively to requests for services
  5. exhibiting a lack of decorum at public events

Closing Notes

Much of the history and struggle of this outreach program has arisen from an inadequate understanding of congregational polity by Appointed Ministers. The Governing Official or delegate must be vigilant in monitoring this part of an Appointed Ministers contribution to the program.

In addition, familiarity with Marriage Act is crucial. Appointed Ministers need to be familiar with the content of the Act in their province.

A reminder: No clergy of CSMC is mandated to answer questions regarding the Church or church policy by any provincial official. All such enquires should be respectively referred to the Chief Governing Official or his/her delegate.

Officiating at Funerals, Memorial Services, and Child Dedications

In most jurisdictions in Canada, it is not necessary to have a licence to celebrate a funeral, memorial service and child dedication ceremony. Records of these celebrations will be recorded in the Register.

Officially required words for the declaration of vows by Appointed Ministers can be obtained by using a search engine for “Marriage Act”. It is advised you check with our Appointed Governing Official as well.

Whereas recognizing that this document cannot cover all situations, it is critical that any Minister feel free to contact the Chief Governing Official in all matters of policy that may need clarification.

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