The Big Picture from our Moderator
Dear people of God,
I am excited today to announce the application process for the selection of the next Council of Elders. Elders are the spiritual leaders of the denomination, providing a prophetic voice, offering pastoral support and guiding MCC along its spiritual path. The current Council will complete their term at the end of January 2021. I am very grateful for the wisdom, experience and expertise of our current Council members, as they graciously guide me in my ministry as Moderator.
The next Council of Elders will serve from 1st February 2021 until 31st December 2023. My intention is for this new Council to be a diverse group, reflecting even more of who MCC is called to be. I hope that there will be spiritual leaders who are well known within the denomination, as well as those who may not yet have that profile, yet are called to serve our global movement. The full criteria and application form can be found below. The deadline for application forms to be returned is Friday 4th December 2020.
Looking to our Future
The ministry of Elder is an important part of MCC’s history. The role has changed over time, sometimes being a volunteer position, at other times being part of the MCC staff. The way Elders have been selected has also varied, through election at General Conference, then at Regional Conferences and currently, appointed by the Moderator, approved by the Governing Board and affirmed by General Conference.
MCC is in a new chapter.
What is the spiritual leadership that we need for the journey ahead?
What duties and responsibilities should these leaders have?
How might they be selected and what title should they hold?
These are just a few of the questions that are important to consider as we discern together what God is calling MCC to do and to be on the next part of our journey.
In 2021, a denomination-wide Holy Conversation and discernment process will begin about spiritual leadership in MCC and the roles, titles and responsibilities for those serving as our denominational spiritual leaders. This discernment process will be conducted by a Commission appointed by the Moderator, working in partnership with the MCC Theologies team.
Any recommendations will come before General Conference 2022, and if approved, will be put in place before the Council of Elders completes its term at the end of December 2023.
Any new body will serve for 18 months before the election of the next Moderator in 2025.
Please join with me in prayer in asking God to raise up those who are called to serve as Elders at this time and the discernment process for our future spiritual leadership, so that we may truly know God’s will for MCC in this.
Rev. Elder Cecilia Eggleston
The Role of Elders
In Metropolitan Community Churches, Elders are those individuals who carry the primary responsibility to give pastoral leadership and care to the Fellowship on our spiritual journey. Elders are appointed by the Moderator and serve in a volunteer capacity. Prospective appointees for the position of Elder in MCC must meet all qualifications for Elders as defined in the UFMCC Bylaws, as well as the selection criteria as defined by the Moderator.
The Council of Elders has three important roles:
- To be a discerning, spiritual and pastoral body that assists the Moderator in the role of spiritual, pastoral and prophetic leader of MCC, as well as offering spiritual and pastoral leadership to local churches and Networks;
- To approve standards for affiliation of MCC churches globally;
- To approve the Clergy Manual that governs MCC clergy globally.
The description of the role of Elders may be found in the Bylaws, Article V.E.3. here:
Further Description of the Responsibilities and Expectations of the Incoming Members of the Council of Elders
As requested by the Moderator, be available to:
- Serve as an official representative of MCC in the areas of public and community relations;
- Support the Moderator and the Senior Leadership in providing spiritual leadership for MCC;
- Attend Network gatherings;
- Assist with leadership development efforts;
- Undertake ecclesial and ceremonial visits to churches as requested;
- Counsel with the Senior Leadership Team and the Governing Board;
- Provide pastoral care and mentoring for clergy and lay leaders as needed and requested.
- Participate actively in meetings of the Council of Elders.
- Respond promptly to emails and other communications.
- Participate actively in training and professional development opportunities offered to members of the Council of Elders.
- Be familiar with MCC Bylaws, policies, procedures, and processes.
- Ascribe to and actively promote the MCC Statements of Vision and Mission.
- Be familiar with and actively promote MCC programmes and events.
- Attend General Conference and be eligible to vote.
In addition to meeting the qualifications of Elders as defined in UFMCC Bylaws, prospective appointees must meet the following selection criteria:
- Be loyal to MCC and to MCC’s mission, vision and values.
- Have demonstrated giftedness in pastoral and spiritual leadership.
- Be sensitive to cultural difference.
- Be able and willing to embrace racial equity and diversity.
- Be MCC clergy or a graduate of the MCC lay leadership development program (Leadership Empowered for Active Discipleship, L.E.A.D.) or have similar experience and qualifications.
- Possess demonstrable theological depth.
- Be committed to global justice.
- Model excellence and high standards in ministry.
- Be capable in ecumenical and interfaith ministry settings.
- Have a reasonable ability to understand and speak English.
Questions and Answers
Will Elders be paid? All members of the Council of Elders will be volunteers. Other than the Moderator, a member of the Council of Elders shall not serve simultaneously as a member of the MCC staff.
If Elders need to speak and understand English, what about representing our Global MCC? Every effort will be made to ensure that the Council of Elders reflects our global identity. Our current reality is that our meetings are conducted in English and we do not have the capacity to provide simultaneous translation at this time.
How will the Council of Elders reflect our diversity? As well as reflecting our global and racial diversity, every effort will be made to ensure diversity in terms of gender identity. Every effort will be made to ensure that at least one of the members of the Council of Elders is a young adult (18 to 40 years of age) at the time of appointment.
How long will Elders serve? Elders will serve until 31st December 2023. An appointee who has been approved by the Council of Elders and the Governing Board will join the Council of Elders immediately upon affirmation by General Conference and will serve until 31 December 2023. Elders serve at the pleasure of the Moderator and, in accordance with UFMCC Bylaws, the Moderator may remove an appointment at any time, with or without cause. The processes for accountability, discipline, and removal of an appointed Elder (Bylaw Article V.E.3.c) and for filling a vacancy on the Council of Elders (Bylaw Article V.E.3.d) will remain the same.
Do Elders retain the title of Elder for life? Upon resignation or retirement from the position of Elder, all former Elders (including those who served in former systems, are still on staff in some capacity, or are active in other ministry positions) are referred to honorifically as “Elder,” but do not serve on the Council of Elders unless appointed by the Moderator. All Elders retain the title as long as they maintain active membership in MCC and continue to abide by the Elders Code of Conduct and the Code of Conduct for MCC Ministry Leaders.
Do Elders need to be Clergy? No! Elders may be Laity or Clergy.
Who decides who is an Elder? The Moderator appoints, yet we all are involved. The Moderator recommends appointments to the Governing Board who affirm (or not). At a specially called General Conference, our lay delegates and clergy have the opportunity to affirm (or not) the proposed appointees. There will be a series of webinars to introduce the potential Elder candidates to the General Conference. These will be held about mid-January, 2021,
Does one have to be asked to be an Elder or can you volunteer? In the past, one had to be nominated to be an Elder. This year, you may apply (volunteer) to serve as an Elder. Each applicant will need to provide references and complete an application. (See below)
I want to recommend someone for consideration as Elder. How do I do that? Contact that person. Tell them why you want to recommend them and encourage them to pray about applying. Be sure they have the necessary information, the application and the deadline.
Elder Appointment Process Timeline
Formal Announcement of Process 16th November 2020
Deadline for applications Friday 4th December 2020
Recommendations to Governing Board Meeting 5th January 2021
Webinars to introduce candidates mid-January 2021
Special General Conference held week of 25th January 2021
New Council of Elders starts 1st February 2021