Faithful, well-equipped, effective ministry personnel

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About the Office of Vocation

The Office of Vocation is the body in the United Church’s structure that supports the accreditation of ministry personnel. Through the Office, these functions previously performed by presbyteries and Conferences have become a permanent part of the General Council.

The Office of Vocation also relates to candidates for ministry through the Candidacy Boards.


The Office of Vocation supports the processes for the discernment and training of ministry personnel, the determination of their fitness/readiness for accreditation, the fulfillment of continuing education standards, and the formal processes for oversight and discipline of ministry personnel.

NB: These videos were created when the Office of Vocation was first introduced in January 2019. They are still relevant to understanding how the Office of Vocation functions, but the structural organization chart has been updated (see graphic below in Structure), and the membership of the various committee has continued to evolve. 

The Office of Vocation is responsible for establishing standards for ministry personnel (The Manual E.2.2). The Standards for Accreditation Committee oversees this responsibility. These standards are to contribute to the effectiveness of ministry personnel in their leadership in communities of faith and beyond, responding to God’s call. The committee has spent time reviewing and approving standards for training and accreditation for admission of ministers from other denominations and learning outcomes for the professional development of ministry personnel, including mandatory training on racial justice and boundaries for church leaders. Often the standard is an outline of the learning outcomes for an education program. The approved standards are found in the Downloads section of this page.

You can also find out more about the Office of Vocation in Connex issue 60 (Sept. 2019).


Diagram showing the Office of Vocation structure, including the Board of Vocation, committees, and candidacy boards
Office of Vocation structure as of October 2019

The Office of Vocation is supported by staff in the General Council Office and deployed Office of Vocation ministers.

To carry out its responsibilities, the Office consists of the Board of Vocation and several committees and commissions:

  • Board of Vocation: the elected member body accountable for the work of the Office of Vocation to the General Council. Find out more about the Board in Connex issue 58 (April 2019).
  • Standards for Accreditation Committee (Standards Committee): implements the policies set by the General Council by recommending standards to the Board of Vocation in the areas defined by The Manual, section E.2.2
  • Credentialing Committee: supports processes for ministry partners, admission applicants, and chaplaincies, and determines and responds to applications from ministry personnel who wish
  • Response Committee: determines the best process to follow with respect to concerns raised about ministry personnel and ensures there are trained and supported reviewers, investigators and conflict resolution facilitators and people with other expertise as required
  • Remedial Committee: assesses findings related to the effectiveness of a ministry personnel or investigations about alleged breach of ethical standards, and may initiate formal complaints
  • Admission Board: assesses ministers from other denominations seeking to be admitted to The United Church of Canada, deciding suitability and eventual completion of the admission process. Find out more about this board in Connex issue 61 (Dec. 2019), page 4.
  • Candidacy Boards: enact the Candidacy Pathway—name candidates for ministry, terminate candidacy, determine readiness for accreditation for commissioning to diaconal ministry, ordained ministry, and designated lay ministry; the Indigenous Candidacy Board serves the Indigenous Church. Find out more about the Pathway in Connex issue 59 (June 2019), page 2.


Contact Us

Toll-free: 1-800-268-3781
Local: 416-231-7680
E-mail: Office of Vocation


Attachment Size Type
Office of Vocation Ministers (July 2021) 93.77 KB PDF
Office of Vocation: Structure and Responsibilities 304.24 KB PDF
Intentional Interim Ministry: Policy and Procedures for Designation (January 2019) 372.69 KB PDF
Process for Credentialing as an Educational Supervisor 35.28 KB PDF
Standard of Online Racial Justice Training 162.48 KB PDF
Learning Outcomes for Personal and Professional Boundaries 165.12 KB PDF
Learning Outcomes for Admission Ministers 181.81 KB PDF
Learning Outcomes for Ministry of Supervision Training 134.68 KB PDF
Learning Outcomes for Boundaries Refresher: Retiring with Grace 133.86 KB PDF
Ministry Demographic Report 2017: Brief Version 495.37 KB PDF
Vocational Life of Ministry Personnel Roles and Responsibilities 96.16 KB PDF