“We are each given particular gifts of the Spirit. For the sake of the world, God calls all followers of Jesus to Christian ministry.” (A Song of Faith)
Pastoral relations policies govern search, selection, calls, and appointments between ministers and United Church communities of faith. For related resources and contact information for your regional council pastoral relations staff, see Downloads, below.
Pastoral Relationships Thriving with Equity Research Project
The Pastoral Relationship Equity Research Project, which ran throughout 2022, focused on identifying current intervention, pastoral support, and systemic change.
Ministry personnel from across the church participated in online surveys, focus groups, and interviews. They shared about patterns of inequity experienced by ministry personnel across all regions of The United Church of Canada. The co-researchers are now reviewing the information collected in order to identify ways to prevent or mitigate these inequities through denominational actions such as proactive education.
In the church,
some are called to specific ministries of leadership,
both lay and ordered;
some witness to the good news;
some uphold the art of worship;
some comfort the grieving and guide the wandering;
some build up the community of wisdom;
some stand with the oppressed and work for justice. (A Song of Faith)
A community of faith, like any community, changes.
When a minister comes into a community of faith
a covenant is made; a promise to walk together as God’s people,
deepening our commitment to Jesus Christ
and growing closer to God.
God’s covenant with us never changes,
but our covenants with one another do change.
(Adapted from the Book of Worship, United Church of Christ © 1986, United Church of Christ Office for Church Life and Leadership, New York, New York. All rights reserved. Used by permission.)
To embody God’s love in the world,
the work of the church requires the ministry and discipleship
of all believers. (A Song of Faith)
Guidelines and Policies
What is pastoral relations policy?
“Ordered ministers and designated lay ministers while in paid accountable ministry positions are office holders within The United Church of Canada. While there may be elements similar to employment, the essential nature of the relationship is a covenant.” From Statement on Ministry in The United Church of Canada (2012).
The special status of ministry personnel requires the church to write policy that governs the paid accountable ministry relationship between ministry personnel and communities of faith. The policy that governs this relationship is pastoral relations policy.
Pastoral relations policy governs search, selection, calls, and appointments between ministry personnel and communities of faith within The United Church of Canada. Pastoral relations policy is set by the General Council and implemented cooperatively by communities of faith and regional councils.
ChurchHub has been established as the required process for ministry personnel and communities of faith to search for calls and appointments. The United Church of Canada will support the Indigenous Church in being self-determining in whether or how they use ChurchHub. For introductions, how-tos, and more information see our ChurchHub page and check out the video What Can ChurchHub Do for You?
For more information please contact:
- Pastoral Relations: Policy for a Community of Faith (April 2020) (851.59 KB) (PDF)
- Pastoral Relations: Ministry Personnel (December 2019) (1.36 MB) (PDF)
- Pastoral Relations: Supporting the Pastoral Relationship (November 2020) (400.29 KB) (PDF)
- Pastoral Relations: Guidelines for a Community of Faith Profile (April 2020) (1.34 MB) (PDF)
- Pastoral Relations: Guidelines for Search and Selection (April 2020) (1.46 MB) (PDF)
- Pastoral Relations: Additional Resources for Retirement (December 2021) (529.31 KB) (PDF)
- Negotiating Tools for Ministry Personnel (2019) (22.52 KB) (Excel)
- Regional Pastoral Relations Staff Contacts (as of Sept. 2022) (80.46 KB) (PDF)
- Pastoral Relations: Regional Council Liaisons (January 2020) (739.22 KB) (PDF)
- Congregational Designated Ministers (March 2020) (769.12 KB) (PDF)