Outreach Mission Statement
Appointed Ministers are mandated by Church policy that says: ‘Recognized forms of specialized ministry may include persons appointed to a ministry of life celebrations (weddings, baptisms, funerals), both for members of the general public and members of the Church.’
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:
- to assist non-CSMC couples & families to connect with CSMC.
- to promote or showcase CSMC values.
- 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.)
The Appointed Minister’s Duties
An Appointed Minister’s duties with regards to Life Ceremonies may include:
- officiating at services of rites of passage (weddings, funerals and memorial services, child dedication services)
- preparing the service in consultation with the couple
- arranging for and conduct rehearsals of wedding services as needed with the couple
- ensuring that final arrangements for services are well coordinated
- ensuring that the legal requirements for Provincial registration of marriage are met
- maintaining a Church Register on each Life Celebration solemnized (weddings, funerals and memorial services, child dedication services)
- 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.
An Appointed Minister must:
- be approved by the Board of CSMC
- be actively involved in the life of his/her civil community, prior to acceptance
- articulate why he/she wishes to become a part of this ministry
- be willing to adhere to the Code of Practice for Appointed Ministers (see below)
- be willing to adhere to the Conflict of Interest Guidelines (see below)
- be willing to conduct all standard rites of passage: weddings, memorial services and funerals and child dedications
- be able to provide or arrange transportation to the service
- be able to work flexible hours, and respond quickly to requests, and be knowledgeable of the internet.
- have certain academic achievements or demonstrate a life experience analogous to academic training.
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:
- a working knowledge and commitment to the principals of CSMC and the ability to articulate and model CSMC principles and practice
- the maturity and ability to cope in crisis situations
- the ability to communicate easily with people in a spirit of empathy, helpfulness and concern
- an effective public speaking voice and manner
- self-presentation and conduct which favorably represent CSMC.
- the ability to conduct rites of passage with sensitivity to and acceptance of varied cultural, spiritual and religious traditions
- 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:
- Using the role as a primary source of income for the Minister or the Church.
- Providing, concurrently, a similar service as an independent business or for another organization without disclosure of the dual role to the chief governing official.
- 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.
- Clergy must always identify themselves as a CSMC minister when acting on behalf of their Church.