Accreditation Process

Accreditation Procedure

The Congregational Federation maintains a Roll of Accredited Ministries with various categories listed in the CF Year Book. A call to Ministry can come at any time in a person’s life. To apply for Accreditation the process is as follows.

Step 1 Finding out about the process

Have a discussion with your Area Pastoral Care Coordinator (PCC) or the Chair of the Accreditation Group about the requirements for Accreditation.

  • A call to one of the Ministries listed in the yearbook
  • The support of the church where you have been in membership for at least 6 months
  • The completion of appropriate training as agreed with the Learning and Development Manager
  • An understanding of key marks of Congregationalism such as inclusive baptism, Trinitarianism and the authority of the Church Meeting and a commitment to the Congregational Federation outside your own place of Ministry.

When you are ready to proceed contact the Safeguarding Officer at the CF office in Nottingham and request Form A. You may submit form A during the final year of your training if you have already been called into Ministry.

Step 2 Form A

Form A asks for some personal information before questions about

  • Your Christian journey and your call to Ministry
  • Your understanding of key marks of Congregationalism which include
    • Baptism of both adults and infants
    • The role of Church Meeting
    • The Trinity
  • Your involvement in the wider life of the CF

Form A needs to be completed and returned to the Safeguarding Officer by November 30th. With the form you need to include the following documents. If you have any questions about the evidence needed contact the Chair of the CF Accreditation Group or your Area Pastoral Care Coordinator (PCC).

  • Evidence of a call to the relevant Ministry as indicated in table 1.
  • A letter from your Church Secretary confirming that you are an active member of the church and including the dated minute from the Church Meeting when you were accepted into memberships. Table 1, evidence of a call to Ministry

Ministry

Evidence

Chaplain

Evidence of your appointment from the body overseeing the chaplaincy ministry, including your letter of appointment.

Minister

The minute from the Church Meeting recording the Call to Ministry

Mission Enabler

Evidence of your appointment from the relevant Area, church or group of churches, including your letter of appointment.

Pioneer Minister

Evidence of your appointment from the CF body (Area, church or group of churches) sponsoring the pioneer situation. This may be your letter of appointment or a church meeting minute appointing you as the pioneer Minister.

Preacher

Evidence of preaching appointments from at least 3 churches, including 2 CF churches.

Spiritual Enabler

Evidence from people from CF churches of at least 3 retreats, quiet days or equivalent that you have led.

Tutor

Evidence of appointment as a tutor on the CIPT including your letter of appointment or minute of the meeting where you were confirmed as a tutor.

 

Step 3 Area Interview

Your PCC will arrange an interview for you and any other candidates from your Area. Where this is not appropriate the Chair of the Accreditation Group will arrange an interview. The interviews will be held before Jan 31st of the following year. There should be 3 interviewers: the PCC and 2 additional people from the Area with experience in Ministry none of whom should be related to the candidate. The panel should include at least 1 woman and 1 man.

The Safeguarding Officer will provide each Area panel with copies of

  • Form A and all the documentation that you provided
  • Confirmation from the Learning and Development Manager that you have completed, or are in the final year of, your agreed course of study. The interview will cover
  •  
  • Your Christian journey to date including your call to Ministry
  • Your understanding of key aspects of Congregationalism
  • Your involvement in the wider life of the CF i.e. your Area and nationally organised events or committees.

The panel will explore with you any further training that needs to be undertaken and how the Area can best support you in your Ministry. The panel will complete a report on the interview. This will be considered at the meeting of the Accreditation Group which is held in February each year. After that meeting you will receive a letter indicating what you will need to do before you can contact the Safeguarding Office and request a Form B later. This will normally be in September of that year.

Step 4 Form B

Form B gives you an opportunity to reflect briefly on

  • How your sense of vocation has matured since the Area interview and how your Ministry is progressing
  • How your understanding of key marks of Congregationalism has developed since the Area interview
  • Your involvement in the wider life of the CF since the Area interview.

Form B needs to be completed and returned to the Safeguarding Officer by 30th November. With the form you need to include the following documents. If you have any questions about the evidence needed contact the Chair of the Accreditation Group or your Area PCC.

  • Evidence of your Competence in the relevant Ministry as indicated in table 2
  • A letter from their Church Secretary stating that you are still in active membership at the church and outlining the ways in which the Church has supported the candidate’s Ministry over the past year.
  • A letter from your Area Chair or Secretary giving details of your involvement in the wider life of the CF during the past year. Table 2 Evidence of competency in Ministry
  •  

Ministry

Evidence

Chaplain

Report from the body overseeing the chaplaincy ministry concerning your work over the past year.

Minister

Report from the Church Secretary covering your Ministry in the previous year

Mission Enabler

Report from the relevant Area, church or group of churches covering your Ministry in the previous year

Pioneer Minister

Report from the sponsoring body covering your Ministry in the previous year.

Preacher

Report on your preaching appointments from at least 3 churches, including 2 CF churches.

Spiritual Enabler

Reports by CF Church Members on at least 3 retreats, quiet days or equivalent events led by you over the previous year

Tutor

Report from the LDM on your work as a tutor on the CIPT over the previous year.

 

Step 5 National Interview

These are held each January on a date set at least a year in advance. 3 PCCs, to include at least 1 woman and 1 man, will form the panel. One of these should be your local PCC

 

The Safeguarding Officer will prepare a pack for each candidate to include

  • Form B and supporting documents submitted
  • Report from the Area Interview of the year before
  • Report from the LDM concerning the training completed by the candidate.

The interviewers will explore with you the areas above and form a conclusion about your suitability for Accreditation in your chosen Ministry.

Step 6 Approval

The Accreditation Group, comprising all PCCs, will meet in Nottingham within 24 hours of the interviews. They will prayerfully consider the reports from the interviewing panels and all evidence submitted. Following the meeting the Chair will prepare a report listing those approved for Accreditation. Names need to be approved by Church Support Committee (CSC), Council and Assembly. Following each meeting you will be informed of the outcome within 7 days. The letter will include how to appeal if you are not happy with the decision.

 

You need to be present at Assembly. After final approval by all those attending you will be received onto the Roll of Ministries and presented with a Bible. Your name will appear in the Year Book published the following autumn.

Pastoral Period

This lasts for at least 2 years and may coincide with your period of Life Learning following the completion of your training. At the end of 2 years you will be interviewed by 2 members of the Accreditation Group including the Chair where there will be time to consider your continuing learning, how your Ministry is developing and if there is support that the Federation can provide either locally or nationally. If there were conditions on your initial acceptance these will be discussed. The interviewers can recommend that PP should be removed from your entry in the following Year Book.

Applications for additional Accreditations

Once accredited in one category you may find yourself called to an additional Ministry. For an additional Accreditation you need to apply using form B, including the relevant evidence as given in Table 2. You may need to undertake additional training, usually a major placement in the new area of Ministry. You will have a National Interview when the panel will, in addition to the normal topics, explore with you how the call to the new Ministry has developed.

Transfers from another denomination

If you are already a Minister in good standing in another denomination currently ministering in a CF setting you may apply to be Accredited with the Federation. You need to meet the same criteria. The Learning and Development Manager will discuss with you if there is any additional training that you will need to undertake. This will usually include Congregational History and Principles.

Barbara Bridges, February 2018