By Bob Phillips and Gary Clore
April 20, 2022
“How shall we sing the Lord’s song in a strange land?” (Psalm 137:4)
One of the fastest growing areas of pastoral need is in institutional ministry, i.e., chaplaincy. The military and federal government settings, hospitals, prisons, hospice centers, schools, police and fire chaplaincies, and pastoral counseling are some of the areas where the witness for Christ through chaplaincy touch literally millions of lives annually. Many individuals served by these institutions have no current meaningful connection to the church.
Theological seminaries are finding significant growth in this area of study, whether through the traditional Master of Divinity or through other forms of certification. The United Methodist Church currently has over 750 clergy under “endorsement,’ the technical term for clergy who have been approved to minister in such non-traditional settings. That number of active clergy persons is larger than nearly every annual conference in the United States.
The Global Methodist Church is committed to a spiritually vibrant ministry to and through the clergy of the church called by God to serve in non-parish settings. A process is being created to identify, assess and affirm candidates for endorsement to various ministry settings, to provide pastoral care and guidance to those under endorsement, and to engage wisely and biblically with the numerous challenges and issues confronting those who serve in institutional settings. A transitional Director of Endorsement Ministry and a transitional Ecclesiastical Endorsing Committee have been appointed by the Transitional Leadership Council to stand-up a fully functioning endorsing ministry for the Global Methodist Church.
Cordial and collegial relationships with the leadership of the United Methodist Endorsing Agency have been defined by gracious interactions, mutual transparency, and a shared desire for win-win outcomes for the sake of the Kingdom. The Global Methodist Church chaplaincy team is grateful for this spirit of mutual trust and constructive conversations, as leaders in both expressions are united in support of the ministry of chaplains through the upcoming season of transition.
Those currently under appointment and endorsement by the United Methodist Endorsing Agency but who believe they would more comfortably align with the Global Methodist Church are encouraged to retain active UM endorsement until the GM Church ministry is fully functioning.
The United Methodist Endorsing Agency continues its longstanding policy of ongoing endorsement of chaplains who plan a transition to another church for reasons of conscience until that transition is official. Those not currently under endorsement but interested in exploring such ministry, whether from a seminary status or while serving a local church, are invited to contact the Global Methodist Church chaplaincy team for conversation and guidance.
You may contact Rev. Gary Clore, Transitional Director of Endorsement, at firstname.lastname@example.org, or Rev. Robert Phillips, chair of the Transitional Ecclesiastical Endorsement Board, at email@example.com.
Timely and accurate information will be made available on the Global Methodist Church website. If God has called you to ministry to those in the military, prisons, hospitals or other such settings, there will be a place and full support for you within the Global Methodist Church. To review a “FAQ” on Endorsement Ministries, please click HERE.
Bob Phillips retired as a Captain in the Navy Chaplain Corps and is the Chair of the transitional Ecclesiastical Endorsing Board for the Global Methodist Church.
Gary Clore also is a retired Captain in the Navy Chaplain Corps and is transitional Director of Ecclesiastical Endorsements for the Global Methodist Church.