By Walter Fenton
October 11, 2023
The Global Methodist Church’s Endorsement Ministry continues to grow and gain momentum. The ministry is responsible for assisting applicants who are interested in a variety of chaplaincy ministries, vetting potential candidates, and then endorsing them. While chaplains serve in particular settings beyond the local church, they are also members of one of the GM Church’s provisional annual conferences.
Effective January 23, 2023, the United States Department of Defense officially recognized the Global Methodist Church as a religious organization, allowing the Church’s clergy to join the various branches of the armed forces as military chaplains.
“We were pleasantly surprised by the U.S. DoD’s expeditious approval of the GM Church,” said the Rev. Gary Clore, the denomination’s Endorsement Director. “We did have an experienced team of leaders in place who had spent months preparing our application. Their work clearly paid off when the DoD’s recognition came less than nine months after the Church was launched. The DoD’s approval paved the way for other organizations to recognize the Church, particularly the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs and the U.S. Federal Bureau of Prisons.”
Clore, a retired Captain in the U.S. Navy Chaplain Corps, works with the GM Church’s nine-member Ecclesiastical Endorsing Board and he also has the support of Ms. Stephanie Sturdivant, who serves as the Administrative Assistant for Endorsement Ministry. The GM Church now has endorsed chaplains serving as pastoral counselors, in hospitals, alongside police officers, firefighters and other first responders, and in a variety of other settings (see the pie chart nearby).
“One of the fastest growing areas of pastoral need is chaplaincy,” said the Rev. Dr. Bob Phillips, Chairman of the Ecclesiastical Endorsing Board and also a retired Captain in the U.S. Navy Chaplain Corps. “Whether its military personnel, first responders, or people facing a host of difficult or even traumatic situations, chaplains are a source of solace and spiritual guidance. This is illustrated by the fact that 140 seminaries in the U.S. have a chaplaincy course or a full chaplaincy program.”
Appointed by the GM Church’s Transitional Leadership Council, the Ecclesiastical Endorsing Board, meets monthly to consider policy, approve applicants for endorsement, and consider its missional directives based on the GM Church’s Transitional Book of Doctrines and Discipline. Through its endorsement ministry, the Church is committed to providing trained and vetted clergy to serve in non-parish settings.
“The GM Church’s endorsement ministry allows the denomination to reach people where they work and serve,” said the Rev. Keith Boyette, the Church’s Chief Connectional Officer. “The Ecclesiastical Endorsing Board accomplishes two critical tasks. First, it identifies, assesses, and then affirms those clergy candidates who believe they are called by God to serve in non-parish settings. And then it plays an important role in connecting the candidates to the organizations where they can be deployed to the ministry to which God has called them. The Endorsing Board’s work makes it possible for GM Church clergy to serve in settings where they believe God would have them minister.”
During this season of separations and transitions, the GM Church’s Ecclesiastical Endorsing Board is maintaining cordial and collegial relationships with the leadership of The United Methodist Church’s Endorsing Agency. Clergy who serve under appointment and endorsement by the UM Church Endorsing Agency but seek to align with the GM Church are encouraged to retain active UM endorsement until the GM Church officially recognizes their clergy status by transfer. The endorsement is normally done in tandem with the transfer of clergy membership.
“The UM Church Endorsing Agency continues its longstanding policy of ongoing endorsement of chaplains who continue with gracious interactions, mutual transparency, and a shared desire for win-win outcomes for the sake of the Kingdom,” said Clore. “Those of us on the GM Church chaplaincy team are grateful for this spirit of mutual trust and constructive conversations, as leaders in both expressions are united in support of the critical ministry of chaplaincy.”
Those not currently under endorsement but interested in exploring such ministry are invited to contact the GM Church Endorsing Ministries by emailing, Clore (email@example.com) or Phillips (firstname.lastname@example.org). For general inquiries and applications for endorsement, email email@example.com. To review a “FAQ” on Endorsement Ministries, please click HERE.
You can learn more about the Global Methodist Church by exploring its website.
The Rev. Walter Fenton is the Global Methodist Church’s Deputy Connectional Officer.