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The Movement of Church Related Community Workers

Read or download advice and guidelines on the Movement of Church Related Community Workers (CRCWs).

1. Introduction and Outline Process

This information sets out advice and guidelines on the movement of Church Related Community Workers (CRCWs). It includes an overview of the process from the time a vacancy has been declared to the end of an induction period when a CRCW has been called. This information parallels the information on ‘The Movement of Ministers’ (of Word & Sacraments) page.

NOTE: One significant difference between the ministry of CRCW and that of Ministers of Word and Sacraments is that CRCWs are engaged in development work in such a way that it is generally expected that each post will only be for a maximum of two five year terms, although an exceptional third term may be considered.

Additionally, the CRCW, the accredited Church-in-Community (‘the project’), the Synod and the Accreditations (CRCW and SCM) Committee also express their ministry and working together through the signing of The CRCW Covenant.

Preparing to declare a post vacant

  • A post will become vacant because it is either a newly accredited project or because a CRCW moves on from an existing accredited project
  • A CRCW informs their Synod Moderator of the intention to leave
  • When appropriate, the CRCW informs their Church-in-Community of their intention to leave
  • Concurrence to move is given by the Synod, co-ordinated by the Synod Clerk
  • Review of the post by the Church-in-Community, Accreditations (CRCW & SCM) Sub-Committee and Synod
  • If required, the preparation of the Post Profile Application for a continuation, extension or new post to the Accreditations (CRCW & SCM) Sub-committee
  • Confirm the configuration of the Church-in-Community
  • If required, the submission of the Church-in-Community Post Profile application including the Draft Terms of Settlement and housing arrangements and Summary Profile and The CRCW Role Description & person Specification
  • Accreditation of the CRCW project by Synod and the Accreditations (CRCW & SCM) Sub-committee. This may or may not include a visit by the Synod Moderator sometimes with representatives from the Pastoral Committee
  • Declaration of the Vacancy by the Synod
  • Appointment of an Interim Moderator by the Synod
  • Identification of the Vacancy Group

Calling a CRCW

  • The Role of Synod Moderators’ meetings
  • The profiles
  • First informal visit by a candidate
  • Second formal visit, including an Interview
  • Deciding on a call
  • Concurrence given by Synod
  • Induction Service including signing of The CRCW Covenant and Induction period

2. Preparing to declare a post vacant

The best current practice in the movement of CRCWs contains the following elements. The order and timing of events will vary according to circumstance. Practice varies between Synods.

(NB: ‘Synod’ here implies ‘or the appropriately authorised committee or officers of Synod’. Synod procedures need to be clearly agreed and understood on such matters, including who can give concurrence to calls. A Church-in-Community can consist of one or several congregations arranged as a joint Church-in-Community, group or cluster etc.)

2.1 The CRCW informs the Local Steering Group and Elders, Church meeting(s) and any colleagues of the receipt of a call to another post, retirement or other reason for leaving; normally three months’ notice of a move is given, though because each post is time limited and in the case of retirement some moves will be known earlier. At the same time any call is referred to the Synod, whose concurrence needs to be given. Care should be taken as to the timing of the announcement and the way it should be done, particularly when several partners are involved in the work. A statement of the reasons for leaving the post should be prepared by the CRCW for sharing with the Synod Moderator, Secretary for Ministries, CRCW Development Worker, Local Steering Group, and Church-in-Community to enable reflection on learning and possible action to take place. There may be an occasion when the CRCW is formally released from The Covenant.

2.2 Where a vacant post is on the Moderators List for the first time the Synod will normally appoint an Interim Moderator to the vacant post that a CRCW is The role and duties of Interim Moderator should be clearly defined.

2.3 In cases where the post ends early the Synod initiates discussion with the Church-in-Community with a view to appointing an Interim This should be someone who is independent of the Applicant Group or LSG. Ahead of the departure of the CRCW the Interim Moderator will chair any meetings about the future and will be the point of contact with Synod and the Synod Moderator.

2.4 Synod and the Synod Moderator arrange one or more meetings with the Local Steering Group, to explain the process of the movement of CRCWs and to discuss the post in the light of the mission needs of the area and Synod.

2.5 After consultation with all involved, and in the light of any recommendation from the Local Steering Group, Synod decides whether or not an application for the continuation or extension of the post or a new post should be It is possible to have a part-time appointment or a non-stipendiary appointment. If a CRCW leaves in their 1stterm, then the Church-in-Community has to be reassessed for a further 2nd, 5-year term. If a CRCW leaves in Year 6 or 7, then either another 3 or 5-year post is possible after a successful reassessment. If a CRCW leaves in Year 8 or 9, then a Church-in- Community would no longer be accredited. CRCWs approaching retirement need to be considered separately. ‘Exxceptional circumstances’ may be allowed.

2.6 An Application for a continuation, extension or new post is prepared (See Appendix 3). This needs to include a budget for a five-year period, with sources of income identified and a draft role description and person specification (See Appendix 4). Draft Terms of Settlement and housing provision including details of the manse or housing allowance should also be included.

2.7 A ‘Vacancy Group’ is created by the Church-in-Community and It is best practice to ensure that the group is fully representative, with a balance of ethnicity, gender, age etc. In order to be most effective, it is recommended that the appointment group has no more than twelve members (in addition to Interim Moderator(s).

2.8 Agreement should be reached on the procedures for decision-making in relation to a The decision is taken by those present and able to vote in church meeting. The size of majority that will be required in the voting must be agreed in advance. In the case of a joint or group Church-in-Community, there are various options to consider. It is recommended that there be a joint church meeting so that the whole Church-in- Community shares in prayer and discussion. The vote may then be taken as a single vote of the Church-in-Community, or separate ballot papers may be used for the different congregations.

If separate church meetings are held, it is good for them to take place concurrently. If that is not possible, the decision of each meeting should be held in confidence until all have met and made their decision. In addition to agreeing an overall majority required for the issuing of a call, it is possible to set a lower threshold for the vote of each individual congregation within the Church-in-Community. (See Appendix 11 for the procedure agreed by General Assembly for voting as one joint church meeting in a group Church-in-Community.) Reasons for accepting or rejecting a candidate must be clearly noted, and as appropriate shared with the candidate.

2. 9 The Church-in-Community prepares, and Synod agrees, draft ‘Terms of Settlement’, to be finally negotiated with a prospective CRCW. Synod needs to confirm the suitability of the Changes to the manse (or housing allowance) to accommodate a particular CRCW should be made before the induction.

2.10 The summary profile is prepared and agreed.

2.11 A copy of the full profile and summary profile should be sent to the Synod Office electronically for the Synod Moderator.

2.12.1 Once the Accreditations (CRCW & SCM) Sub-Committee has approved the Post Profile application and informed the Synod that the project has been accredited, then Synod will declare the CRCW vacancy and the Synod Moderator will seek a candidate through the Synod Moderators’ meeting.

3. Seeking and issuing a call

The best current practice for the movement of CRCWs follows the process given here. The basic framework will be adapted for ecumenical or ‘special’ situations. The process should be regarded as confidential to those involved.

3.1 The Synod Moderators meet 11 times per year to consider the movement of When the post has been accredited and the Post Profile Application and Summary Profile are available, the Synod Moderator gives information about the post to the Synod Moderators’ meeting using the Summary Post Profile. The vacant post is advertised through the monthly emailing from the Moderators Meeting to all serving CRCWs before any consideration of an introduction. CRCWs can view all Summary Post Profiles via  the website www.urc-profiles.org.uk . If candidates can be identified, or if any CRCWs have asked for it (if appropriate), they are shown the full Church-in-Community Post Profile and asked about letting their name go forward. CRCWs seeking a move may be shown more than one profile, from which they may choose one to pursue.

3.2 If a candidate agrees, his/her Personal Profile is given to the Vacancy If several wish to be introduced their Personal Profiles are given to the Vacancy Group which has to choose one with whom to proceed. (See Appendix 6 for a description of the process as printed in Assembly Reports 2004 page 120.) It is important for the Vacancy Group to understand that this is a call process and not a competitive interview.

3.3 The Synod should appoint a CRCW interim moderator if they have not already don’t so and the church-in-community should form the CRCW vacancy group if not already appointed.

3.4 An invitation may then be given to the CRCW for an informal visit to meet the Interim Moderator and Vacancy Group as well as the Local Steering Group members, elders and other key people to get a feel for the These meetings should be confidential and carefully handled; some guidance is offered in Appendix 7. Members of any ministry team and ecumenical representatives may be met at this point and the manse may be seen.

3.5 If the CRCW and Vacancy Group both agree, the candidate should be invited for a formal meeting, to include meeting with appropriate groups and partner agencies, sharing in worship, social gatherings, An interview should take place with opportunity for a presentation and questions and answers by both Vacancy Group and Candidate. This is the equivalent of a Minister of Word and Sacraments ‘preach with a view’.

3.6 The Vacancy Group should make its recommendation to the Church Meeting immediately after the interview. The decision to issue a call or not should be taken by the Church Meeting as soon as possible and the decision communicated to the candidate immediately after the meeting, or as soon as possible, by telephone and confirmed in Reasons for the decision should be offered and an opportunity, if the candidate is not offered the post, to talk through the issues. If the candidate is willing to accept the call, the acceptance is provisional until Synod concurrence is given; a provisional acceptance should therefore be communicated to the Synod Clerk as soon as possible, with a request for concurrence again in writing.

The interim moderator should collect all the CRCW profiles in after the interview and ensure these are destroyed. The interim moderator should also ensure that arrangements are in hand to reimburse the candidate’s expenses.

3.7 The CRCW will normally have a current Disclosure and Barring Service/Protecting Vulnerable Groups Scheme disclosure as these are issued every 5 The Ministries Office at Church House will be able to advise.

3.8 The Interim Moderator works with the Church-in-Community, newly called CRCW and Synod Moderator to co-ordinate the preparation of the Induction service, which is under the auspices of the Synod. The Interim Moderator and/or Local Steering Group Chairperson will also work with the incoming CRCW on an induction to the role and context process.

4. The Appointment, Responsibilities and Role of Interim Moderators

4.1 Introduction

The ministry of Interim Moderators has been recognised from the foundation of the United Reformed Church. Their purpose is to provide a continuing mutual link between the wider church and and the Church-in-Community during a time of CRCW vacancy or transition.

A function of a Synod is “to appoint, in consultation with the local church and the Moderator of the Synod, from among its members an Interim Moderator during a pastoral vacancy”. It is important that the Interim Moderator be able to act and to be seen as a neutral person – someone outside the local situation. The Interim Moderator needs to be objective and sensitive to the Church-in-Community’s tradition, theological stance and ways of operating. The agreement of the Church-in-Community in the appointment is essential.

The Synod is responsible for the training and support of Interim Moderators. The Interim Moderator is the point of contact for the Synod Moderator and may be invited to report on the state of the Church-in-Community during the time of CRCW vacancy or transition to the Synod Pastoral Committee (or equivalent).

4.2 Appointment

When a CRCW receives a call to another post, or is within six months of the end of a term of service or retirement, or for any other reason is leaving the Church-in-Community, the Synod, in consultation with the Church-in-Community, should appoint an Interim Moderator. The role and duties of the Interim Moderator should be agreed and clearly defined.

Best practice is for clearly defined terms of service to be agreed by all parties at the beginning. An appointment for a year at a time is helpful. All will then understand the time available to be used, the cost of the operation (Interim Moderators’ expenses are paid by the receiving Church-in-Community) and the tasks to be undertaken by the Interim Moderator. One of the first needs will then be to determine who will be responsible for what the Interim Moderator is unable to do. Note that the oversight by the Church-in-Community continues, intensifies and in many instances flourishes during the time of transition.

4.3 Responsibilities

The role of the Interim Moderator will have to be negotiated. The responsibilities of Interim Moderators normally include:

a) Chairing all meetings where the calling of a CRCW is discussed

b) Chairing all meetings with prospective CRCWs

c) Providing a mutual link between the Synod and the Church-in-Community

d) Providing a mutual link between the Synod Moderator and the Church-in-Community

e) Providing a mutual link between the prospective CRCW and the Church-in-Community

f) Aiding the negotiating of Terms of Settlement, including housing provision

g) Encouraging consideration of any relevant issues as a new CRCW is sought, in particular the denomination’s Equalities & Diversity Opportunities Policy (Appendix 8), noting that there is a helpful and important document ‘Equalities Training for Churches in Vacancy’ in the equalities section of the URC website.

h) Informing both prospective CRCWs and/or the Church-in-Community/ Vacancy Group and the Synod Moderator of any

i) Overseeing and co-ordinating the planning of the Induction Service in consultation with the Synod, Synod Moderator and future CRCW

j) Advising on what is appropriate at each

4.4 The Role

The question of how much leadership to give and of what nature is difficult to prescribe because it has to be assessed in the light of varied circumstances. In this period, it can be helpful to reflect on such matters as the sense of ‘bereavement’ that the loss of a CRCW might bring, the anxiety about a time without a CRCW and any underlying conflicts that might have emerged during the previous period of service. This time can also be an opportunity for hidden gifts to be released.

The transition time is not just a waiting time; the Church-in-Community can develop. The Interim Moderator can help the church grow in awareness and confidence in the  process and be prepared to address difficult issues. If this growth and development does not occur the Church-in-Community may be restricted in its vision for the future.

The LSG plays an important role in this process.

It follows that good relations with the Interim Moderator are not enough if they inhibit the kind of in-depth appraisal and discernment for ministry, which may be essential for the future. It is better to take time in order to reach a fruitful outcome.

The Interim Moderator also has a role in helping a candidate through the process and in reflecting on it, whether or not a call is issued.

5. Special cases:

Experience gained from a variety of special cases enables the Synod Moderators’ meeting to offer guidance and support to CRCWs, Church-in-Communities, and Interim Moderators. For further information beyond that, contact one of the Synod Moderators or the CRCW Development Worker.

a) Newly Qualified CRCWs

See Appendix 6 for guidelines for Interim Moderators in introducing a newly qualified CRCW to a Church-in-Community. CRCWs-in-Training prepare their Personal Profiles in time for interviews with the Synod Moderators normally in September of their final year of training. The October Synod Moderators’ meeting then seeks to offer each CRCW-in-Training a suitable post to consider and should be available to serve anywhere within the United Reformed Church. Most CRCWs-in-Training receive a call within their final year of training. Before proceeding to commissioning the Synod and the Assessment Board should be satisfied that training has been satisfactorily completed.

b) Married Couples

The settlement of couples is complicated and therefore requires sensitive and careful handling. Two call processes will be interlinked, and the Interim Moderators will need to liaise closely. Particular care will need to be taken over confidentiality, whilst issues such as housing etc. will be different from normal.

c) Advertising posts

The Synod Moderators’ meeting produces each month a list of posts seeking a CRCW, which is circulated to all serving ministers and CRCWs through the payroll system. In addition, the summary Church-in-Community profile is placed on the website so that they are available to be viewed. This is the way that posts are made known within the church. When a post first appears on the list normally no names are considered by the Synod Moderators, normally for one month, so that all CRCWs have the opportunity to express an interest.

d) Fixed term appointments

The vocation of CRCWs is to a life-long ministry. However, the call to a particular Church-in Community is time-limited, lasting five years in the first instance and extendable for a further period of five years after successful review.

e)  Health and Disability issues

The post should be made fully aware of all relevant matters in cases where there may be health and disability issues.

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