Orderly exchange with Formula Partner Churches
Minister members of Formula Partner Churches
Reformed Church in America
United Church of Christ
Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)
The “Orderly Exchange of Ordained Ministers of Word and Sacrament” process implemented by the Formula of Agreement churches in 1997. These churches are the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, Presbyterian Church (USA), Reformed Church in America, and United Church of Christ.
Through adoption of A Formula of Agreement, our four churches have been able to provide for the exchange of ordained ministers so that our common ministry and mission are enhanced and strengthened. Within each of our churches, congregations have been able to utilize the gifts that ordained ministers from other full-communion partner churches.
Orderly exchange (provisions for availability) of ordained ministers is for the sake of participation by the four churches in the mission of God, and can be an important sign of our unity in Christ. This particular provision of full communion seeks to allow and encourage the more effective use and deployment of our churches’ ordained leaders in order to enhance our shared ministry mission. It encourages those in our churches who are responsible for the deployment of ordained ministers to draw on the available ministers of the other participating churches to meet mission needs.
Highlights of the agreement and orderly exchange process
The complete policy and process document, “A Formula of Agreement – The Orderly Exchange of Ordained Ministers of Word and Sacrament."
- The orderly exchange process begins with the identification of a ministry need by the appropriate regional body of the “inviting” church and the identification of an ordained minister from a Formula of Agreement partner church who may serve in that ministry setting.
- The judicatory of the “inviting” church initiates the process of the orderly exchange between the congregation to be served and the ordained minister. The ordained minister does not initiate the process of exchange.
- The “inviting” church then should consult with the appropriate regional body of the ordained minister to determine the suitability of the potential service and to receive the concurrence of the “sending” body — presbytery, classis, conference and association or synod. The ordained minister remains accountable to the sending church for continuation of ministerial status.
- A ministry in a congregation of another church is not intended for a “first call” candidate; experience in and knowledge of one’s own tradition is seen as necessary before serving in a different tradition.
- This agreement applies only to persons who are ordained ministers of Word and Sacrament and does not apply to persons who are locally trained and authorized ministers — commissioned pastors (RCA), commissioned lay pastors [PC(USA)], licensed ministers (UCC), synodically authorized ministers (ELCA).
- These ministries are intended for a designated extended period of time. Should an ordained minister of one church intend to serve permanently in another church then the process of the transfer of ministerial status should be followed.
- Should a disciplinary process be necessary, the ordained minister remains under the jurisdiction of the sending body, but the inviting body may be asked to participate as necessary.
- Pension and medical coverage is through the denomination of membership.