Ministry Support Circle
Christ Church is a Total Common Ministry (TCM) congregation. TCM is a unique form of congregational ministry grounded in abundance: abundance of gifts and abundance of persons formed and trained to support the ministry of all the baptized. Each baptized follower of Christ is empowered for a ministry to which he or she has been called. Some are called to ordained ministries of oversight and administration of the sacraments. The ordained and those called but not ordained serve in the mutual ministry of all the baptized.
Christ Church clergy, with commissioned lay persons called by the congregation, form the Ministry Support Circle. All serve without compensation in an open-ended commitment that assumes renewed congregational discernment every four to five years. Circle meetings are forums for discussion of concerns of the church community, leadership and ministry development, and planning for the future. The Circle works closely with the Bishop’s Committee, acting as a listening ear and in an advisory capacity. Clergy are present at every Bishop’s Committee meeting but do not participate in the voting process. In turn, wardens are invited to attend Circle meetings.
The Circle acts as spiritual leaven, encouraging and supporting new ministries and leaders as the gifts of each person are recognized. Areas of responsibility for the clergy are planning and execution of the Holy Eucharist, ministering to the sick and to those with confidential concerns, and hiring and review of paid employee performance, among others. Any of the seven Circle members may have gifts for teaching, preaching, music, outreach to service projects, pastoral care, administration, and supporting ministries of congregants.
Roles within the Circle will change over time as it expands and/or the needs of the congregation change. Clergy are designated “local priests” by the Bishop, and their responsibilities are defined by national and local canons of the church.
One priest, one vocational deacon, and two commissioned lay persons currently form the Circle. Planning is under way for congregational discernment to call additional people to the Circle. As in the past, some will be called to lay positions, some to ordained ministry. Some presently serving in the Circle may step back as those newly called complete their education and training in a multi-year formation process.
While some are called to service as Ministry Support Circle members, others in the congregation may see their calls to ministry more clearly as missional members of the body of Christ. All church members are encouraged and supported in discerning their vocations and calling by the Spirit.