Education and Continuing Formation for Clergy

“Throughout their careers, clergy shall engage in continuing education for ministry, professional development and spiritual formation and growth in order to lead the church in fulfilling the mission of making disciples for Jesus Christ.” (¶350.1 of the 2016 Book of Discipline)

Click a section heading below to move to the corresponding section on this page
Reporting and Accountability    
Education Requirements 
Approved Program Areas for Continuing Education 
Continuing Education Units and Equivalency
Continuing Education Funding 
Clergy Development Program 
Advanced Degree Support 
Characteristics of Effective Clergy (Word) 
Study Leave and Sabbaticals (PDF)
Guidelines for Education and Continuing Formation (PDF) 

Reporting and Accountability
Clergy will make an annual report to the district superintendent on continuing education completed during the year. The district superintendent shall review the clergyperson’s continuing education in light of the annual evaluation by the Staff/Pastor Parish Relations Committee or supervisor if in an extension/beyond the local church appointment. In their annual meeting, the district superintendent and clergyperson shall discuss improvements made toward effectiveness in ministry and future needs for continuing education. See ¶419.7 of the 2016 Book of Discipline 

Education Requirements
The following persons are required to receive a minimum of 1.0 CEU per year and at least 8.0 CEU’s per quadrennium.
•Full-time local pastors who have completed the Course of Study or an M.Div. degree
•Associate Members under appointment
•Full Members (Deacons and Elders) under appointment
•Certified Lay Professionals 
The following persons are required to receive a minimum of 0.5 CEU per year and at least 2.0 CEU’s per quadrennium.
• Part-time local pastors who have completed the Course of Study or an M.Div. degree
Persons in the above relationships involved in ongoing theological education (including enrollment in Course of Study, seminary, CPE, D.Min. and Ph.D. programs) are fulfilling their CEU requirements by their participation in these programs. 
Provisional Elders and Deacons are fulfilling their CEU requirements by their participation in the Provisional Membership curriculum.
Clergy on Honorable Location, Administrative Location, Leave of Absence, and Medical Leave do not have a CEU requirement.  

Continuing Education Funding 
The Clergy Effectiveness Committee of the Board of Ordained Ministry administers the following policies for continuing education funding. Applications are considered regularly throughout the year.

The Clergy Development Program, also administered by the Clergy Effectiveness Committee, offers larger grants for more in-depth professional development and education opportunities. These applications are reviewed and awarded quarterly. 

In an effort to help clergy apply for funding appropriate to the event or program, click here to begin the funding application process.  You will be asked a series of questions and given the opportunity to apply for funding through one or both the Continuing Education and Clergy Development Programs. 

Continuing Education Policies
1. Continuing Education funding is available to persons required to receive CEU’s. Refer to “Connectional Accountability” above for details on conference relationships which meet this requirement. Persons not required to receive CEU’s may request funding and awards will be determined on a per case basis. 

2. Funds are available for events that meet the “Standards for Continuing Education” and “Approved Program Areas for Continuing Education” as listed above. Funds may also be used for assessment tools required or recommended by the Board of Ordained Ministry or the district superintendent. 

3. Funding will be awarded for the calendar year in which the event is held, as follows:
• For qualified persons with a base salary of $50,000 or less, funding of up to $400 during any one calendar year and depending upon availability of funds. 
• For qualified persons with a base salary above $50,000, funding of up to $200 during any one calendar year and depending upon availability of funds. 
• Base Salary includes Accountable Reimbursement but does not include housing or utility allowances.
• Funding requested for an event which may run into another calendar year will be awarded for the year in which applied, for the duration of the event.

4. If no CEU is received, due to a cancellation of the event or lack of participation, the recipient must return the grant in full.

5. Persons receiving continuing education funds must send a verification of the Continuing Education Unit awarded to the Center for Clergy Excellence. A copy of the CEU report or a letter from the sponsoring agency is acceptable.

Advanced Degree Support
For clergy seeking funding for D.Min, Ph.D and Th.D. programs, please complete the funding application for Continuing Education.  The policies listed above apply to this type of funding request. 

 

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The Virginia Conference of The United Methodist Church
10330 Staples Mill Road, Glen Allen, VA 23060
P.O. Box 5606, Glen Allen, VA 23058-5606
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