Friend in Christ,
for your inquiry about being incardinated as a cleric in the Ecumenical
Catholic Church+USA. While I will answer your specific questions
in another letter, I am sending you this note to answer some frequently
asked questions about ministry in the ECC+USA. Also, carefully
read our Church Canons, Belief
Statements, and Church History
on this website.
What is the process for incardination as a cleric in the ECC+USA?
first step is to read about us on our websites, ask questions, and then
if you would like to be considered for incardination, complete the application.
is open only to clerics in Minor Orders and Deacons, Priests,
and Bishops ordained in the Catholic tradition by a church with valid
lines of Apostolic Succession. While our Council of Bishops makes
the final determination on each applicant, generally speaking we welcome
clerics from most mainline (Episcopal, Roman Catholic, Orthodox, and
Lutheran) and independent Catholic (too numerable to list) churches.
Obviously, conformity to reception of the sacraments of Baptism and
Ordination administered in the traditional Catholic Faith manner, and
faith compatibility to our Statements of Beliefs are significant criteria
for acceptance into our clergy.
application which we will forward to you upon request should be thoroughly
and thoughtfully completed. That application and the requested
documentation will need to be submitted before the incardination decision
is made. It is acceptable to send the application first and then
supply the documentation as it is gathered.
What training (education) do I need to be incardinated into the ECC+USA?
review of your education as related to ministry should show a strong
correlation to our ordination requirements as presented in our Seminary
Catalog available on our website. Significant deficits will be
identified by the Incardination Committee and the applicant and the
Presiding Bishop will develop a plan for making up the deficits.
This may be done through seminary coursework or through directed reading.
The amount and depth of ministry experience is also factored into this
decision and can substitute for specific course content.
from mainline churches enjoy the presumption of having appropriate and
sufficient education and experiences related to ministry.
However, since the educational background for independent Catholic churches
is so varied, we review transcripts and ministry experience carefully.
The ECC+USA is strongly committed to having ministers who are well prepared
to present and live the message of Jesus.
3) Is there full time paid ministry available in the ECC+USA?
Yes and No. When a congregation or ministry is able to provide financial support for a clergyperson, it is expected to do so. However, at present most of our clergy (deacons, priests and bishops) support themselves through their secular employment and give without monetary compensation their time and talents to the development of their ministry. Most ministries begin as a tentmaker ministry in the spirit of the apostle Paul and the early Christian disciples. Most of our clergy perform their priestly ministry in the manner of the French worker-priest movement of the mid-1940s. Finally, as described in our Church Law, clergypersons are not hired by our National Church, but rather are selected and function in operational matters as agents of the local parish board or church corporation.
Are there expenses involved in being incardinated in your church?
fee or charge is ever paid for incardination or for ordination!
There are, however, some expenses that are passed on to the applicant.
This is the current total list:
There is an application fee of $50.00. That covers printing,
mailing, background report, and follow-up telephone conversation.
It is non-refundable.
B. As part of the application
process, the applicant is required to visit in person with the Presiding
Bishop or other clergy more proximate to the applicant’s home
city. Travel expenses related to that visit are the responsibility
of the applicant.
If deficits in education need
to be made up through seminary course work, all coursework is paid for
by the candidate directly to the seminary program provider (either our
own seminary program or a mutually agreed upon program). See our
current Vilatte Theological Seminary Catalog on our website so that
you know in advance the cost of coursework through our program.
We award coursework credit toward ordination for ministry related coursework
in other institutions and for ministry related job and life experiences.
There is no charge for transfer and experiential credit.
For ordination: There is never a charge for incardination or ordination.
Our Church Law does require that Reception (Incardination) of Clergy
and Ordinations ordinarily take place at our annual Synod/Retreat.
Currently ECC+USA clergy in Sacred Orders (deacons, priests, bishops)
who are financially able are asked to make an monthly donation of $10
to help with church expenses. If someone is unable to
make the requested donation, he/she simply talks to the Bishop to make
Deacons, priests, and bishops are expected to purchase their own vestments
and altar appointments needed in their ministry. The offerings
of the congregation are used by the pastor for the operational expenses
of the parish or ministry.
Our Church Law requires that all clerics
attend and participate every year in our Church Synod/Retreat wherever
it is held. The travel costs and registration fee are the annual
responsibility of the cleric.
How long does it take to be incardinated as a deacon, priest, or bishop
in the ECC+USA?
is not an easy question because each candidate is led through the process
in an individualized and personal manner. When the application
process is complete, the Presiding Bishop presents the application with
his/her recommendation to the House of Bishops. So, the “how
long?” timeline varies. However, in general, the incardination
process can be completed in a couple of months.
hope this information helps you as you look at the possibility of
in the ECC+USA as a clergyperson. I want to be totally upfront
with you as you look at us and I promise I will be. E-mail me
if you have any questions or would just like to talk with me to see
if we can be partners in the ministry of the Lord.
you would now like to move on to the next step, please request an
Application at BishopRobert@ecc-usa.org.