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Discernment Resources

What is discernment and why do we need it?

As the UCC’s Ministerial, Excellence, Support, and Authorization Team reminds us all, discernment is how we live our lives, thoughtfully and faithfully. It is the fundamental disposition of aligning ourselves with that sense and experience of God’s Spirit moving in and empowering our lives.

Discernment is also the Christian practice of seeking God’s call in the midst of the decisions that mark one’s life. Communal practice of discernment places group decisions within the context of God’s activity. It trusts that resolution based on something larger than self- interest or partisanship is possible…the goal of God’s activity being the New Creation.

The practice of discernment makes intentional a process of reflection on and participation with God’s Spirit as the fundamental context in which we live and make choices.

A Note for Local Church Discernment Committees:

When working with a Member in Discernment or a candidate for Privilege of Call, the Local Church Discernment Committee is commissioned for the purpose of helping the person listen to and test their sense of call. The goal of discernment for the Local Church Discernment Committee in reflection with the person is to determine if the person has the inherent gifts, character, and potential to serve faithfully and effectively as an Ordained Minister in and on behalf of the denomination, and to determine if/when they are ready to recommend the person to be considered for the authorization with the wider UCC.

More Resources

Journaling the Journey

A creative workbook for engaging and reflecting upon the Marks of Faithful and Effective Authorized Ministers in one’s own ministry.

Discernment Travelogue

A resource for spiritual journeys, discernment, and decisions made along the way. Copies are also available through the conference office.

The Clearness Committee

A communal approach to discernment grounded on the belief that each of us has an inner teacher, a voice of truth and that in community a person can discover their own wisdom from the inside out.

The Circle Way

What transforms a meeting into a circle is the willingness of people to shift from informal socializing or opinionated discussion into a receptive attitude of thoughtful speaking and deep listening that embodies the practices.

Lectio Divina

This method of prayer is rooted in the early monastic tradition gathering to hear a member of the community reading from the scripture. In this exercise they were taught and encouraged to listen with their hearts.

The Daily Examen

The Daily Examen is a prayerful reflection on the events of the day in order to grow in awareness of the Holy and discern God’s direction. It is an ancient practice that cultivates seeing God’s presence in our whole lives.