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Mississippi Synod Information
Functions of the Clergy
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Terms and Definitions

Functions of the Clergy

 Members of the clergy have three main functions:

  1. Introducing others to the teachings of the Church
  2. Conducting ceremonies
  3. Pastoral duties.

 Teaching-

Traditionally, agnostics have been reluctant to communicate what agnosticism is all about. We have always been less activist in spreading our ideas than have believers or atheists. And this attitude is reflected, tongue-in-cheek, in our name and our motto. But we do expect those who seek ordination in the Apathetic Agnostic Church to seek out ways to communicate our message.  The UCTAA is supportive of a low-key approach to introducing others to its teachings. We do not ask our clergy to go door-to-door, nor to stand on street corners handing out tracts.

Ceremonial Duties-

 Traditionally, religious officials have conducted ceremonies to mark the various stages of human life and other significant events. Ordained clergy in the Church of the Apathetic Agnostic may conduct such ceremonies.  Ceremonies may be conducted to celebrate events such as Birth, Adoption, Naming, Adulthood, Joining / Commitment, Marriage, Divorce, Funerals, Dedication of a Home, Changes of the Season, Changes of the Year.   When conducting ceremonies, it is important to remember the purpose is to celebrate the participants and to meet their needs. To this end, we suggest you work closely with those involved to develop the details of a particular ceremony. While you do not have to do anything you personally might find offensive [suggest they find another cleric] you should be prepared to be somewhat flexible, even to the extent of accepting some general elements of spirituality in the ceremony.  The focus of any ceremony should be to obtain the blessing and support of those in attendance for the event [as differentiated from other religions where the blessing of a Supreme Being is sought.]

Ministry-

Pastoral duties apply to those with an active ministry. This includes visiting the sick and shut-ins, provision of counseling on a variety of issues including ethics, family matters, dealing of grief, and preparing the terminally ill to accept death. Such responsibilities should not be taken on lightly, and appropriate course training should be undertaken first.

 Clerical Responsibilities-

 Functions of the Clergy-

  1. Advocacy, introducing others to the teachings of the UCTAA
  2. Ceremonial, which includes conducting ceremonies to celebrate significant events and mark the various stages of human life
  3. Pastoral duties, which includes providing emotional support and psychological care to the members of the church and others who require assistance

Functions of the Bishops-

  1. Duties shall include all the duties of the clergy
  2. Provide guidance and assistance to ordained clergy as required
  3. Ordination of clergy within the see where he/she serves and maintenance of records of these ordinations
  4. Reporting of activities to the Matriarch / Patriarch of the Synod (or if none is appointed, to the Patriarch of the Home Church)

Functions of a Matriarch / Patriarch-

  1. Duties shall include all the duties of the clergy and Bishops
  2. Shall have the responsibility to seek legal recognition for the UCTAA from appropriate civil authorities
  3. Provide guidance to ordained clergy and Bishops within the Synod as necessary
  4. Recommend clergy for ordination as Bishops within the Synod
  5. Maintain records of ordinations and Synod activities and report to the Council of Elders and/or the Patriarch of the Church at regular intervals
  6. Serve as ex-officio member of the Council of Elders, the governing body of the UCTAA

Organizational hierarchy:

  1. Clergy person shall be the spiritual leader of an independent church with all responsibilities of its management and maintenance.
  2. A Bishop shall be the administrative head of a prescribed district within the synod.
  3. The Council of Bishops shall be comprised of all Bishops within the Synod and shall assist the Matriarch / Patriarch within the Synod as needed and, in the event that no Matriarch / Patriarch is in office, shall assume the duties that would normally be ascribed to the Patriarch.
  4. The Patriarch of the Church shall be the overall head of the UCTAA.
  5. The Council of Elders of the UCTAA is the governing body of the Church and is comprised of all Patriarchs / Matriarchs within the Church.

 

Statement on Clerical Behavior-

 The UCTAA is concerned about the possibility that some individuals ordained by the church may use abuse their position in the clergy by taking advantage of other people or by committing illegal or immoral acts. The UCTAA will not condone nor participate in covering up such activities.

  1. Each member of the UCTAA clergy is an independent individual and is, thereby, completely responsible for his / her personal actions, activities, and behavior and for the consequences of these.
  2. While the Church and the various Synods and Sees shall function as basic leadership and counseling tools for the independent churches, neither the UCTAA Church, nor any Individual Synod or See, shall be responsible for the illegal, unlawful, or immoral behavior of a member of the clergy committed while performing as a clergy person.
  3. Since each church is an independent unit, each church and clergy person shall be completely responsible for its / their own financial affairs.
  4. None of the Synods or Sees, shall assume any financial or moral responsibility for debts, liabilities, or obligations incurred by an individual church or clergy person.
  5. Any actions by a member of the clergy, which by their grievous nature, may be illegal, unlawful, or may cause harm to the reputation of the UCTAA, should be reported immediately Church and the UCTAA Council of Elders for evaluation and disposition.
  6. Censure or other formal reprimand of a member of the clergy, if necessary, shall be determined by the Church and / or Council of Elders, as is deemed appropriate according to the circumstances of the individual case.
  7. The Synods and Sees assume no liability for any activities of the independent clergy that result in legal judgment or court action and shall not be held responsible for any monetary, property, or other settlement of such judgment, including, but not limited to, fines, levies, legal fees, court costs, and court granted awards. 

 

 

 

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