FCM and Religious Body Endorsement
In order to be considered for Endorsement at the next Circle Meeting, your completed endorsement application and all application materials, including your interview committee reports, must be submitted by June 12, 2021. Prior to beginning the endorsement application process, please contact the FCM Specialized Ministries Liaison for your region. (See the listing of the Regional Liaisons and their contact information below.) There are forms you will need to complete the process that are not available online, so you will need to contact your Regional Liaison to obtain those forms. Please note, only currently Commissioned FCM members are eligible to apply for endorsement.
Questions? Contact your regional liaison or email
According to the COMISS Network, formerly the Council on Ministries in Specialized Settings, a Religious Endorsing Body is a faith group, denomination or religious organization which endorses individuals of their respective group for chaplaincy, pastoral counseling, and/or other professional pastoral care ministries. This latter is usually Clinical Pastoral Education. A Religious Endorsing body will be able to demonstrate a process of endorsement which includes a clear accountability between the endorser and the endorsed individual. Also, these organizations will be able to demonstrate recognition as a religious endorsing body by showing that they are listed on one or more of the following: the list published by the Armed Forces Chaplains Board, the list published by the Department of Veterans Affairs National Chaplain Center, or the Handbook of Denominations in the United States published by Abingdon Press. FCM is currently named on the list published by the Department of Veteran Affairs and the Handbook of Denominations.
According to the Association of Religious Endorsing Bodies (AREB) Endorsement addresses the following core standards through a process of written papers, interviews and mutual discernment:
• Ministerial and theological competence
• Good standing and accountability within that faith community
• Ability to work collegially in diverse and pluralistic environments
• Willingness to adhere to the codes of ethics prescribed by the institutions served and agencies providing
• Academic and clinical education
Relationships between the religious endorsing bodies and the professional specialized ministries commissioning bodies such as the American Association of Pastoral Counselors, the Association of Professional Chaplains, the Association for Clinical Pastoral Education, etc. are undertaken in a spirit of collaboration, mutual respect and commitment to quality ministry. Endorsement and Commissioning are unique and are not interchangeable. Changes in the status of endorsees are communicated to the professional certifying organization. Transfers of Endorsement take place in accordance with agreed procedures. As a member of both the COMISS Network and AREB, FCM strives to adhere to these standards.
It is the expectation of the Association of Religious Endorsing Bodies that its members shall have:
● a lay constituency.
● a 501(c) (3) IRS status as a Church.
● a qualified civilian endorsee.
As a Convention of Churches, FCM meets the above expectations and serves as the Religious Endorsing Body agency for FCM's group members and affiliated communities as well as the several hundred other lay constituents served by those FCM Commissioned Ministers who are house church based and who have publicly recognized at large ministries in this trans-denominational ecumenical and interfaith age. These group members provide FCM's lay constituency bodies required by AREB and the COMISS Network.
Ideally, applicants for FCM Endorsement will be expected to have a relationship of accountability and service with an FCM affiliate community as well as with their FCM regional community at least through contact with their Regional Vice President as they live out the fundamental FCM commitments to koinonia (community), diakonia (service) and marturia (witness/worship).This relationship will be described as part of their Annual FCM Endorsed Members Report.
FCM's Endorsement process is multi-tiered, involving documentation, affirmations and collegial committee interviews conducted and supervised by the FCM National Committee on Specialized Ministries which presents the candidate to the FCM Circle of Directors for definitive action. FCM's Endorsement is for one calendar year or a portion thereof and is renewable annually with the completion of an Annual Report on their Specialized Ministry and the payment of the Annual Fee. The Endorsement fees are set by the Circle of Directors from time to time.
Further information on FCM's Religious Endorsing Body Program may be obtained from the FCM National Committee on Specialized Ministries, Jeanne Hale, 1700 Kingston Health Way, Raleigh, NC 27604-5834
Great Lakes Judy McBride