DCOM Tips and Tricks


The weekly "DCOM Tips and Tricks" emails are stored here for your reference.

Need something that's not covered here? Email bom@umoi.org.

 

#38: 09/19/2022 DCOM Training

DCOM Training:​ Thanks to all who were able to participate in last Wednesday's DCOM training! It was great to see so many faces around the Zoom screen. This week's tip is to bookmark this recording of the Sept. 14 DCOM training. Members of your committee who were not able to attend can get some helpful information from the recording--ditto for any new members you bring in over the next several months.

 

#37: 09/12/2022 Anti-Plagiarism Tool

Anti-Plagiarism Tool:​ Did you know that the BOM and its DCOMs have an anti-plagiarism tool? We use it not only to detect cases of plagiarism, but also to help educate our candidates and local pastors about how to avoid unintentionally passing off someone else’s work as their own. iThenticate is a software platform used by many academic institutions, which some of your candidates may have already used in college or seminary. Make sure your candidates and DCOM members are familiar with the Board’s plagiarism policy, and follow this process to get your candidates connected with iThenticate. If you are requiring written work from candidates or licensed pastors this fall, now is the time to get this process started.

#36: 09/06/2022 Candidacy Checklist

Candidacy Checklist:​ We’re still hoping that the new Passage UMC (the denomination’s online candidacy system) will turn out to be an excellent step-by-step tool for our candidates to use as they navigate the process. But while we’re waiting for some final bugs to be worked out, our OR-ID candidacy checklist has been completely revamped. It’s available on our website, and it’s much cleaner and simpler than the old version. Make sure your folks who are working on certified candidacy have the most recent version: www.umoi.org/candidacy1.

 

#35: 08/29/2022 Training is coming!

Training is coming!: Here’s a no-brainer tip: it’s usually a lot easier to do your job if you’ve actually received some training in that work. The Board of Ordained Ministry is responsible for providing training to its district committees, and we finally have a date for that to happen. On Wednesday, Sept. 14, from 6-8pm Pacific (7-9pm Mountain) we’ll gather via zoom to be led by Meg Lassiat, the consultant who has been working with us on redesigning our candidacy process. There will also be an asynchronous lesson ahead of time, to allow for more and better time together for case studies, discussion, and questions….all designed to make it easier for you to do your job!

 

#34: 08/22/2022 We've got tips!

We've got tips!: Did you know that all of the Weekly Tips and Tricks can be found on the conference website? This is helpful insider knowledge for folks who are new to the DCOM this summer–or even for veteran members who might have (inadvertently, of course!) missed a tip or two along the way. Scroll through the list to find the topic you’re looking for: https://www.umoi.org/dcom-tips

 

#33: 08/15/2022 Need to contact a BOM member?

Need to contact a BOM member?: We’re rerunning this tip from several months ago; with the summer membership transitions on both the BOM and the DCOMs, it’s a timely one to revisit. It can be challenging to keep track of which person on the BOM is handling candidacy or retirements or RIM or MEF applications or LLPs or…..! But there is a very easy way to make sure your question or information gets to exactly the right person. Just email bom@umoi.org and our BOM admin will direct your email to where it needs to go. (Bonus tip: you can also call 503-802-9215 if you prefer phone calls to emails.).

 

#32: 08/08/2022 What’s the date of that DCOM meeting?

What’s the date of that DCOM meeting?: Having trouble remembering the date of your next DCOM meeting? You should be able to find it on the shared BOM/DCOM google calendar. And the bonus is that we can all see the dates for each other’s meetings, as well as other BOM-related meetings and trainings (you can also see in advance when the BOM Admin will be out-of-town for training or vacation). If your Committee’s meeting is not listed, please send the date/time to bom@umoi.org. Fall meetings are coming up, and it’s helpful to get those meeting dates posted right away.

 

#31: 08/01/2022 What's up with COS? (Part 2!)

What's up with COS? (Part 2): See last week’s tip for some context. Here’s the reality about what’s happening with COS right now:

  • All COS schools are moving to a hybrid model, now that online restrictions (lifted during the pandemic) are back in place.

    • By University Senate standards, GBHEM is the only entity allowed to offer COS classes fully online.

  • The Western Jurisdiction’s COS school is committed to working with LLPs to find a schedule that works.

    • Faith Conklin, the WJ COS director, is planning to offer a zoom conversation with all current/potential COS students in mid-August.

    • When COS offers 2-4 classes in one time frame, they get significant pushback that it’s too intense.

      • The old model was 4 classes in 4 weeks–students complained that they couldn’t be away that long, and the cost of meals and lodging was a burden.

    • For 2023, the WJ COS will be doing hybrid classes that include one long weekend on campus for each class.

      • The downside is the cost of traveling to Claremont from Oregon or Idaho for just one class.

  • All COS directors across the country will be meeting with the GBHEM in September. The directors want to advocate for more flexibility around online options, including the ability to differentiate between asynchronous learning and real-time zoom classes. If DCOMs would like to write a letter supporting this advocacy, send it to bom@umoi.org to be passed along to Faith as she works to help the denomination understand (and accommodate) the unique challenges of training for ministry in the Western Jurisdiction.

 

#30: 07/25/2022 What's up with COS?

What's up with COS?: Course of Study (COS) is a set of 20 classes that are required for licensed local pastors, who have 8-12 years (depending of whether they’re FL or PL) to complete the courses in order to maintain their license (unless they already have an MDiv). The General Board of Higher Education and Ministry (GBHEM) oversees the COS, which can only be taught at regional COS Schools attached to UMC seminaries.

During the pandemic, all COS classes were taught online, but normally, only the GBHEM can offer online COS (which they do regularly). Currently, COS regional schools –including Claremont, the official COS school for the Western Jurisdiction–are moving back to in-person, although most are actually moving to hybrid COS.

There are several important issues about all this that DCOMs will want to be aware of…but this tip is already overly long, so stay tuned for the rest of the story next week! (by the way, if you have immediate COS questions that just can’t wait a week, feel free to contact bom@umoi.org).

 

#29: 07/18/2022 The CLM Process

The CLM Process: The Board of Lay Ministry has partnered with the Board of Ordained Ministry to clarify Oregon-Idaho’s process for becoming a CLM (Certified Lay Minister), as well as the process for renewing certification every two years. The process will be outlined on the conference website soon, but meantime, here’s a step-by-step checklist, with links to more information.

 

#28: 07/11/2022 Figuring Out Mentors

Figuring out mentors: All candidates for ministry are to be assigned a trained mentor by the DCOM in consultation with the BOM’s Vocational Discernment Coordinator (VDC) and the District Superintendent (¶348.1a). Wouldn’t it be great if each DCOM had access to an up-to-date list of all trained mentors? There is one! You can find that list here, and it also includes links to contact info for each mentor. Plus there’s a separate sheet where all the mentees are listed with their assigned mentors. The BOM would love to have each DCOM check this list regularly to make sure all candidates are listed accurately (email bom@umoi.org with any corrections).

 

#27: 06/27/2022 Online Coursework for Mdiv

Online coursework for Mdiv: The University Senate is the denominational body for the UMC that sets the standards for academic institutions and coursework for persons working on licensing or ordination. During the pandemic, restrictions were lifted governing whether or not classes need to be in-person. Now, the Senate has announced that the only “distance learning” (i.e. online) courses allowed for an MDiv must be taught by one of the 13 UM seminaries (and Asbury). Two-thirds of the MDiv can be taken online, but only through the 13 UM seminaries/Asbury. Read the entire announcement here.

 

#26: 06/13/2022 What is "Full Connection"?

What is "Full Connection"?: As the Annual Conference Session nears, a distinctly United Methodist term is often tossed around. What does it mean to be in “full connection”? This is an important phrase for DCOM members to understand, since many of your candidates are working towards full connection–even though they may not yet comprehend what that means.

In UM policy, only ordained elders and deacons are in full connection–meaning that they are full members of the annual conference. Licensed local pastors are members of the AC, but only as long as they are appointed, and they must continue to be approved by the clergy session each year; thus they are members, but not full members. Likewise, neither associate nor provisional members are full members, and therefore are not in full connection. 

 

#25: 06/06/2022 Ministerial Psychological Assessment

Ministerial Psychological Assessment: Do you have the MAS report for your DCOM candidate’s MPA? We Methodists do love our acronyms! The MPA is the Ministerial Psychological Assessment, which is conducted by a qualified psychologist known as the Ministerial Assessment Specialist (MAS), and is a requirement for anyone to be elected as a certified candidate, or approved to be a Certified Lay Minister (CLM). The process for taking the MPA has changed over the last two years, and is now guided by the Board of Ordained Ministry (BOM). To begin the assessment process, a candidate must be approved by the district superintendent (DS) to begin the candidacy journey, and then register with the BOM online. TAFN (that’s all for now)!

 

#24: 05/30/2022 The BAC (again!)

Today's tip is coming a day late, due to yesterday's holiday. And since Oregon-Idaho's Clergy Session will be held today, it seems like an appropriate time to re-run this tip about the BAC.

The BAC: The Business of the Annual Conference report, fondly (??) known as the BAC, offers a listing of all the conference relations actions taken by the clergy session at annual conference each year. Many of these actions originate in the DCOMs. Certified candidates and licensed local pastors are all listed here, as are CLMs. The BAC is a great place to check to make sure that your lists correspond with the official annual conference lists. And if there’s a discrepancy, be sure to contact the Board at bom@umoi.org.

You can find this year’s BAC in the conference journal, or online on the conference website. Pro tip: the conference relations actions are in Part II of the BAC, beginning on page 138 of the 2021 Journal. The 2022 Journal and BAC will be posted later this summer.

 

#23: 05/23/2022 It's all about communication!

It's all about communication: As Clergy Session approaches, this is the time of year when it’s easy for a candidate or local pastor to fall through the cracks. With DCOMs, BOM, and Clergy Session in the mix, it’s a challenge to make sure we’re voting on an accurate Business of the Annual Conference (BAC) Report! Here are some communication tips to help:

  • Throughout the year, make sure your next DCOM meeting is posted on the BOM/DCOM calendar.

  • Double-check the BAC or the LLP tracking sheet to ensure that all your local pastors are voted on each year.

  • Ask your registrar if the Action Reports for each candidate and LLP are being uploaded immediately following the meeting.

  • Use your BOM/DCOM Liaisons to keep the information flowing both ways.

  • If you need help or have questions, bom@umoi.org is a great place to start!

 

#22: 04/25/2022 Are you up-to-date?

Are you up-to-date?: Did you know that all DCOM members are listed on the conference website? As the annual conference session approaches (and with it a vote on the Nominations Report), it’s important to make sure your committee list is up-to-date. Please send any corrections to the Conference Secretary. And if you’re wondering how to replace members who may be rotating off, check out this tip about getting new DCOM members.

 

#21: 04/18/2022 DCOM meeting resources

DCOM meeting resources: Most of our DCOMs will be meeting between now and the end of the month, so here’s a quick reminder about resources to help:

  • Use your DCOM “internal sharing” dropbox folder to securely share documents with members or interview teams ahead of time (never send confidential materials via email).

  • Use the anti-plagiarism process to help educate your candidates and LLPs about plagiarism.

  • Use the DCOM Minutes template to make sure all information is recorded correctly and clearly.

  • Use the LLP tracking sheet to help determine if an LLP is making appropriate educational progress.

  • Use these Action Outlines as a guide for how to make motions and vote for a variety of typical DCOM actions.

  • Use the Action Report to report your voting (every LLP from your district who is listed on the BAC must be acted on–even if they will no longer be appointed).

  • Use your DCOM “internal sharing” dropbox folder to securely share the completed minutes with the DCOM members.

  • Use the BOM Admin (bom@umoi.org) if you encounter any questions along the way.

 

#20: 04/11/2022 How do we get new members?

How do we get new members?: The conference Nominations Team is currently engaged in its work of nominating persons to serve on conference boards; the entire nominating report will be voted on at Annual Conference in June. DCOM members are listed on this report, and will also be elected to their service by the vote of the AC. But DCOM members get nominated “...annually by the district superintendent in consultation with the chairperson or executive committee of the Board of Ordained Ministry.” (¶666.1) If your DCOM is in need of new members this spring, make sure your DS is collaborating with the BOM–let’s work together to find good nominees to join in your important work.

 

#19: 04/04/2022 Action on LLPs

Action on LLPs: All licensed local pastors under your DCOM’s care must be voted on every year, even if (especially if!) they will not be continuing in their current status. Check the BAC, Questions 20 and 21 for the list (note: on the 2022 BAC, these questions have been renumbered to 16 and 17). For each LLP, the potential actions are:

  • Recommend to continue licensing

  • Recommend for approval for licensing (this action is for an LLP who is no longer appointed, but the DCOM wants them to be ready if/when an appointment comes open)

  • Recommend to discontinue licensing (this action must be take even if it’s the LLP’s request to step away)

  • Recommend to the BOM for another status (associate membership or provisional membership)

  • Recognize as Retired Local Pastor (must have made satisfactory educational progress –  ¶320.5)

Each of these actions must be reported to the BOM on the Action Report form. The only exception is for a retired local pastor who has been serving an appointment in retirement, and then stops. There is no action necessary, but it is helpful to make note of that change in the DCOM minutes. 

 

#18: 03/28/2022 Need to contact a BOM member?

Need to contact a BOM member?: It can be challenging to keep track of which person on the BOM is handling candidacy or retirements or RIM or MEF applications or LLPs or…..! But there is a very easy way to make sure your question or information gets to exactly the right person. Just email bom@umoi.org and our BOM admin will direct your email to where it needs to go. (Bonus tip: you can also call 503-802-9215 if you prefer phone calls to emails.)

 

#17: 03/21/2022 UMCARES Becomes PASSAGE[UMC]

UMCARES Becomes PASSAGE[UMC]: On April 4, the denomination’s online candidacy registry, UMCARES, will become Passage UMC. This is more than a name change or even a cosmetic upgrade–this is a complete re-do of the entire system. It’s designed to be user-friendly (a huge change from the old program!). Candidates will be able to upload documents into Passage, which can then be securely stored (it has HIPAA-level protection) and accessed by authorized DCOM members. Tracks can be customized. And the system can extend through much more than just the initial process into candidacy–DCOMs can track certified candidates as they prepare to apply for provisional membership; keep tabs on educational progress for LLPs; and guide CLMs. DCOM leaders will be hearing much more about Passage (along with training opportunities) in the coming weeks.

But today’s tip is actually this: Both UMCARES and Passage UMC will be “dark” from March 29 until April 4, as the rollover of data takes place from the old to the new. If you have candidates who are actively using their UMCARES track right now, please make sure they know that no new information can be entered after 11:59pm Central time on March 28. As always, feel free to direct questions to bom@umoi.org.

 

#16: 03/14/2022 Candidacy Summit

Candidacy Summit: This event is a requirement for certified candidacy…and yet it has only been offered once a year in Oregon-Idaho. Happily, that has now changed! The “winter cohort” of candidates is meeting now for group mentoring every six weeks, following their Summit in January. And the next Summit will happen this summer. It’s most helpful if a candidate attends the Summit (also known as “Orientation to Ministry”) early in their discernment process. DCOMs are encouraged to pass along names of potential candidates to the BOM (bom@umoi.org) as soon as possible, so that the Board can get them hooked up with information about the next Summit.

 

#15: 03/07/2022 Where was that tip?

Where was that tip?: Did you know that not everyone reads each email carefully, including the fine print at the bottom? Shocking, I know! On the off chance that you have a DCOM friend in this category, this week’s tip features the fine print at the bottom: all of the Weekly Tips and Tricks can be found on the conference website. Scroll through the list to find the topic you’re looking for: https://www.umoi.org/dcom-tips

 

#14: 02/28/2022 Preventing Plagiarism

Preventing Plagiarism: Passing off someone else’s work as your own–whether intentionally or unintentionally–is a significant breach of trust. We have a tool to help educate candidates about plagiarism, and to find it if it occurs: iThenticate, a software platform used by many academic institutions (some of your candidates may have already used iThenticate in college or seminary). Make sure your candidates and DCOM members are familiar with the Board’s plagiarism policy, and follow this process to get your candidates connected with iThenticate. If you are requiring written work from candidates or licensed pastors this spring, you’ll want to get this process started now.

 

#13: 02/21/2022 OK. OK. What's next?

System Redesign: The Feb. 9 DCOM/BOM gathering was a wide-ranging conversation about how to make our candidacy process and support system better. The BOM’s winter meeting last week included extensive work with Meg Lassiat (who met with DCOM leadership in November) to generate ideas about redesigning the entire process. So what’s next? 

Two things you can do:

  • Read through the ideas, questions, and comments generated by your DCOM colleagues (see links above)

  • Send an email to the BOM with your own suggestions and ideas.

Together, we can make this better!

 

#12: 02/14/2022 Vote counts count Part 2

Vote counts count Part 2: As we discussed last week, it’s important to report the exact number of votes cast (yes/no) on each DCOM ballot. But note that this is internal reporting, on the DCOM minutes and in the Action Report that goes to the BOM. The candidate should not be told the vote count, even if it’s unanimous.  We never want to be in a position where the candidate is trying to guess which DCOM members voted which way. The candidate should only be told, for example: “The committee voted to recommend you for….” This is part of caring for our candidates by maintaining confidentiality.

 

#11: 02/07/2022 Vote counts count!

Vote counts count!: Or, to put it much more clearly, the number of votes matters each time the DCOM takes a ballot (written or not). Here’s the rundown on the percentage requirements:

  • Election to certified candidacy: three-fourths majority vote

  • Renewal of certified candidacy: majority vote

  • Recommend for licensing: three-fourths majority vote

  • Recommend continuation of license: three-fourths majority vote

  • Recommend to the BOM a local pastor for associate membership: three-fourths majority vote

  • Recommend to the BOM a candidate for election to provisional membership: three-fourths majority vote

Make sure your DCOM minutes and Action Reports record the number of votes (do not simply say, “unanimous”). Your votes counts count!

 

#10: 01/31/2022 DCOM minutes template

DCOM minutes template: Taking minutes for a meeting is an often thankless yet incredibly important task. After a DCOM meeting, the minutes are an essential piece of the puzzle when tracking the progress and status of candidates. So it's especially important to get that information recorded correctly. Happily, there is a tool to help with that! The DCOM minutes template is available to use as a guide for each DCOM. And just like last week's tool this one also lives on the conference website in the DCOM resources section: https://www.umoi.org/resourcesfordistrictcommitteesonordainedministry.

 

#9: 01/24/2022 Orders of Ministry Grid

Orders of Ministry grid: Ever wish there was an easy way to give candidates a snapshot comparison of the various types of ministry? Well, there is! This grid comparison offers a very quick summary of issues such as educational requirements, sacramental authority, ministry focus, and AC voting rights, and many others. Check it out, and feel free to share it with your candidates!  By the way, it lives on the conference website in the DCOM resources section: https://www.umoi.org/resourcesfordistrictcommitteesonordainedministry.

 

#8: 01/18/2022 Capacities of an ideal candidate

Capacities of an ideal candidate: Working together with the DCOMs and the district superintendents, the Board of Ordained Ministry has created a draft document titled, “Capacities of an Ideal Candidate for Ministry in the United Methodist Church of Oregon-Idaho.” Although this is still a work-in-progress, it promises to be an incredibly useful resource for all of us who are working to recruit and nurture new ministerial leaders in our annual conference. As you talk with candidates, evaluate written work, and craft interview questions, be sure to take a look at this document for guidance.

 

#7: 01/10/2022 Vote to discontinue

Vote to discontinue: If a candidate or a licensed local pastor decides not to continue in their status, the DCOM needs to take action, i.e. the committee must vote to officially discontinue the person from that status. The term "discontinue" can be misleading; we often think it only refers to persons who are being unwillingly exited from the process. But even persons who make their own choice to leave the process, for whatever reason, must be officially discontinued by the DCOM. An action report should be sent to that BOM following the vote. In addition, when discontinuing a certified candidate, the DCOM needs to file a letter with the BOM explaining the circumstances of the discontinuance (¶314.1). For a licensed local pastor, the Board will need to file such a letter in the bishop's office (¶320.1).

 

#6: 01/03/2022 Action Outlines

Action outlines: Wondering how to phrase your motion for action (for instance, recommending that a license be continued, voting to certify a candidate, voting to recommend a candidate to the BOM)? Action Outlines can be a big help. Note that these are not forms to be submitted to someone; they are for your own use, and are simply outlines to help guide you through a particular action with the correct motion and even information about what type of vote you'll need. Action outlines are also helpful to get the correct wording for the minutes of the meeting.  You can find them online here.

 

#5: 12/13/2021 Educational Equivalency Team

Educational equivalency team: One of the resources available through the Board of Ordained Ministry is the board's educational equivalency team. DCOM's who would like assistance looking through a candidate's transcript, or understanding a licensed local pastor's educational progress, are welcome to consult with the team or ask specific questions. Just write to bom@umoi.org.

 

#4: 12/06/2021 The BAC

The Business of the Annual Conference report, fondly (??) known as the BAC, offers a listing of all the conference relations actions taken by the clergy session at annual conference each year.  Many of these actions originate in the DCOM’s. Certified candidates and licensed local pastors are all listed here, as are CLMs. The BAC is a great place to check to make sure that your lists correspond with the official annual conference lists. And if there’s a discrepancy, be sure to contact the Board at bom@umoi.org

You can find this year’s BAC in the conference journal, or online on the conference website. Pro tip: the conference relations actions are in Part II of the BAC, beginning on page 138 of the 2021 Journal.

 

#3: 11/29/2021 Shared Google Calendar for BOM and DCOMs

When is the next [fill in the blank]? The BOM and all four DCOMs have a shared google calendar to keep track of DCOM meetings, BOM meetings, DCOM/BOM quarterly conversations, and other important dates related to our ministry together. If you see something on the calendar that should be changed or added, just send an email to bom@umoi.org. 

 

#2: 11/22/2021 Educational Progress tracking tool for LLPs

Educational progress for licensed local pastors! It's everyone's favorite topic, right? OK, maybe not. But we've got a tool to help. This tracking sheet lists each LLP, sorted by district, along with their education to-date, and there's a handy color-coded column to indicate whether or not they're making appropriate progress*. 

* The tracking sheet is kept up-to-date by the BOM, but if you see an error, please alert us right away.

 

#1: 11/15/2021 DS Membership on DCOM

Welcome to the first of our weekly quick emails with ideas and resources for your DCOM work. These are designed to be super-short, so let's get to it!

Did you know that the District Superintendent is a voting member of the DCOM? From ¶666.1*: "The committee shall be composed of...the district superintendent....All persons named to the district committee on ordained ministry shall be members with vote." Be sure to include your DS's vote in all your action reports.

* If you don't have a Book of Discipline handy, you can find it for free online, then search on "666" (believe it or not, that's the paragraph number for DCOMs!)

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