The Ministry of Word and Sacraments

in the United Reformed Church

Non-stipendiary service

There are four models of non-stipendiary service:

1. Service in a congregation as part of a team 

2. Pastoral charge of a small congregation

3. Ministers in secular employment

4. Locally Ordained Ministry

The Ministry of Word and Sacraments

Ministers serve in a stipendiary or non-stipendiary capacity and may work as a Minister of Word and Sacraments alongside the elders or in a team with other stipendiary or non-stipendiary colleagues. Local church ministry is exercised in Missional Partnerships, (or pastorate), which may be ecumenical and/or in a team with Church Related Community Workers or local church leaders.

Special Category Ministry

There is a need for a number of specialised ministries as part of the overall strategy of the URC. These include pioneers, chaplaincies in industry, hospitals, universities and colleges of further education, ecumenical and other special posts which are outside the normal role of Minister of Word and Sacraments.

The Marks of Ministry

Meeting in May 2019, the Mission Council of the United Reformed Church adopted the following concise and comprehensive description of what the Church can reasonably expect of people who are called to the Ministry of Word and Sacraments.

It was acknowledged that what this will look like in each minister will vary depending on the context, the individual, and the specific ministry to which they are called.

Ordinations and Inductions

For a copy of the promises made at Ordination, see The Manual: Section A – The Basis of Union, Schedule C – affirmations to be made by Ministers at ordination and induction.

The Marks of a Minister of Word and Sacraments:

Adopted by Mission Council, May 2019. The Manual – section K Ministry

A faithful disciple of Jesus Christ:

Caught up in the joy and wonder of God’s will and work; seeking always to live a holy life in public and in private; sustained by their own rhythm of prayer, Bible reading and worship so that they might model and encourage such life-long patterns in others with integrity; open to learning discipleship from others.

A person of integrity and resilience:

Self-aware and committed to their own lifelong learning (especially through the URC’s provision for ministers); aware of their own limitations and thus willing to seek support; ready to deal with situations of conflict; balancing ministry’s joys and pains with the fostering of right relationships with family and friends.

A contextual theologian:

Delighting in Scripture, rooted in the Reformed tradition, able to communicate their own faith and its implications within and beyond congregations; encouraging others to discover how these rich resources inspire and sustain faithfulness.

A worship leader and preacher:

Able to craft and lead worship that shows appreciation for the Sacraments and the resources of many traditions and styles yet unafraid to create and advocate new forms as appropriate; passionate and effective in breaking open God’s Word in preaching; ready and able to foster skills, techniques and experience in others so that they might lead worship and preach well.

A pastor:

Sharing with others, especially elders, in sustaining care; making time to walk in love alongside people; rejoicing and grieving with others through listening deeply and offering prayerful support; wise in knowing their limits and boundaries when more specialised help is needed; reliably dealing with issues of safeguarding and confidentiality.

A missionary and evangelist:

Passionate about and active in sharing the love of God for the world; alive to the significance of contexts and cultures in shaping mission and creative in discovering missional opportunities; empowering and equipping God’s people in mission to share the Gospel and live God’s Kingdom of justice and peace to the full.

A leader and collaborator:

Identifying, developing, and enabling leadership in others, particularly elders; capable of working in, and leading, teams through collaborative and shared leadership; aware of their own leadership style and open to learning with and from others, when necessary acknowledging their own mistakes and seeking restoration; committed and equipped to building up others in faith and witness so that the gifts andcallings of all might flourish; demonstrating love for God’s people.

A communicator:

Who uses written, spoken and other modes with clarity and grace to share faith and build up relationships and communities; helping others to find their voice.

A committed participant in the councils of the Church:

Responsive to God’s call as gift and blessing to be lived out within the discipline and accountability of the denomination which trains, ordains and inducts them and the pastorates and ministries within which they serve.

A public figure:

Reliable and effective in representing the Church in ecumenical, community and wider settings; committed to and equipped in speaking truth to power and challenging injustice and marginalisation wherever they may be found.

A reformer:

Wise in the dynamics and challenges of change; bold yet humble in helping individuals and congregations to discern and respond to the leading of the Holy Spirit as new chapters open in the life of the Church and others close.


Special Category Ministers serve in setting which otherwise wouldnt recieve ministry, for example in new housing extates or Pioneer projects. In the NW Synod we have two posts in Chorlton and Salford. 


Some of our ministers, both Stipendiary and non-stipendiary serve as Chaplains in a viriety of settings: hospitals, the police, prisons, town centres, the forces, and more.


With one of our Resource Centres for Learning based within the Synod we are fortunate to have some ministers serving as Tutors at Northern College. A great theological resource on our doorstep. 


We are blessed to have many retired ministers living in our Synod, to whom we give thanks for their years of service, and in many cases for their continued service to the church. 

We are

the United Reformed Church

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