Announcing the United Church of Christ

2016 Chautauqua Associates Program (CAP)

A Leadership Program to Nurture United Church of Christ Clergy Sponsored by the Chautauqua United Church of Christ Society

Program Dates: Saturday, August 13 to Saturday, August 20, 2016

Nominations due February 15, 2016

Applications due by February 28, 2016


What is CAP? The “Chautauqua Associates Program” or “CAP” is a week-long immersion with two distinctive features: Intensive United Church of Christ communal living and learning surrounded by the broader Chautauqua experience of spiritual enrichment and aesthetic renewal. CAP provides focused learning opportunities aimed at strengthening each participant’s understanding and appreciation of the distinctive ethos of the UCC, enhanced because it is surrounded by the stimulating and nourishing atmosphere of the Chautauqua Institution, the nation’s foremost festival of performing arts and progressive ideas.  To learn more about Chautauqua, visit www.

The intensive educational program at the core of CAP is guided by the distinguished theological educator, the Rev. Dr. Elizabeth C. Nordbeck. Associates are expected to prepare for the week by reading in advance, by engaging others in pre-program online assignments and social media, and by being present each day for a 75-minute lunch meeting that includes a seminar discussion led by Dr. Nordbeck on key themes related to issues and life in the UCC. In addition, at one point during the week, each participant will spend at least an hour in individual consultation with Dr. Nordbeck.

CAP associates are also invited to participate fully in the other events that Chautauqua offers, such as worship, lectures, concerts, walks through the lakeside Victorian community, and unplanned but surprisingly frank conversations.  The core CAP events are scheduled to avoid conflicts with major public events. Basic expenses for associates and their spouse or partner are underwritten by the Chautauqua United Church of Christ Society. For the 2016 season, CAP is limited to five associates.

What is the Purpose of CAP?  This innovative and unique program is designed to help associates


       Become incorporated into a lifetime professional support community connected with the UCC and the Chautauqua UCC Society;

       Grow in knowledge of the United Church of Christ and its defining commitments to inclusion, justice, and peace;

       Become loyal, visionary leaders in the UCC responding to the changing needs of a complex, interfaith society.

In addition, it is hoped that participants will come to appreciate the Chautauqua Institution as a place where contemporary Christian faith flourishes in a context that is explicitly interfaith and culturally enriched. CAP will ground authorized UCC leaders in the wider church and in the Chautauqua United Church of Christ Society as a community where hospitality is practiced. CAP’s vision is that associates will remain fully engaged as leaders in the United Church of Christ and connected with each other and with the Chautauqua UCC Society.

Who Leads CAP? The CAP Leader is the Rev. Dr. Elizabeth C. Nordbeck, a UCC ordained theological educator. Dr. Nordbeck received her Master of Theological Studies from Harvard Divinity School and her Ph.D. from Harvard University. She served as Dean and professor at the Lancaster Theological Seminary from 1978-1990 and as Dean of Andover Newton Theological School from 1990-2001, where she is still a professor. She is involved in numerous UCC organizations and is Co-Editor of Prism: A Theological Journal for the UCC. She has also been the UCC representative to many ecumenical conversations. A professor of church history at Andover Newton, and well known resource to national and international church bodies, brings a unique and invaluable perspective to any discussion of denominational history and polity.

How Do I Apply to Become a CAP Associate? Associates will be selected from those who are nominated by UCC Conference staff (CM and ACM) and who complete the application process. To secure a nomination, persons interested in CAP should consult with their CM or ACM, indicating their desire to participate in the program. Nominees also fill out an application and provide one letter of reference from a UCC body that oversees ministerial standing (Assoc. or Conf.).

Please CLICK HERE an application form and instructions.

 Selection criteria:

  1. Authorization for ministry in the United Church of Christ within the past five years or clear commitment to seeking “privilege of call” within the UCC;
  2. Evidence of potential to benefit from the CAP program, for example as someone who grew up in another denomination or attended a non-UCC seminary; and

  3. Evidence of promise for ministry and of strength of commitment to the UCC as indicated in application documents.

 Other considerations:

    1. The program recognizes that ministry preparation in the UCC is increasingly varied and that participation in CAP can enhance alternative paths to faithful and effective authorized ministry.

    2. Participants will be expected to have completed approximately 200 pages of reading and interacted with each other and project leaders before arriving for the week.

    3. Participants and their families are expected to eat at least three-fourths of their meals in UCC fellowship in the Mayflower dining room.

      What CAP Provides for You:  CAP associates and their spouses or partners are provided with free Gate Passes to Chautauqua for one week (a $900 value). Housing for up to two persons is provided in the Mayflower, one of our two guest houses located 50 yards from the amphitheater, the main performance venue at Chautauqua. Housing is simple and old-style: you bring your own sheets and towels (unless you are flying or taking public transportation). There are sinks in the rooms and toilets and showers down the hall. We provide fans but no air-conditioning. Eating is semicommunal.  You provide your own food, mostly likely by bringing items from home or shopping just before you arrive. You are provided pantry space and a refrigerator shelf. Everyone cooks in the shared Mayflower kitchen, and meal times become informal opportunities to interact with UCC members from all over the country. The CAP program provides lunches for associates during the Monday-Friday seminar sessions.

      What CAP Expects of You: Aside from an abundance of energy, you need to cover your travel costs to and from Chautauqua.  Please estimate your costs before you apply. If you fly or take public transportation, there are additional ground connection costs from Buffalo or Cleveland. We strongly suggest that you prepare a travel budget and discuss travel assistance with your conference or association staff. Also be aware that if you provide us with a contact name, we will write to your congregation asking them to help with costs and provide released time not subtracted from vacations.

      What about Children?  You may bring children, but we want you to be aware that you will need to provide for any expenses and oversight that may be needed. Go to www.c for information about the children’s program schedule and its costs, which can be considerable. In general, children between the ages of about 7 and 14 have a wonderful time at Chautauqua. Watching younger children or even children 8-14 outside their program time will likely limit the spouse or partner’s full enjoyment of Chautauqua. CAP associates will need to assure that supervising children does not interfere unduly with their full participation in the program. We urge you to think carefully about the costs and the complications before you apply. We will do everything we can to welcome your children, but please be in touch with us first if you have questions or special concerns.