Q: What is Continuing Clergy Development (CCD)?
CCD is the pastoral continuing education program of the Orthodox Church in America. As of February 2013, every priest and deacon serving in the Orthodox Church in America must fulfill the Continuing Education requirement adopted by the Holy Synod of Bishops, by participating in the Continuing Clergy Development (CCD) program and taking twenty hours of continuing education each year.
Q: What is the basis of the 20-hour annual CCD requirement? Is that the standard for continuing education requirements by professional societies?
The 20 hr standard is consistent with clergy CE requirements in other denominations.. Some require as much as 24 hrs/yr. Other professions may require as little as 24 every two years or as much as 30 annually.
Q: Will clergy be required to take all 20 hours from among the offerings of the Department of Continuing Education?
No. The CE Department will offer certain required classes. In 2013, for instance, 5 hours on Sexual Misconduct are required. The remainder of CE hours may be taken from other providers. These might include a diocese, a seminary, a professional or community organization, or a local college. In all cases, the hours to be taken must be accredited in advance by the Department of Continuing Education.
Q: How are outside offerings accredited?
- If you are a CE provider, you may send a copy of your course syllabus to the Department of Continuing Education. The Department may then grant accreditation for the course.
- If you are a priest or deacon wishing to enroll in an outside CE offering, you may send a copy of the course description, the provider’s contact information and other relevant material to the Department of Continuing Education. The Department may then accredit the course.
Q: As an example: If “Sexual Misconduct” is a required 5-hour course, can I substitute an equivalent course from an outside provider?
No. Required courses must be taken from the Department of Continuing Education, in order to ensure that all clergy receive the same training and information.
Q: What if I hit the 20-hour mark without taking a required course?
You are to be commended for your commitment to learning! However, you must still take the required course in addition to the ones you’ve already taken.
Q: Can my extra hours be credited to the following year?
At this point, no. One of the goals of CCD is to foster an ongoing habit of participation in learning and growth experiences.
Q: Why is tuition being charged for CE?
The Department of Continuing Education is self-funded. As such, it must collect revenue for the services it provides. Normally the parish or mission would cover tuition as part of its care for the pastor. A priest or deacon is not excused from the CCD requirement if his parish fails in its responsibility.
The typical annual cost of tuition is more than offset by the recent reduction in the annual assessment due from each parish. This is part of building a more efficient and cost effective infrastructure.
On the other hand, not every course will require tuition. A diocese or local clergy brotherhood may offer a seminar free of charge, for instance. The CE Department may accredit such offerings, according to the procedure described above and in consultation with the local bishop.