GBHEM Launches “Passage UMC”, An Online Solution to Aid Clergy and Candidate Tracking in the United Methodist Church

Published On: June 6, 2022

UMCARES is moving and will become Passage UMC

Nashville, TN, June 6, 2022– GBHEM recently rolled out Passage UMC, the central location for candidates and clergy to track progress toward their vocational goals in the United Methodist Church. The new platform, which promises to create a more streamlined experience for all users, represents a wholesale replacement of the legacy “UMCares” system long utilized by candidates and administrators within Annual Conferences. 

“Discernment should be more about attending to the Holy Spirit than navigating administration. Passage [UMC] clarifies requirements, automates progression, answers questions and tracks development so that Annual Conferences, clergy and candidates can focus on what matters most: discerning God’s call”, remarked GBHEM’s Chief Innovation Officer, Janet Jones. “Passage [UMC] leverages the best, custom-built, Methodist-specific online platform to help clergy and candidates alike discover their call, claim their identity, and flourish in ministry.”

Specifically designed based on feedback from candidates, District Superintendents, and Annual Conferences, Passage UMC is purpose-built to make the operations and procedures of the ministry credentialing process easier. It consolidates platforms into one easy-to-use centralized location, and removes the cumbersome need to rely on an assortment of Google Sheets, Mailchimp, Survey Monkey, Dropbox, etc.

“Using Passage UMC during the interview process will likely reduce my prep work by 75%,” said the Rev. Karen Jeffcoat, Board of Ordained Ministry Registrar, Great Plains Conference of the United Methodist Church, who assisted the GBHEM team with developing Passage UMC and piloted the new software.

“The original UMCares software has served its purpose well, but as technology and habits change, it was time for an entirely new platform,” said Rev. Dr. Trip Lowery, Assistant General Secretary of Ministry and Formation. “At every step, we listened to input and considered how we can honor candidate and staff interaction with the platform, which can become a sink hole of lost time. As a centralized location, Passage UMC reduces communications, hunting for documents, scheduling, and the overall challenge of staying informed on progress and status.”

With virtually unlimited identifier opportunities, users can easily sort and pull custom reports. New features available to Annual Conferences include:

  • Create unique tracks for specific annual conference requirements.
  • Customize forms 
  • Customize steps on an individual user participant basis
  • Identification and tracking tools include assigning tags to label a profile, set language preferences, flag potential leaders with high potential, sort by age range or service context. 

“We spent a tremendous amount of time observing the needs of users, and then building a user experience that will provide clarity and confidence so that the focus can remain not on administration but on the journey,” remarked Sarah Ibarra-Scurr, Project Lead for Candidacy. “Passage UMC provides a dashboard level view of the progress of each individual and how they are tracking towards their credentialing requirements. It encourages creativity in an easy-to-understand environment so that features can be customized according to each Annual Conference’s needs.” Get Passage UMC updates here.

About GBHEMThe General Board of Higher Education and Ministry (GBHEM) is the ministry of learning and leadership of The United Methodist Church, supporting more than 1,100 educational institutions worldwide. In addition to serving Christians around the world with intellectual engagement, spiritual and character formation, GBHEM also creates education that prepares elders, deacons and licensed local pastors for their roles in the Church. In all of its endeavors, GBHEM helps lay and clergy leaders discover, claim and flourish in God’s ministry and mission for the Church, the academy, and the world. For more information, visit

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