Dorhauer Invites Celebration for Together, As One
United Church of Christ General Minister and President the Rev. John C. Dorhauer sent out a video message on June 26 inviting people across the denomination to celebrate the planned coming together of the Connecticut, Massachusetts and Rhode Island Conferences.

"Signaling to the wider church that more can be accomplished together than apart, this move demonstrates that the United Church of Christ lives in an interdependent world in which we all need each other. This new configuration carves out a pathway for new life, vitality, and relevance," he said.

Tri-Conference Highlights: 10 Hrs in 10 Mins
The 2018 Tri-Conference Annual Meeting Highlights Video is now available for viewing. This 10 minute video consolidates key moments form the 10 hours of footage taken at the 2 day gathering, including moments from Friday evening worship, Saturday morning plenary and the announced results of the historic vote of the CT, MA, and RI Conference.

Together, As One Presentation Video Now Online
Prior to the historic vote in which the Connecticut, Massachusetts and Rhode Island conferences agreed to join together to form a new conference, leaders from the three conferences made a multimedia presentation highlighting the Vision, Mission and Purpose of the new conference.

The video of that presentation is now available her for viewing, and includes both video views of the speakers and the graphics and video used during the presentation.

Annual Meeting Wrap-Up

Articles, documents, videos and pictures from the joint Annual Meeting held June 15 & 16 can be found at: ctucc.org/TriConAm
A Reflection on the TAWFG Internship Experience
By Amanda Simpson, who was confirmed at UCC Bridgeport on Easter Sunday. She was placed a Dixwell Avenue, UCC in New Haven for her TAWFG Apprenticeship.

As I look back on the Thinking About Working For God Internship experience, what I consider a key moment to share my faith with the world was having the opportunity with my host church, Dixwell Avenue Congregational United Church of Christ, to attend and speak at the Youth Revival. For my topic, I had to write about a faith strengthening experience. I chose to speak about my stay at Silver Lake. The week was filled with exploring the world God has given us and enjoying the company of other youth. Silver Lake was an amazing opportunity, and it helped me build my relationship with God and with all His creations around me. It truly is a place where God and nature intersect.

Many Voices, One Mission: Vote Your Values
By The Rev. Ryan Gackenheimer, is Executive Director of Silver Lake Conference Center, the Outdoor Ministry of the Connecticut Conference
 
I recently returned from a trip to Indiana to visit family. If you don't know much about Indiana I can tell you it is on the more conservative side politically, socially, and religiously. I spent more than half of my life in that world, so it is very familiar to me. One newer thing that jumped out at me on this trip, however; was a significant number of large billboards that read "Vote Your Values."  In much smaller print they all made reference to a scripture or some value that people argue are pulled from scripture. It was clear they all were targeting Christians.
I spent a fair amount of my time driving back to Connecticut thinking about these signs. A common refrain in our UCC churches to our pastors is "Your sermon was too political." 

Let me share a secret with you: The Bible is a not a book free of politics.


Many Voices, One Mission  is a new regular series highlighting the ministries of the Connecticut, Massachusetts and Rhode Island conferences of the United Church of Christ.
Starting With Scripture:
Cry Out To God

By The Rev. Zachary Mabe, Pastor of the Terryville Congregational Church, UCC

This summer I mark two important moments: 15 years since I was ordained, and 10 years since my mother passed. I miss my mom. In 15 years of ordained ministry, there is lots I've learned, lots I wish I could share with her. One of the most powerful lessons I've learned is that everyone - at some point or another - experiences some level of pain and suffering. The Psalmist cries out, "Out of the depths I cry... hear my voice!"
 
Another thing I've learned is that prayer is the single most important spiritual practice in my faith journey. I do a lot of crying out to God, and it helps.


 Starting with Scripture is a weekly devotional written by current and former clergy and church leaders of the Connecticut Conference, UCC. Subscribe to receive the reflection each Monday at: ctucc.org/subscribe .
Goliath and David
By The Rev. Jocelyn Gardner Spencer, pastor of First Congregational Church of Woodstock, CT

  I read the news, and it is like drinking poison, and I find myself feeling ill, angry, hopeless, powerless. It is as though Goliath has been standing at the battle line, morning and evening, booming out his defiance of all that is good and right and holy for what feels like forever, and I can hardly even imagine things being otherwise any more, so entrenched are the powers of fear and terror, violence and injustice.
 
But then I remember that the story does not end with Goliath. Then I remember about David.

He was an unlikely hero. 

A New Family
By The Rev. Isaac Lawson, Associate Minister at Immanuel Congregational Church UCC in Hartford, CT

I discovered my love for communion while I was a student at Union Seminary in New York. I can remember when the worship team at Union’s chapel asked me to serve communion. I originally declined because I thought, I most definitely am not holy enough to serve communion. They assured me that serving communion wasn’t about being “holy enough” to hold the bread and cup, but about being willing to “feed God’s people” at a table that wasn’t just for the “holy,” but open to all. Being so well fed by that affirmation, I fed God’s people with the biggest smile that day. 

Now I must admit, my love for communion was partly about feeding God’s people, but truthfully it was also about eating some really, really good bread! Struggling to live in Manhattan on a work-study budget, freshly baked artisanal bread was not in my budget.

In Memoriam: The Rev. Sidat Balgobin
The Rev. Sidat Balgobin , a retired pastor from Park Congregational Church in Norwich, passed away on Thursday, June 21.

Rev. Balgobin has been a contributing author since the very beginning of the Spirited Wednesday and Starting with Scripture devotionals that are posted on the Connecticut Conference website.  His writings can be found here.

"He brought an infectious optimism to his writing," said News and Media Editor Drew Page. "His contribution will truly be missed."

Funeral arrangements are incomplete but a service is tentatively scheduled for July 7. Information will be posted here as it becomes available.
Upcoming Conference Events
June 30, 2018 at 9:30 AM
310 Goff ST, Wethersfield, CT
All Clergy and laity in the CT Conference UCC are invited to come to join a local Hartford area hero and walk 2.2 miles for the Dreamers, their parents and all the immigrants and refugees at the border.  
July 14
First Congregational Church of Essex
This "From Tolerance to Unity" training is an eight-hour session where we unmask racism, create a common language around issues of racism, and inspire people to do more work to eradicate racism.
July 19 - 22
California University of Pennsylvania, California, PA
The Connecticut, Massachusetts and Rhode Island Conferences are collaborating to provide bus service to the event, for youth who have completed 6th grade up to 2018 graduates of 12th grade.
Find a complete list of Conference events at: www.ctucc.org/events
It's not too late to register for summer camp at Silver Lake Conference Center!
Classifieds
Other Events of Interest
July 8 - 12
Camden, ME
Four days of rest, relaxation, and renewal led by Rev. Sue Foster, pastor of the East Woodstock Congregational.
July 9 - 13
Craigville Retreat Center, Craigville, MA
This year's topic: Building Bridges: Immigrants, Refugees, and the Church. Keynote Speaker: Ms. Linda Hartke, President & CEO, lirs.org, Lutheran Immigration & Refugee Service.
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