Day McCallister Leaving Staff for Call to Local Church Ministry
Letter from Conference Minister

Conference Minister The Rev. Kent J. Siladi sent a letter to churches earlier this week announcing the following:

"With a mixture of sadness and joy I have received the resignation of Rev. Da Vita McCallister as the Associate Conference Minister of Leadership and Vitality.  Rev. McCallister has been a member of the Conference staff for the past nine years and she has had an impressive ministry of impact in her time on the staff."

"The joy I share is that Rev. McCallister has been called to serve as the pastor of a local congregation that will be deciding soon to call her to a new Senior Pastor position."

McCallister Reflects on Nine Years of Changes

HARTFORD - When the Rev. Da Vita D. McCallister came on to the Connecticut Conference staff almost 10 years ago, she recalls, she wasn't just the only person of color on the senior staff in CT - she was the only person of color serving in a senior Conference staff position in all of New England.

"Everyplace I went professionally it was just me," she said. "And, I was under 40. I was the youngest person on the staff, the only person of color on the senior staff, and a woman in a male dominated field."

As she prepares to leave the Conference staff for a call to a local church, McCallister says she is so glad that so much has changed.

Conference Leaders Issue Letter in Response To Anti-Islamic Propaganda

The following is an excerpt from a letter released by leaders of the three southern New England Conferences of the United Church of Christ:: 

Recently, many of our churches received a mailing from an organization called "ACT for America." In a letter and accompanying brochure, the organization asks the question "Should Christians speak out against Islam as a religion which promotes violence and human rights abuses?"  

As leaders of the United Church of Christ in Connecticut, Massachusetts and Rhode Island, our response to their question is a resounding "No!"

Read the entire letter
, signed by leaders of the three southern New England Conferences, including Associate Conference Minister The Rev. Da Vita McCallister.

Sitting in the Tomb and Practicing Resurrection: An Easter Theology for the Formation of the CT-RI-MA UCC

By Kaeley McEvoy
A member of First Congregational Church of Woodbury, CT

Let's be honest: if congregationalism were thriving in New England, we would not be thinking about dissolving three conferences and forming a new one. From my vantage point of a young seminarian who was raised in the UCC in Connecticut, I see it everywhere: our churches are dying, our pews are emptying, our seminaries are closing, and our budgets are dwindling.
However, I offer this harsh critique for an important reason, and actually for a theological reason: Good Friday is my favorite Christian holiday.

... Before making a commitment to forming a new vision for the United Church of Christ in New England we first need to take an honest look at why our churches are experiencing this death.

A Reflection on Mentored Relationships

By Karen Ziel
Minister of Faith Formation and Leadership

This reflection offers insights about our new Mentored Leadership model that were shared during a conversation between Karen Ziel, Minister of Faith Formation and Leadership and the two Christian Education professionals engaged in a pilot program for mentoring.  

The mentor, Ms. Karlene Archambeault, has been the Co-Director of Christian Education at the First Congregational Church of Southington since 1990.
The mentee, Ms. Jessica Lyman (pictured at right), began her journey in Christian Education at the church that formed and shaped her faith. A member of First Congregational Church in West Haven, CT., she became engaged as the part-time Director of Christian Education while working a full-time management job.  Recently the church and Jessica discerned that full time leadership was needed.  

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Synod Delegates to Consider Proposed Amendments to UCC Constitution and Bylaws

Delegates to General Synod 31 in Baltimore June 30 - July 4 -  will be asked to consider amendments to the United Church of Christ Constitution and Bylaws. The detailed amendments to these governing documents along with supplementary guides on the process and amendments themselves are available online. 

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Small is Big Again: Reclaiming Small Church Ministry

The Parish Paper
April, 2017 Edition

While the church's larger mission continues to be carried out by many small worshiping communities, small churches may get locked into self-criticism. However, more congregations are embracing the strengths associated with their small size. As one congregation proclaims: "We're not just any small church. We're the small church that's here!"

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The Rev. Dr. Harold C. Smith, who served as the voluntary senior pastor of the Unity Hill United Church of Christ in Trumbull from 1958 to 2000, died in hospice on March 21.

Also beginning in 1958, The Rev. Smith worked with the YMCA Retirement Fund. He rose through the ranks of the organization to become president, CEO, and chief investment officer in 1983. According to an obituary published by the Fund, during his 17 years as president "the fund experienced unprecedented growth in membership and assets under his management. In 2001, he was enshrined in the YMCA Hall of Fame, which is located at Springfield College, where he was also a member of the board of trustees."

A Memorial Service will be held Sunday, April 23, 2017 at 2:00 PM at the Unity Hill United Church of Christ, Trumbull, CT.

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Spirit Calendar: We Are Witnesses
Debby Kirk  writes: "Though we are not eyewitnesses of Christ in the same direct way as the early disciples, we are nevertheless, witnesses to the living Christ among."

Spirited Wednesday: We Are All Accepted

The Rev. Cheryl Anderson writes:  "It is human nature to want to set conditions on the unconditional love of God."

Upcoming Conference Events
April 29, 9:00 AM to 3:00 PM
UCC Southbury
This event will present a timely gathering of speakers:  Chris George, Executive Director of IRIS (Integrated Refugee & Immigrant Services); Megan Miller from Church World Service; Aida Mansoor, President of the Muslim Coalition of Connecticut and others. 
April 30, 3:00 - 5:30 PM
First Church of Christ Congregational, West Hartford
A dynamic worship service that will renew your spirit. All youth in grades 5 and up and their pastors, parents, or adult leaders are invited.
May 5 - 7
Silver Lake Conference Center, Sharon
From chopping wood to repairing buildings, moving picnic tables to raking leaves, there’s a project for everyone, high schoolers through adult. 
May 9 - 11
Silver Lake Conference Center, Sharon 
Whether you challenge yourself on the high ropes course or lounge in the meadow, swap stories with old friends or spend an afternoon on your own, Clergy Camp is the place to step back from life's demands, unwind, and capture the joy of summer. For authorized ministers to network and engage in self-care.
May 12, 9:30 AM - 12:00 PM
CT Conference Office, Hartford
Need some tips on writing or updating your Ministerial Profile? Here is your opportunity to get help from the pros: Kent Siladi, Don Remick, and Barbara Libby.
May 19 - 21
Silver Lake Conference Center, Sharon
Environmental justice and leadership training for youth in grades 9-12 who care about the health of their communities
May 28, 3:00 PM
Faith Congregational Church, Hartford
A time of worship and celebration of the ministry of The Rev. Da Vita McCallister, who is leaving the Connecticut Conference staff after having served for nine years.   
June 30 - July 5
Baltimore, MD
This event is for young leaders ages 13 to 18 who want to experience the vibrant diversity of the wider church.   Participation is limited to 18 from the Connecticut Conference - registration now open.

Find a complete list of Conference events at:
Other Events of Interest

46th Annual NEAUCE Conference: Toward Common Ground
May 2 - 4
Pilgrim Pines, Swanzey, NH

Three day event gives church leaders involved in Faith Formation a chance to refresh, rejuvenate and renew. 

May 3, 12:00 PM to 2:00 PM
Yale Divinity School,  New Haven
Yale Youth Ministry Institute free monthly lecture: this lecture will provide historical material and pedagogical perspectives on nourishing youths’ joy by connecting them with the past in ways that foster truth-telling, communal and personal identity formation, agency, lament, and a vital life of faith and hope.    
May 5 - 6 
Andover Newton Theological School,
Newton Center
Nine-hour workshop led by the Rev. Dr. Donna Schaper.  
May 10 - 11
Edwards House Meeting & Retreat Center,
Framingham, MA
Training is based on the National Disaster Interfaith Network Disaster Spiritual Care training course, which trains and credentials faith leaders, spiritual care providers and institutional  chaplains to volunteer as disaster chaplains or spiritual care workers in mass-care settings, or to serve their house of worship or local community during times of crisis.
May 13, 2017 at 9:00 AM to 1:00 PM
Rocky Hill Congregational Church
Jessica Steytler, librarian with the Congregational Library in Boston, will present a workshop on Archives 101. 
May 16 - 18
Miramar Retreat and Conference Center, D uxbury, MA
Singing God’s Song in Uncertain Times; R enewing our Bodies & Souls - Listening to our Muse;  elebrating Our Lives as Sisters in Ministry   
May 22 - 24
Hartford Seminary, Hartford, CT
An opportunity for religious leaders to engage as communities of “moral deliberation,” to reflect and offer up practical opportunities for engagement in the public sphere.
July 9 - 12
Simmons College, Boston, MA
This biannual conference seeks to nourish, inspire, and sustain church musicians.    
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