Multi-Church Youth Ministry Started in New Haven Area
By Drew Page
News and Media Editor

Four Connecticut UCC churches are engaged in an interdependent project to create a new youth ministry program for the youth of their churches. Spring Glen UCC, in Hamden, North Haven Congregational Church, Church of the Redeemer and United Church on the Green, both in New Haven, have joined resources to create a multi-church confirmation class and youth group.
 
“We are trying this radical experience in ministry,” said the Rev. Jack Davidson, pastor of Spring Glen. “We don’t even have a name yet.”

“We’re doing this to serve our own kids,” he said, “but we’re also trying to figure out a new model for ministry in the modern era of lesser resources and attendance. In this model, there is an answer for the church of the future.”

CTUCC/Gyeonggi Partnership Delegates Travel To Korea
Ten delegates from the Connecticut Conference are preparing to travel to the People’s Republic of Korea (PROK) to attend the April 24 Annual Meeting of the Gyeonggi Presbytery of the Presbyterian Church in Korea. The trip marked the 24th year of the partnership between the CT Conference and the Gyeonggi Presbytery.
 
The Connecticut Conference of the United Church of Christ formed a covenanted relationship with the Gyeonggi Presbytery in South Korea in 1994. The churches committed to build a relationship with each other, learn about each other’s culture, and grow in faith together. Delegations travel to visit the respective annual meetings of the two churches to help retain and develop this relationship, while local churches actively take part by developing individual relationships with partner churches from the Gyeonggi Presbytery.

Silver Lake Welcomes Guy Gnerre as Administrator
When you call into the Silver Lake Conference Center, you will be greeted by a new voice. Guy Gnerre started work as Administrator on March 22 and has begun learning the ropes.

“Everyone I’ve met has been so friendly and welcoming,” Gnerre said. His first weekend at camp coincided with the annual Maple Sugaring retreat for 6th through 8th graders, so he got a preview of what to expect with the summer program.

As Administrator, Gnerre is responsible for greeting guests, whether on the phone, over email, or in person. He is also the summer camp Registrar, and will guide families through the registration process, helping with selecting conferences, scholarship requests, and navigating the required forms. At Sunday check-in this summer, you will find him at Platform 9 ¾. He will also help with fundraising, communications, and other administrative tasks.

Conference Leaders to Host 5 Online Forums On New Conference Votes
Leading up to the second  Tri-Conference Annual Meeting  of the Connecticut, Massachusetts and Rhode Island conferences, Conference leaders will be hosting a series of five online forums in May and June for discussion about the upcoming votes to formally create a new, unified conference.

Delegates to the Annual Meeting, to be held June 15 - 16 at the Mass Mutual Center in Springfield will be asked to pass a a covenant agreement and a set of bylaws for the new conference and to elect a new Board of Directors.

Association Gatherings Offer Chance to Discuss the Vision for a New Conference
The Together, As One Planning Team   and the Annual Meeting Steering Committee want to ensure that everyone is informed about the Vision, Mission and Purpose of the proposed new, unified conference.

Team members have requested the opportunity to discuss the Vision at upcoming Association gatherings in the Connecticut and Massachusetts. conferences.

Racial Justice Podcasts Available Today!
By TJ Harper
Racial Justice Associate
 
There are times when voices outside of congregations, associations, and the Conference can have a different perspective and shed new light on the call to racial justice. 
 
Thus far, we have two podcasts available with two experts in the realm of racial justice. We hope that you tune in for these conversations to hear about the stories of these two leaders in academia and the faith context. Please, listen to these podcasts individually or within your congregations; spread the word; and share any helpful insights.

Many Voices, One Mission: You Can't Go Back
By the Rev. Don Remick
Associate Conference Minister in the Massachusetts Conference, UCC
 
There are lessons we keep learning over and over. In my work with churches around visioning and vitality I talk about the goal of becoming healthy, faithful and effective in that changing landscape of ministry.  We explore how essential it is to understand the fundamental "WHY" of the church which comes to them from God.
 
And then I attended the funeral for Tiffany Vail's father: Robert Vail.  The pastor and folks from the church shared sweet, funny, touching stories from his life and faith. And I was reminded that in every church there are and have always been people who just get this. 

 

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:
So, What's Changed

By Rev. Max Grant
Senior Pastor, Second Congregational Church of Greenwich.

In the days after his resurrection, Jesus asks his disciples what they’re afraid of, and why they still doubt after the miracle that they have witnessed.
 
Surely, Easter is the proof that everything is different now. What more proof could anyone need?
 
He’s right, of course. (He is Jesus, after all.)
 
And yet, the fact of the matter is, most of us are only sort of different after Easter. And on the surface, the world and its ways are no different at all. Why should they be? Caesar believes he’s won.


 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 .
Upcoming Conference Events
April 22, 3:00 PM to 5:30 PM
Faith Congregational Church, Hartford
A dynamic worship service that will your renew your spirit. For all youth in grades 5 and up and their pastors, parents, or adult leaders. 
Registration Deadline: April 16
April 28, 9:00 AM to 3:00 PM
Mystic Congregational Church, Mystic

Theme of the day: Matt. 25:36 "I was in prison and You visited me." Rev. Gordon Bates, Laurie Blefeld (York Correctional Institution), Rev. Marilyn Kendrix, Adam Smedberg (Church World Service) and Rev. Catherine Zall (Homeless Hospitality Center of New London) will address various topics dealing with incarceration. After lunch, there will be a 90th celebration highlighted by Recognized Women and Celebrated Clergy Women. There will be a chance to meet the women who helped shape this organization. Registration is $20.00 before April 16, 2018. Registration after that date is $25.00 (cannot guarantee lunch for walk-ins). 
April 20 - 22
Silver Lake Conference Center, Sharon
A weekend of exploration and restoration with a focus on using our bodies and voices as meditation in order to arrive at deeper peace and understanding.
April 27 - 29
Silver Lake Conference Center, Sharon
Catch up with old friends, make new friends, and work hard to prepare YOUR conference center for the coming summer.  
May 1-3,
Pilgrim Pines, Swanzey, NH
This three day event gives church leaders a chance to refresh, rejuvenate and renew. Don't we all need that? Speakers:
·        The Rev. Da Vita D. McCallister
·        Dr. Pamela Shellberg
·        Rev. Emilia Halstead
May 8, 8:30 AM to 3:00 PM
Church of Christ, Congregational, Newington
Basic and Advanced Boundary Training for Clergy with advanced workshops on retirement, financial leadership, self-care, and virtual safe church boundaries.
May 18 - 20
Silver Lake Conference Center, Sharon
An intentionally diverse conference for youth in grades 9 to 12 who care about the health of their communities.
June 5, 2018 at 7:30 AM to 4:00 PM
Lyman Orchards Golf Course, Middlefield
Grab your buddies and your clubs and swing into summer with a day on the links, all while helping to support the Connecticut Conference's vital outdoor ministry. The 12th Annual Silver Lake Golf Tournament 
June 15 - 16
Mass Mutual Center, Springfield, MA
Registration is now open for the second joint Annual Meeting of the Connecticut, Massachusetts and Rhode Island conferences.
June 27 - 30
Silver Lake Conference Center, Sharon
Join fellow clergy for reflection, renewal, and worship in the woods.
Find a complete list of Conference events at: www.ctucc.org/events
Clergy Transitions

The following ministerial changes were reported to the Connecticut Conference in March 2018:

Rev. Jane Newall was called as Designated Pastor at Brooklyn Federated.
Rev. Will Sencabaugh was called as Pastor at Lebanon.
Rev. Sara Krhla was installed as Pastor at Goshen.
Rev. Carla Dietz began her term as Pastor at Norwalk United.
Rev. David Buchan began his term as Interim at South Britain.
Rev. Thea Racelis ended her term as Pastor at Middletown South.
Rev. Dr. Karen Bailey-Francois ended her term as Assoc. Pastor at Ellington.
Rev. Suzanne Personette ended her term as Interim at Middlefield Federated and began her term as Interim Pastor at First Branford.
Rev. Laura Fitzpatrick-Nager began her term as Assoc. Pastor at Old Lyme First.
Rev. Sarah Verasco ended her term as Co-Pastor at FCC Guilford.
Rev. David Colton began his term as Interim at East Haven First.
Rev. Frank Basler ended his term as Pastor at Ridgebury.
Rev. Charles J. Duey, Sr., retired Pastor, died on March 7.

Classifieds
Other Events of Interest
Registration deadline April 28

May 1 - 3, 2018
Carefree Resort and Conference Center, Carefree, AZ

Keynote Presenters are the 2017 Antoinette Brown winners Rev. Loey Powell & Rev. DaVita McCallister.
April 13, Seekonk Congregational Church, UCC, Seekonk, MA
April 14: Barrington Congregational Church, UCC, Barrington, RI 
Rev. Chris Davies from the national UCC office, along with other leaders from southern New England, will be in Rhode Island to lead four workshops and discuss exciting ministries in RI and beyond. These workshops are intended for both clergy and laity. Come for one or both days and help your church come alive.
April 20 - 23
Washington DC area
Through prayer, worship, advocacy training, and networking, we will seek policy changes that advance hope and overcome the devastating impacts of conflict, climate change and corruption on God’s people. Scholarships available for young adults - application deadline is March 2.
April 20 - 22
Portland, ME
As many churches face shrinking resources, and shift from full-time to part-time paid leadership, do we see them as markers of failure or signs of emergent opportunities? 
April 21, 2018 at 9:00 AM to 2:00 PM
Edwards House Meeting Center,
Framingham, MA
Members-in-Discernment throughout New England are invited to this event to help understand how to navigate through the entire process within the UCC.
April 22, 3:00 to 4:00 PM
First Congregational Church of Southington
The Milton and Katherine Chaffee Lecture on the Future of the Church this year will feature The Rev. Dorhauer, author, theologian and current General Minister and President of the United Church of Christ.
April 26 - 29
The United Congregational Church of Holyoke, MA
Interact with leading-edge speakers, Bart Ehrman, Deena Grant, Chung Hyun Kyung, Peter Rollins, and Carol Howard Merritt. Explore with workshop leaders, artists and musicians who see our faith traditions as part of the answer to today's polarized environment.
April 28, 9:00 AM to 3:00 PM
First Congregational Church, Meriden
UCC minister, singer/songwriter, author, and Convergence Music Project CEO Bryan Sirchio will lead a fun, heart-warming and mind-expanding day.
April 28, 1:00 to 7:00 PM
First Congregational Church, New London
One in a series of dinner parties with guests from local churches and guests from the New London Homeless Hospitality Center with a goal of building relationships across differences of economic status, culture, and race.
May 7-11
Chirst Cathedral Church, Hartford
Conflict is normal and inevitable whether in the home, school, community, church or workplace. Leaders in all walks of life often have a responsibility to help others work through their conflicts. 
May 31, 10:00 AM to 2:00 PM
Woodridge UCC, Cranston, RI
Rev Susan Cartmell, a Massachusetts Conference UCC minister and author of "Uncommon Preaching," will explore with other clergy her approach to preaching and lead participants through a step by step process to try some new approaches.
Connect with us!