the weekly emailing
Blog: Many
By The Rev. Alison J. Buttrick Patton
Pastor,  Saugatuck Congregational Church, UCC, in Westport, CT.

Here's the truth:  Achieving oneness is not as simple as it sounds - and maybe not even as desirable. We can't even contemplate the oneness of God without mixing in a little Trinitarian thinking. Yes, of course God is One. But then there's the Christ, God-in-a-Body, not to mention that hard-to-pin-down Holy Spirit. Each of these members of the Trinity has their own personality, their own job description, their own story.  Together, we say, they make One-God-in-Community.  Because we love Oneness and  we love community!  

But go ahead: try to explain this to someone who hasn't grown up in a Trinitarian tradition. Three and one? Do you mean, like a three-in-one vacuum cleaner?  Or a pudding cup with three flavors?  Or a sleep sofa with a recliner option?  It's as awkward as it sounds.  So awkward, that we need hyphens to hold all the parts together:  Three-in-one.

Still, we keep trying, because we want it both ways: Oneness and  diversity.  We want to celebrate a solo God, without getting stuck on one image of God:  Old White Man With a Beard, for example.  That creative tension is in our United Church of Christ DNA.  And as I think about it, maybe that's a good thing.  Maybe it's helpful to remember that not even God does plain old oneness without a hyphen.  Maybe it's worth remembering, as we talking about being " Together, As One ."  Three-conferences-in-one:  Three conferences, each with their own personality, their own story.  And within each conference, three times three times three times three (and so on) different faith communities, each with their own personality and their  own story.

Webinar recording, resources, available online
A recording of the pre-Annual Meeting webinar, with accompanying resources, is now available online.

The webinar was designed to give representatives from each church tips on how to spread the news about the upcoming historic Tri-Conference Annual Meeting, being held June 16 and 17 at the Connecticut Convention Center. The meeting marks the first time the Connecticut, Massachusetts and Rhode Island Conferences will hold a joint Annual Meeting.

The webinar was hosted by Wellesley Congregational Church (MA) member John Hargrave and Associate Conference Minister for Communications Tiffany Vail.

Find the recording and resources here
Sanctuary Resources, Webinar, Available
Sanctuary: Frequently Asked Questions
April 18, 2:00 - 3:00 PM
In this webinar, presented by the Insurance Boards, UCC General Counsel Heather Kimmel will address the current interest of faith communities in operating as sanctuary churches, the legal risks, and ways churches can minister to undocumented persons.

You can also find numerous related resources on the Mass. Conference Offering Sanctuary Page.
UCC calling Creation care advocates to the People's Climate March in Washington D.C.
Earth care advocates from United Church of Christ congregations around the country will be converging on Washington D.C. April 29 for the People's Climate March. The national offices are asking UCC people attending to RSVP

For those who cannot travel to Washington, sister marches are being planned including one in Boston.

Upcoming Conference events
April 8, 9:00 AM
New North Church, Hingham
What can one person or one church do about this? Come and find out at the Southeast Area Missions Committee's Spring forum.
Community of Practice Gathering for Christian Educators and Youth Leaders
April 8, 10:00 AM - Noon
Edwards House Meeting Center, Framingham
An opportunity to network and share experiences with MACUCC colleagues.

Tri Conference Specialized Ministers Event
April 22, 10:00 AM - 2:30 PM
East Woodstock Congregational Church, Woodstock, CT
This event, featuring The Rev. Stephen Boyd, UCC Minister for Specialized Ministry, is open to Specialized Ministers and those serving on Committees on Ministry in Rhode Island, Massachusetts, and Connecticut. 
Boundary Awareness Training
April 27 - 28
First Congregational Church of Billerica
Two-day boundary awareness training for clergy.

May 10 - 11
Edwards House Meeting Center, Framingham
This chaplaincy training is based on the National Disaster Interfaiths 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. 
June 7 - 8
Miramar Retreat Center, Duxbury
This overnight  retreat, led by Matt Carriker and Susie Allen, is intended for people in all stages on the spiritual path (clergy and lay).  Whether you feel like a beginner, or a long-time traveler, you will find nourishment here for your soul. 

June 16 - 17
Connecticut Convention Center, Hartford, CT 
The historic first joint Annual Meeting of the Connecticut, Massachusetts and Rhode Island conferences. With UCC General Minister & President John Dorhauer as keynote speaker.

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.  Registration now open!

Application deadline: Sat., June 10
Event: Nov. 13 - 19
Warren Conference Center, Ashland
Join author Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove in a writing workshop focused on both the craft of writing and the vocation of tending to words for the sake of faithful social change.

See more at:
CityReach: Learning First-Hand About Homelessness
CityReach is a Boston-based overnight urban outreach program for youth age 14 and up (with accompanying adults), young adults, and college students from churches of any denomination. The program gives these young people the opportunity to learn first hand about homelessness from people who have experienced it. 

Last year, in the 2015-2016 season, 18 Conference churches participated in this program, along with UCC churches from Connecticut, New Hampshire, and beyond. So far this year, 11 Massachusetts Conference UCC churches have taken part.

CityReach has been awarded a major innovation grant from Duke Divinity's Faith and Leadership program.

Registrations are currently being accepted for church groups on April 28-29, and May 12-13, the final two CityReaches of this season.

Other Events of Interest
NOHO Pride Parade
May 6, 11:00 AM
Hampton Ave.,  Northampton
Join the United Churchof Christ delegation at the Northampton Pride Parade and make known the Open and Affirming spirit of the UCC.
May 1, 6:00 PM
Church of the Pilgrimage, Plymouth, MA

"From Bricks to Mortals": A Workshop on Innovative Building Use @ Andover-Newton
May 5 - 6
Andover Newton Theological School, Newton

May 9, 11:30 AM - 1:30 PM
The Epicurean Room,  Assabet Valley Regional Technical High School, Marlborough  
May 25, 10:00 AM - 1:00 PM
South Congregational Church, Springfield

49th Annual Secretaries Gathering - Craigville
June 11 - 13
Craigville Retreat Center

Mass. Convention of Congregational Ministers Summer Barth Session for Pastors 
June 12 - 13
First Church and Parish, Dedham

July 9 - 12 
Simmons College, Boston
The Massachusetts Conference, United Church of Christ