the weekly emailing
Prayer: The Missing Ingredient in a Fight for the Environment
In the fight against a natural gas compressor station in Weymouth, environmental activists thought they had tried everything.

But one thing they were missing - prayer - may just have been the missing ingredient.

Gretchen Elmendorf, Pastor of the East Weymouth Congregational Church, says the story began two and half years ago, when Massachusetts Conference Climate Justice Intern Patrick Cage called her office and asked if she might be interested in joining with other churches to work against a compressor in Weymouth.

"I said that sounds great, I sent out an email, and I forgot about it," she said. "But you know how God doesn't knock on your door only once?"

Connecting Children with Nature

What does poison ivy look like?  How does a compass work?  What kinds of animals live in the woods in Framingham?  Twenty-six sixth graders from Kennedy Middle School in Natick explored these questions and more during  an off-season visit to Pilgrim Day Camp this spring.

Many Kennedy School sixth graders attend a three-day outdoor education program in New Hampshire.  However,  there are some for whom a two-night overnight out of state is not the best first step into outdoor living.  For these students, Pilgrim Day Camp offered two days of nature study and team-building within easy commuting distance of home. 
Culture Eats Strategy for Breakfast: Why Coaching is a Transformative Edge for Your Church
By the Rev. Todd Weir
Senior Pastor, First Churches of Northampton

"Please do not laminate our new vision statement and put it on the wall," a member quipped as we completed our work on defining who we are. She had seen too many statements and strategic plans come and go, while working as a non-profit leader. They hang powerless on the wall like a "No Smoking" or "Exit" sign.  Too often churches invest a year or more in clarifying purpose and developing a strategy for growth and change, only to see the wheels fall off during implementation. In stunning research by the Harvard Business School, 83% of strategic plans fail to be fully implemented. You would think new strategies have at least a 50/50 chance!
What happens to our carefully laid plans?  A major reason for disappointment is that organizations fail to deal with their culture, which is not in alignment with the new plan. Culture eats strategy for breakfast!  Culture is that intangible mix of attitudes, behaviors, history, standard operating procedures, assumptions and "the way we do things around here."  It is mostly unnamed, but you know it when you see it.

Making it Real: Video Looks at New Initiative 

Making It Real video
Making It Real video
The Making It Real Campaign is an invitation to be invited. The invitation is extended to local churches by Association leaders. The topic for discussion/conversation and connection is the clarity of each church's mission and purpose in their communities. Learn more by watching the new video or visiting
Featured Events
The Changing 21st Century Sunday School
Monday, July 24 - Monday, August 14, 2017
A three-week, online course exploring ways to handle the challenges of the 21st century Sunday school such as declining enrollment, erratic attendance, competition with other activities, lack of volunteers, and budget cuts. We'll also talk about the possibility of doing Sunday school a different way or at a different time.
Instructor: Debbie Kolacki
Upcoming Conference events
Aug. 10, 7:00 to 8:00 PM
Online Webinar
Do you need a crash course in how to kick off your Christian Education programs? Join us as we discuss an effective schedule for communications, programming, staffing, facility maintenance, and administrative duties.

Make It Plain: Authorizing Ministry for the 21st Century
Sept. 8 - 9
Sheraton Hotel & Conference Center, Framingham, MA

One of four events being held across the UCC to which Committees on Ministry, authorized ministers, and members of the UCC who are interested in the proposed changes to the UCC Manual on Ministry are invited to take part.

Sept. 21, at 11:00 AM to 2:00 PM
Edwards House Meeting Center, Framingham
All clergy who have joined the conference within the last year, or were unable to attend last year, are invited to attend and meet fellow clergy.
Sept. 27-29; Nov. 8-10, Jan. 3-5
Trinity United Methodist Church, Springfield
Tending the Fire helps clergy "think systems" in their congregations and their personal lives, so they can lead change that lasts. Participants must attend all three retreats.

Boundary Awareness Training
October 4 - 5
Pakachoag Church, Auburn
Level 1 Boundary Awareness Training (BAT) for anyone that needs to complete this requirement. 

Nov. 9 - 11
Craigville Camp & Conference Center
Two day retreat intended for youth grades six and up. This is not a confirmation retreat.

See more at:

The Rev. DaVita McCallister called 
to First Congregational UCC, Somerville as Pastor
Effective: July 17, 2017 

Other Events of Interest
Aug. 25 - 27
First Congregational Church of Milton
A two-day training event to equip pastors and lay leaders with skills that help them to reduce anxiety in their interpersonal relationships, thus allowing congregations to function in healthier ways.
Oct. 15, 1:30 to 5:30 PM
First Church of Christ in Longmeadow
Clergy, lay leaders, building & creation care committee members invited to attend sponsored by Mass. Interfaith Power & Light.
The Massachusetts Conference, United Church of Christ