Volume 17, No. 26 | July 7, 2021

Equipping a courageous Church alive with Christ’s transforming love
"Languages of Love": New Journey UCC Explores the Traditions of Others
"Can we be Christian and still leave room for other beliefs to be true? I believe we can. Imagine God speaking to us in a variety of languages – knowing just what each of us needs to hear to find our way to Holy Love. This is our framework for encountering world religions; Languages of Love!" 
—Rev. Jill Warner

The New Journey Congregation in Hutchinson is spending its summer learning about the faith traditions of others. "Languages of Love" is the title of the church's worship series, being led by Rev. Jill Warner.

"This series centers on whether we believe our language about God is definitive or descriptive," says Warner. "I believe God is beyond definition, so all language is descriptive. I imagine God speaking to us in a variety of languages, through a variety of world religions. Christianity just happens to be my spiritual tongue."

Each week, the New Journey congregation learns about the basic principles of a tradition. Over the course of the summer, they will explore Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Zoroastrianism, Bahá'í, Hinduism, Buddhism, Confucianism, Jainism and Sikhism. "We don't pretend to be experts," says Warner. "We understand we are just getting a small glimpse, and that every religion has great diversity." Weekly, the congregation is encouraged to visit a website of a particular tradition to get a deeper and representative look.

The series has brought new people into what Warner calls "a really cool congregation with open-minded people." Because the community of Hutchinson does not have a great deal of religious diversity, Warner says this series is especially important. "We don't just have a mosque or a temple around the corner. It felt like the right thing for us to do. Religion is one of the things that we can start to understand about one another. We've had way too much history fighting over God."
Conference News & Events
General Synod Workshops, Worship Kick Off This Week
Learn more about the plans for workshops, worship and more during this special virtual General Synod.

Worship will stream live on the United Church of Christ YouTube and Facebook channels and on GeneralSynod.org on Sunday, July 11, Wednesday, July 14, and Sunday, July 18.

And if you are ready for a little friendly competition, check out the Congregational Challenge HERE!
Summer Events with Outdoor Ministry

Join us for any or all of the one-day events we have planned in the Twin Cities and Greater Minnesota!

Senior Graduate Day: Wednesday, August 4, 9:00 am- 2:00 pm
Hidden Falls Park, St. Paul
All high school graduates from 2020 and 2021 are invited to reconnect with friends, play a few games, and share a meal.

MNIPL– Be the Spark!: Thursday, August 5, 9:00 am – 2:00 pm
United Church of Christ, New Brighton
Be the Spark is a dynamic and experiential leadership development workshop that builds community and gives participants organizing tools and strategic approaches for engaging their community of faith in climate change solutions.

Organic Farm Tour: Saturday, August 7, 10:00 am- 2:00 pm
Auntie Annie’s Fields, near Northfield
Visit a local organic farm in the Northfield area to learn what it means to run a family farm—economically, spiritually, socially—and the practical pitfalls and joys.

Rest and Renew at Green Island: Sunday, August 8, 1:00 pm- 6:00 pm
Green Island Preserve, Wadena
Experience this unique opportunity to relax and meditate on the beautifully maintained paths of this old family farm that has transitioned into an oasis for contemplation and connection with Mother Earth.

Joys & Concerns
Congratulations to Reverend Corinne Freedman Ellis and her husband Greg on the birth of their son Ori on June 22. Ori joins his excited big sister Phoebe. We give thanks for this new addition to our extended Conference family!

We celebrate the ordination of MaryBeth Harman on July 17 at 2:00 pm. MaryBeth will be serving as a hospice chaplain in the Twin Cities. The ordination service will be outside at New Spirit UCC in Savage, MN. Masks will be required. Congratulations to MaryBeth on this momentous occasion in her ministry.
Resources & Clergy Clusters

  • Send story ideas, insights and more to communications@uccmn.org. COMMAntary is published on Wednesdays; submissions are due the Monday prior to publication at noon.

  • The Conference website offers a wealth of resources related to Covid, racial justice, and more.

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This newsletter is brought to you by generous contribution to Our Church's Wider Mission.

The Minnesota Conference United Church of Christ (UCC) equips a courageous Church alive with Christ’s transforming love. Through advice, support, and resources, we strengthen the 126 congregations throughout the state to do the redemptive work of God in the world.