Volume 18, No. 22 | June 1, 2022

Equipping a courageous Church alive with Christ’s transforming love
Five Top Reasons to Attend the 2022 Annual Meeting
June 10-11
College of St. Benedict
Workshops begin June 6

#1 Keynote Speaker Diana Butler Bass
The award-winning author, popular speaker, and inspiring preacher is one of America’s most trusted commentators on religion and contemporary spirituality. Diana’s passion is sharing great ideas to change lives and the world. The title of her keynote address is “Grief & Gratitude: The Twin Spiritual Practices We Need Now." You don't want to miss her! MORE

#2 Fourteen Relevant and Inspiring Workshops
Interested in how your church can become a congregation for mental health diversity? Maybe you're interested in how your church can face an uncertain future? Or is planned giving your area of concern? Trust us; we have a workshop for you this year! SEE THE FULL LINE-UP

#3 The People!
We have been apart for far too long. It's time to come together for "Restoration and Renewal"! And remember, we have an online option if that works best for you. REGISTER HERE

#4 The Resolutions
One way the UCC shines is through our resolutions to build a more just and merciful world. This year we will consider two resolutions: Electrification and Supporting Public School Educators, Academic Freedom, and Equity Efforts in Schools. Be part of these important discussions and decisions.

#5 Slido
Wait 'til you experience this super fun app, designed to keep both virtual and in-person attendees connected and engaged. Stay tuned for details in next week's COMMAntary!

And by all means,
Conference Minister Prestemon to Take Sabbatical Leave

In keeping with the Conference sabbatical policy, Conference Minister Prestemon will be afforded sabbatical leave this summer. She will be away June 15-September 14. 

Reverend Rick Wagner, who retired as Associate Conference Minister in February 2020, will serve as sabbatical supply Conference Minister on a part-time basis during Rev. Prestemon’s sabbatical. He will provide support to the Conference staff team and will respond to needs of congregations under his specific assignment.

In order to enjoy the full Sabbath experience, Conference Minister Prestemon will not be available to Conference members and churches during her time away and will not be responding to phone calls, text messages, Facebook Messenger messages, or emails related to Conference business during this period.

We offer our Conference Minister our prayers and gratitude as she takes time apart for her spiritual renewal and rejuvenation. May God accompany her in this blessed time of Sabbath!
Conference News & Events
Faith Formation Resources to Respond to Gun Violence

In the wake of another senseless, terrible, and preventable act of gun violence that ended the lives of 19 children and two adults at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, parents and children around our country are reeling with fear, anger, and despair.

Please visit our FAITH FORMATION RESOURCES page for a variety of resources to help local congregational leaders support children, youth, families, and other members.
Local Congregations, Send Us Your Picture for Annual Meeting

The Conference Planning Worship Team is asking for each body of Christ (local church) to send in a picture of your local setting to be used in our worshipping during the Annual Meeting. Pictures of buildings are nice, but pictures of the bodies of Christ, i.e., people, are even better. Please send in a picture from this past year or take a new one with the theme of “Restoration and Renewal" to pastorgmucc@boreal.org.
And into the forest I go, to lose my mind and find my soul” ― John Muir 

Outdoor Ministry invites you to connect with the Sacred June 24-26 at Camp Onomia. We'll enjoy gentle hikes, bird watching, meditation, and discussion. Leave your worries at home and find your soul rhythm in natural spaces and deep conversations. Come to find reconnection for your body, mind, and soul. REGISTER

Outdoor Ministry also has summer rural immersion programs for middle and high school age youth plus family and intergenerational events. LEARN MORE
What Does it Mean to be the Church in Today’s Tech-Shaped Culture? 

Join with peers and colleagues to discuss Grace and Gigabytes: Being Church in a Tech-Shaped Culture in a digital book group hosted by The Damascus Project. The author, Ryan M. Panzer, highlights four cultural values influenced by today’s digital technologies. We will ask ourselves: What are the opportunities and possibilities for the church in a culture being shaped in these technologies? How might we engage these cultural values to reach a new generation?

  • June 14–July 26
  • Weekly polls and questions based on each of the 4 sections of the book for discussion within the Damascus Project’s online learning portal
  • Weekly Zoom gatherings at noon on Tuesdays June 14, 21 & 28 and July 12, 19
  • Live discussion with the author, Ryan M. Panzer, on Tue, July 26, 12:00–1:30 pm
  • $15 for the discussion group (does not include book price; visit Fortress Press and use the code PANZER30 to save 30% on the book purchase)
Make Plans Now for OWL Training

Clergy and lay leaders who plan to offer an Our Whole Lives program in their congregations are invited to three days of facilitation training August 26–28 at the Daycholah Center in Green Lake.

Our Whole Lives, or OWL, is a comprehensive human sexuality curriculum for elementary-age children through older adults, developed by the United Church of Christ and the Unitarian Universalist Association. The August training is co-sponsored by the Wisconsin and Minnesota conferences, in partnership with the national setting of the UCC.
Cost is $475 for a shared double-occupancy room, meals and training for UCC participants and $550 for non-UCC participants. A limited number of private rooms are available for $575 for UCC participants and $650 for non-UCC participants. INFO AND REGISTRATION
Facilitator training will be offered at the elementary, youth and adult levels. Each participant may participate in training for just one age level, so consider sending a team to be trained to start or expand the OWL program in your church. Registration information will be available soon. Questions? Contact Rev. Kevin Brown, Associate Conference Minister for Faith Formation.
Guidelines for Congregations on Political Action Now Available

With the election year in full swing, Local Churches of the United Church of Christ can check out these great Our Faith Our Vote resources from the United Church of Christ Office of Public Policy and Advocacy in Washington, D.C. In particular, the Guidelines for Congregations on Political Action can help congregations make informed decisions about how to be politically involved…without jeopardizing their status as tax-exempt organizations under Internal Revenue Code Section 501(c)(3). READ MORE
Upcoming Conference Events
More Resources & Opportunities

  • 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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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.