Volume 17, No. 45 | November 17, 2021

COMMAntary
Equipping a courageous Church alive with Christ’s transforming love
Conference Offers Weekly Advent, Christmas & Epiphany Family Toolkit Plus Leader Resources
Leader resources available now
Family resources posted weekly November 28–January 2
 
The season of Advent is rapidly approaching, and we are delighted to announce details for the Advent, Christmas & Epiphany family toolkit. Each weekly toolkit installment will feature a video of youth and leaders from one of our local congregations engaging in conversation and reflection on the themes and scripture text for the week. In addition to these video reflections, the toolkits provide a rich and diverse collection of at-home games, activities, book recommendations, candle lighting ritual, and service ideas for individuals and families of all ages.
 
The Leader toolkit is available now. It provides a diverse collection of resources for congregations. Check out these games, activities, and service projects for use with groups of children, youth, and intergenerational gatherings.

The themes and texts for each week are:
  • Advent 1 (Nov 28): Hope – Anna & Simeon (Luke 2:22-38)
  • Advent 2 (Dec 5): Peace – Elizabeth & Zechariah (Luke 1:1-25)
  • Advent 3 (Dec 12): Joy – Mary (Luke 1:26-38)
  • Advent 4 (Dec 19): Love – Joseph (Matthew 1:18-25)
  • Christmas (Dec 25): The Birth of Love – Shepherds (Luke 2:8-20)
  • Epiphany (Jan 6): Star Followers — Magi (Matthew 2:1-12)
                             
Please contact Rev. Sheri Nelson, Outdoor Ministry Program Director, or Rev. Kevin Brown, Associate Conference Minister of Faith Formation for Children & Youth, with any questions.
 
This curriculum and interactive content are being developed in collaboration with Keren’s Art, Doing Good Together, and The Ministry Lab.

Please contact Sandy Kellen to sign-up to receive the link to the weekly toolkit delivered to your email inbox.
Conference News & Events
Give to the Max November 18!

Thursday, November 18, is a day to express your support for the ministries of the Minnesota Conference!

Show your support by making a new or additional gift. All donations to the Minnesota Conference UCC from now until the first week of Advent will count towards the dollar-for-dollar match up to $3,000, and will be eligible for $500 Early Giving Golden Tickets awarded daily, and for the final $10,000 Super-Sized Golden Ticket awarded at the end of the big day.
 
Please give generously by sending a check to Minnesota Conference, 122 W. Franklin Avenue, Suite 323, Minneapolis, MN 55404, or by making your contribution online through our secure website platform.
Help Afghan Refugees

The Minnesota Council of Churches (MCC) continues to resettle individuals and families evacuated over the past few months from Afghanistan. Most are coming to Minnesota having been granted "humanitarian parole," which means that they won't be eligible for all the same financial and program supports as refugees.
 
MCC needs your support to meet families' direct needs and help MCC connect Afghan and refugee families to housing, schools, health care, and the community resources they need to start their lives in Minnesota. LEARN HOW TO HELP
Moving Forward From Stewardship Sunday
 
By now, many Minnesota UCC churches have completed their Fall stewardship campaign. This is an excellent time to consider how to keep touching people in your congregation about being generous. Rev. Andrew Warner, Generosity Outreach Officer of the UCC, has prepared a series of short videos to help your stewardship committee or church council think about the power of teaching generosity. View the playlist of videos here. I highly recommend this series to all of our churches to learn how "do stewardship" all year around!
Interested in a UCC Credit Union?
 
A 2017 General Synod Resolution identified a non-profit, member-owned credit union as a way to provide vital financial benefits to the UCC community and to advance justice for many who need access to the products and services a credit union can provide.
 
The Pension Boards of the UCC has undertaken the challenge to create a credit union for UCC clergy, lay church workers, and local church members across the denomination. As part of the regulatory process to obtain a credit union charter from the National Credit Union Association (NCUA), a critical step is a survey to measure interest from potential credit union members like YOU.
 
 
Your answers will be held in complete confidence; none of the information you provide will ever be used to solicit you for any service. 
2021 Christmas Fund Materials Available

The Christmas Fund has been caring for active and retired clergy and lay employees of the United Church of Christ for more than 100 years, providing emergency grants, supplementation of small annuities and health premiums, and Christmas “thank you” gift checks each December to our lower-income retirees.

The suggested date for this year's Christmas Fund special offering is December 19. Christmas Fund offering envelopes will not be sent automatically to your church this year. However, you may still order offering envelopes from UCC Resources HERE.

More information on the 2021 Christmas Fund special offering is available HERE.
New Resources for Friends of Water

Good news! There's a free water/faith curriculum designed especially for the St. Paul area (and adaptable to any locale), made by community for community. You can download "Wade in the Water" for free hereInterested in learning more? Gather with others on November 18 from 10:00am-12:30 pm via Zoom to connect water and spiritual practices, enviroSTEM activities, water justice, and ecotheology. REGISTER
Register for the Winter Spiritual Immersion Retreat

January 21-23, 2022 (Friday, 6:00 pm through Sunday, 11:00 am) 
Clearwater Forest Camp and Retreat Center, Deerwood, MN
Registration closes January 14
Joys & Concerns
We celebrate the ordination of Kathy Hodges on Saturday, November 20, at 11am. Kathy has been called to serve as the pastor of FC United Church of Christ in New York Mills. Kathy previously served as the licensed minister at First Congregational UCC in Hancock. The ordination will take place at First Congregational UCC in Alexandria, where Kathy has been a member for many years. The service will be in person as well as broadcast on the church’s YouTube channel (First Congregational UCC Alexandria, MN - YouTube). Congratulations to Kathy on this momentous occasion in her ministry.

We celebrate the installation of Nancy Swanson at Mizpah UCC in Hopkins on Sunday, November 21, at 10:00 AM. Nancy will be serving as the Interim/Designated Legacy Pastor. The service will be both in-person and live-streamed via the church's YouTube channel (Mizpah UCC Hopkins - YouTube). Congratulations to Nancy and Mizpah on this important day.

We celebrate the installation of Ava Adams-Morris at Zoar UCC in Waldorf on Sunday, November 21, at 11am. Ava will be serving as their Pastor. Congratulations to Ava and Zoar on this important day.
 
A farewell service will be held for Rev. Dana Mann at First Congregational UCC in Mankato on Sunday, November 21, at 9:30 am. The service will be both in person and live-streamed. Contact the church office at (507) 387-6592 or katoucc@mankatoucc.org for a link to the stream. Rev. Judith Youngman will be serving as a Bridge Minister until an interim is chosen by the church. The Minnesota Conference wishes Dana the best in her continued ministry and gives thanks for her service.
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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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.