Volume 17, No. 24 | June 23, 2021

Equipping a courageous Church alive with Christ’s transforming love
Sandy Johnson to Serve as Bridge Associate Conference Minister
The Reverend Sandy Johnson has agreed to serve as Bridge Associate Conference Minister (ACM) starting August 16 through the end of the calendar year. 

Sandy is a retired authorized minister known by many in the Minnesota Conference UCC. She was called as the Senior Minister at First UCC in Northfield, MN in 1997, serving there until 2010. She previously chaired the Committee on Ministry (2003-2006) and currently chairs the Discernment and Preparation for Authorized Ministry (DPAM) Subcommittee of the Committee on Ministry, also serving on the Executive Committee of the Committee on Ministry.

Her thorough familiarity with the Committee on Ministry and the network of relationships she already enjoys in the Minnesota Conference equip her well for the Bridge ACM role, which includes staffing the Committee on Ministry and providing care and nurture to a significant number of congregations throughout the state. 

“I’m thrilled that Sandy has agreed to come out of retirement to help us out during this short but very important bridge season in the Conference,” says Rev. Shari Prestemon, Conference Minister. “Her many gifts, her commitment to the health & vitality of all our congregations & pastoral leaders, and her joyful spirit will serve us beautifully.”

Rev. Johnson says, “As a quilt maker, I love the way that pieces of fabric that don’t look at all alike can come together to make something beautiful. That’s how I think about the Minnesota Conference. Our churches, leaders, task forces, and committees don’t look alike, but together they, too, make something very beautiful. I’m looking forward to getting better acquainted with congregations all over Minnesota. I’m glad to be a bridge to help our beloved Conference move forward.”
Rev. Johnson will follow Rev. Sheresa Simpson-Rice, whose interim ministry with the Conference will conclude July 31. The Conference is currently conducting a nationwide search for a settled Associate Conference Minister who would begin in January 2022. 
Conference News & Events
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

MNIPL– Be the Spark!: Thursday, August 5, 9:00 am – 2:00 pm
United Church of Christ, New Brighton

Organic Farm Tour: Saturday, August 7, 10:00 am- 2:00 pm
Auntie Annie’s Fields, near Northfield

Rest and Renew at Green Island: Sunday, August 8, 1:00 pm- 6:00 pm
Green Island Preserve, Wadena

Ministry Lab's Summer Worship Series Is Here

The first of our three-part Summer Worship Series includes Rev. Tyler Sit (New City Church, Minneapolis; UMC) preaching "Staying Awake: How Jesus Calls Us to Show Up for Justice"; Show Up, a video from Minneapolis-based spoken word artist Joe Davis and The Poetic Diaspora; and Awake, Awaken/Here in This Ordinary Place, a sing-along song led by local composer/musician Bret Hesla. LEARN MORE
Annual Meeting Resources Available on Conference Website

Ten workshops, an inspiring keynote speech about living in this liminal moment, a soulful report on the "State of the Conference," and, finally, stirring worship with Rev. Dr. Karen Georgia Thompson … the 2021 Annual Meeting was a whirlwind of virtual activity!

We encourage you to watch and share the all-Conference worship service and to listen to Conference Minister Rev. Shari Prestemon's State of the Conference report (see below).

Watch & Read
Associated Church in Owatonna Hosts Juneteenth Community Event

The church held the public event on its lawn to open up dialogue in the community. The evening included an orientation to Juneteenth, a summary of the original Emancipation Proclamation, and a remembrance of the 1920 lynching in Duluth.

New Anti-Racism Curriculum to Help Participants Discern Calls to Action

Reason to Have Hope: A Public Health Response to Racism — a multi-part, online, interactive, and highly adaptable course created by the Council for Health & Human Services United Church of Christ — debuts later this month. The innovative, user-friendly curriculum is geared for a group learning environment, and includes history, current events, theology, stories of resilience, and the intersections of race and social issues to help members of faith-based organizations and local churches learn from not only the material, but each other. LEARN MORE
Joys & Concerns
We celebrate the installation of Grace Anderson on June 27 at 9:30 am. Grace is being installed as Designated Pastor of First Congregational UCC in Canon Falls. We congratulate Grace and First Congregational on this important day — for their church and our Conference!
Resources & Clergy Clusters

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

  • 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.

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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.