Volume 19, No. 11 | March 15, 2023

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Equipping a courageous Church alive with Christ’s transforming love

Be Part of the Change: Conference Seeks Members for Anti-Racism Working Group

In the next month, the Conference will convene a special ad hoc working group (6-8 people) tasked with shaping our anti-racism work, identifying objectives and strategies to advance it. The group will meet for 90 minutes monthly, led by our Crossroads partners and staffed by Conference Minister Shari Prestemon.

Ad hoc members will:

  • Be either Authorized ministers or lay members from anywhere in the MN Conference UCC
  • Bring a personal commitment to anti-racism
  • Exhibit an openness to learning and exploring
  • Have an ability to work well with others who have different experiences and understandings
  • Have a personal faith that anchors and informs everything we do
  • Commit to one year of active participation in this group, regularly attending meetings and performing tasks in between as needed

If you’d like to learn more about participating in this way or be considered for the ad hoc group, please contact Conference Minister Shari Prestemon at sharip@uccmn.org. Help us be a courageous church!

Read more about the Conference's anti-racism work.

Conference News & Events

Last Day to Register for the Conference's Rochester Conference's Covenant Day

Saturday, March 18, 9:30 am – 3:30 pm

Congregational Church UCC, Rochester


You are invited to our third Covenant Day hosted by the Congregational Church UCC in Rochester. This is a time to gather together and be the church! Covenant Days are filled with workshops, worship, food and fellowship – a time for members, lay leaders, and clergy of local congregations to connect with one another and Conference staff.

This month we will also have a plenary panel, “When Jesus Leaves the Building: Being Church in the Community,” where we will hear from sibling congregations about their work in the community, and have a chance to share and ask questions.

All are welcome! Our workshops are designed to be of interest to clergy and lay members of the church. This is an opportunity to meet others who are being church in this time and to discuss what it means to be people of faith in a pandemic-informed world.

Calling All Annual Workshop Leaders

Workshops are always such a valuable part of our Annual Meeting. This year, all of our workshops will be in person at the College of St. Benedict during the Saturday afternoon time slot. If you are planning on sharing a workshop, please send in a form so that we can have share the information of what will be available. You can find the form for workshops as well as a wealth of other details and the registration link to attend on our Annual Meeting page.

Check Out the Recent Discussion on Mining Pollutants


The Conference's Outdoor Ministry team hosted a terrific discussion this week on mining pollutants, especially in the Boundary Waters of Minnesota. Mining pollutants have been on the forefront of Minnesota’s environmental conversations for many years. The effects on our water, habitats, and health are well documented. However, the push for copper-nickel is an urgent concern, especially from the PolyMet mine. Listen to the discussion below.

Retired Ministers Boundary Training Scheduled for March 23

Thursday, March 23, 5:00 – 8:00pm CT

Led by Rev. Tara Barber and the Rev. Stephen Boyd of the MESA Team


Maintaining healthy boundaries is challenging at any stage in ministry and it is particularly tender and difficult attending to boundaries as we transition out of our last call, and while in retirement. Using "A Sure Foundation," "The Ministerial Code," and Rev. Dr. Bruce Epperly's new book, "The Jubilee Years," Rev. Boyd and Rev. Barber will offer a focused Boundary Awareness Training for those entering and living in retirement. NOTE: The Subcommittee for Authorized Ministry of the Minnesota Conference has approved this for retired clergy who are NOT actively serving or seeking a call to serve a church full or part-time.

Mayflower UCC to Host First Annual National UCC Earth Day Summit on Saturday, April 22

"There is no greater power on Earth than Story." – Libba Bray

Plan to attend all or part of a special day filled with inspiring stories of hope!

10:00 AM - 12:30 PM CST

National UCC Summit (virtual on Zoom) featuring renowned climate activist, theologian, and author Jim Antal as the keynote speaker and a panel of expert Minnesota organizers


Saturday 1:30 - 3:00 PM CST

A program held at Mayflower Church, both in person and live-streamed; 106 E. Diamond Lake Road, Minneapolis

Music, prayer, a call to Action and a Readers’ Theatre presentation “Hope From the Front Lines," personal stories of courage and hope from rural, small town and urban Minnesota. REGISTER

One Great Hour of Sharing is March 19

The One Great Hour of Sharing special offering gives individuals in your congregation a way to respond to humanitarian and development needs here at home and around the world. One Great Hour of Sharing provides sources of clean water, food, education, health care, small business micro-credit loans, advocacy, resettlement for refugees and displaced persons, emergency relief and rehabilitation as well as disaster preparedness and response.  

There are many resources available online for churches to use to learn and support One Great Hour of Sharing:

  • Short VIDEO introduction
  • SERMON from Rev. Dr. Karen Georgia Thompson
  • Other One Great Hour of Sharing RESOURCES

FourTHursday to Focus on Trauma & Resilience

Thursday, March 23, 11:30 am (in person at United Theological Seminary) or noon (via Zoom)



Please join us for a conversation about “Trauma & Resilience” led by Amy McNicholas and Felicia Houston, both faith and mental health specialists with Advocate Health LCPC. LEARN MORE ABOUT AMY & FELICIA

Free Robes and Stoles Offered

If you are interested, please contact Lin Ziemer (Hutchinson) at 217-799-3779.

Registration Open for 2023 Adult & Intergenerational Retreats & Camps

We have an amazing line-up of adult and intergenerational camps and retreats for the summer and fall. Check them out!

Women's Retreat, September 8–10, Camp Onomia: LEARN MORE & REGISTER

Women's Wilderness Walk: From the Inside Out, September 22-24, Walking Space, Houston MN


2023 Queer Walk, September 29–Oct 1, Walking Space, Houston MN


2023 Faith Formation Leader Retreat, October 22-24, ARC Retreat Community


Bayport Day Camp, August 5, People's Park, Bayport


Mankato Day Camp, August 6, First Congregational UCC, Mankato


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 faith formation, 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.