Illinois Conference
United Church of Christ
April 2022, Second Edition
First and foremost, THANK YOU for supporting the mission and ministry of the Illinois Conference and the United Church of Christ through your contributions. In order to make sure these contributions are received, processed, and attributed without error or issue, please remember to:
  1. Make your check payable to "Illinois Conference" - DO NOT send checks payable to the offering name, collection, partner agency, or anything else. When these checks are received at the lockbox this can create errors and lead to the check being rejected by the bank.
  2. Use the memo line to specify what the money is for (i.e. OCWM, Strengthen the Church, Friends of the Conference, etc.).
  3. Use this remittance form to note what the check is for so that we can ensure it is properly attributed to the right account. Mail this form in along with your check to the lockbox address as noted on the form.
COVID Pastoral Note to Congregations from MESA
Rev. Tara Barber, Minister for Ministerial Support and Accountability

Dear colleagues and congregations,

Zora Neale Hurston reminds us that “there are years that ask questions and those that answer.” As we enter the third year of living with the Coronavirus, we hope to be shifting into a year that begins to answer. It has been exhausting, holding the grief, continuing to ask, how do we “do” ministry safely and well, and how do we attend to all that demands our attention. Our clergy have felt this acutely. And as the Church comes around to the end of the Lenten season, clergy are not likely to catch their breath with Omicron and the ever-changing pandemic recommendations.

This year, it is particularly important that your congregational leadership be attentive to the challenges, losses, and accommodations made in light of what everyone has experienced. It is a season where intentional time off is essential and more frequent check in conversations are recommended beyond your typical annual reviews.... 

Disaster Relief Bucket Challenge
Illinois Conference Disaster Ministries

We have a challenge from now through May 30th to assemble 500 Church World Service Emergency Cleanup Buckets. Will your church commit to assemble at least ten (10) buckets to help us meet this goal?

For more information, email our Conference Disaster Coordinator, Roger Dart at
Ministers-Employees or Independent Contractors?
Heather Kimmel, UCC General Counsel

Is your Local Church minister a W-2 employee, or an independent contractor that receives a Form 1099-NEC (nonemployment compensation) at the end of the year? Several recent inquiries to the Office of General Counsel indicate worker classification causes some confusion in Local Churches.

Most importantly, whether a minister is an independent contractor or a W-2 employee is not the choice of either the minister or the employer. It is established by law based on the circumstances of employment, and a misclassification can result in tax penalties to both the minister and the employer. Under most circumstances, a Local Church minister in the United Church of Christ is properly classified as a church employee. The Local Church, however, should not withhold FICA tax, and should provide the minister a W-2 at the end of the year. The minister should pay SECA tax on their own. A minister is not subject to automatic income tax withholding by the employer, but may elect to have income taxes withheld. Click here to read on for more information.
Active UCC Global H.O.P.E. Appeals

Register Today!
Many retreats, camp offerings and special events are happening in 2022 promising a joyful experience for all. Call Tower Hill at 269-426-3881 or Pilgrim Park at 815-447-2390 for details or visit the Outdoor Ministries website to see what is available this year.

Both Pilgrim Park and Tower Hill are also seeking summer site staff. Click on the links below to learn more. Share the postings with anyone in your circle who might be interested!

Camp Sunday Resources

The Illinois Conference Outdoor Ministry Committee put together several resources that can be used in our local churches for a “Camp Sunday” in order to promote the various camps and retreats that are happening at Pilgrim Park and Tower Hill in 2022. Click here to access our Camp Sunday webpage where you can find resources to hold a Camp Sunday in your church!
Calendar At A Glance
Ordinations, Installations, Ecclesiastical Councils & More
May 15: Installation Service for Rev. Michael Smith. 3:00 p.m. at First Congregational Church of Huntley. Fox Valley Assocation.

May 22: Ordination Service for Pamela Floyd. 3:00 p.m. at Covenant United Church of Christ in South Holland. Chicago Metropolitan Association Cluster 5.
Events in the Illinois Conference & Beyond
Apr. 20: All Conference Chat. 3:00 p.m. via Zoom. UCC Disaster Ministries - Willing to Respond.

Apr. 23: The Faith of Prophets UCC Webinar. 9:30 a.m. via Zoom. Registration is required.

Apr. 27: All Conference Chat. 3:00 p.m. via Zoom. Conference Update.

Apr. 29 - May 1: Spring Break Family Camp. Tower Hill Camp.

May 3: Clergy Boundary Awareness Training. 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. via Zoom. Registration is required. Limit of 50 participants.
Conference and Association Meetings
Apr. 18: CMA Council Meeting. 6:30 p.m. via Zoom.

Apr. 25: CMA Justice & Witness Committee Meeting. 7:00 p.m. via Zoom.

Apr. 27: Eastern Association COM Meeting. 9:30 a.m. via Zoom.

Apr. 30: Eastern Association Spring Meeting. 10:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m. via Zoom.

May 3: FAB Committee Meeting. 9:00 a.m. via Zoom.
Events and Training Opportunities
The Faith of Prophets Webinar
Saturday, April 23, 9:30 AM CST
United Church of Christ

Prophets are needed as much as ever now as our world confronts the climate crisis. Yet, we can no longer wait for others to be the prophets that were needed yesterday. We have to find the prophet in each of us. To answer the urgent call for action today, this special online Earth Week event will focus on what the Hebrew Prophets can teach us as well as what prophetic actions are currently being taken. The event will consist of three parts: an opening keynote, a panel discussion, and a suggested action for congregations to take in their own community. Even if you can’t make the scheduled times on Saturday, April 23rd, at 9:30 am for the keynote and 10:45 am CST for the panel discussion, still sign-up, and we will send you a recording. Register now!
Clergy Boundary Awareness Training
Tuesday, May 3, 9:00 AM - 3:00 PM
Illinois Conference UCC

Conference Minister Rev. Molly Carlson will be hosting the second of four Boundary Awareness Trainings in 2022. This next event will take place via Zoom on Tuesday, May 3, 2022 from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Registration is required.
The training will be capped at 50 participants. You must be present for the full duration of the training in order to receive credit. These trainings will fulfill the requirements in all five Associations of the Illinois Conference and will be based on the Ordained Minister's Code. Registration is open to both active and retired ministers.
Upcoming MESA Trainings
UCC Ministerial Excellence, Support and Authorization
Join us for a micro-retreat where we share practices and offer ways to re-commit to focusing on what matters most. We’ll be referencing The Discernment Travelogue (from UCC Resources and the book “Saying No to Say Yes” written by David C. Olson and Nancy G. Devor). In a time where we face the tension between “going back” to how it used to be and forging ahead to a new way of engaging in ministry, it will be vitally important to discern what NOs will allow us to say YES to the future God imagines. Take some time to read the book and Travelogue and join us in a retreat-style conversation.  
This training is open to ministers serving in specialized settings throughout the United Church of Christ. Serving in specialized setting requires particular attention to boundaries within the ministry setting and home church that are challenging and different from those serving as local church pastors. This training will focus on matters that relate specifically to issues that these ministers face.

*Note - This training completes individual requirements for boundary training ONLY WHEN authorized by a local Committee on Ministry.
Mental Health First Aid Training
Multiple Dates
NAMI - Metro Suburban and DuPage

NAMI Metro Suburban, NAMI DuPage and the Community Memorial Foundation are excited to offer Mental Health First Aid in LaGrange at the Community Wellness Center (4731 Willow Springs Road). A flyer for our Spring classes is attached. We have Youth and Adult classes scheduled for April, May and June all offered at no cost to participants. In celebration of Mental Health Awareness Month in May, we are holding weekly Youth Mental Health First Aid classes on Saturdays from April 30-May 20 and will be holding a drawing for a $100 Visa gift card in each class! 

Mental Health First Aid takes the fear and hesitation out of addressing someone with a mental illness by improving understanding and providing an action plan that teaches people to safely and responsibly identify and address a mental illness or substance use disorder. Register to participate here.
AUCE National Gathering
June 8-9, 2022
Association of United Church Educators

Save the Date for the AUCE National Gathering, registration opens soon!

What is hybrid faith formation? How can we do it better and in a sustainable way? How can creativity help us unlock new ideas and extend our reach? How do we care for ourselves and lead well through times of transition? Join faith formation colleagues from across the country to learn, connect, worship, and renew. Click here for descriptions of the six workshops.
Resources and More
The Strengthen the Church offering supports the expansion of ministry and growth of local UCC congregations. Click here to access the resources.
New Stewardship Materials: “From Bread and Cup to Faith and Giving”. Materials are available for purchase in the UCC Resource Store.
May is Mental Health Awareness Month. Click the links below for resources:
Break the Silence Sunday-April 24
UCC Council of Conference Ministers

During April many congregations observe Break the Silence Sunday, a day to focus on the devastating effects of sexual violence and abuse in our society and a time to offer prayers and care for survivors. The Rev. Moira Finely and a team of writers has once again created some wonderful resources. The official day for this in our UCC calendar is April 24th.  
Advocate Health Care
Advocate Aurora Health Care

Safely Reopening Our Doors Toolkit

Employment Opportunities
Ministerial opportunities within the United Church of Christ.

Recently Added Lay Employment Opportunities:

Aurora, New England Congregational Church seeks Choir Director

Chicago, A Just Harvest seeks PT Contract Fundraiser

Chicago, A Just Harvest seeks FT Organizer/Communications Coordinator

Chicago, Church World Service seeks FT Community Engagement Specialist

Downer's Grove, Advocate Aurora Health seeks Faith/Mental Health Program Specialist

Edgebrook Community Church seeks PT Church Administrator

Elmhurst, St. Peter's UCC seeks PT Office Manager

Lombard Mennonite Peace Center seeks FT Office Coordinator

Princeton, Pilgrim Park Camp seeks Summer Staff

Sawyer (MI), Tower Hill Camp seeks Summer Staff

Wheaton, St. Matthew UCC seeks PT Director of Children's Ministry

For more lay employment opportunity postings, click here.

Please let us know if you have a job opening you would like to share,
and also update us once the position is filled. Contact Sarah Lohrbach.
Church Newsletter Request
Please send us your newsletters so we can keep up with what's going on in your church.
Address for printed newsletters: Illinois Conference UCC, 1840 Westchester Blvd., Suite 200, Westchester, IL 60154. Electronic newsletters: Please add Sarah Lohrbach at to your church’s mailing list.
THE ILLINOIS CONFERENCE UCC E-NEWSLETTER is published by the Illinois Conference of the United Church of Christ, 1840 Westchester Blvd., Suite 200, Westchester, IL 60154. The Rev. Molly Carlson, Conference Minister; Sarah Lohrbach, Editor. Copy may be sent to: 
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Our Church's Wider Mission
Illinois Conference of the United Church of Christ | (708) 344-4470
1840 Westchester Blvd., Suite 200, Westchester, IL 60154