Volume 18, No. 27 | July 20, 2022

Equipping a courageous Church alive with Christ’s transforming love
Summer 2023 Youth Trip Planned to Washington, D. C.
We are thrilled to announce a Conference-sponsored youth trip to Washington, D.C., next summer, July 21-28, 2023. The trip will be open for any youth who has completed 8th-12th grade during spring 2023.

We have been planning this type of experience since the summer of 2019, when the Conference sponsored a service-learning trip to Chicago in conjunction with the Youth @ Synod program in Milwaukee. However, the uncertainty and upheaval of the pandemic have delayed these plans. Now, we invite youth from around the Conference to make plans to travel to Washington, D. C., with us next summer.

The primary focus of the trip will be legislative advocacy on justice issues collectively chosen by the youth participants. Youth will work with staff from UCC’s office in Washington, D. C., and other faith-based groups to prepare for meetings with lawmakers and other officials. To help establish the framework for the service-learning and lobbying work, the group will visit a number of monuments, memorials, and museums, such as the Frederick Douglas National Historic Site, Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial, U.S. Holocaust Museum and Memorial, and other significant sites. We hope these experiences will reinforce the need for participants to agitate for justice and to never be silent in the face of injustice.

This experience allows multiple opportunities for youth to give voice to their passion, commitment, and outrage as they engage in open and respectful dialogue with our political leaders. These can be powerfully formative experiences for young people working to discern their unique gifts and voice through boldly speaking truth to power.

An essential part of preparing for the trip will be a for youth participants and adult companions to meet for three or four Zoom and in-person events during the winter and spring of 2023. These gatherings will help connect participants, begin the work of building trust and a sense of community, and create space for conversation for youth to name their shared lobbying priorities. Attendance for these gatherings will be a mandatory activity for anyone—youth or adult companion—planning to travel to DC.

More information regarding cost, travel logistics, activities, and detailed schedule will be available by late August 2022. Registration will open in early November 2022 and the registration deadline will be January 15, 2023.

Contact Kevin Brown, Associate Conference Minister for Faith Formation with Children & Youth, with any questions.
Conference News & Events
Music & Worship Leaders’ Retreat August 18-20 at Luther Crest

Outdoor Ministry of the MN Conference invites congregational musicians, clergy, and lay leaders to an August music retreat. Join musician and psalmist Richard Bruxvoort Cooligan and colleagues from around Minnesota for a few days of singing, music making, and rich conversations about music and worship that sustains and enlivens our souls and the soul of our communities.

There will be plenty of time to rest, create, and contemplate by the lake. The beauty of Lake Carlos and the woods surrounding Luther Crest Bible Camp will be the backdrop for our retreat. There are wonderful walking trails and views of the lake to encourage us to ponder our inner “wild spaces.”

Richard Bruxvoort Colligan is a musician, composer, teacher of the psalms and lover of puns. He serves the Olive Branch community in Rochester, MN, and lives with his family in Strawberry Point, Iowa.

Cost: $200/ person for double room; $250/ person for single room
Where: Luther Crest Bible Camp, Alexandria
When: August 18 at 6:00 pm – August 20 at 11:00 am
Register here by August 5.

If you have any questions, please contact Rev. Sheri Nelson at sherin@uccmn.org.
Mark Your Calendars for September Men's & Women's Retreats

The Minnesota Conference UCC Outdoor Ministry invites you to join the Men's Wilderness Retreat at Camp Amnicom or Women's Retreat at Camp Onamia September 9–11.

Women are also invited to the Women's Wilderness Retreat at Camp Amnicom September 23–25.
Want a Taste of Heavenly Meetings?

Do you want people to participate more in your church meetings? Would you like to gain confidence as a meeting facilitator and leader? Get a Taste of The Damascus Project's Heavenly Meetings by experiencing them for yourself! Learn and try out three easy-to-learn activities that help people connect, review progress, and make decisions quickly and consider how they might help your church balance business and community.

This highly interactive 90-minute workshop will be offered twice on Zoom:
  • Monday 8/29/22, 4:00 to 5:30 pm CDT
  • Tuesday 9/13/22, 4:00 to 5:30 pm CDT

Whether you are experienced at leading meetings or using Zoom or not, if you want to find out how church meetings can be more engaging, this workshop is for you! Cost is $10 per session, and you can come to one or both. Registration opens August 1.
You are Invited!

First Congregational UCC Church of Zumbrota invites you to the ordination of J D Haas on Sunday, July 31, at 2:00 pm, 455 East Avenue in Zumbrota, Minnesota 55992. Clergy are invited to wear the stole of their choice. Following the ordination, there will be frozen custard in the Fellowship Hall. J D promises that the ordination will be “just like” the Tournament of Roses Parade on New Year’s Day in Pasadena, California­—except shortened, in a church, without the parade, and in Minnesota, in July.
Free July 27th Stewardship Webinar on Building an Endowment
An endowment can support your congregation and its wider mission. But where do you start? This webinar will provide ideas and policies for creating and growing an endowment for your congregation. REGISTER HERE
Partner News & Events
United Seminary Scholarship Deadlines

Are you called to ministry or faith leadership? United Theological Seminary of the Twin Cities (one of the Conference's partners) equips leaders to make real, lasting change in the world. At United, you will join a community that is intentionally open, socially aware, and theologically adventurous. UTS offers on campus or online, full-time or part-time, Master of Divinity (MDiv), Master of Arts (MA), Master of Arts in Leadership (MAL), and Doctor of Ministry (DMin) degrees with 33 concentrations. LEARN MORE

Upcoming deadlines:
  • Aug 15: Apply for a guaranteed $1,000 scholarship for the fall
  • Oct 15: Spring priority deadline (receive a guaranteed $1,000 scholarship)
  • December 1: Final spring deadline
For Such a Time: To Confront, Connect, and Create at the Intersection of Race and Gender

The Antoinette Brown Society invites authorized clergywomen* to a much-anticipated hybrid gathering to honor, celebrate, and develop Clergywomen’s leadership in the United Church of Christ. The in-person retreat will take place September 27-29, 2022, in Decatur, Georgia.

The gathering will be led by Rev. Dr. Susan Thistlethwaite, Bishop Yvette Flunder, and Rev. Linda Jaramillo, Rev. Liddy Barlow, Rev. Eileen Norrington, Rev. Marty Baumer, and WomanPreach, Inc. Other leaders from our partner organizations Council for Racial and Ethnic Ministries and the African American Women in Ministry will center our conversations on leadership development and access at the place where race and gender cross.

*this invitation is expansive to include all cis and trans women as well as non-binary people comfortable in a space that centers the experiences of women.
ConNext Summit 2022

Faith Formation leaders, clergy, staff, volunteers, and all who walk with others on their spiritual journey are invited to ConNext Summit 2022: In the Ways of Jesus - Gracious Idleness, Scrappy Transformation, Radical Belonging. Find time for rest and renewal; developing and deepening friendships and colleague groups; inspiring innovations; and processing the past few years with a comedy troupe. Learn more and register HERE.

Contact your judicatory office to learn about scholarships; United Theological Seminary students attend free through the MN Conference UCC.
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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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.