Volume 18, No. 33 | September 21, 2022

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Equipping a courageous Church alive with Christ’s transforming love

Circle of Trust Peer Groups Offered for Faith Leaders

"Peer groups will offer you a sacred space to explore what is alive within your life and ministry. The monthly meeting was a connection to my inner life." 

—Rev. Kelly Stone, Macalester College


If you are a leader in a faith community or other ministry context — clergy, lay staff, or volunteer — whose ministry focuses on nurturing the spiritual lives of others, this opportunity is for you.

These Circle of Trust Peer Groups will offer space for faith leaders to be nurtured and nourished within themselves and in community. This is an opportunity to refocus on what inspires and sustains you in ministry. The Circle of Trust approach is an invitation and a structure for doing our own inner work in the company of others. This series of gatherings will be held entirely online and includes both an opening retreat AND monthly small group calls. 

A Circle of Trust is a model of communal learning and integration based on the work of Parker J. Palmer. Based on Quaker spiritual practices, Circles of Trust invite participants into the discipline of deep listening (to themselves and to one another). Music, poetry, movement, and multi-modal tools are used to prompt personal reflection and a connection with inner wisdom. One-on-one dialogue and small- and large-group sharing bring inner insights into the life of the gathered community.

Winton Boyd and Ellen Green, both ordained ministers in the United Church of Christ, will facilitate the groups.

Here are more testimonials from recent Circle of Trust Peer Group participants:

"I have found no other experience quite like it. Listening and being listened to with such intentionality opened parts inside me that are usually inaccessible, and I left each gathering with a profound sense of gratitude and hope." —Kara Scroggins, pastor, North Bethesda United Methodist Church, Washington, D.C.

"You may have unmet needs that you aren’t even conscious of until you experience witnessing, accompaniment and nurturing in the circle. Just awesome. I’m grateful to have been included." —Kristen Jawad, community chaplain/CPE Student, Seattle, WA

Conference News & Events

White Privilege: Let’s Talk” Reading and Racial Justice Study Group

October 18, November 15, December 13, January 10 – 6 pm to 7:30 pm

Come together to discuss the United Church of Christ’s resource for conversation and dialogue around race. As John Dorhauer, General Minister and President of the UCC, says in the introduction, “This curriculum is a concerted effort to enable allies to see with new eyes how privilege works. It aims to illuminate how white people in America, at every economic stratum and in a myriad of ways, receive privileged consideration simply because they are white…We don’t promise that this will be easy to discuss. It will challenge basic assumptions about race that help white communities maintain a system of privilege that, while prevalent, often goes unnoticed by even the best-intentioned of white advocates for justice.”

This workshop will meet over zoom for four 90-minute sessions from October through January. This will meet the standing requirement for Anti-Racism/Diversity for authorized ministers in the Minnesota Conference. To register, send an email to See Chang at comadmin@uccmn.org.

Narrative Budgets: Telling Your Story by the Numbers

A narrative budget translates the line items of a traditional budget into a story of how your congregation makes a difference in the world. It can be a helpful tool for a stewardship campaign or annual meeting. By telling the impact of our congregations, we can inspire generosity in our donors. Plan now to participate in this webinar on September 28 at 6:30 pm. REGISTER

October Covenant Day Rescheduled

Our October 8 Covenant Day will be rescheduled due to an overabundance of activity this fall season! Though we are looking forward to gathering in the Northeast region, we want to honor all that is already planned and underway. Stay tuned for the new date.

Our first Covenant Day will be November 12 in Alexandria, with worship, workshops, fellowship and fun! REGISTER

Register for the Minnesota Conference UCC Clergy Retreat

November 1-3, 2022 (Tue 5 pm – Thu 11:30 am)

Christ the King Retreat Center, Buffalo, MN

$200 private room | $170 shared double room | $100 commuter


All actively serving clergy from around the Minnesota Conference UCC are invited to come together with colleagues for a few days of renewal, rest, and reconnection. LEARN MORE

Stewardship Materials Available

Coordinated stewardship materials for your church's annual stewardship efforts are now available. "From Bread and Cup to Faith and Giving" makes the connection between our experience of God and our generosity as disciples. Materials include practical tools such as logos, commitment cards, bulletin inserts, and letters.

The materials also provide resources for preaching and teaching about stewardship throughout the year, as well as campaign guidance and calendars to assist leaders with these robust materials. Digital downloads or print materials options are available HERE.

Faith and Reproductive Choice: a Webinar for Minnesota UCC Clergy and Laity

Thursday, September 29, 7:00-8:30 pm | Free of charge | REGISTER

Many Christians struggle with the issue of abortion morality and find themselves conflicted or confused in today’s intense, polarized political environment. Others support reproductive choice politically, but still feel that abortion is shameful. This webinar invites participants to step back a bit from politics to explore positive positions on abortion in terms of biblical theology of “living beings” and pastoral concerns about people’s real lives. Led by faith leaders with time for Q&A.

Boundary Basics with Kevin and Kelly

Mark your calendars for November 29 (in person in the Twin Cities) when Associate Conference Ministers Kevin Brown and Kelly Gallagher will offer a Power and Boundary Training. Come and review the basics while learning new understandings of boundaries in this post-pandemic, media-driven world.

This Power and Boundary Training will meet the standing requirements for authorized ministers in the Minnesota Conference and will run the required five (5) hours in addition to lunch and breaks. Stay tuned for details and registration information.

Partner News & Events

Overcoming Racism Conference Registration Open

The Power of Truth Telling is the theme of this year's Overcoming Racism conference November 11-12 at Metro State University in St. Paul. The Friday keynote speaker is Hmong-American writer, filmmaker and teacher Kao Kalia Yang on "The Power of Truth in Storytelling." The Saturday keynote performers are JUSTmove (David Scherer and Joe Davis) whose performances facilitate racial justice and healing through the arts.

More information and registration HERE. Download a flyer HERE.

Leadership Center for Social Justice Partners with Anti-Racism Study Dialogue Circles for Clergy-specific Anti-Racism Workshops


Are you a clergy member looking for a way to fulfill requirements for six hours of continuing education in anti-racism? The Leadership Center for Social Justice invites you to participate in Discerning Whiteness: The Unacknowledged Barrier. These two clergy-specific workshops will be led by the Anti-Racism Study Dialogue Circles (ASDIC). Two sessions over Zoom on October 13 and October 27 from 9 am-noon CT. Cost is $90. Contact Stella Pearce at spearce@united.edu to register.

Many Voices United: Celebrating United at 60

Wednesday, September 28, 8:30 am–3:30 pm

Spend the day helping kick off United’s 60th Year! Join us for conversation, reconnection, and reminiscing. Hear updates from United’s President Molly T. Marshall, tour the new campus, and more. The day will also include time for worship with a special guest preacher and a time to honor alums who have died since we were last together. This event will be held in person and online. REGISTER

Take Care of Yourself, Be Good to Your Ministry, Enrich Your Congregation

October 16-18, Christ the King Retreat Center


Let’s get together to process what has been and move forward In the Ways of Jesus. Join colleagues at ConNext Summit 2022 for Gracious Idleness that’ll prepare you for Scrappy Transformation that will lead your congregation into Radical Belonging.

Joy & Concerns

United Protestant Church in Duluth invites you to the celebration of ordination/installation of Pastor Mitch Nelson. The worship service is Sunday, September 25, at 2:00 pm, 830 88th Avenue West Duluth, MN 55808. Masks are recommended and will be available at entrance but not required for the in person service. There are no robe or stole requirements.

Congregations, Members and Pastors of the MN Conference UCC are invited to the Closing Worship Celebration of Mizpah United Church of Christ, 412 5th Ave. North in Hopkins, MN, on Sunday morning, September 25, at 10 am. An informal luncheon with time for sharing memories will follow the service; please call the church office to make a reservation for lunch at 952-935-5509.

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.