Volume 18, No. 19 | May 11, 2022

COMMAntary
Equipping a courageous Church alive with Christ’s transforming love
Connect with the Sacred in Nature
And into the forest I go, to lose my mind and find my soul” ― John Muir 

You are invited to connect with the Sacred June 24-26 at Camp Onomia. We'll enjoy gentle hikes, bird watching, meditation, and discussion. Leave your worries at home and find your soul rhythm in natural spaces and deep conversations. Come to find reconnection for your body, mind, and soul. REGISTER

Outdoor Ministry also has summer rural immersion programs for middle and high school age youth plus family and intergenerational events. LEARN MORE
Conference News & Events
New COVID-19 Guidelines Approved for MN Conference Activities

At its meeting on May 7, the Conference Board of Directors approved a revised set of COVID-19 guidelines for Conference-sponsored events and activities. The document calls upon Conference staff to closely monitor the CDC COVID-19 Community Levels in advance of all events, and gives staff latitude to determine specific safety protocols for each event accordingly. The guidelines are not directed to local churches but are intended only for Conference-sponsored activities, Conference office life, and Conference staff interaction across the state.
 
The Board also specifically discussed protocols for the Conference’s upcoming Annual Meeting in St. Joseph June 10-11. Given increasing numbers across Minnesota at this time, and out of an abundance of care for all, in-person attendees to Annual Meeting will now be required to mask. A proof of vaccination was already being required for all registrants intending to participate in person and will also remain in place. Presenters and speakers will remove their masks when speaking, and masks will not be required when outside.
A Low-Cost Loan from the Cornerstone Fund is Just a Click Away!
 
Is your congregation considering making improvements on your building to expand ministry or increase revenue? Is it finally addressing deferred maintenance items that worsen every year? Are you ready to reduce your building’s carbon footprint and save money on utilities in the process? Can you enhance digital capabilities to maintain and grow your online community?
 
If any of these questions apply to you, then now is a good time to talk with the Cornerstone Fund about low-cost loan options that will directly improve your facility and potentially strengthen your congregation.
 
Maria Coyne, President & CEO of Cornerstone Fund, explains how her organization can help. READ MORE
Check out the Annual Meeting Workshops & Hearings

For all who are registered for the 2022 Annual Meeting of the Minnesota Conference UCC, many exciting workshops and informative hearings have been planned for Annual Meeting week. Once you are registered, you will have access to the links to all of these excellent opportunities that will take place via Zoom on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday (June 6 - 8) at various times. You are free to attend as many workshops as you want once you are registered. REGISTER TODAY and you'll be all set to attend!

Here is a list of the workshops and hearings:
  • Ministerial Standing in the MN Conference UCC
  • Ambiguous Parables: Coping Well with Uncertainty
  • Becoming a WISE Congregation for Mental Health Diversity and Accessible to ALL
  • Art Bright, a program for declining memory
  • Working Together to Eliminate Medical Debt
  • Moderator's Gathering and Training
  • Called to welcome the stranger and set the prisoner free
  • Your Churches Financial Covenant Matters!
  • Planned Giving - A Roadmap for Individuals & Churches
  • Is Your Church Struggling or Facing an Uncertain Future
  • Community/Church Based Resettlement
  • Hearing on a resolution Protecting God's Earth and Its People with Electrification
  • Church Consolidation
  • Hearing on A Resolution Supporting Public School Educators, Academic Freedom, and Equity Efforts in Schools
  • 2023 Budget Hearing
  • 2023 Compensation Guidelines Hearing

Also, please note that the Conference's board of directors approved new Covid guidelines at its May 7 meeting. READ MORE
Registration is Open

Register today for the 2022 ConNext Summit!
Plenary time will be fueled by Sara Thompsen's amazing musical leadership and Danger Boat Production's facilitation of Improv Café Conversations. Workshops are diverse and interactive. Plenty of time for rest, contemplative practices, nature, and socializing. DETAILS HERE
Clergy Care Grant Program Concludes May 31

Is your congregation still considering applying for a Clergy Care Grant? The Conference will conclude that grant program and other pandemic relief grant programs this month. Get your applications in before May 31!
Boundary Training Offered for Retired Clergy

Monday, May 9, 5:00–8:00 pm CT,
with Revs. Tara Barber and Stephen Boyd

The Committee on Ministry invites non-exempt retired clergy who are not serving consistently in interim, parish or settled ministry to consider this Boundary Training. The Subcommittee for Authorized Ministry approves this Boundary Training for Retired Clergy who are available for occasional service. This does not fill the requirement for retired clergy who serve as interims or consistently in a parish or chaplain setting.

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. Stephen Boyd and Rev. Tara Barber will offer a focused Boundary Awareness Training for those entering and living in retirement. Note - This training completes individual requirements for boundary training ONLY WHEN authorized by a local Committee on Ministry.
Strengthen the Church Special Offering is June 5

  • The Strengthen the Church (STC) special offering gives individual church members the opportunity to support local and national efforts that build up the United Church of Christ. Contributions to STC are split 50/50 between the Minnesota Conference and the national office of the United Church of Christ. in their congregations.

Strengthen the Church is one of the "5 for 5" UCC funds, along with One Great Hour of Sharing, Neighbors in Need, the Christmas Fund, and your congregation's covenantal commitment to Our Church's Wider Mission (OCWM) basic support. Resources to support generous giving to STC are available HERE.
Upcoming Conference Events
Joys & Concerns
We offer prayers for Peace UCC in Rochester, whose facility suffered significant damage from a fire on Easter night due to arson.
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.