PLEASE NOTE: if you unsubscribe from this email you will no longer receive any communications from the Illinois Conference - including bereavement messages, event notices, and more.

Faithful Fridays

Friday, November 17, 2023

Advent Resources

The United Church of Christ recently published an article with several resources for Advent. You can read the full article here. In the article you will find a plethora of resources for churches, pastors, and lay leaders. This includes a new "Advent Unwrapped" resource, an Advent theme song titled "Memory," Worship Ways liturgies and Sermon Seeds, Nurture for the Soul webinars, Join the Movement's Abolition Advent Calendar, devotionals and more. Excerpts from the article can be found below.

Article by Renee DeLuca | Published on Nov 14, 2023

This year, the UCC is collaborating with the United Church of Canada on “Advent Unwrapped” — resources for local churches, small groups and individuals to experience Advent as a season of reflection and anticipation.

For the second consecutive year, UCC/Baptist pastor the Rev. Mia M. McClain has been commissioned to write a new Advent-oriented song, with an accompanying music video. This offering, titled “Memory,” speaks of hope from remembering, God’s abiding presence, and the promise that God is doing a new thing.

McClain will also author the UCC Worship Ways liturgies for Advent and guest reflect for Sermon Seeds for the Second Sunday of Advent. The overall theme is “Tear Open the Heavens,” inspired by Isaiah 64:1. The roadmap for the full Advent season may be found here.

four-week webinar series from Nurture the Soul will delve deep into the Advent story, from escaping the violence of Herod to journeying through the desert to being left outside to give birth. Hosted by UCC’s Faith INFO team leader, the Rev. Tracy Howe, the series will feature guests from across the National Setting and local church pastors around the country.

Join the Movement will be offering an Abolition Advent Calendar once again this year. This year’s theme is “Freedom for All Bodies.” Sign up to receive these daily offerings here or access them on the Join the Movement website.

Read the Full Article Here

Boundary Awareness Training

Tuesday, January 23, 1:00-3:00 PM


This training is the first offering in 2024 and will take place via Zoom. Due to the low registration and need to cancel November's training, this will again be based on the book Sustaining Ministry: Foundations and Practices for Serving Faithfully by Sondra Wheeler. In order to register, you must read the book and submit a short 1-2 page reflection. Email your reflection to Naomi in the Conference Office to be registered for the training. If you have any questions, please contact the Conference Office.

Transgender Day of Remembrance

Monday, November 20th, 6:00 PM

Each year, the Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDOR) creates space to grieve and honor the memory of trans siblings lost to violence. To mark this day, the United Church of Christ will host a vigil to collectively hold space for honoring and remembering the names of trans siblings - those known and unknown — who have been lost.

The special event from Gender and Sexuality Justice Ministries (GSJM) will take place November 20th from 6:00-7:00 p.m. CST. A toolkit focused on building communal care for trans and non-binary siblings will be released at the vigil’s end as a guide for ongoing care and hope.

Learn More/Register Here

Giving Tuesday: Climate Justice

Giving Tuesday is November 28! The Illinois Conference will be supporting the efforts of the national setting this year and the focus of our Giving Tuesday efforts will be on raising dollars for Environmental Justice work.

The funds raised this November will allow youth and young adults from various communities to participate in Climate Hope Summer, a program that will create a coordinated network for environmental justice advocacy and action all over the country. Your Giving Tuesday donation will strengthen a growing climate justice network that prioritizes their leadership. Please help us reach our $75,000 goal. Your gift will be matched.

Learn More/Donate Here

You Can't Stop Justice

A Dialogue between Rep. Justin Pearson and the Rev. Benjamin Chavis, Jr.

In this Giving Tuesday event, two prophetic leaders will join in an online conversation about the never-ending river of justice that extends from one generation to the next. The Rev. Dr. Benjamin Chavis, Jr. coined the phrase "environmental racism" and helped lead the struggle for environmental justice, while Rep. Justin Pearson went from leading a grassroots environmental justice organization to serving as a state representative who made headlines around the world for his courageous stand in calling for commonsense gun legislation. Join us on November 28th at 1:00 p.m. CST to hear from these two leaders. Register today!


The Conference Office will be closed on Thursday, November 23rd and Friday, November 24th in honor of Thanksgiving.

Annual Christmas Fund Offering


The Christmas Fund for the Veterans of the Cross is an annual UCC offering that expresses thanks to retired and active UCC pastors and lay church workers and their families, providing direct assistance to supplement pensions, medical insurance costs, and funds to meet emergency needs. This year’s Christmas Fund theme is “Grace upon grace,” from John 1:16: “From Christ’s fullness we have all received, grace upon grace.” Join with others in the United Church of Christ to return “grace upon grace” to those who have given so much to each of us and to our churches.

Learn More Here

Blue Christmas Worship Resources


Christmas is not a joyous celebration for everyone. For some it is a reminder of the loved ones who are no longer with us. For others it is a time of year that brings financial worries. For others it can bring up difficult memories. A Blue Christmas or Longest Night Service is a quiet, contemplative service for those who struggle to navigate the holidays. These services are typically held on the longest night of the year, December 21st, but can be held any day. The Mental Health Network has put together a list of resources to help local churches hold their own Blue Christmas Worship.

Blue Christmas Resources

Manifest Love Holiday Concert Series

Lux Cantorum Chicago

Lux Cantorum Chicago nurtures an inclusive, creative community by sharing the transformative power of sacred choral music. They will share a timely message, as they present "Manifest Love" December 1, 3, and 9, 2023. Unfortunately, some are at a precipice in life and others are in chaos; some are facing minor challenges and others just feel disconnected; but these singers would like to remind you that you are loved and encourage you to find creative ways to demonstrate your love to others, whether they be family, friends, or acquaintances. Wilbert O. Watkins is their Artistic Director and Conductor, and he serves on staff at Pilgrim Congregational Church in Oak Park, Illinois. Learn more and get tickets here.

Annual Report from General Minister

Click here or on the image below to view the Annual Report from the UCC General Minister and President, the Rev. Dr. Karen Georgia Thompson. You are invited and encouraged to share this in your churches. Here is an excerpt from what she had to share with the denomination as we close out one year and prepare for the next:

"In this big tent, we find ourselves at odds sometimes. We do not always agree. Our differences seem to outweigh the similarities we share. Jesus’ prayer for his disciples is one we hold as a motto for the UCC: “that they may all be one” (John 17:21). Unity does not mean uniformity. We are called to hold the differences we bring with us and honor the differences in each other. God’s love can be the glue that holds us together." 

You are receiving this message because you are listed on our Conference email list, one of our leadership/committee email lists, or because you previously subscribed to receive our e-newsletters. PLEASE NOTE: if you unsubscribe from this email you will no longer receive any communications from the Illinois Conference - including bereavement messages, event notices and more.

This communication is made possible by your contributions to

 Our Church's Wider Mission (OCWM)

FAITHFUL FRIDAYS 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: 

Facebook  Twitter  Instagram  YouTube  Web