Volume 17, No. 42 | October 27, 2021

Equipping a courageous Church alive with Christ’s transforming love
Four Congregations Form Collaborative Youth Ministry
Four congregations have joined forces to launch a collaborative youth ministry. Union Congregational UCC in St. Louis Park, Edina Morningside Community Church, Linden Hills United Church of Christ in Minneapolis, and United Faith Community in Buffalo are bringing youth together for confirmation and regular social and service gatherings.
“This is an example of the gift of being in the Conference,” says Rev. Oby Ballinger, pastor of Edina Morningside. “We got connected and by coming together, we now have plenty of youth for our joint confirmation program. Leadership is shared among the churches, which helps us multiply voices and perspectives. We bring different strengths, so it’s a win for all of us.”
Leah Springer, Director of Faith Formation at Union Congregational, says the collaboration not only helps achieve a critical mass of participants but also introduces a wider variety of ideas and helps maintain strong programs when congregations are dealing with limited hours and resources. “From a leader standpoint, you don’t have responsibility for every aspect,” says Springer. “It makes for a better program overall.”
The youth are meeting twice per month and melding social time and confirmation into a holistic youth program. There are plans to introduce mentoring and other intergenerational components as the joint effort grows. “It feels really natural,” says Ballinger. “It’s just a great way for our youth to connect with others.”
Conference News & Events
Amos Task Force Seeks Input on Racial Equity Work

The Amos Task Force, appointed by the Board of the Conference last year to help advance our racial equity work, is seeking your input and wisdom to guide its planning in the coming year.

Please take a few minutes to complete a SURVEY by November 22 to help the task force get a clearer picture of the work currently being done by local churches in Minnesota. Some congregations are directly engaging in work for racial equity, while others are addressing it indirectly through various social justice programs. The Amos Task Force wants to hear what you are doing and what would help you continue or expand this work.
Winter Spiritual Immersion Retreat Planned

January 21-23, 2022 (Friday, 6:00 pm through Sunday, 11:00 am) 
Clearwater Forest Camp and Retreat Center, Deerwood, MN (you will have a warm bed in the Leaning Tree Lodge!

“Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds, that you may discern the will of the Spirit - what is good and enough.” Romans 12:2 (adapt.) 
While we often think of winter as a time of cold temperatures and shoveling snow, winter is also a time of respite and reflection. Outdoor Ministry of the Minnesota Conference invites you to experience both during our Winter Spiritual Immersion. Each day will have space for meditation, worship, conversation, good food, and plenty of free time, as we intentionally set aside the outside noises of our lives and “breathe in” the natural wonders with all our senses. 

Cost: $200 (actual price), $150 subsidized price, $100 subsidized with added scholarship, or contact Rev. Sheri Nelson for more scholarship funding 
Ages: Adult 
Limit: 20 participants. Registration closes January 14
A Message from Rev. John C. Dorhauer

The Rev. John C. Dorhauer, General Minister and President of The United Church of Christ, has prepared a very special thank you video to all Minnesota churches, in appreciation of our generous support of Our Church’s Wider Mission (OCWM). Please share this on your church website and Facebook pages!
Circle of Trust Peer Groups Rescheduled

The groups will kick off January 10, 6-8:30 pm, and January 11, 6-8 pm. They then will meet monthly (6-8 gatherings) for two hours for participants to share with each other and support each other through the use of deep listening and honest and open questions.

Grow Your Leadership Skills with The Damascus Project

Interested in learning about different leadership styles and your own? How about equipping yourself with new skills to strengthen relationships, build community, and navigate conflict? Leadership Skills is the learning experience for you! Watch the video below and register for the course, which begins in January 2022. Registration is now open.
Joys & Concerns
We celebrate the ordination of Eli’jah Carroll on November 6 at 1:30 pm. Eli’jah has been called to serve as the Associate Minister at St. Paul’s UCC in St. Paul. Some of you may also know him from his work at Mayflower Congregational Church (UCC) in Minneapolis as the Director of Faith Formation. This will be a hybrid service. The in-person worship will take place at St. Paul’s; masks are required and worshipers will sit six feet apart. Clergy are asked to wear a black robe and any stole with red in it. The Zoom component will be provided by the Bay Area Association of the Northern California-Nevada Conference, where Eli’jah is a Member in Discernment. The Zoom link is shared with their Fall Meeting; it Is not necessary to attend the meeting to watch the Ordination Service. Details and a link for registration for the Zoom can be found on the Bay Area Association Facebook page. Congratulations to Eli’jah on this momentous occasion in his ministry.
Resources & Clergy Clusters

  • 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.