Volume 18, No. 28 | August 3, 2022

Equipping a courageous Church alive with Christ’s transforming love
FourTHursday Returns with Line-up of Wonderful Guest Speakers & Presenter
Join In-Person or Online
August 25 | September 22 | October 27
Lunch: 11:30 am | Community Conversation/Resourcing: 12:00-1:00 pm
Please join us for one of the exciting upcoming FourTHursday gatherings. We have lined-up wonderful guest speakers and presenters for the fall sessions. They will spark generative conversations and creative collaborations as we imagine together new and relevant ways to nurture the spirituality and faith of children, youth, and parents, and to foster greater engagement in the work of justice, healing, and transformation in our broader community and world.
Here is sneak peek at the upcoming topics:
August 25 – 2023 Youth Faith Formation & Outdoor Ministry Programs
Rev. Kevin Brown and Rev. Sheri Nelson will share details about youth Conference-organized trips and programs planned for 2023. Come learn details about the senior high youth trip to Washington, D.C., Youth @ Synod, middle school summer programs, Conference youth gatherings, and family retreat opportunities. Bring your questions and ideas.
September 22 – Caring for Gen-Z in a Post Pandemic World
For many young people, there is no normal to return to after the pandemic. Their entire lives have changed. Our pandemic research focused on what young people are experiencing, how they view the future and, most importantly, what you can do to support them. Dr. Josh Packard, Executive Director of Springtide Research Institute, will join our gathering via Zoom to present and lead a time for questions and conversation.
October 27 – Handing Down the Faith: Building from Parents' Views of Congregations
Professor Amy Adamczyk, Ph.D., who recently coauthored Handing Down the Faith: How Parents Pass Their Religion on to the Next Generation, will be our guest presenter. Her book draws on more than 200 interviews with parents across the United States of varied faith traditions, as well multiple surveys, to better understand how parents think about religious faith transmission. Participants will be encouraged to think about and discuss how their congregations could better support parents and religious transmission.
Registration is now open for the August FourTHursday and will be open soon for the other gatherings. Please note that registration is required for all in-person participants, with a firm registration deadline the Tuesday prior to each event. In-person participants must make a meal selection at the time registration, so that individual box lunches can be ordered in advance. Contact Rev. Kevin Brown with any questions regarding the gathering or the Conference’s COVID-19 Safety Guidelines.
Conference News & Events
Want More Heavenly Meetings?

Are your meetings boring? 
Do they last too long? 
Do you wish more people would speak up? 
Do only a few people make most of the decisions? 

If you answer “yes” to any of these questions, we invite you to experience A Taste of Heavenly Meetings for yourself. Heavenly meetings occur when everyone participates and moves through the agenda efficiently, and care, lightness and curiosity are the norm. You can get A Taste of Heavenly Meetings in one of two identical workshops: 
4:00–5:30 p.m. CT, Monday, Aug. 29 or Tuesday, Sept. 13 
Cost is $10 per participant per session. 
This 90-minute Zoom workshop will introduce three simple activities, easily adapted to your circumstances, designed to encourage participation. These activities enable groups to connect, share opinions, review progress and make decisions in a healthy and inclusive way. We’ll use them to discuss topics related to engagement and church life. 
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.”

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.
Damascus Project Courses Now Available for Registration

Is this you or someone you know?
  • You wish you knew more about the Bible.
  • You’re leading in your church but feeling overwhelmed and alone.
  • You struggle to understand who God is for you and in your life.
  • You feel like you’re the only one who longs to go deeper in faith.

The Damascus Project would love to help! Check out our fall courses for lay leaders, seekers in faith and clergy.

In Faith Foundations we:
  • Practice talking about faith and what we believe
  • Form a sacred learning community where questions are embraced
  • Dive into the world of the Old Testament
  • Explore a wide range of thoughts and language about God

The fall unit of Leadership Skills is "Leading Faith-Filled Meetings (or how to avoid meetings from hell)"
  • Help your faith community thrive
  • Build community while doing business
  • Include diverse viewpoints
  • Welcome healthy conflict
  • Lead efficient meetings with confidence

Running out of ideas for Advent programming, worship, sermons?
This course will help you prepare for the season of preparation.

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.
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
The Ministry Lab Presents Belonging: Welcome Wellbeing Series

Experiences of division, isolation, and despair are overwhelming. Belonging offers connection, encouragement, and hope. The Ministry Lab invites clergy, faith formation, worship, and other congregational leaders to join our Blue Whirl Webinar Series: Belonging: Welcome Wellbeing. Grow with coaches toward greater personal wellness; learn from therapists tools to foster intergenerational mutuality; rest with a contemplative in belonging to God; and be inspired by artists to deepen and broaden communal belonging. LEARN MORE
ConNext Summit 2022: In the Ways of Jesus

ConNext Summit 2022: In the Ways of Jesus: Gracious Idleness, Scrappy Transformation, Radical Belonging is an opportunity for clergy, faith formation leaders, volunteers and staff to process the last few years with comedy improv troupe Danger Boat Productions; strengthen collegial community led by musician Sara Thomsen; rest and renew in the beautiful Christ the King retreat center; and get inspired by ministry innovations created by neighboring communities. Find details and registration HERE. Early bird registration available through August only!
Joys & Concerns
Dennis Tooley (exempt standing) died Saturday, July 16. A celebration of his life will be held for family in September, but no church service is planned. Dennis was a Macalester College and Pacific School of Religion graduate. He served UCC churches in Aitkin and Glyndon, MN, was a chaplain at a state hospital in Rochester for many years, and worked as a licensed marriage and family therapist. He and Connie would have been married 64 years.

Rev. Marlene Whiterabbit Helgemo, a member of the Ho-Chunk Nation and leader of Indigenous communities and their ministries in the United Church of Christ, passed away peacefully July 22, surrounded by her loving family. Marlene graduated from Luther Northwestern Seminary and became the first Native American woman ordained in the Lutheran church. She held dual standing in the UCC and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. Read more.

Grace United Church of Christ in Millville invites you to the celebration of installation of Rev. Ana Wilson, M.Div., BCC as pastor on Sunday, September 11, at 2:00 pm at 300 Division Street, Millville, Minnesota. Clergy are invited to wear the stole of their choice. Masks will be available at the entrance but are not required for the in-person service. A light lunch and time of fellowship will follow the service at the Millville Valley American Legion Hall (one block east of the church). RSVP to Lesley Balcome or call or text (507-226-4193 by Friday, September 2. The service will also be available on Microsoft Teams meeting.
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.