Volume 16, No. 27 | July 8, 2020

COMMAntary
Equipping a courageous Church alive with Christ’s transforming love
"Sacred Disruptions: Standing With Jesus at the Corner of 38th & Chicago"
The Conference's webinar series, "Justice Talk to Justice Walk: Building Awareness, Strengthening Our Resolve,” continues Wednesday, July 15, with guest speakers Rev. Gary Green and Rev. Dr. Justin Tabia-Sanis , both faculty at United T heological Seminary of the Twin Cities.

They will offer a dynamic conversation about how our sacred scriptures and our theologies can help shape our responses to George Floyd’s murder and a history of racial oppression. How can we disrupt existing realities to create something new?

The webinar on July 15 from 7-8:30 pm is free but registration is required.
Rev. Traci Blackmon's Racial Justice Conversation Now Available
The Conference's webinar series on racial justice launched June 30 with an insightful conversation with Rev. Traci Blackmon , Associate General Minister of the United Church of Christ. She spoke on the topic “Where Do We Go From Here? Lessons from Ferguson & Beyond."

Click on the image to listen to Rev. Blackmon's conversation with Conference Minister Shari Prestemon.
Conference News & Information
Spice Up Your Summer with Our New Family Connections Toolkit!

The Minnesota Conference Outdoor Ministry is partnering with a team from  Danger Boat Productions  and  Doing Good Together to provide five weeks of a family-focused toolkit, a collection of at-home faith formation resources to support parents at a time when COVID-19 has interrupted the routines of daily life and altered so many summer plans. 
 
Week 1 focuses on Connecting with the Sacred in Nature and offers a fantastic collection of spiritual practices, games, activities (like how to make an insect hotel!), readings, videos and more. The toolkit is available on the Conference's website in weekly installments July 8 through August 5.
 
To receive an email with the weekly toolkit offerings, email Sandy Kellen .
UCC Churches Talk Live-Streaming

Check out what four UCC congregations have done to worship successfully online.You'll learn a lot in this brief video from Rev. Garth Schumacher (The Congregational Church, Rochester), Chris Bonhoff (Plymouth Congregational), Eli'jah Carroll (Mayflower UCC), and Lucas Cervi (St. Paul's UCC).
Calling All Lay Leaders, Spiritual Seekers, and Clergy …

Whether you are seeking personal faith development, are a lay leader seeking leadership skills, or a person considering a pastoral role in a small church that needs leadership, The Damascus Project will serve you well!

Registration is open for our affordable, relevant, high quality learning opportunities, are accessible from your living room or office and beginning in August. LEARN MORE
Remittance Form Reminder

Churches are reminded to use the updated Local Church Support Form when sending your gifts to the Conference office. This is particularly important with the various ministries that are running during these challenging times. Thank you for your cooperation.
Beloved, Love 2020 Stewardship Materials

Are you looking for fresh materials for this fall’s stewardship campaign? You are in luck! The new 2020 stewardship materials are now available from the United Church of Christ, and they are great!

The materials are based on 1 John 4:7 — Beloved, let us love one another, because love is from God; everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. They are available in print form or as a digital download and include Facebook, Twitter and Instagram graphics. FIND THE RESOURCES HERE.
Financial Assistance for Congregations from Conference and National Setting

The United Church of Christ National Setting is offering financial assistance to local churches whose ministries have been challenged by the novel coronavirus pandemic. Applications are now being accepted. See the process described here .

Applications are being accepted from Minnesota Conference UCC congregations for the Pandemic Relief Loan Program. Access the application and further details here.

Congregations may also apply for  emergency grants  to cover operating expenses, technology needs, or community ministries; grants to cover the cost of  website development ; or  counseling assistance grants  for authorized ministers.
Joys & Concerns
Matthew Orendorff will be ordained on Sunday, July 19, at 2:00 pm.  Ordained clergy in the conference are encouraged to attend the online service and wear red stoles. To RSVP and receive a Zoom link, contact  Janet Anderson  with the Minnesota Conference.

A farewell service for Rev. Sonny Graves at New Spirit UCC in Savage will be shared on Sunday, July 12.  The Minnesota Conference is grateful to Sonny for the energy of his ministry and prays that the next call brings holy challenge, joy, and peace.
 
Rev. Winston Janusz has been called as Associate Pastor at Peace United Church of Christ in Rochester . He begins his ministry this Sunday, July 12. The Minnesota Conference welcomes Winston from the Massachusetts Conference and sends blessings to him and to the congregation for fruitful and happy service to each other, the community, and God.
 
Rev. Betsy Tobak is grieving the death of her mother , who passed away on July 4, three weeks shy of her 100th birthday. Betsy will appreciate the love and prayers of the conference as she and her sisters mourn.
News & Notices
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.

Check out the  employment opportunities  portion of our website for all open positions.
Clergy Clusters
The Southeast Clergy Cluster will meet on Thursday, July 9, at 9:00 am via Zoom. Contact  Rev. Paul Bauch  at Peace Church in Rochester for a link.
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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.