Volume 16, No. 45 | November 18, 2020

COMMAntary
Equipping a courageous Church alive with Christ’s transforming love
What is Happening at our Southern Border?
The Minnesota Conference United Church of Christ Immigration Team will host the second discussion in its series on “What is Happening with Immigrants?” December 7 from 7-8:30 pm.

Three speakers will talk about what is happening at our southern border: Dora Rodriguez, an advocate and activist for migrant rights; Nellie Jo David, a member of the Hia-Ced O’odham tribe; and Dan Millis, program manager for Sierra Club Borderlands.

This is an important time in our country as President-elect Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris have pledged to reinstate Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and Temporary Protected Status (TPS), and to work toward comprehensive immigration reform. Join us December 7 to learn more. The event is free and open to all, but you must register to receive the Zoom link.
Let Us Worship in Thanksgiving
As Thanksgiving nears, we have much to be grateful for even during this challenging time for our state and nation.

The Minnesota Conference UCC staff team has prepared this Service of Thanksgiving for our members as a symbol of the Conference’s gratitude for all our clergy and congregations and the enduring faithfulness all have shown. Pastors may utilize all or part of the service in their own congregational settings, or you may enjoy the service with your own household as you wish.
 
Let us join in thanksgiving to God, who journeys with us and grants abundant grace and mercy in all seasons and circumstances. A blessed Thanksgiving to one and all!
Conference News & Info
Tomorrow's the Day — More Than Ever, Give to the Max!

Help unlock the generous challenge gift from Rev. Cindy Mueller and Rev. Dr. Jeffery Palmer, who love the ministries of the Minnesota Conference United Church of Christ, and are matching every new and lapsed donor gifts, up to $3,000.

In this restless year of pandemic, of social justice upheaval, and of supercharged politics, the Minnesota Conference has supported, encouraged, and prayed for every congregation in the state, and offered support for new ways of ministry, tools for reconciliation, and hope for all church leaders. Your support is urgently needed to maintain these ministries for all UCC churches in Minnesota. Please give Thursday, November 19!

Show your support of the Conference by giving generously!
"Practice Paying Attention – Blessing" is Topic of This Week's Toolkit for Families and Faith Formation Leaders
Barbara Brown Taylor writes: “The most ordinary things are drenched in divine possibility. Pronouncing blessings upon them is the least we can do.”

This week's tool kit focuses on the practice of blessing: slowing down, seeing the extraordinary in the ordinary, and wishing the best for all beings with sincerity and an open, generous heart. It’s a true gift that provides solace, hope and encouragement in a challenging time.

Conference Jobs

The Conference updates its Jobs page frequently. Postings include full- and part-time positions. Check out the latest postings, including a part-time Music Coordinator for Advent and Christmas at Linden Hills UCC.

In challenging times, is there a better way to prepare your sermons?

The Good News is more important than ever. That's why The Damascus Project is partnering with Backstory Preaching to offer you a roadmap to a new approach rooted in prayer and best practices. Sermon Camp is fully online, runs from January 11 to February 19, 2021, and costs $299. Questions? Contact Abby at info@the-damascus-project.org or 507-222-0194.

Resources & Financial Assistance for Congregations

  • The Conference website offers a wealth of resources related to ministry during the Covid-19 pandemic, post-election, and more. We also have a list of Advent and Christmas resources provided by folks in the MN Conference UCC. Our resources are updated frequently so check back regularly.

  • The United Church of Christ National Setting is offering financial assistance to local churches whose ministries have been challenged by the pandemic. See the process.


Joys and Concerns
Union Congregational United Church of Christ in St. Louis Park has received a grant of $18,000 from the Lilly Endowment to enable its minister, Rev. Barbara Martin, to participate in the 2020 National Clergy Renewal Program. Ministers whose congregations are awarded the grants use their time away from the demands of daily ministry to engage in reflection and renewal. Read the full press release about the grant.

Steve Sorensen died peacefully, with his wife Karen and son Todd beside him, on November 13, after being hospitalized for an extended time with a serious heart condition. Steve was a member of First Congregational Church of MN in Minneapolis and a longtime volunteer in the Conference. A service celebrating Steve's life will be held on December 12 at 1 pm, via Zoom. Please contact the First church office for the link to join the service.
 
Rev. Evalyn Carlson’s husband, Larry (Bear) Carlson, died unexpectedly November 8. Evalyn served the Minnesota Conference in Fairmont and Grand Marais. Please keep Evalyn and all who loved Larry in your prayers at a time of bewilderment and grief.  

Rev. Tara Bauer, Air Force chaplain serving at Aviano Air Base in Italy, has been promoted to the rank of Major. Congratulations, Rev. Major Bauer! 
Clergy Clusters
The Southwest Clergy Cluster will meet on Thursday, November 19, 11:30 am via Zoom. Contact Rev. Dana Mann at Mankato UCC for the link. 
News & More Resources
Check out the employment opportunities portion of our website for all open positions.

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.
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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.