Volume 17, No. 35 | September 8, 2021

Equipping a courageous Church alive with Christ’s transforming love
The Damascus Project Offers Unique Opportunity for Creativity, Spirituality, and Justice Work
Friday, October 22, 10 am–noon
Saturday, October 23, 10 am–noon and 1–3 pm; all times Central
Cost: $65

Are you seeking inspiration and creative renewal? Writer and composer Amanda Udis-Kessler's virtual workshop “Grit and Grace: Creativity, Spirituality, and Justice Work” is an ideal opportunity for clergy, lay leaders, and all people of faith.

Workshop time will include conversations, individual exercises, pair and small-group discussions, and creative opportunities supported with spiritual grounding practices. During the workshop as well as the two weeks before and after, participants will build supportive community through conversations about creativity.

Optional-use pre-workshop materials will include essays on various ways of thinking about creativity, covering theology, sociology, ethics, spirituality, liturgy, and justice work, as well as practical writings and exercises designed to assist people with developing their creativity.

Amanda is a published and award-winning songwriter, hymnwriter, and progressive sacred music composer with a hundred original free-use hymns, songs, and rounds posted on her website. Her other writings include an academic book, sonnets, worship materials, essays for a variety of audiences, adult faith formation curricula, blog posts, college course materials, and about a hundred and fifty sermons. Amanda is a sociologist by training (PhD, Boston College, 2002), a lay ethicist by avocation, and a long-time social justice educator (primarily in church settings). She is a covenantal partner at Vista Grande Community Church UCC in Colorado Springs, Colorado, where she serves informally as composer in residence.

Conference News & Events
Minnesota Conference UCC Clergy Retreat Set for Nov 16-18

Held in November’s Wisdom
November 16, 5 pm – November 18, 11:30 am
Christ the King Retreat Center, Buffalo, MN
Registration fee: $156 (private room) or $136 (shared double room)
Limited financial assistance is available by contacting Kevin Brown via email
Gathering in-person as Minnesota Conference clergy for the first time since before the pandemic, we will pause, take time away, and listen with some of the rich, seasonal realities of November in the northern hemisphere. Those realities can welcome and hold space for us. This will be a spacious, invitational, and contemplative time with (as the weather allows) opportunities to be outside.

Proof of vaccination against COVID-19 will be required for all participants, and face masks and physical distancing will be required in some spaces throughout the event. You will find the Conference’s COVID-19 Safety Guidelines HERE. Please contact Rev. Kevin Brown, Associate Conference Minister, via email for more information and with any questions.

Retreat facilitator Rev. Dr. Martha Brunell is a seasoned spiritual director, presenter, and retreat/workshop leader who offers various programs, facilitates groups, and works with individuals of diverse backgrounds and affiliations in churches, conferences, and other communities across scattered locations.

Sacred Sites Tour Full

All slots are now taken for Rev. Jim Bear Jacob's tour of sacred Native American sites, being offered as part of the Conference’s commitment to racial justice and equity. Watch for a recap later this fall.
Power & Boundary Training

Oct 20 & 21, 9:30 am–noon

The Conference will utilize the services of LeaderWise to provide online power and boundary training on Wednesday and Thursday, October 20 & 21, from 9:30 am–noon both day. The fee is $50.

If you have questions or would like additional information, please email the Registrar for the Conference, Catherine Cejda, at catherinec@uccmn.org. To ensure that your training is recorded, please email your certificate of completion to Catherine at the same email.
Register by Sept 10 for Women's & Men's Outdoor Ministry Retreats

Women’s Wilderness Retreat: September 24–26
Take a break from the chaos and stress of daily life, and unplug into adventure! Each day will bring a different kind of adventure while we hike and paddle on the South Shore of Lake Superior. Each evening you’ll enjoy gourmet foods and beverages around the fire. 

Men’s Retreat – Overwhelmed by Life: An Invitation to Reconnect and Remember
September 24–26 (start time 4:00 pm, end time 11 am)
Join other men from around the Minnesota Conference for a weekend to pause amid the chaos and overwhelm of life. The retreat will be co-facilitated by Rev. Kevin Brown, Associate Conference Minister for Faith Formation, and Hans Peterson. LEARN MORE AND REGISTER
Anti-racism Training Offered for Ministers

Wednesdays, September 22 and 29, 5:30 to 8:30 pm
Attend at United Theological Seminary of the Twin Cities or online
Registration fee: $75
Led by Okogyeamon, co-founder of ASDIC

This Antiracism Study Dialogue Circle (ASDIC) workshop is interactive and experiential. We will explore the ways that racial dynamics play out in and about us, every day, in both personal and institutional spaces. This training is open to everyone and meets the requirement for the Minnesota Conference UCC Diversity/Anti-Racism Education for Authorized Ministers.

United Theological Seminary Offers Favorite Lecture Series

Every teacher has one — the lecture that they love the best, the one that they can literally feel in their bones when they deliver it in class. These favorite lectures will be delivered on Zoom.

Coming up: "Benedictine Spirituality Outside the Cloister" with Interim UTS President Molly T. Marshall on September 23. REGISTER HERE
Access to The Ministry Lab's Free Worship Services Ends Sept 19

Access to The Ministry Lab's three free worship services will be closing after Sunday, September 19, so we can honor our copyright agreements with contributors. Now is the time to take advantage! If you are interested in new services, please contact The Ministry Lab with what would be most helpful to you and your congregation.
National Setting Address Change

All OCWM gifts and gifts to the other four special mission offerings should still be sent to the Minnesota Conference office at 122 W Franklin Avenue, Suite 323, Minneapolis MN 55404. We will forward your gifts, including 34.75% of OCWM receipts, to the national office. For all other directed gifted to the national setting, use this new address:

United Church of Christ
PO BOX 71957
Cleveland, Ohio 44194
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.