January 2023 E-Newsletter
2022 Donation Deadline - January 10

Please ensure that all donations are received by/before Tuesday, January 10th if you want them to be included with your 2022 giving. You can mail your donation (along with the remittance form) to the bank lockbox or make a donation online using the using the respective buttons below. If you have questions, please call the Conference Office Monday-Friday between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. (708-344-4470).
2023 Yearbook Instructions
United Church of Christ

Once again it is time to submit information for your church to the UCC Yearbook. The Conference office is doing a BIG push to have our churches submit their yearly information. Unfortunately, our Conference is one of the lowest in participation across the denomination. In case you were unaware:
  1. Your church's 501(c)3 status is dependent on a current updated listing in the UCC Yearbook.
  2. When your church is searching for a Pastor you will need current and updated data which comes from the UCC Yearbook. If no reports have been submitted for your church for five (5) years, all data reverts to zeros. 

Linked below are documents from the National UCC office to help you get started:

  • January 4, 2023 - Data Hub opens for churches at NOON (Eastern Time)
  • March 1, 2023 - Data Hub closes for churches at MIDNIGHT (Eastern Time)

Thank you for all your hard work in collecting and reporting. Your participation is the ONLY way our records are kept up-to-date. If you need help, please contact Naomi in the Conference Office (708-344-4470).
The Search for a New ACM begins!

The Illinois Conference has officially posted the position of Associate Conference Minister for Pastoral Transitions and the search for our new ACM is underway. You can find the position posting on the UCC Ministry Opportunities Job Board under Wider Church - UCC Conferences and National Setting, or by simply clicking here.
Gratitude for 2022 and Hope for 2023
IL Conference Stewardship Committee

"The Lord said, see if I will not open the windows of heaven for you. I will pour out a blessing so great you won’t have enough room to take it in!” - Malachi 3:10

When God made the proclamation recorded by the prophet Malachi, it was presented as a conditional statement - IF the people gave to God the loyalty God deserved, THEN they would be blessed. But over time, whether people complied or not, God in loving mercy granted a “blessing so great.” God opened the windows of heaven and sent a Savior. Even though the Savior’s love comes unconditionally, it is given according to the same IF. God’s gift at Christmas does not come with strings. Instead, it comes with the stipulation: be true to God and to God’s commitments if God is open to the opportunity for hope and new life. God’s window is not the only one to open. Now is the time to throw open our window and share the light which has shined into our hearts. In this new year to offer the first fruits of God’s blessings. We are enlightened to enlighten others. Proclaiming Jesus Christ to the world by shining his love from the window of our hearts is one way to be true to God.

We, the Stewardship Committee, wish to extend a sacred thank you to all of the churches who have completed their generous giving to OCWM and the other four special offerings for 2022. If you haven’t forwarded your gifts for 2022 to the Illinois Conference UCC please do so by January 10, 2023.
CMA Justice & Witness 2022 Recap

The work of the church gets done with the help of many hands. Brother Daryle Brown serves as new Chair of the Justice and Witness Ministry Team of the Chicago Metropolitan Association. I am grateful for partnership with vice-chair, Nancy Heil, who steadfastly supported and often guided me as the JWMT leader. Her report summarizes our activities during 2021-22. Across the five associations that make up the Illinois conference, the ongoing work for justice focuses on divergent issues which affect rural, suburban, and urban contexts for ministry. As a country girl, I seek to build bridges across the state. We gain strength as we work together in witness to Christ’s gospel. The UCC Statement of Faith reminds us that Jesus…shared our common lot and we can rely on God for courage in the struggle for justice and peace.  

Grace and Peace,
Harriet Cavanah Dart
To all that have donated, thank you!
As of the start of this week, January 2nd, we are closing the gap at 92% of this year’s fundraising goal. Your involvement can keep our guests “soaring” to discover God’s Grace, as every dollar is sincerely needed and is truly, deeply, appreciated! Please, prayerfully consider a donation to our General Fund to help us meet 100% of our goal!
Upcoming Events
The Importance of Continuing Education in Sex Ed
Wednesday, January 5 @ 11 AM CST
Our Whole Lives

Join us for a conversation with Dr. Tanya Bass, Founder of the NC Sexual Health Conference and Training, LLC, who will share her research on sex educators and continuing education. Register online here.
Dancing in the Darkness Webinar
Thursday, January 5 @ 2:30 PM CST
United Church of Christ

Join Rev. Traci Blackmon as she interviews Rev. Dr. Otis Moss III on his newest book, "Dancing in the Darkness", a life-affirming guide to the practical, political, and spiritual challenges of our day. They will discuss how to practice spiritual resistance by combining justice and love while drawing on the teachings of Dr. King, Howard Thurman, sacred scripture, southern wisdom, global spiritual traditions, Black culture, and their own personal experiences. Register online here.
What is a Sustainable Economy Webinar
Wednesday, January 11 @ 12 PM CST
United Church of Christ

Our present economic system is a train barreling toward increasing environmental disaster, but what would a sustainable economy look like? To answer this question from a place of faith and values entails prioritizing matters of equity, justice, and the common good. To help us cast an alternative vision for our economy, this webinar will feature Edith Rasell who recently authored the book, "The Way of Abundance: Economic Justice in Scripture and Society." The webinar will be on Wednesday, January 11th at 1 p.m. ET/12 p.m. CT. Register for this webinar to learn more!
3 Best Practices Stewardship Webinar
Wednesday, January 25 @ 6:30 PM CST
United Church of Christ

Lee Gagen will discuss the three practices most likely to increase giving in a local congregation: teaching about generosity, pastoral leadership, and online giving options. The webinar will examine why these practices matter and discuss how to implement them in a congregation. Register online here.
Rural Ministries National Gathering
February 9-11, Virtual
United Church of Christ

SAVE THE DATE! The Coalition for UCC Rural Ministries presents "Nourishing the Seeds of Faith" (Isaiah 55:10-11) - a virtual national gathering of rural/small town churches and ministries in the United Church of Christ. This is event is hosted by Faith INFO (Faith Education, Innovation & Formation) and the Justice & Local Church Ministry of the UCC. For more information email Rev. Roberto Ochoa. Registration will open in January 2023. Click here to download the Save the Date flyer.
December Calendar at a Glance
Ordinations, Installations, Ecclesiastical Councils & More
Jan 22: Installation of Rev. Elizabeth Hartung. 3:00 p.m. at Yorkville Congregational United Church of Christ. Fox Valley Association.
Events in the Illinois Conference & Beyond
Jan 4: Our Whole Lives Webinar. 11:00 a.m. CST via Zoom.
Jan 5: Dancing in the Darkness Webinar. 2:30 p.m. CST via Zoom.
Jan 11: What is a Sustainable Economy Webinar. 12:00 p.m. CST via Zoom.
Jan 16: CRS Chicago Community Conversation. 1:00-3:30 p.m.
Jan 16: Conference office CLOSED in observance of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.
Jan 25: Stewardship 3 Best Practices Webinar. 6:30 p.m. via Zoom.
Conference and Association Committee Meetings
Jan 5: PA Committee on Ministry. 9:00 a.m. via Zoom.
Jan 11: Outdoor Ministry Committee. 9:30 a.m. via Zoom.
Jan 12: FVA Committee on Ministry. 9:00 a.m. via Zoom.
Jan 12: CMA Church & Ministry. 12:00 p.m. via Zoom.
Jan 17: FAB Committee Meeting. 9:00 a.m. via Zoom.
Jan 17: Western Committee on Ministry. 9:00 a.m. via Zoom.
Jan 18: EA Committee on Ministry. 9:30 a.m. via Zoom.
Jan 20-21: Conference Council Retreat. 12:00 p.m. - 12:00 p.m. at Pilgrim Park.
Employment, Education, & Resources
Employment Opportunities
Notice from Faith Community UCC of Bensenville: Immediate need for substitute organist/pianist beginning January 15 for 10:00 a.m. Sunday worship while we search for a permanent candidate. Substitute may be considered for the permanent position. Please contact Pastor Gregory Sabetta by email gbsabetta@me.com or phone Robin Smith in the office at 630-766-1141.

Ministerial opportunities within the United Church of Christ.

Recently Added Lay Employment Opportunities:

Chicago, A Just Harvest seeks Operations Assistant/Bookkeeper

NEW! Chicago, Bryn Mawr Community Church seeks PT Administrative Assistant

Elmhurst, Bethel UCC seeks PT Dir. of Children/Youth Ministries

Grayslake, United Protestant Church seeks PT Music Director

For a list of current open positions with the National UCC click here.

For more lay employment opportunity postings, click here.

Please let us know if you have a job opening you would like to share,
and also update us once the position is filled. Contact Sarah Lohrbach.
2022 Statistical Profile
UCC Center for Analytics, Research & Development, and Data

CARDD is pleased to announce that the 2022 Statistical Profile is now available! The Profile can be downloaded either as a PDF or PowerPoint by clicking here. Thank you for all of the work that you, your Conference offices, and your congregations do to contribute the data for these analyses!
Nollau Leadership Institute
Council for Health & Human Service Ministries

The Nollau Leadership Institute is the Council for Health and Human Service Ministries' (CHHSM) signature program with more than 250 attendees in its 20+ years. Grounded in the health and human service organizations of the United Church of Christ, this program offers a unique space in which to experience leadership formation. Each year, Nollau brings together a community of leaders committed to creating a just, caring, and compassionate world. Such values deepen during the program, as participants grow in their leadership skills from a place of belonging. Cultivating this connection between others, the world, and within themselves is the heart of the Nollau experience.

Through in-person retreats, online interactions, and peer mentoring, Nollau provides leadership formation through a variety of learning modalities and within a community of practice. Small group work, journaling, art, embodiment, and spiritual practices are all part of the program alongside the interactive didactic sessions. The program culminates with a capstone project and consecration as a Diakonal Minister at the CHHSM Annual Gathering. Learn more and apply here.
Trinity Leadership Fellows

Trinity Church Wall Street, an Episcopal parish in New York City, invites you to apply to be a Trinity Leadership Fellow and join a diverse cohort of emerging leaders on a two-year journey of faith-inspired, values-driven, and community-oriented learning and mentorship. The Trinity Leadership Fellows Program is for individuals seeking to deepen the mindsets and skills needed to effectively lead organizations and serve communities in contemporary society, while also building lifelong supporting peer and mentoring relationships.

This non-residential, free program will prepare professional and community leaders who are people of faith, as well as ordained leaders across faith traditions with the mindsets and practical skills they need to energize and empower their congregations and communities in ways that heal divides and disrupt injustice. The experience will offer fellows an opportunity to learn from leading scholars, experts in the field, and mentors interconnected through their faith and Trinity’s core values. Fellows will build life-changing relationships with like-minded peers who share the passion for faith-driven leadership that produces positive change in our world. Learn more and apply here.
Health & Human Service Sunday

The UCC Council for Health and Human Service Ministries recently released resources for Health and Human Service Sunday, which takes place Jan. 29, the Fourth Sunday after Epiphany. The resources provide a means for CHHSM members and friends to bring the message of serving leadership and support for essential workers to their local churches. Included in this year’s resources are liturgical elements and prayers, including a special “Meditation for Mental Health,” written by the Rev. Dr. Elyse Berry, CHHSM’s associate for advocacy and leadership development. In addition to the mental health meditation is a “Beatitudes for Essential Workers,” also created by Berry.

Pathways Theological Education Courses

PATHWAYS Theological Education, Inc., invites you to explore its Progressive Christian theological education courses. Through the website you can connect with the Registrar about your interests and questions. Courses announced to date for Winter I Term (January 2023) include: UCC History and Polity, and a new Clinical Pastoral Education for Urban Settings. To view the PATHWAYS core three-level curriculum for ministerial preparation, leadership development and continuing education, go to the Ministerial Preparation page on the PATHWAYS website. To express an interest and explore further what courses may be available for the Winter I Term, please email the Registrar, Melissa Ashmore (registrar@pathwaystheological.org) for a conversation about your interests and needs.
Advocate Health Care
Advocate Aurora Health Care

Safely Reopening Our Doors Toolkit

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Address for printed newsletters: Illinois Conference UCC, 1840 Westchester Blvd., Suite 200, Westchester, IL 60154. Electronic newsletters: Please add Sarah Lohrbach at SarahLohrbach@ilucc.org to your church’s mailing list.
THE ILLINOIS CONFERENCE UCC E-NEWSLETTER is published by the Illinois Conference of the United Church of Christ, 1840 Westchester Blvd., Suite 200, Westchester, IL 60154. The Rev. Molly Carlson, Conference Minister; Sarah Lohrbach, Editor. Copy may be sent to: SarahLohrbach@ilucc.org. 
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Illinois Conference of the United Church of Christ | (708) 344-4470
1840 Westchester Blvd., Suite 200, Westchester, IL 60154