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Stewarding History, Writing Our Chapter, Gifting the Future

“The high priest Hilkiah said to Shaphan the secretary, ‘I have found the book of the law in the house of the Lord’…Shaphan the secretary informed the king, ‘The priest Hilkiah has given me a book.’ Shaphan then read it aloud to the king.” – 2 Kings 22:8,10
Rev. Dave Long-Higgins
Conference Minister
Dear Friends in Christ,

I wonder if you considered recently that we are each born into a story that had its beginning long before we took our first breath, and which will continue long after our last exhale upon the earth.  The truth is we are born into the formation of a chapter in a larger story of God’s unfolding creative love.  For some this chapter is short and for others it is long.  

Regardless, we did not originate the story, nor will we see its completion.  We gifted with agency and a responsibility to consent to God’s pull of love so that the Holy vision of shalom, expressed in the full flourishing of the human family and the whole creation may be realized just a bit more.
Happy New Year!

As we celebrate the beginning of a new year and all of the promise that 2023 might bring, we also engage in the age-old practice of making New Year’s resolutions.  

Some of these resolutions are of the nature of creating better personal habits: eat less fats, exercise more frequently.  Some are more ethereal: be more forgiving, become closer to God.
Tom Hathaway
Conference Moderator
Plan your Camp Sunday Worship today!
Jill Frey
Executive Director of Outdoor Ministries
That is right, it is time to plan your camp Sunday!  You might be wondering, “Why should my congregation have a Camp Sunday?”

Camp is for Everyone. There is something for all ages adults, children and youth!

Summer Camp recommendations from 2022 Parents:
o   If you are looking for a great camp that cares about kids, send them here!
o   It is a well organized camp where your kid will grow in their faith and have an amazing experience.

o   Every part of camp allows your child to grow in ways that you can’t provide at home.
No kids? Consider an adult retreat at camp.  

Here is what actual participants say:
o   A great location for activities ranging from individual reflection to group discussions. The grounds are peaceful and inviting, and the lodge was clean and comfortable.

o   The building was comfortable and the grounds are beautiful!! It was a quiet place to gather and enjoy one another's company.

o   North Church Women love to head to the Hills for rest and renewal every year. We look forward to 2023!

Click here for all the Camp Sunday Resources. Bookmark this link as additional resources may be added later. Let me know if there is something else you would like.
Jill Frey, Executive Director of Outdoor Ministries, or
1-800-282-0740 ext. 3.
Don’t forget to subscribe to the NEW Heartland Conference Podcast, Prayers and Ponderings! Stay connected over the holidays by listening to a 5-minute prayer from the Rev. Dr. David Long-Higgins, or catch the Rev. Dr. Jack Sullivan, Jr.’s sermon from the Heartland Conference Annual Gathering. Subscribe to the podcast to be the first to know when a new episode is released. Search for “Prayers and Ponderings” wherever you get your podcasts or go to to find the direct links to Prayers and Ponderings!
Friday, January 13th
1:00 pm

Want to find out more information?
Contact Hank Stonerook at

Or go to click here to visit the 
Creation Care Network page on our Website.

Thursday, January 19th
7:30 pm

Want to find out more information?
Contact Rev. Teri Lynn Stackhouse at 

 Or go to click here to visit the Mental Health and Accessibility Network page on our Website.
The Pension Boards is pleased to invite you to join their inaugural quarterly investment webinar series, entitled Investment Watch, beginning on Thursday, January 19 at 3:00 p.m. ET.

The first webinar, on January 19, will include a discussion on the Pension Boards’ decision to keep the 2023 monthly payments unchanged for the Basic and Participating annuities, despite a recent drop in stock and bond market values.
PBUCC Offers a Pre-Retirement Planning Seminar! If you are an actively-contributing Pension Boards member, 45 years of age or older, we invite you to join a Pensions Boards Financial Wellness Seminar themed “Planning for the Transition to Retirement. 
Date: Wednesday, January 25, 2023 
Time: 12:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. on EST 
Whether you are planning to retire soon or are in the middle of your career, clergy or lay, this seminar is designed to help you transition to retirement.
Jan. 25th – 7:30 - 8:30 pm
 3 Best Practices:
Set a New Year's Resolution
for Increasing Giving
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.
Click on the image to see all the upcoming webinars and to register for the January 25th session, 3 Best Practices!
Resources Now Online for UCC Health and Human Service Sunday Resources, Jan. 30, 2023
The UCC Council for Health and Human Service Ministries recently released resources for Health and Human Service Sunday, which takes place Jan. 30, the Fourth Sunday after Epiphany.

The resources include liturgical elements and prayers written by the Rev. Dr. Elyse Berry, CHHSM’s associate for advocacy and leadership development, along with suggested readings for the day, and a graphic suitable for placing in church bulletins.
Do you wish your church could provide more ministry options for older adults?
If so, plan to attend this 2-hour ZoomMeet on Thursday, Jan. 31, at 3:00 (ET) where Rev. Beth Long-Higgins, will be in conversation with a panel of church leaders who will reflect on their experiences in creating and growing ministries with older adults. You’ll learn strategies for building community, integrating older adult ministries with other church ministries, as well as developing leadership and service opportunities for older adults.
Date: Wednesday, February 1st @ 3pm
Location: Virtual via Zoom
Cost: Free
Ever wondered what you and your church could do to help prevent overdose deaths in your community? For years Ohio has consistently had one of the highest overdose death rates in the country. Last year we lost over 5,200 loved ones in Ohio to overdose. As people of faith we know that it doesn't have to be this way, but many of us are unsure of where to start in order to create the change we need. Join Minister Blyth Barnow for a one hour gathering to explore these questions, discuss possibilities for individuals and churches, including an introduction to a new Harm Reduction Curriculum which can be used during the Lenten season. 
Nollau Leadership Institute
is Open for the 2023-24 Class
The Nollau Leadership Institute is CHHSM’s 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.
The theme for the 2023 One Great Hour of Sharing 
(OGHS) offering is “It’s Time to Share,” 
based on Galatians 6:9-10 (The MSG): 

So let’s not allow ourselves to get fatigued doing good. At the right time we will harvest a good crop if we don’t give up, or quit. Right now, therefore, every time we get the chance, let us work for the benefit of all...
The apostle Paul wrote these words to the church in Galatia to exhort them to encourage each other and to be generous in caring for others. Through your collective generosity, the United Church of Christ Wider Church Ministries continues to work with both domestic and global partners to care for others: providing food, water, medicines, education, disaster recovery resources and opportunities for sustainable development to individuals and communities in crisis around the world.

Sunday, March 19, 2023, the fourth Sunday of Lent, is the recommended date for the offering. Unlike previous years, OGHS promotional materials will NOT be automatically mailed to your churches this year so that you may order only the quantities you need from UCC Resources. If you have not already received a postcard reminding you to place your orders, you will be receiving it soon.
For your newsletters and worship planning purposes, graphics, videos and other resources are already available for download on the OGHS website. Additional resources will be added soon.