Back to the Neighborhoods
Reflections on Annual Gathering
By Nikki Shaw,
Director of Communications

We came, we sang , we snacked.

That's one version of the 2019 IKC Annual Gathering: Building the Neighborhood events.

Another is we fellowshipped, we questioned, we listened.

Over the few days we spent together at the annual gathering two weeks ago, there was a tremendous, Spirit-led tension in the air. Across tables of fellowship and in the questions we asked and in the incline of our heads as we listened for answers, we carried a kind of spiritual potential energy, tensed up like a taught muscle, ready for action.

It is not the kind of tension that leads to conflict or closed fists, our muscles aren't coiled for lashing out. It's a tension we were reflected in our gathering's worship services. Opening preacher Rev. Dr. Sarah Griffith Lund called us to realize that our "help" often circumvents and disregards the ability of those with mental or physical illness and that we must let go of our desire to be the unasked for helper. It's the kind of tension in an outstretched hand, steady and sure, ready to help neighbor--or enemy--as closing preacher Rev. Dr. Timothy Murphy reminded us, asking, who are we willing to take help from? What about help from a despised "other"?

It's the kind of tension that we feel when Christ counsels the rich young man (who he loved) in the synoptic Gospels, "it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God." This tension invites us to let go of our goals and earthly holdings, and embrace the goals of God in Christ. It is a tension that is intended to make us move. to get us going in the direction of Christ's Way. It will lead us to unity, to empathy, to kindness, to active justice, to faith in the abundant enoughness of God's Creation.

This year we lived and leaned into the tension that goes hand in hand with calling ourselves Christians, calling ourselves proclaimers of the Good News. We reminded each other that we have to measure our goals and interests against the goals and interests of the already, not yet realm of God which breaks into our everyday lives.

Upon reflection, recalling the way we all sang together at the banquet with Rev. Christopher Grundy , the way we honored those who have served so long and so well, like Mary Anna Speller, who was applauded as the inspiration for the newly created " Lou and Mary Anna Speller Humanitarian Service Award ," the way we laughed and learned together, it's easy to see that this year's annual gathering was a success, not just for the team that planned it, but also for Christ's call to love our neighbors as ourselves.

Thank you, all those who came to participate and those who watched along with live posts from our Facebook page , and to those who prayed for us. God is good, indeed.
Welcome to MIDNet!

Associate Conference Minister Rev. Toni Hawkins, Minister for Leadership Formation and Discernment, was thrilled to meet with the IKC Members in Discernment (MIDs) at the annual gathering during a special lunch. Her goal is to continue the relationship building through monthly online video conferences and in a newly created Facebook group: IKC MIDNet. This private, closed group will serve as a place for MIDs to connect and support each other, have a place to pose questions and get answers, and to relate their experiences and opportunities.

If you're an IKC MID who would like more information or to be added to the Facebook group, please email Toni at
MID Spotlight

Nicole Leigh Shaw
Northeast Association

It's fine. Call me Nikki, call me Nicole. I answer to both. Sometimes I answer to Nicole Leigh Shaw because there are a lot of "Nicole Shaws" out there and at one time in my writing career it was important to differentiate.

You can sometimes call me "pastor." I get that a lot as a member and staff person (the Christian Education Director) at Peace UCC in Fort Wayne, IN. I'm the de facto youth and children's pastor there, and after a few sermons and a lot of youth groups, as well as the support of my senior pastor, the "Pastor" moniker attaches.

Around the IKC I am decidedly "Nikki can you get on Facebook and . . ." and I can, and do! For this conference and for the Ohio conference, I'm the communications director, which means I write, I create social media posts, and I try hard to pay attention to all of the stories I hear, and to tell them faithfully and purposefully to our wider conference members. We know each other through our stories; we know Christ through our stories, not only as contemporary witnesses, but through the Biblical witness. And so this communications work is vocational for me.

INKY Women Service Project a Huge Success

The Women of Indiana and Kentucky exceeded all expectations this year with the service project supporting Days for Girls at Annual Gathering. After a year of sewing and gathering supplies they were able to assemble:

  • Over 300 complete Days for Girls washable feminine hygiene kits that will go to Kenya, Africa;
  • and then donated over 1,000 pairs of panties to Crossroad and Centerstone;
  • and over 300 washcloths to homeless projects in Evansville, IN;
  • and over 550 “starter kits” for Church World Service hygiene kits were passed out to churches around the conference to complete.

Well done good and faithful sisters!

We look forward to the coming year and invite everyone to our board/planning meeting on Tuesday, Aug. 13 at 10:30 EST at the conference office at the Indiana Interchurch Center in Indianapolis.

We also invite everyone to come on our retreat September 27-29 at Benedict Inn in Indianapolis. You can register here or through the link below. Scholarships are available.

We have much work to do and much joy to share!

With blessings,

President Gayle Morley Jahn
Upcoming Events
Transitional Ministry Training

August 14-1
Beech Grove, Indiana
IKC Women's Board
Women's Retreat

September 27-29
Beech Grove, IN
For a complete list of our events, click below!
Support the Ministries of the IKC UCC ...
[317-924-1395]  []  []