Illinois Conference
United Church of Christ
March 2022, Second Edition
A Reflection for Women's History Month
The Rev. Dr. Stephanie Perdew
March 8 was International Women’s Day, a global celebration of women’s rights which grew out of socialist and labor movements of the early twentieth century. In the United Church of Christ, we celebrate being a denomination of “firsts,” including the fact that one of our predecessor movements was the first to ordain a woman to ministry in the United States. The Reverend Antoinette Brown Blackwell, a graduate of Oberlin College, was ordained a Congregationalist minister in the early 1850’s.

International Women’s Day reminds us that we still have a ways to go. This week many of my clergy colleagues marked the day with social media posts, words of encouragement, and the recognition that the church has not always been a safe, empowering place for women to teach, preach, lead, or serve, despite our denominational “first.” The UCC may outpace other denominations which ordain women, but women clergy are regularly paid less than other clergy counterparts and are less frequently called as senior pastors of the UCC’s or other denomination’s “big steeple” churches as well.

The New Testament and other early Christian literature attest to a number of women’s roles in the nascent church: as deacons, widows who prayed and exercised pastoral care (and exorcism!). As teachers, evangelists, healers, benefactors, and catechists, and presiders at baptism and in eucharistic ministry. Despite how the history evolved or even sought to gloss over or conceal these roles, it is a fact that the first person Jesus charged to preach his resurrection was Mary of Magdala (“aggellou” in the Greek of John 20:18, which means to preach, to evangelize). This Women’s History Month, I invite you to call to mind the women preachers, teachers, elders, and saints who have shaped your faithfulness.
UCC issues appeal for Ukraine

The United Church of Christ is issuing an appeal for the people of Ukraine and will be working with global partners to assist vulnerable communities within that country.

Read more
Disaster Relief Bucket Challenge
Illinois Conference Disaster Ministries

We have a challenge from now through May 30th to assemble 500 Church World Service Emergency Cleanup Buckets. Will your church commit to assemble at least ten (10) buckets to help us meet this goal?

For more information, email our Conference Disaster Coordinator, Roger Dart at
Planning a Camp Sunday at your church?

The Illinois Conference Outdoor Ministry Committee put together several resources that can be used in our local churches for a “Camp Sunday” in order to promote the various camps and retreats that are happening at Pilgrim Park and Tower Hill in 2022. Click here to access our Camp Sunday webpage where you can find resources to hold a Camp Sunday in your church!
Summer Volunteers Needed!
Tower Hill Camp and Retreat Center

Volunteer and enrich your life by helping others! Tower Hill Camp needs you in 2022, especially during the month of July, to work in our dining hall. You would be responsible for setting up, serving, and cleaning up three meals a day for our youth camps. We will also provide you housing in Gammon Hall and meals for a week. As a "blessing" we offer volunteers a week's stay (off season) in return for their week of volunteering! So connect, engage, and enhance your life by calling Tower Hill at 269-426-3881 for details!
Calendar At A Glance
Ordinations, Installations, Ecclesiastical Councils & More
Mar. 20: Ordination and Installation of Keitric Emory. 1:00 p.m. at Faith United Protestant UCC in Park Forest and via Facebook. Chicago Metropolitan Association Cluster 5.

Mar. 20: Installation of David Sheridan. 3:00 p.m. at Spring Creek UCC in Rockford. Prairie Association.
Events in the Illinois Conference & Beyond
Mar. 15: Chicago Theological Seminary's André LaCocque Interreligious Lecture. 6:30 p.m. via Zoom.

Mar. 16: All Conference Chat. 3:00 p.m. via Zoom. TPRIC Program Director, Coordinator, and Assistant Positions Overview.

Mar. 23: Restoring Nature UCC Webinar. 12:00 p.m. via Zoom. Registration is required.

Mar. 23: All Conference Chat. 3:00 p.m. via Zoom. Associate Conference Minister with Responsibilities for Pastoral Transitions Position Overview.

Mar. 27-29: Women's Lenten Retreat. Tower Hill Camp and Retreat Center. Register online by March 18 to participate.

Mar. 30: All Conference Chat. 3:00 p.m. via Zoom. Conference Update.
Conference and Association Meetings
Mar. 15: FAB Committee Meeting. 9:00 a.m. via Zoom.

Mar. 15: Western Association COM Meeting. 9:00 a.m. via Zoom.

Mar. 19: Conference Council Meeting. 10:00 a.m. via Zoom.

Mar. 21: CMA Council Meeting. 6:30 p.m. via Zoom.

Mar. 22: TPIRC Cohort Meeting. 6:30 p.m. via Zoom.

Mar. 27: Western Association Spring Meeting. 2:00 p.m. via Zoom.

Mar. 28: CMA Justice & Witness Committee Meeting. 7:00 p.m. via Zoom.

Mar. 30: Eastern Association COM Meeting. 9:30 a.m. via Zoom.

Apr. 2: Personnel Committee Meeting. 9:30 a.m. via Zoom.

Apr. 4: FVA Council Meeting. 6:00 p.m. via Zoom.

Apr. 5: Property Committee Meeting. 10:00 a.m. via Zoom.
Events and Training Opportunities
André LaCocque Interreligious Lecture
Tuesday, March 15 @ 6:30 PM CST
Chicago Theological Seminary

The 2022 André LaCocque Interreligious Lecture and Schaalman Award (formerly the IRI Spring Lecture) will be held this year on Tuesday, March 15. We're thrilled to welcome Dr. Laura Limonic to discuss Jewishness, race, ethnicity, and immigration through the stories of Latinx Jews in the United States.
Restoring Nature Webinar
Wednesday, March 23 @ 12 PM CST
United Church of Christ Webinars

A solution to wildlife decline can be as close as your backyard or the grounds outside your church. In this webinar, Douglas Tallamy will share what you can do to restore nature. Even if you can’t make the scheduled time of 12 pm CST on Wednesday, March 23rd, still signup, and we will send you a recording. Register now!
Women's Lenten Retreat
Sunday, March 27-Tuesday, March 29
Illinois Conference Outdoor Ministries

You are invited to join Dr. Carmel Tinnes at Tower Hill Camp and Retreat Center from Sunday, March 27th to Tuesday, March 29th for "Wandering in the Wilderness, a Lenten Pilgrimage for Women." The cost is $300 and scholarships are available.

Register online here. Deadline is March 18th.
Courageous Faith Summit
April 4-8, 2022

How is our understanding of faith being reshaped, perhaps accelerated, by the pandemic? Do faith communities have a future and what kind of courage will that require? What kind of rituals will shape the future of spirituality? What are the big theological questions of our time? How do younger generations seek spirituality? Is there a future of courageous spirituality? If so, what does that look like? We will be speaking directly to faith leaders around the world who are leaning into this question with deep thinking and creative innovations. These are BIG questions, but it’s time to rethink everything. Join us for this five day summit and explore your own imagination as we create the future of spirituality together.
Spring Break Family Camp
April 29 - May 1, 2022
Illinois Conference Outdoor Ministries

Your stay will include a mix of free time for families to enjoy together and group time for campfires and s'mores, archery instruction, guided hikes, time at the beach, and evening vespers. Cost is $200 for first adult and $100 for each additional family member. All families will be staying at Schrag Retreat Center. Families will be roomed together and have shared bathrooms, kitchen area and living spaces. Meals include dinner Friday and lunch and dinner on Saturday. Breakfast is on your own.

Register online here. Deadline is April 14th.
Resources and More
One Great Hour of Sharing 2022
United Church of Christ

One Great Hour of Sharing (OGHS) special mission offering of the United Church of Christ involves you in disaster, refugee/immigration, and development ministries throughout the world. When a disaster strikes or people are displaced or made refugees by violence or extreme poverty, you are part of both the immediate response and the long-term recovery.

The 2022 OGHS offering date is March 27th. View more information and access the resources by clicking here.
New Materials Available for Stewardship!
UCC Resources

“From Bread and Cup to Faith and Giving” makes the connection between our experience of God and our generosity as disciples. It includes practical tools such as logos, commitment cards, bulletin inserts, and letters. The materials also provide resources for preaching and teaching about stewardship throughout the year. Campaign guidance and calendars help leaders make the best use of these robust materials for their specific context and size.
Click here to watch a video by Bruce Barkhauer about these materials. Materials are available for purchase in the UCC Resource Store.

Willing to Respond - A New Resource!
UCC Disaster Ministries

Does your congregation desire to be more prepared for disasters, both to protect yourselves and to help your neighbors in time of need? Willing to Respond is for you! This new and rapidly growing network is providing congregations with practical tools, training and relationships, including online resources and connection to denominational, ecumenical and other disaster response resources. It's simple to access and easy to register.
Justice Resources
UCC Justice and Peace Action Network

Weekly action alerts based on what is happening at that time in Congress.

Digital platform for sharing ideas focused on building a faith-filled/faith-rooted movement for the care of creation.

A weekly editorial opinion column written by the staff of Justice and Witness Ministries.
Employment Opportunities
Ministerial opportunities within the United Church of Christ.

Recently Added Lay Employment Opportunities:

Edgebrook Community Church seeks PT Church Administrator

Oak Park, Pilgrim Congregational Church seeks PT Assistant Pastor

Sawyer (MI), Tower Hill Camp seeks Summer Staff

Wheaton, St. Matthew UCC seeks PT Director of Children's Ministry

For more lay employment opportunity postings, click here.

Please let us know if you have a job opening you would like to have shared,
and also update us once the position is filled. Contact Sarah Lohrbach.
Church Newsletter Request
Please send us your newsletters so we can keep up with what's going on in your church.
Address for printed newsletters: Illinois Conference UCC, 1840 Westchester Blvd., Suite 200, Westchester, IL 60154. Electronic newsletters: Please add Sarah Lohrbach at to your church’s mailing list.
THE ILLINOIS CONFERENCE UCC E-BLAST 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: 
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Illinois Conference of the United Church of Christ | (708) 344-4470
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