March 2023 E-Newsletter
2023 UCC Yearbook - Data Hub Closes March 1st!
United Church of Christ

As of Wednesday, February 15, only 37 of our 220 churches in the Illinois Conference have completed their Yearbook reporting. This is less than 20% of our churches. The annual yearbook is not simply a formality. The UCC Yearbook is a legal document that verifies your church's standing within the denomination and proves your 501(c)3 status under the denomination's group exemption. Click here for instructions and resources.

Your participation is the ONLY way our records are kept up-to-date. Thank you for all your hard work in collecting and reporting. If you need help, please contact Naomi in the Conference Office (708-344-4470). Data Hub closes for churches at midnight Eastern Time on March 1st.
Courageous Conversations for Lent
UCC Join the Movement

Throughout the testimony of the gospel narratives, we encounter a Jesus who leans into difficult conversations. In fact, the inspiration for the season of Lent – Jesus’ journey in the wilderness – is a series of courageous conversations. As followers of Jesus, we, too, are called to speak truth and listen with love so that we might build our capacities for creating and sustaining liberative communities. This Lent, partner with Join the Movement toward Racial Justice and commit to engaging in courageous conversations with yourself, with a few dear ones, or with your community. On each of the 40 days of Lent, we will offer a conversation/journaling prompt to help you explore more fully your connection to racial justice and practices of antiracism, along with a breath prayer and scripture reading. Click here to join the conversation and Join the Movement!
General Synod 34

General Synod 34 will take place June 30 - July 4, 2023 in Indianapolis and registration is officially open for delegates and guests! Learn more here.

Click here to learn about the proposed resolutions that will be going to the Board in March for review.
Global H.O.P.E - Turkey and Syria Earthquake Appeal

The news continues to unfold about the devastating earthquakes on the border of Turkey and Syria. The death toll continues to rise - numbers are pointing to over 45,000 - depending on the source. This is shattering news and adds to the challenges ...

Read more
The Illinois Conference Outdoor Ministries is making lots of things happen in 2023! Registration for this year's camps and retreats is open! This year marks the 100th Anniversary for Tower Hill and there is an open house on Sunday, March 19th to kick-off the celebration. There are several upcoming retreats this spring as well, including the Youth Ministry retreat at Tower Hill and Quilt Retreat at Pilgrim Park coming up soon. Learn more below!
March 31 - April 1, 2023
Stronger Together Mini Retreat - Youth Ministry.
Connect with colleagues during this 24 hour retreat.
The cost is only $100!
Led by Jenn Ringgold from the Michigan Conference.
Sunday, March 19, 2023
Tower Hill Open House Celebration for the 100th Anniversary Kick-Off!
April 4 - 7, 2023
Create your masterpieces and work on your projects while enjoying the beautiful spring scenery at Pilgrim Park. Private and Shared rooms are available.
Upcoming Events
Leaky Stoves & Deadly Gases Webinar
Wednesday, March 8 @ 12 PM CST
United Church of Christ

In the media and social media, gas and electric stoves have recently been a "hot topic." In this webinar, we will seek to put this "heated debate" within its proper ethical context in terms of environmental justice, public health, and concerns about methane pollution. This webinar will prepare faith communities for informed action in caring for our neighbors and our planet. Even if you cannot make the webinar at its scheduled time on March 8th at 12 pm CST, sign-up anyway and we will send you a link to a recording of it. Register here!
Messy Church Get Started Training
Saturday, March 11, 9 AM - 3 PM
Messy Church USA

Want to learn more about Messy Church or thinking about starting a Messy Church? “Get Started” is our foundational training event that is highly recommended for any church planning to start a Messy Church. The training is also helpful for Messy Churches looking to expand their leadership team or simply need a refresher to move from starting to sustaining a Messy Church. Join Ronda Bower in Chicago, Il for an in person Get Started in Messy Church training, March 11, 2023, 9 a.m. - 3 p.m., at United in Faith Lutheran Church, 6525 W Irving Park Road, Chicago, IL 60634. Ronda is Pastor Associate of Family and Educational Ministries at Northfield Community Church, Northfield, IL, where she has led Messy Church for seven years. Ronda is also the current president of Messy Church USA Board of Directors. Learn more here.
Power Up Your Finances Webinar
Wednesday, March 15, 2 PM CST
UCC Pension Boards

The more financially literate we are, the more we will be able to make informed financial decisions, and avoid costly financial mistakes. Join the Pension Boards for their next Power-Up Your Finances webinar on Wednesday, March 15 at 2:00 p.m. CST, and test your financial literacy! This fun and interactive 45-minute webinar features:
  • A series of quiz questions on personal finance
  • An opportunity to learn or relearn essential terms and concepts
  • A discussion of resources for expanding your knowledge

In preparation for this live webinar, download and take the Financial Literacy Assessment now and print out the grading sheet marked “Appendix B” to write down your answers. During the live event, you will find out how well you may have scored. Register here by Tuesday, March 14. Zoom credentials will be provided immediately upon registration.
André LaCocque Interreligious Lecture
Wednesday, March 16, 6:30 PM CST
Chicago Theological Seminary

The 2023 André LaCocque Interreligious Lecture and Herman E. Schaalman Interreligious Award will be held virtually on Thursday, March 16, at 6:30 p.m. CST. We are pleased to welcome Dr. Rima Vesely-Flad, Visiting Professor of Buddhism and Black Studies at Union Theological Seminary, to present a lecture entitled, “Standing Against the Status Quo: Buddhism and Black Liberation Theology.” The Lecture will also feature the awarding of the Herman E. Schaalman Interreligious Leadership Award. This year's recipient is Mr. Jamel M. Garrett, a Hoodoo scholar-practitioner and CTS doctoral student whose dissertation will focus on analyzing Hoodoo culture as a source of intrapersonal and communal-based holistic healing and empowerment. REGISTRATION REQUIRED!
Changing Landscape of Giving Webinar
Wednesday, March 22, 6:30 PM CST
United Church of Christ

Rev. Dr. Colie Bettivia of Grace UCC in Two Rivers, WI, will discuss insights and ideas the Church can learn from Millennial and Gen Z Donors. Register Here.
Christian Nationalism Lecture
Tuesday, April 11 @ 7:30 PM
Elmhurst University

SAVE THE DATE! On Tuesday, April 11, the UCC General Minister and President, Rev. Dr. John Dorhauer will be addressing "Christian Nationalism" in a lecture at Elmhurst University. More details are forth coming. Until then, mark your calendars for this event you won't want to miss!
February Calendar at a Glance
Ordinations, Installations, Ecclesiastical Councils
Mar 26: Ecclesiastical Council for Duane Lahti. 4:00 p.m. at First Congregational UCC in Crystal Lake. Fox Valley Association.
Events in the Illinois Conference & Beyond
Mar 8: Leaky Stoves & Deadly Gases Webinar. 12:00 p.m. via Zoom.
Mar 11: Messy Church Training. 9:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m. More information here.
Mar 16: CTS André LaCocque Interreligious Lecture. 6:30 p.m. via Zoom. Registration required.
Mar 19: 100th Anniversary Open House Celebration. 1:00 - 5:00 p.m. at Tower Hill.
Mar 22: Changing Landscape of Giving Webinar. 6:30 p.m. via Zoom.
Mar 31-Apr 1: Stronger Together Youth Ministry Mini-Retreat at Tower Hill Camp.
Apr 4-7: Spring Quilt Retreat at Pilgrim Park Camp.
Conference and Association Committee Meetings
Feb 25: Conference Council. 9:00 a.m. via Zoom.
Mar 2: PA Committee on Ministry. 9:00 a.m. via Zoom.
Mar 7: Property Committee. 10:00 a.m. via Zoom.
Mar 8: Outdoor Ministry Committee. 9:30 a.m. via Zoom.
Mar 9: FVA Committee on Ministry. 9:00 a.m. via Zoom.
Mar 9: CMA Committee on Ministry. 12:00 p.m. via Zoom.
Mar 11: Stewardship Committee. 3:00 p.m. via Zoom.
Mar 15: EA Committee on Ministry. 9:30 a.m. via Zoom.
Mar 21: FAB Committee Meeting. 9:00 a.m. via Zoom.
Mar 21: WA Committee on Ministry. 9:00 a.m. via Zoom.
Mar 25: Conference Council. 9:00 a.m. via Zoom.
Employment, Education, & Resources
Employment Opportunities
Ministerial opportunities within the United Church of Christ.

Recently Added Lay Employment Opportunities:

Chicago, Bryn Mawr Community Church seeks PT Administrative Assistant

NEW! Chicago, Edgebrook Lutheran Church seeks PT Community Youth Leader

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

Grayslake, United Protestant Church seeks PT Music Director

NEW! Naperville, First Congregational UCC seeks PT Bookkeeper

NEW! Wheaton, St. Matthew UCC seeks PT Dir. of Children's Ministries

NEW! Wheaton, St. Matthew UCC seeks PT Dir. of Youth Ministries

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

For current open positions with UCC Cornerstone Fund 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.
One Great Hour of Sharing
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 the immediate response and of the long-term recovery.

Through OGHS you engage in holistic development programs including health care, education, agriculture, food sustainability, micro-financing and women’s empowerment. Because the UCC relates in mutual partnership to churches and organizations through Global Ministries and worldwide response & recovery networks, your contributions to One Great Hour of Sharing put you in the right place at the right time for the relief, accompaniment and recovery of the most vulnerable. You meet immediate needs and you address the underlying causes that create those needs in the first place.
New Resources!
OCWM & Stewardship
United Church of Christ

National has been working on updating resources for OCWM. These resources highlight work being done in the National Setting that is supported by Our Church’s Wider Mission Basic Support. A poster and four bulletin inserts help tell the story of how OCWM Basic Support strengthens local congregations. You can find these free resources here.

“Because of You, Our Church Changes Lives” is this year's UCC stewardship theme, making the connection between donor generosity and the ministry and mission of your congregation. Materials include extensive resources for worship, sermons, and faith formation for children, youth and adults. The materials also provide practical tools such as logos, commitment cards, bulletin inserts and letters. Guidance for every step of your campaign helps you make the best use of these robust materials. Various download options are available here. Print resources will ship in February.
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 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: 
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Our Church's Wider Mission (OCWM)
Illinois Conference of the United Church of Christ | (708) 344-4470
1840 Westchester Blvd., Suite 200, Westchester, IL 60154