Volume 16, No. 29 | July 22, 2020

Equipping a courageous Church alive with Christ’s transforming love
Youth & Young Adults to Rally for Racial Justice
Youth and young adults from congregations of the Minnesota Conference UCC are invited to join a series of online gatherings focusing on the work of racial justice. Each of these gatherings features youth and young adult presenters, who will provide challenge, encouragement, and inspiration for young leaders to engage in the work for racial justice and equity.

No Justice No Peace Rally – Part 1
Tuesday, July 28, 2:30 pm (CDT) (please note the correction in time)
Join with youth and young adults from around the country for the first of two town hall forums focused on racial justice and equity. This forum will center the stories and experiences of youth and young adults of color from across the UCC and help folks better engage as partners and allies in the work for racial justice and equity. REGISTER

No Justice No Peace Rally – Part 2
Tuesday, July 30, 2:30 PM (CDT)
This second town hall forum will feature the stories and experiences of white youth and young adult allies responding to "Why I fight for racial justice."  REGISTER
Youth Lead Now: Equipping Young Leaders for Social Change Set for August 6
Youth and young adults (and adult supporters) are invited to join a discussion with guest speaker Samantha Fuentes (pictured at left), a survivor of the 2018 mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, and leader in March for Our Lives. Samantha will share her story of resilience and healing that fuels her commitment “to uplift the voices of the silenced, and remind us that ALL our experiences matter regardless of color, religion, gender, age, or sexual orientation."

The webinar, the third in the Minnesota Conference's "Justice Walk to Justice Talk" series, will be co-moderated by Cecilia Alexander (pictured at right) and Rev. Kevin Brown .
Listen to "Sacred Disruption: Standing with Jesus at the Corner of 38th & Chicago"
Guest speakers Rev. Gary Green and Rev. Dr. Justin Sabia-Tanis , both faculty at United T heological Seminary of the Twin Cities, offered fascinating insights about how our sacred scriptures and theologies can help shape our responses to George Floyd’s murder and a history of racial oppression. Click on the image above to listen to the discussion.
Conference News & Information
Family Toolkit Week 3: Nurturing Resilience in Body, Heart, Mind, and Soul

We're thrilled that so many people are checking out the weekly installment of the Family Connections Toolkit. This wonderful resource supports parents with at-home resources during this time of COVID-19, when so many summer plans have been disrupted.
Week 3 focuses on Nurturing Resilience in Body, Heart, Mind, and Soul with meaningful spiritual practices, fun activities, and a great list of reading recommendations.

The toolkit is available on the Conference's website in weekly installments through August 5. To receive a weekly reminder, email Sandy Kellen .
Join us Thursday, July 23, for a Discussion of Our Whole Lives
Amid the ongoing uncertainty of the pandemic and the possibility of continuing social distancing requirements during the upcoming program year, many congregations have been asking about how or if to restart their Our Whole Lives programs this fall.
On Thursday, July 23, we will be joined by Amy Johnson, Minister for Sexuality Education & Justice with the national setting of the UCC. Amy help us think through options and best practices, as well as respond to your questions and concerns. Another meeting on our Zoom account will finish just before noon, so if you log in and are told that the meeting is not available, please check back in in just a few minutes. Join us on Zoom HERE.
Are You Equipped to Lead in Uncertain Times?

We're all trying to figure out what to do as we face unprecedented challenges! Why not figure it out in the safe, thoughtful learning community that the Damascus Project provides? Our online "Leadership Skills" course begins in August. This course is ideal for lay leaders, church staff leaders and clergy alike. LEARN MORE
Share and Learn from Your Peers to Strengthen Your Stewardship Campaign

Pastors and congregation leaders have an opportunity to enhance their stewardship campaigns by connecting and sharing ideas and experiences with others. This fall, join an online cohort for stewardship campaign leaders using the "Three Great Loves" stewardship theme materials. Participants will use an online forum to connect, ask questions, offer success stories, and learn together about what works in your setting. 

Andrew Warner and Bob Olsen ( development directors of the Wisconsin Conference and Minnesota Conference, respectively) will moderate this online forum, offering their thoughts and sharing resources designed to strengthen stewardship campaigns. Participants will be able submit questions for the moderators or other group members, as well as add their stories and information. The group could also decide to hold an online session for a group discussion. 

This cohort group is being hosted by the Damascus Project.  SIGN UP HERE (click on the ACCESS box, then provide your information to create a free account).
Financial Assistance for Congregations from Conference and National Setting

The United Church of Christ National Setting is offering financial assistance to local churches whose ministries have been challenged by the novel coronavirus pandemic. Applications are now being accepted. See the process described here .

Applications are being accepted from Minnesota Conference UCC congregations for the Pandemic Relief Loan Program. Access the application and further details here . The application deadline for this loan program has been extended to December 31, 2020.

Congregations may also apply for  emergency grants  to cover operating expenses, technology needs, or community ministries; grants to cover the cost of  website development ; or  counseling assistance grants  for authorized ministers.
Joys & Concerns
Rev. Susan Lester's father died July 16. Susan is the pastor at Congregational Church of Faribault UCC. Her father was Thomas Weyrick of Eagan, MN, a long-time member and Elder of Peace Reformed Church in Eagan and of Gideons International. The Minnesota Conference holds Susan and all those who loved Thomas in prayer as they grieve, remember, and celebrate his life.
Lucille Ramstad passed away July 15.  Lucy was a member of Chapel Hills UCC in Edina and the spouse of Rev. Philip Ramstad, who pastored in Upper Midwest, including in the Minnesota Conference, before passing away in 2017. Lucy was a faithful servant of the United Church of Christ and gave her energy, also, to hospital organizations, including founding the Grinnell Regional Hospice.  Read about Lucy’s life . The conference grieves this loss along with the family of Lucy and Phil, remembering their lives with joy and gratitude.
News & Notices
Send story ideas, insights and more to communications@uccmn.org . COMMAntary is published on Wednesdays; submissions are due the Monday prior to publication at noon.

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This newsletter is brought to you by generous contribution to Our Church's Wider Mission.

The Minnesota Conference United Church of Christ (UCC) equips a courageous Church alive with Christ’s transforming love. Through advice, support, and resources, we strengthen the 126 congregations throughout the state to do the redemptive work of God in the world.