Volume 16, No. 46 | November 25, 2020

COMMAntary
Equipping a courageous Church alive with Christ’s transforming love
Deeply Grateful: A Thanksgiving Greeting from Conference Minister Rev. Shari Prestemon
Sharing a Devotional for Your Thanksgiving
Rev. Abby Henderson shares a beautiful reading of Psalm 65. Listen to and share this 2-minute video.
Conference News & Info
The United Church of Christ and the National Council of Churches are joining forces to offer faith- based organizing training to the wider church and beyond. The trainings begin Sunday, November 29, and continue every Sunday in Advent.

During this Advent season of viral pandemics, racial injustice, economic uncertainty, physical isolation, and socio-political strife, how does one prepare for what is to come? Advent is the season Christians are called to prepare for the coming of Jesus in the world and, with Jesus, the in-breaking of justice. What will the world look like when justice comes? And how do we prepare for its arrival?

Blue Christmas Retreat for Faith Leaders
December 16, 3:00–4:30 pm

Join Damascus Project co-directors the Revs. Abigail Henderson and Tisha Brown for a contemplative, dedicated space for pastors and chaplains to process the grief, exhaustion, and complexity of this unprecedented season. Music, prayer, silence, and Word. More details forthcoming. (Please note: this event stands in for the December PRAXIS call.)
HOPE: Introducing Week One of our Advent Family Toolkit!
Hope is for those who feel the ache of the world. Hope is for those who agonize at human cruelty … Hope is for those whose souls can find no other balm …We are those who listen for the voice for angels on the wind; who stretch to see the first light of a new day on the horizon; who long for a new birth of grace in every human heart. We wait. We listen. We hope. —David E. Butler, from Seasons of Hope: Readings for the Liturgical Year

Each toolkit provides a thoughtfully focused and curated collection of video reflections, spiritual practices, service ideas, and creative activities. The weekly Advent toolkits will provide a candle lighting ritual for home and a weekly contemplative practice for parents.

Thank you, More Than Ever!
 
The response to this year’s Give to the Max Day was so heartwarming. To date, we've received $8,245 — and the contributions are still coming in! The Minnesota Conference is deeply grateful to Rev. Cindy Mueller and Rev. Dr. Jeffery Palmer for agreeing to match — dollar for dollar — contributions of up to $3,000 this year. Please remember that the deadline for contributing to Give to the Max 2020 is Tuesday, December 1. GIVE HERE.
 
For more information about how you can set up a challenge gift fund for the Conference, please contact Bob Olsen, Development Officer, at development@uccmn.org, or by calling 651.757.0647.
January Authorized Ministers Book Study on Racial Healing

Sometimes we hear that racial divides are a problem in Minnesota cities, not the rest of the state. And yet, our Indigenous sisters and brothers are often unseen in our community, as are immigrants and others of color.

In light of the pressing concerns in Minnesota regarding racial tension, the Amos Task Force is offering a book study in January/early February for authorized ministers to explore The Racial Healing Handbook by Anneliese A. Singh, Ph.D., LPC. Our hope is for congregations to take this up in Lent as a book study and the book study with pastors will provide a model and confidence to lead those Lenten studies. There will also Conference-wide discussion of the book. Details to come after Thanksgiving on all these opportunities.
Resources & Financial Assistance for Congregations

  • The Conference website offers a wealth of resources related to ministry during the Covid-19 pandemic, post-election, and more. We also have a list of Advent and Christmas resources provided by folks in the MN Conference UCC. Our resources are updated frequently so check back regularly.

  • The United Church of Christ National Setting is offering financial assistance to local churches whose ministries have been challenged by the pandemic. See the process.


Joys and Concerns
Rev. DeWayne Davis will begin serving as Senior Minister at Plymouth Congregational in Minneapolis on December 1. The Minnesota Conference offers a warm welcome and blessing to DeWayne and the Plymouth congregation as they embark on new ministry together. 
News & More Resources
Check out the employment opportunities portion of our website for all open positions.

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.