Volume 16, No. 9 | March 4, 2020

Equipping a courageous Church alive with Christ’s transforming love
Lent: Confronting Temptations in Our Church
Rev. Shari Prestemon, Conference Minister
As Lent begins, we find ourselves moving in the Gospels from the flowing waters of the River Jordan at Jesus’ baptism to the barrenness of the desert, where Jesus fasted for forty days and nights. It was there, in that thin place, that Jesus was met with the first deep challenge to his calling.
Frederick Buechner, in Wishful Thinking, describes it like this:

“After being baptized by John in the river Jordan, Jesus went off alone into the wilderness where he spent forty days asking himself the question what it meant to be Jesus. During Lent, Christians are supposed to ask one way or another what it means to be themselves.”

Lent is indeed a deeply personal time for Christians to look inward and to ask ourselves piercing questions about the meaning of our faith for our daily lives. It’s an opportunity to examine our lives with clear-eyed honesty, and to seek God’s abundant grace when what we see in ourselves falls short of what God desires. It’s a time to confront the inevitable temptations that surround us, and draw strength from a God who calls us away from them to the fullness of life.

Lent should also be a time for us as churches to ask ourselves who we are and whether our communal life together is all that it is meant to be. What temptations are getting the best of us?
MN Alive: UCC Congregations Join Forces for Statewide Progressive Christian Revivals
As more than 200 people flowed through the doors of Plymouth Creek Center on February 29, many were asking each other what exactly is a "progressive Christian revival"?
Throughout the next three hours, they got a good idea, with soulful and uplifting music and inspirational testimonials about faith at the intersection of despair, hope and action. It was, conveners said, an experiment in joy, a collective response to a yearning to “take back Jesus,” and a call to love-led action in a world hungry for hope. READ MORE
Conference News & Information
Thinking about bringing a resolution? You've got until Tuesday, March 10, to submit it. LEARN MORE about how to submit. For more information about Magnify Annual Meeting 2020 available HERE .
Save $50 when you register by April 1 for the Spring Conference Youth Event at beautiful Camp Onomia in Kathio State Park, Friday, May 1–Sunday, May 3. REGISTER HERE .
Fourth Thursdays
Thursday, March 26, 11:30 am–1:30 pm, Minnesota Church Center, Assembly Room
Come for a lively conversation with colleagues about your experiences with youth and intergenerational service-learning, immersion experiences and other intentional travel opportunities. You will hear particular stories from a few Conference congregations about their experience with collaborative ecumenical service-learning and advocacy trips and another congregation’s experience with a youth immersion trip. Lunch provided. RSVP.
Joys & Concerns
  • Vanessa Brady was approved for ordination at an ecclesiastical council on March 3. The Minnesota Conference celebrates this achievement and movement of the Spirit.

  • Rev. Gigi Nauer will have surgery on March 5 at M Health in Minneapolis for removal of a tumor in the colon. The Minnesota Conference is holding her in prayer as she welcomes light during this dark time.
Notices & Special Invitations
Tell us your story! Is your church or someone in your church doing something remarkable or new? Interesting or engaging? We want to hear from you! Please send your story ideas to communications@uccmn.org. COMMAntary is published on Wednesdays; submissions are due the Monday prior to publication at noon.

Associate Conference Contact Info: Until the arrival of our Interim Associate Conference Minister on April 6, churches in the northern part of the Conference should contact Conference Minister Shari Prestemon or Associate Conference Ministers Anita Bradshaw and Kevin Brown for assistance. Congregations with search and call questions may contact either Anita Bradshaw or Shari Prestemon at 612-871-0359.
Upcoming Events

Full information about upcoming camps, retreats, and other faith formation opportunities for all ages is available on the Conference's website.

Clergy Clusters
  • North Central Clergy Cluster, March 5, 11:30 am, El Tequila, 7399 Garrison Road, Baxter
  • Twin Cities Interim Ministers Network, Thursday, March 12, 9:30 am, Mayflower Congregational, Minneapolis
  • Southeast Clergy Cluster, Thursday, March 12, 9:30 am, Peace Church, Rochester
There are many opportunities within the Minnesota Conference. Check out the  employment opportunities  portion of our website for all open positions. And be sure to like us on Facebook to stay up-to-date on news, events, jobs and more.

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.