Volume 18, No. 6 | February 9, 2022

Equipping a courageous Church alive with Christ’s transforming love
On Amir Locke: No More Words…
In the aftermath of the death of Amir Locke, who was shot by police in Minneapolis on February 2, the Minnesota Council of Churches (MCC) has issued the following statement. The Minnesota Conference UCC is a long-standing member of MCC and is grateful for its work to seek truth-telling and reparations, which we as a Conference are also financially supporting. Conference Minister Shari Prestemon is a member of the Board and Executive Committee of MCC and is thankful for this statement.

No more words …

A young Black man, Amir Locke, was killed by Minneapolis police on Wednesday morning, February 2, 2022. Reminiscent of Breonna Taylor, Minneapolis police used a no-knock warrant to silently enter the private residence where he was asleep and they shot and killed Amir. They were looking for someone else.

We have no more words … First, we are still numb and in shock. Second, with the police killings of George Floyd and Daunte Wright, we made statements, quoted Scripture, protested, and called for action. Our colleagues around the country who are speaking out about police killings of Black people, Native people, and other people of color in their communities are also feeling like they have said all that needs to be said already.

We have no more words … Yet Amir’s family needs our prayers.

We have no more words … Yet Black women, many who were Mothers, gathered on Monday to cry out for justice, accountability, and the transformation of public safety. So, we must join these courageous Black women and once again find the words, the Scriptures, the protests, and the actions to demand that the City of Minneapolis account for its racism and incompetence in policing. We must demand from the Mayor of Minneapolis to use his newly gained powers to transform public safety in Minneapolis.

And we use the prophet Isaiah’s words to demand, “Learn to do right; seek justice. Defend the oppressed” (1:17).

Minnesota Council of Churches
Presiding Elder Stacey Smith, President
Bishop Richard Howell, Vice President
Rev. Curtiss DeYoung, Chief Executive Officer
Rev. Jim Bear Jacobs, Co-Director of Racial Justice
Rev. Pamela Ngunjiri, Co-Director of Racial Justice
Conference News & Events
“Good Money After Bad: How to Invest in Creation Care”

February 10, 2022, 6:30-8:00 pm CT

This Great Lakes Creation Care Collaborative Series—offered by the Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Michigan Conferences of the United Church of Christ—is exploring creation care justice through the lens of Indigenous rights, divesting from corporate greed, and liturgical language that keeps the health of our planet and all God’s creation in mind.

In financial terms, “investing” is the process of lending or giving money in support of something – a company, a product, a person, an idea – with hope that what is invested will yield some sort of economic return. “Divestment,” in financial terms, is the opposite of that: taking money away from something in which one has previously invested. Anyone who spends money is both an “investor” and “divestor,” for any time money changes hands, an investment or divestment has been made.

Hosted by the WI Conference, this discussion will examine the ways we choose to spend our money and do damage to the earth and the lives upon it, as well as offer some concrete steps “investors” at every level can take to reduce that damage. REGISTER
Join the Outdoor Ministry Cohort on The Damascus Project Network

We invite you to join the online cohort for Outdoor Ministries Minnesota Conference United Church of Christ, a virtual gathering place to share conversation, resources, and the latest information about our programming and events. It's a similar experience to Facebook groups, without the advertisements, data mining, and privacy concerns. All are very welcome.

If you don’t already have a free Damascus Project Network account, you will be prompted to create one when you click the cohort link. Here’s how:

1) You’ll see “Create an Account by Choosing a Membership Plan.” There is only one option: the free plan! Click “Access.”

2) At the next screen, you have a choice:
  • Create an account using your email and a password you create. If you want to do this, enter your first/last name and hit “Next” in the upper right corner of the screen. Then you will enter your email, choose a password, confirm it, then hit “Create Account” in the upper right corner of the screen.
  • Or you can opt to “Continue with Google/Facebook/LinkedIn/Apple.” You must be logged into one of these accounts in the same browser. The Damascus Project Network will automatically create an account for you based on your existing Google, Facebook, LinkedIn, or Apple account. Going forward, as long as you are already logged into Google, Facebook, LinkedIn, or Apple, you will be able to access the Damascus Project Network.

3) We encourage you to set up your profile with a photo and a little information about yourself!

Questions about the Conference's Outdoor Ministry? Contact Sheri Nelson, Program Director of Outdoor Ministry. Questions about the Damascus Project Network? Contact Abigail Henderson, Director of Leadership Development and Co-Director of the Damascus Project. Learn more about the Damascus Project and our network.
Diana Butler Bass Is Keynote Speaker for Minnesota Conference UCC Annual Meeting

All churches, pastors, Board members, and team/committee leaders of the Conference have been mailed initial information about the Conference's 60th Annual Meeting, scheduled for June 10-11 (both in-person and virtual options) at College of St. Benedict. The packet includes general information as well as a call for resolutions, a call for workshops, a preliminary agenda, and the exciting news about our keynote speaker, Diana Butler Bass (pictured).

Stewardship Webinars Offered

Join local church leaders from across the UCC this year to learn and discuss ways your congregation can infuse new life into your stewardship program. Seven free webinars are being offered by Rev. Andrew B. Warner, CFRE, who serves as a Generosity Outreach Officer of the national setting of the United Church of Christ and Director of Development for the Wisconsin Conference. The first webinar, Year-Around Stewardship, is February 23 from 6:30 to 7:30pm Central Time.

REGISTER in advance for this meeting.
READ MORE about all seven of the webinars being offered.
Please Submit Your Yearbook & Directory Data

It's that time again for the UCC to begin preparing the Yearbook and Directory for the coming year. The Minnesota Conference UCC would like to encourage all of our churches to submit their annual data for Yearbook 2022! See the 12 Important Reasons to Report Annual Church Data.

Data Hub is open for church right now and closes for church data entry at midnight, March 2nd, 2022. This date will not be extended. So, please consider putting this on the top of your "to do" list.. Instructions for the report can be found HERE.
Upcoming Conference Events
Joys & Concerns
You are invited to celebrate the installations of Rev. Sarah Brouwer, Lead Minister, and Rev. Eli'jah Carroll, Associate Minister, at St. Paul's United Church of Christ, 900 Summit Ave., St. Paul, on Sun, Feb 13. If you are clergy, please arrive by 10 am, and bring a robe with red stole so we can welcome you into participation. Worship begins at 10:30 am. If you are unable to come in person, you can watch via livestream or on our church's Facebook page.
More Resources & Opportunities

  • 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.

  • The Conference website offers a wealth of resources related to Covid, racial justice, and more.
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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.