Volume 17, No. 29 | July 28, 2021

Equipping a courageous Church alive with Christ’s transforming love
Delegates Offer Reflections on General Synod 33
Eighteen voting delegates represented the Minnesota Conference at the UCC’s General Synod July 18–25. Nearly 2,000 people attended this all-virtual event. Read reflections from two of our delegates below, and learn more about actions taken and other highlights of this biennial gathering of United Church of Christ members nationwide.

"Our first ever online General Synod was like having a UCC wi-fi tv server," said Rev. Anna Larson. "While we marveled at the wonders of technology, it was simply the curtain by which real human faces and voices from across the miles, across the aisles of differences were revealed with greater intimacy than in-person. We had the ability to “change channels” and choose where to place our time and attention, but the call to be courageous as church was impressed upon us all through the rainbow of charisms inside and out our porous church body." (see link below to continue reading Rev. Larson's full missive)

Rev. Chris McArdle observed, "In the story of Pentecost, God’s very breath enters the place where Peter and the faithful have gathered, inviting them into a new relationship with each other and the world. In many ways, breath was a prevailing theme in the 33rd General Synod of the United Church of Christ, promoted as a 'Special Edition Synod' rather than a 'Virtual Synod.' That theme of breath came up time and again, especially in the final worship service on Sunday evening, as many of the liturgical elements touched upon the breath: our breath, God’s breath, the literal and figurative breathlessness of COVID-19, and the deaths of our siblings who cried out, 'I can’t breathe' as the breath left them. As the first General Synod to be held since George Floyd’s death in Minneapolis on Memorial Day 2020, could we have done aught else? (The photo above, “Our Lady of COVID” by Shannon Kearse-High, adorned the online bulletin for that service.)
Conference News & Events
The Minnesota Conference UCC encourages all members who are able to do so to receive the COVID-19 vaccine as a sign of our care of ourselves and our neighbors.

Summer Outdoor Ministry Events Begin This Week – Register by Friday, July 30!

Senior Graduate Day: Wednesday, August 4, 9:00 am- 2:00 pm
Hidden Falls Park, St. Paul
All high school graduates from 2020 and 2021 are invited to reconnect with friends, play a few games, and share a meal.

MNIPL– Be the Spark!: Thursday, August 5, 9:00 am – 2:00 pm
United Church of Christ, New Brighton
Be the Spark is a dynamic and experiential leadership development workshop that builds community and gives participants organizing tools and strategic approaches for engaging their community of faith in climate change solutions.

Organic Farm Tour: Saturday, August 7, 10:00 am- 2:00 pm
Auntie Annie's Fields near Northfield
Visit a local organic farm in the Northfield area to learn what it means to run a family farm—economically, spiritually, socially—and the practical pitfalls and joys.

Rest and Renew at Green Island: Sunday, August 8, 1:00 pm- 6:00 pm
Green Island Preserve, Wadena
Experience this unique opportunity to relax and meditate on the beautifully maintained paths of this old family farm that has transitioned into an oasis for contemplation and connection with Mother Earth.
“Rooted in Love” Stewardship Theme Materials Available

New stewardship materials available from UCC Resources help congregations tell their story while making a request for financial support. Much of the content came from pastors and leaders from rural and urban churches across the country!

The materials include everything needed to run an effective campaign such as bulletin inserts, pledge cards, and graphics. A practical campaign guide provides support for leaders running their first campaign and offers suggestions for those looking to customize stewardship messages to their own setting. Options for purchase include both printed and download formats; prices start at $39.95. SEE OPTIONS HERE.
Registration Open for Fall Outdoor Ministry Events

Outdoor Ministry is back in full swing with overnight retreats! Spaces are limited so be sure to register early!

Hemp and Food Health Day: Saturday, September 11
  • Cotter Farm, Austin | 9:30 am–2:30 pm
  • Cost: $15/person + $5 to ride the bus from Falcon Heights UCC church parking lot.
  • REGISTER by September 3
  • Read more

Women’s Wilderness Retreat: September 24–26
  • Camp Amnicon
  • $200/ person
  • Age requirement 21+. This has a maximum of 14 participants so act quickly.
  • REGISTER by September 10
  • Read more
Men’s Retreat – Overwhelmed by Life: An Invitation to Reconnect and Remember
September 24–26 (start time 4:00 pm, end time 11 am)
  • Osprey Wilds Environmental Learning Center, Sandstone
  • $200 (actual cost of event), $150 subsidized price, $100 subsidized with added scholarship, or contact Rev. Sheri Nelson for more scholarship funding (there is an extra $25/ night for single rooms, limited to the first four requests)
  • Age requirement 21+. This has a maximum of 14 participants so act quickly.
  • Registration for this adventure is directly with Camp Amnicon by September 10. Click on Adventures and scroll down to “Join a Group.” You will be prompted to create an account and fill out all necessary fields. The Group ID Code is UCCGLAMPING21. Payment for this trip is being collected by the Minnesota Conference so you must also click HERE to pay. Please be sure to complete both steps of the registration. 
  • Read more

Women’s Retreat: October 15–17 (start time 4:00 pm, end time 11 am)
  • Camp Onomia, Onamia
  • Cost: $200 (actual cost of event), $150 subsidized price, $100 subsidized with added scholarship, or contact Rev. Sheri Nelson for more scholarship funding. There is an extra $25/night for a single room, limited to the first four requests.
  • Participation maximum is 30, so REGISTER early.

Conference Youth Event: October 8-10 (start time 5 pm, end time 11 am; no dinner served first night)
  • Osprey Wilds Environmental Learning Center, Sandstone
  • Cost: $100/youth, $75/adult leader (Some scholarship money is available upon request. Contact Rev. Sheri Nelson for more information).
  • REGISTER by September 24.
  • Open to all youth grades 6-12 and adult leaders
You Are Invited to the Church Women United of Minnesota 2021 Assembly, Human Rights Day Celebration, and CWU 80th Birthday Celebration
Saturday, August 7, 2021 from 1-3 pm
Guest Speaker: Anne Krisnik, executive director of Joint Religious Legislative Coalition (JRLC)
Resources & Clergy Clusters

  • 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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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.