Volume 18, No. 25 | June 22, 2022

Equipping a courageous Church alive with Christ’s transforming love
Youth Summer Rural Immersion Retreats Open for Registration
“What Does Sustainability Look Like from a Farming Perspective?”

Shalom Hill Farms

Middle School: July 11–July 13
High School: July 22–25

These retreats provide opportunities for youth to experience rural life, meet local folk, visit farms and production facilities, and reflect on our relationship to the land on which we live and depend. Youth will explore justice issues from a rural perspective, and share stories unique to each of us. While there may be some farm work to do, this immersion is about learning and growing, not providing a service. Some of the activities may include:

  • eating (or cooking) a hearty breakfast with farm fresh eggs
  • helping with farm chores like gathering eggs or feeding animals
  • discussing diversity issues with immigrants new to Southwest Minnesota
  • breaking down stereotypes
  • gathering under a star-lit sky around a bonfire for singing or worship
  • experiencing the breathtaking prairie wind

COMMAntary Goes to Summer Schedule

Beginning Wednesday, June 22, COMMA will go to an every-other-week schedule through Labor Day. So, watch for the next edition on July 6!
Conference News & Events
You are Invited to Upcoming Ordinations and Installations

  • Ordination and installation of JD Haas, on Sunday, July 31, at 2:00 pm, First Congregational Church of Zumbrota, 455 East Ave, Zumbrota, MN 55992. If you are clergy, please arrive by 1:30 pm and bring a red stole so we can welcome you into participation. Worship begins at 2:00 pm.

  • Installation of Scott Siefert on Sunday, July 17, St. John’s in Norwood-Young America, at 2 pm.

  • Ordination and Installation of Mitch Nelson on Sunday, September 25, United Protestant, Duluth, most likely 2 pm.

  • Installation of Randy Moe as a Licensed Minister on Sunday, October 16, Granite Falls at 2 pm.
Congregational Pastors Invited to Apply for Inaugural Leadership for Social Justice Program at United Theological Seminary
Applications due July 1, 2022

Thanks to generous funding from Lilly Endowment Inc.’s Pathways for Tomorrow Initiative, United Theological Seminary of the Twin Cities’s new Leadership Center for Social Justice—led by Director Rev. Dr. Ry O. Siggelkow—is excited to invite congregational pastors from Minnesota and adjoining states to apply for the inaugural Leadership for Social Justice Program. The program officially launches September 2022.

From now until July 1, church pastors and ministers can apply for a tuition-free, nine-month, hybrid program designed to equip them to reflectively engage in a broad range of pressing social issues—including struggles for economic, racial, gender, sexual, and ecological justice—in contextual, practical, and faithful ways. Led by a team of experienced teachers, leaders, mentors and grassroots community organizers, the program will help pastors develop and/or deepen sustainable, community-based, social justice ministries responsive to what God is doing in our world, congregations, and communities.

Pastors who wish to apply for the inaugural program must complete an application by July 1, 2022. Applicants must also supply a letter of support from congregational leadership. To learn more, contact the Center’s administrative assistant, Stella Pearce, at spearce@unitedseminary.edu.
Conference Minister Prestemon on Sabbatical

In keeping with the Conference sabbatical policy, Conference Minister Prestemon will be afforded sabbatical leave this summer. She will be away June 15-September 14. Reverend Rick Wagner, who retired as Associate Conference Minister in February 2020, is serving as sabbatical supply Conference Minister on a part-time basis during Rev. Prestemon’s sabbatical. He will provide support to the Conference staff team and will respond to needs of congregations under his specific assignment.
New Standing Rules for General Synod Resolutions

To comply with new standing rules for General Synod, resolutions must be submitted to the Resolution Review Team on or before October 31, 2022. Synod will be held June 30 through July 4, 2023, at the Indiana Convention Center in Indianapolis. The full General Synod rules can be read HERE. A news article describing the major changes is available HERE.
Help for Communicating Your Stewardship Efforts
Are your church’s financial efforts changing to meet the challenges of fundraising in the 21st Century? The national setting of the United Church of Christ is offering webinars for churches on making your church’s communications seamlessly overlap with your stewardship programs and help congregations stay ‘on-message’ to your community. The webinars are led by The Lake Institute on Faith and Giving at Indiana University's Lilly Family School of Philanthropy, a well-known and well-respected school that understands the basic nature of congregational life and giving. More information on how you and your church can participate is available HERE.
ConNext Summit 2022

Faith Formation leaders, clergy, staff, volunteers, and all who walk with others on their spiritual journey are invited to ConNext Summit 2022: In the Ways of Jesus - Gracious Idleness, Scrappy Transformation, Radical Belonging. Find time for rest and renewal; developing and deepening friendships and colleague groups; inspiring innovations; and processing the past few years with a comedy troupe. Learn more and register HERE.
Upcoming Conference Events
  • Jul 11–13: Summer Rural Immersion
: Middle School, Shalom Hill Farm, Windom
  • Jul 22–25: Summer Rural Immersion High School, Shalom Hill Farm, Windom
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.