September 2021 E-Blast, Second Edition
Important Updates:
  1. The Conference Office will be closed on Monday, September 20th for a Mental Health First Aid Training for all Conference staff.
  2. Please add to your contacts. This is the new email for our Administrative Support Staff, Naomi and Kim. This is also the email our electronic communications will be coming from after today. Watch for more updates in the future regarding Conference staff emails.
Afghan Refugees - Help Needed Urgently
The International Rescue Committee

The International Rescue Committee DESPERATELY still needs to find dozens of people to support the incoming Afghan refugees in the U.S. The numbers and need are staggering, and we just don’t have enough people or partners right now to get this done. Jobs are short-term (2 weeks or more) but can be longer if someone is available. No special skills needed for most positions (except interpreters) and travel is covered. You DO need to be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident since the positions are all on military bases. The IRC is looking for Interpreters and Generalists. The generalists just have to be good-hearted, clear-headed, hardworking folks to tend to practical details as folks arrive and get settled at least temporarily.
Rights & Resources Training
The Metropolitan Tenants Organization

On Oct. 3 evictions resume in Illinois and 20,000 families are in danger of being evicted before the end of the year. If we can reach the tenants who are at risk we can prevent this hardship along with the increase in hunger and homelessness it is likely to bring. On September 23rd at 10:00 am, the Metropolitan Tenants Organization is offering training so that folks can be more equipped to help those in need.
Community Farm Volunteer Day
Grace United Church of Christ, Sauk Village
Just Roots Chicago
Good Vibes

The portion of the land we'll be planting on has been tilled, thanks to help from our local nursery and because of the financial support and abundance of prayers. On Saturday September 18th from 9-12, we'll start the process of planting cover crops! We need volunteers to come out and transport dirt, shape planting beds and plant crops.
Protect Reproductive Healthcare Access
The Women’s Health Protection Act is a critically needed bill that will enact protections on the federal level to safeguard access to high-quality care and to secure constitutional rights by protecting patients and providers from political or religious interference. It would bar state and federal legislation that imposes medically unnecessary regulations on access to abortion services including medication, mandatory waiting periods, or out and out abortion bans.
Tell Congress: Support the Philippine Human Rights Act
On June 17, 2021, Representative Susan Wild (D-PA) introduced the Philippine Human Rights Act (HR 3884), which reinforces United States commitment to international human rights by suspending security assistance to the Philippines until (1) violence against dissidents ceases and (2) accountability against the perpetrators commences. Domestic remedies have been exhausted, and the US must act to protect the human rights of Filipinos.
Engaging the hearts and minds of a congregation's youth and keeping their attention isn't easy. One of the most meaningful ministry options your church can invest in is an overnight retreat. Not only do they have a measurable, positive long-term impact on youth overall, but at-risk youth often reflect that a retreat served as an encouraging environment where they felt supported, loved and acknowledged.

Both camps have facilities available to handle various sized groups and unique outdoor spaces for youth to explore. Call to discuss what your needs are and how we can work together to create a great retreat experience. Also available is a service retreat option where your youth group can participate in a work project on site or in the community.

The value of camp is a life changed. Call or email now to book a retreat for 2022. Click on the image above for a shareable flyer. For more information about Pilgrim Park, call 815-447-2390 or email Mitch Kloster or Tara Cade. For more information about Tower Hill, call 269-426-3881 or email Tracy Heilman or Jeri Edelberg.
Events and Training Opportunities
Women's Retreat - UPDATE
Oct. 2, 2021
Pilgrim Park Camp

The Women's Retreat at Pilgrim Park has been changed to a one day retreat with an overnight option. Registration cost is $45, which includes: Saturday lunch, room use, and retreat materials. Register online or contact Carol Currier-Frighetto (815-277-6041) to have a registration form mailed to you. Register ASAP, but no later than Sept. 17, to ensure lodging and meal needs are met.

There are limited single rooms for those who wish to arrive on Friday. No dinner will be provided. Contact Pilgrim Park (815-447-2390) directly to make a reservation. Lodging cost is $107 and includes Saturday breakfast.
Webinar: Copyright Concerns for Churches
Sept. 29 at 2:00 pm EST
UCC Insurance Board

During these challenging times, ministries rely heavily on the virtual environment and various electronic mediums to share the printed forms of inspiring poetry, quotes from prayer books and daily affirmations, as well as words from songs during worship and through other forms of ministry. As a result, some ministries have been shocked to discover they are actually in violation of copyright infringement; join us as Heather Kimmel, General Counsel, United Church of Christ, offers valuable information on how to help your ministry avoid this situation.
Pilgrim Congregational Church Presents:
Linking Anti-Blackness and Anti-Immigration
Thursday, Oct. 7, 6:30-8:30 PM

This virtual workshop links the global backlash against immigrants to slavery and colonization. Writer and educator, Benji Hart, will describe how the deportation machines in places like Israel, Mexico and the United States share a lineage with the same systems that once captured and forced Africans into servitude. The program is free, but registration is required.
Be the Healing Conference
Oct. 8-9
United Church of Christ

Participants will learn about improvement as a science and its implications for supporting healing initiatives and social justice as a framework that helps to accelerate how we learn to improve. It is a user and problem centered approach to accelerate teaching and learning through action, learning by doing. As the improvement process advances, previously unknown problems often emerge and improvement activities may need to move in new directions. Rapid tests of change are suggested to guide the continued fine-tuning of new tools, processes, roles and relationships. The objective IS then to facilitate a focused learning journey.
(Re)Start Messy Training
Oct. 23, 9:00 am - 3:00 pm
Messy Church USA, Northfield Community Church

Messy Church USA invites you and your church to attend a Messy Day of Training on Oct. 23, 2021. Messy Church USA trainers will share the building blocks for creating or restarting your local Messy Church. Northfield Community Church in Northfield, IL, just north of Chicago is one of six regional training locations. Training is 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. and includes foundation training, “how to” suggestions, a full Messy session, an opportunity to work with a Messy Church USA trainer, and lunch and morning coffee. Registration cost is $100 for an individual, $200 for a team of 2-4, $25 per addition team members. Registration is limited at each location so register soon. Questions: contact Ronda Bower at Northfield Community Church. Learn more about Messy Church.
Outdoor Ministries - Fall Adult Retreat
Pre-retirement and Retirement: A Spiritual Path
Sunday, October 24th - Tuesday, October 26
Tower Hill Camp and Retreat Center
Leader: Rev. Jeffrey Phillips

There are many ways to think about our pre-retirement and retirement years. This retreat will help participants consider these stages of life from a spiritual perspective as we reflect on thoughts from Anne Lamott’s recent book Dusk, Night, Dawn, and engage in various contemplative practices.
August Calendar At A Glance
Sept. 19: Ordination and Installation of Lindsey Hammond. 3:00 p.m. at First Congregational Church of Evanston.

Sept. 21: FAB Committee Meeting. 9:00 a.m. via Zoom.

Sept. 21: Outdoor Ministry Committee Meeting. 6:00 p.m. via Zoom.

Sept. 22: All Conference Chat. 3:00 p.m. via Zoom. Featured Speaker - Illinois Maya Ministries.

Sept. 22-23: Partners in Building 2021. Virtual event sponsored by the UCC Church Building & Loan Fund.

Sept. 23: Strides for Peace Race, 6:00 p.m. Advocate Aurora Health is sponsoring the annual Strides for Peace Race Against Gun Violence held in Chicago and also virtually.

Sept. 24-25: Bridging the Divides, Tending the Gap. This virtual conference will gather persons of various faiths, spiritualities, ages, and cultures who are longing to participate in the movement of unity and the healing of divisions.

Sept. 25: Conference Executive Committee meeting. 10:00 a.m. via Zoom.

Sept. 26: Installation of Mike Daly at First Congregational Church of Geneva.

Sept. 27: CMA Justice & Witness Team meeting. 7:00 p.m. via Zoom.

Sept. 29: Copyright Concerns for Churches Webinar. 2:00 p.m. EST.

Sept. 29: All Conference Chat. 3:00 p.m. via Zoom. Monthly Conference Update.
Upcoming Events
Oct. 2: Illinois Conference Women’s Retreat. “Choose Joy” is the theme for this year.

Oct. 2: St. John UCC Kankakee 150th Anniversary Open House. 1:00 - 3:00 p.m.

Oct. 6-7: Association of Interim Ministers invites you to the AIM Conference happening at the Starved Rock Conference Center. Click here for more information.

Oct. 8-9: Be the Healing Conference with Dr. Joy DeGruy. Rescheduled from August.

Oct. 19: Chicago Metropolitan Association Fall Meeting. More details coming soon.

Oct. 23: (Re)Start Messy Training. Northfield Community Church. 9:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.

Oct. 24-26: ODM Fall Adult Retreat: Pre-retirement and Retirement.

Oct. 30: Prairie Association Fall Meeting. 9:30-11:30 a.m. via Zoom.

Nov. 20: Illinois Conference Annual Celebration. More details coming soon!
Resources and More
Resources for Suicide Prevention Awareness Month
Advocate Aurora Health

Training for UCC Churches: Serving Afghan Refugees
Churches can take specific actions to help the tens of thousands of at-risk people now arriving in the U.S. from Afghanistan. That was the word from immigration experts - and a former refugee herself - in a September 11 United Church of Christ webinar.

The 90-minute presentation, “Training for UCC Churches: Serving Afghan Refugees,” can be viewed at this link.
Rooted in Love: 2021 Stewardship Theme Materials
United Church of Christ Resources
New stewardship materials available from UCC Resources help congregations tell their story while also making a request for financial support. Options for purchase include both printed and download formats; prices start at $39.95. 
COVID-19 Vaccination Updates and More
Advocate Health Care (E-Newsletter)
Getting vaccinated is safe, effective, and will help us beat COVID-19. We're currently vaccinating anyone 12 and older in Illinois and Wisconsin. 

We’re offering COVID-19 tests at our Advocate Immediate Care and Aurora Urgent Care locations – regardless of symptoms or exposure. Testing is available via walk-in or by appointment. You can expect to receive your results within 48 hours.

Click here to view the "Safely Reopening Our Doors" Toolkit.
Employment Opportunities
Ministerial opportunities within the United Church of Christ.

Belleville, St. Paul UCC seeks Director of Faith Formation and Care

Crystal Lake, St. Paul's UCC seeks PT Youth Director

Crystal Lake, St. Paul's UCC seeks PT Program Director

Des Plaines, Christ Church UCC seeks Church Administrative Assistant

Dundee, First Congregational Church seeks PT Director of Children & Youth Ministries

Elgin, First Congregational Church seeks Organist/Music Director

Park Ridge Community Church seeks PT Children's Minister

Westchester, Midwest Ministry Development seeks Contract Counselors

Winnetka Congregational Church seeks Interim Youth & Children Staff Person

Off the Pews seeks Executive Director

Please let us know if you have a job opening you would like to have shared,
and also update us once the position is filled. Contact Sarah Lohrbach.
Church Newsletter Request
Please send us your newsletters so we can keep up with what's going on in your church.
Address for printed newsletters: Illinois Conference UCC, 1840 Westchester Blvd., Suite 200, Westchester, IL 60154. Electronic newsletters: Please add Sarah Lohrbach at to your church’s mailing list.
THE ILLINOIS CONFERENCE UCC E-BLAST is published by the Illinois Conference of the United Church of Christ, 1840 Westchester Blvd., Suite 200, Westchester, IL 60154. The Rev. Molly Carlson, Conference Minister; Sarah Lohrbach, Editor. Copy may be sent to: 
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Illinois Conference of the United Church of Christ | (708) 344-4470
1840 Westchester Blvd., Suite 200, Westchester, IL 60154