Volume 17, No. 43 | November 3, 2021

COMMAntary
Equipping a courageous Church alive with Christ’s transforming love
Temperatures Rise, and So Do the Faithful
by Hans Holznagel for the United Church of Christ

“It’s simple,” said U.S. President Joe Biden. “Will we act? Will we do what is necessary? Will we seize the enormous opportunity before us? Or will we condemn future generations to suffer?”

He spoke Monday, Nov. 1, on the second day of a world summit on climate change. Faith leaders are speaking out, too. Some are in Glasgow, Scotland, for the “COP 26” climate meeting. Others are back in their home countries. United Church of Christ people are among them.

The current global climate crisis, marked by fire, flood, drought and other disasters, is, to be sure, a policy question for nations … But people of faith say it’s also a moral and ethical issue.

Phil Armstrong of the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre Centennial Commission to Present Eleanore Troxel Memorial Lecture

Who: Sponsored by Amos Task Force of the Minnesota Conference, UCC, United Church of Christ in New Brighton, United Theological Seminary, Living Table United Church of Christ

When: November 14, 3– 5 pm (in person and via Zoom); no cost (free will offering)

Where: United Theological Seminary, 767 N Eustis St #140, St Paul, MN 55114 (in the CASE building at 280 and University) 

Featuring: One Voice Mixed Chorus performing works honoring Bayard Rustin, organizer and right-hand-person to the late Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. 

Phil Armstrong will speak about the Tulsa Race Massacre, 100 years later. The tragic events of May 3–June 1, 1921, destroyed the historic Black business district known as Black Wall Street and the surrounding community that once stretched outward from Greenwood Avenue, leaving thousands homeless, hundreds injured, and an unknown number killed. 

Tulsa’s Historic Greenwood District reflects the power of the human spirit generally, and the vision, determination, and resilience of its oppressed and marginalized Black citizens, specifically. Tulsa, like so many other American cities, continues to grapple with the legacy of its historical racial trauma. Through acknowledgement, apology, and atonement, Tulsa seeks to heal its lingering wounds and be both a beacon and a positive example for other communities seeking racial reconciliation. This is the specific story of the dignity of a people who turned trials, tribulations, and tragedy into a triumph of the human spirit. 

All in attendance are asked to wear masks and be vaccinated.
Conference News & Events
Two Great Damascus Project Offerings Coming Your Way

Faith Foundations
  • Explore questions about God, Jesus, and Scripture in a non-judgmental space
  • Discover new tools for interpreting the Bible
  • Develop language for speaking with confidence about your faith and finding your voice
  • Explore gifts for serving God in ministries of all kinds

Leadership Skills 
  • Learn about different leadership styles and identify your own
  • Be equipped with new skills for strengthening relationships, building community, and navigating conflict
  • Develop tools for organizing
  • Deepen your knowledge about the UCC

We offer many options for enrollment, pricing, and payment. We are also eager to partner with small groups from churches and make arrangements that will work for your budget. Reach out to us: info@the-damascus-project.org or 507-222-0194.

LEARN MORE & REGISTER; use code MNWI at checkout to receive 15% discount!
Give to the Max: Give the Gift of Hope Nov 18

There is so much ministry that urgently calls the Minnesota Conference to action:
  • reconnecting and spiritually renewing our churches and members during these challenging times
  • dismantling the racism that is killing our siblings of color
  • striving to create loving community amid an increasingly toxic culture
  • discerning God’s call while the Church itself experiences its own rapid change

Please help your Conference be resilient in this season by giving generously towards a matching, dollar-for-dollar challenge. That’s right: every gift received will be matched between now through the first week of Advent, up to a total of $3,000!

There are three easy ways to give:
  • Send a check (to maximize your gift) to 122 W. Franklin Ave, Suite 323, Minneapolis, MN 55404
  • Donate online through our secure website platform
  • Donate through our Give to the Max site
Maintaining Fierce Hope: Refreshing Our Grip on What Sustains Us

Minnesota Conference UCC Clergy Retreat
January 18, 5 pm–January 20, 11:30 am
Christ the King Retreat Center, Buffalo, MN
Fee: $150 (private room) or $130 (shared double room)
Facilitator: Rev. Dr. Martha Brunell

After a long season of being apart, actively serving clergy from around the Minnesota Conference UCC are invited to come together on retreat. We will gather at the confluence of winter time, COVID time, and liturgical time. Then and there we will have gentle invitations to rest, to reconnect, to recognize losses, and to recommit to both familiar and unfolding shapes of ministry. Hope, whether in plain sight or hidden, will enliven these invitations, setting loose through them the potential for a circling flow of compassion and courage. In these quiet winter days, with their share of darkness and perhaps harsh weather, it will be so good to come together. LEARN MORE & REGISTER
Conversations on Race

Join the Anti-Racism Study Dialogue Circle (ASDIC) for Third Sunday Forums: Conversations on Race for congregations in the 21st century. These discussions will provide a space to thoughtfully reflect on the reasons why we are still talking about race today (locations, significance, impact). They will be facilitated by Okogyeamon, an authorized minister in the MN Conference UCC and founder of ASDIC. Pastors and lay leaders from congregations in the Conference are welcome & encouraged. A free will offering ($15 suggested) will be taken to support the effort. REGISTER
2021 Volunteer Ministries Booster Grants Available

United Church of Christ Volunteer Ministries, a member of Wider Church Ministries’ Global H.O.P.E. Team, is offering eight (8) one-time booster grants to revive service learning ministries. This is a quick-moving application process, designed to award grants this fall for 2022–23 implementation by the grantees. The goals are to re-engage young people in ministries of service and to provide immediate financial support with a Leader’s Circle to build capacity and accountability. LEARN MORE.

Ideal applicants are United Church of Christ organizations dedicated to empowering young adult leaders: congregations, judicatories, Outdoor Ministry Association sites, campus ministries, instrumentalities, and/or UCC affiliated ministries. Priority is given to programs that were previously operating with Volunteer Ministries. All are welcome to apply.
Community & Church Leaders Invited to Wade in the Water

November 18, 10 am–12:30 pm on Zoom

Growing Green Hearts, The Ministry Lab, and a team of community partners have created a free ecotheology curriculum that is hyper-local yet adaptable to anywhere. It's also super interactive, intergenerational, and absolutely good for the out-of-doors.

Join the online unveiling event featuring fun enviroSTEM activities, faithful spiritual practices; and fruitful water justice discussions. REGISTER
Register for the Winter Spiritual Immersion Retreat

January 21-23, 2022 (Friday, 6:00 pm through Sunday, 11:00 am) 
Clearwater Forest Camp and Retreat Center, Deerwood, MN
Outdoor Ministry of the Minnesota Conference invites you to experience both during our Winter Spiritual Immersion. Each day will have space for meditation, worship, conversation, good food, and plenty of free time, as we intentionally set aside the outside noises of our lives and “breathe in” the natural wonders with all our senses. 

Cost: $200 (actual price), $150 subsidized price, $100 subsidized with added scholarship, or contact Rev. Sheri Nelson for more scholarship funding 
Limit: 20 participants (adults only). Registration closes January 14
Circle of Trust Peer Groups Rescheduled

The groups will kick off January 10, 6-8:30 pm, and January 11, 6-8 pm. They then will meet monthly (6-8 gatherings) for two hours for participants to share with each other and support each other through the use of deep listening and honest and open questions.

Need Pew Cushions that are in Good Shape?

St. James UCC in Barnsville recently replaced its pew pads, but its old ones are still in very good shape. The church hopes to share with another congregation. There are 18 pew cushions, beige tone, that are each 11.5 feet long. Contact the church if you are interested at churchoffice.stjames@gmail.com or
218-354-7198.
Joys & Concerns
We celebrate the ordination of Eli’jah Carroll on November 6 at 1:30 pm. Eli’jah has been called to serve as the Associate Minister at St. Paul’s UCC in St. Paul. Some of you may also know him from his work at Mayflower Congregational Church (UCC) in Minneapolis as the Director of Faith Formation. This will be a hybrid service. The in-person worship will take place at St. Paul’s; masks are required and worshipers will sit six feet apart. Clergy are asked to wear a black robe and any stole with red in it. The Zoom component will be provided by the Bay Area Association of the Northern California-Nevada Conference, where Eli’jah is a Member in Discernment. The Zoom link is shared with their Fall Meeting; it Is not necessary to attend the meeting to watch the Ordination Service. Details and a link for registration for the Zoom can be found on the Bay Area Association Facebook page. Congratulations to Eli’jah on this momentous occasion in his ministry.
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.

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.