Volume 19, No. 14 | April 5, 2023

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Equipping a courageous Church alive with Christ’s transforming love

Waiting for What Comes Next

It is Wednesday of Holy Week, not a day that usually garners much attention. Some Christian traditions have regarded it as “Spy Wednesday,” since it is the day on which scripture suggests Judas Iscariot determined to betray Jesus for thirty pieces of silver. Others have called it “Silent Wednesday,” alluding to the fact that we don’t really know much about what happened on that day for Jesus and his disciples. It is a day seemingly motionless and without fanfare, a day when we sit waiting for all that comes next.

It feels like we’re doing a lot of that these days: waiting for what comes next, wondering how things will unfold. We watch the war raging on in Ukraine, and wonder how peace will ever come. We witness the horror of another mass shooting in Nashville, six more precious lives lost, and ask ourselves (again) how long our nation will allow such violence to go on. We see all the nervous chatter surrounding the historic indictment of former President Trump and wonder if political violence and turmoil will break out anew. We experience one of the snowiest winters in Minnesota history and wait with increasing impatience for the first glorious signs of spring. And in this post-pandemic season in our churches, we wait for worship attendance to rebound and volunteers to re-appear while wondering what the future might hold for the churches we love.

Waiting is hard. The not knowing is often nerve-wracking and exhausting.

I think about that as I read the sacred texts of this Holy Week. I try to imagine the vibe in Jerusalem during those days, the whispered worry among the disciples and other followers of Jesus, the political maneuverings behind the scenes, the mounting sense of doom and desperation as the days led to the betrayal, arrest, and crucifixion of Jesus. It had to have been grueling. Because they didn’t know then what we know now. As much as Jesus had tried to prepare them and warn them of what was to occur, they were simply waiting, wondering what would possibly come next.

But in our case it is different. We know what came next. We are reminded by our scriptures that after the jubilant procession of Palm Sunday, after all the uncertainty and worrisome waiting of the days that followed, and after all the indignities and horrors and grief of his trial and crucifixion, Jesus rose. The Resurrection surprised the sorrowful and promised astonishing new life.

We do not wait as those without hope. Even in times when the future is uncertain and answers unclear, we wait trusting that God is working feverishly to bring fresh possibility and purpose to our lives and our world. We keep the faith. We hope.

May you know the presence and promise of God in all your waiting. May the hope of the Resurrection be your steady companion. And may the powerful witness of this Holy Week and Easter breathe life and joy into your life and into our life as Church.

Journeying with you in hope,

Reverend Shari Prestemon, Conference Minister


Conference News & Events

First Annual UCC Earth Day Summit to be Held in Minnesota

"There is no greater power on Earth than Story." – Libba Bray

Saturday, April 22

Mayflower UCC, 106 E. Diamond Lake Road

The National Setting of the United Church of Christ is coordinating a First Annual Earth Day Summit with Mayflower UCC in Minneapolis and the MN Conference. Plan to attend all or part of a special day filled with inspiring stories of hope!

10:00 AM - 12:30 PM CDT

National UCC Summit (virtual on Zoom) featuring renowned climate activist, theologian, and author Jim Antal as the keynote speaker and a panel of expert Minnesota organizers


Saturday 1:30 - 3:00 PM CDT

A program held at Mayflower Church, both in person and live-streamed; 106 E. Diamond Lake Road, Minneapolis

Music, prayer, a call to Action and a Readers’ Theatre presentation “Hope From the Front Lines," personal stories of courage and hope from rural, small town and urban Minnesota. REGISTER

DOWNLOAD A PROMOTIONAL FLYER to share with your congregation, friends, neighbors, and colleagues!

The 2022 Generosity Report is Now Online

The Minnesota Conference gratefully acknowledges the financial support individuals and congregations have made to equip the courageous United Church of Christ to be alive with Christ’s transforming love: together, we strengthened congregations statewide to do the redemptive work of God in the world! READ THE REPORT

Anti-Racism / Diversity Training is June 8 Prior to Annual Meeting

Thursday, June 8, 9:30 am – 4:00 pm (check-in begins at 9:00 with coffee) 

$65 (lunch included with a light afternoon snack) 


Every two years, authorized ministers of the Minnesota Conference are required to take a workshop on Anti-Racism and Diversity. We are offering a training prior to the Annual Meeting and hope that those who are planning to come to the Annual Meeting can combine these opportunities.

We are pleased this to welcome Rev. Jia Starr Brown as our training leader. She will lead us through a conversation exploring the depths of racism in our society, where we are today with racial justice, and how we talk and teach about these things. We will then move into how we can begin to engage authentic conversation now. 


Opening Up "Heart Spaces": Register for Spring 2023 Youth Gathering

April 28-30, 2023 | Camp Onomia, Onamia

For youth in grades 6-12


Lori Alford, a licensed marriage and family therapist and long-time faith formation leader in the Minnesota Conference UCC, will guide youth through activities and experiences that help them listen to their bodies, practice stillness and quiet, open up “heart spaces” for connection, and tap into their innate capacity to know, love, and connect.

Power & Boundary Training Offered Prior to Annual Meeting in June

Date: Thursday, June 8, 2023

Time: 10:00 am – 4 pm (check-in begins at 9:30 am with coffee)

Cost: $65 (lunch included with a light afternoon snack)

Facilitator: Anita Bradshaw


Every three years, authorized ministers of the Minnesota Conference are required to take a workshop on Power and Boundaries. We are offering a training prior to the Annual Meeting on June 8. Come for the training, stay for the Annual Meeting! LEARN MORE

2023 Stewardship Theme Materials Available

2023 stewardship materials feature this year's slogan, “Because of You, Our Church Changes Lives,” drawing the connection between donor generosity and the ministry and mission of your congregation. Materials include resources for worship, sermons, and faith formation for youth and adults, and provide practical tools such as logos, commitment cards, bulletin inserts, and more. Campaign guidance for every step of your stewardship effort helps leaders make the best use of these robust materials for their specific context and size.

Various order options available, including digital downloads or print bundles. LEARN MORE

Looking for New Century Hymnals?

The Minnesota Conference has many copies of the New Century Hymnal that need a new home.

If your church would like to have these, please contact Sandy Kellen at sandyk@uccmn.org to arrange for pickup.

Union Congregational Offers Faith Formation and Theater Resources

Union Congregational UCC, St. Louis Park has the following items available. Faith Formation resources are free; other item prices are negotiable:

  • Our Whole Lives: Sexuality Education grades 7-9 and 10-12
  • Affirming Faith confirmation curriculum workbook and teaching plans
  • Claim the Name confirmation resource
  • Bluefish TV Youth Ministry (DVDs)
  • Worship for Life units 1-13
  • Communion & baptism resources
  • Poster/art storage cart
  • Book display kiosk
  • Manual potter’s wheel
  • Fresnel stage lights, light board, cords and back up bulbs
  • Portable staging like new 9/ea 4’x8’ adjustable legs w/storage dolly

Contact Brenda for more information at bclarno57@gmail.com.

Joys & Concerns

The ordination service for Nathan Roberts has been rescheduled for Sunday, April 16, 2 pm at Edina Morningside Church UCC, 4201 Morningside Rd., Edina, MN 55416.

Upcoming Conference Events
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 faith formation, 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.