Volume 16, No. 25 | June 24, 2020

COMMAntary
Equipping a courageous Church alive with Christ’s transforming love
"Justice Talk to Justice Walk" Webinar Series Launches June 30 with Rev. Traci Blackmon
The Conference's new webinar series, “Justice Talk to Justice Walk: Building Awareness, Strengthening Our Resolve,” launches June 30, from 7:00–8:30 pm.

The first of several webinars aimed at expanding our racial justice awareness features Rev. Traci Blackmon , Associate General Minister of the United Church of Christ, for a webinar entitled “Where Do We Go From Here? Lessons from Ferguson & Beyond.”

This webinar will be an interactive conversation between Conference Minister Shari Prestemon and Rev. Blackmon, with opportunities for participants to ask questions. Register here (registration is required).

Rev. Blackmon’s leadership and ministry in the aftermath of the killing of Michael Brown, Jr. in Ferguson, Missouri nearly six years ago is well known. She has since become a leading national voice on the struggle for racial justice, and has toured the nation with Rev. Dr. William Barber of Moral Mondays and Repairer of the Breech to declare the need for a moral revival in the United States.

Upcoming Webinars in the Series
  • Wednesday, July 15, 7-8:30 pm – “Sacred Disruption: Standing with Jesus at the Corner of 38th and Chicago.” Join guest speakers Rev. Gary Green and Rev. Dr. Justin Tabia-Sanis, both faculty at United Theological Seminary of the Twin Cities, for a dynamic conversation about how our sacred scriptures and our theologies can help shape our responses to George Floyd’s murder and a history of racial oppression. How can we disrupt existing realities to create something new? (Registration opens July 15)

  • August 6, 7:00–8:30 pm – “Youth Lead Now: Equipping Young Leaders for Social Change,” with guest speaker Samantha Fuentes, a survivor of the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, in February 2018 and leader in the March for Our Lives movement that emerged from that horrific event.
Registration Closes June 26 for Online Youth Camp
This year's youth camp from June 29-July 1 is all about resilience!

What is resilience? What does it look like? What if you feel un-resilient? (hint: that's normal!) The Theater of Public Policy is collaborating with us to create virtual spaces using Zoom to ask important questions, explore skills around resilience, support authentic emotional expression and just connect.

We've had a flurry of last-minute registrations so we're extending the registration deadline to Friday, June 26. Sign up today!
Conference News & Information
National ONA Sunday is June 28

UCC congregations around the country will celebrate National ONA Sunday on June 28. Visit the ONA  worship page  for resources. We recommend that after the sermon, the congregation recites the words of your ONA covenant together as a reaffirmation of faith. And join us at 7 pm EDT that Sunday for an inspiring service in our Zoom Chapel.

New ONA Webinar Series Begins Thursday, June 25, 7 pm (CDT)
Coalition Executive Director Andy Lang will help non-ONA congregations learn how to lead your church through an ONA process in ways that build consensus and reduce the risk of conflict. Existing ONA churches will learn new ways to strengthen your ONA covenant. Learn more.
Power & Boundary Training Follow-Up Sessions Scheduled
 
Ordained, licensed, and commissioned ministers due for power and boundary training this year are required to take the Lewis Center online learning course  Maintaining Boundaries in a Digital Age . No code is required for registration. Having completed the course, ministers should email copies of their certificates to  janeta@uccmn.org  to receive a link to a one-hour Zoom follow-up conversation with Rev. Dr. Anita Bradshaw. Those conversations will take place on the third Tuesday of the month at 3:30 pm.
Course Registration Now Open!
 
Are you a lay or staff leader, spiritual seeker, member in discernment, or clergy looking for meaningful opportunities for faith and leadership growth? Check out The Damascus Project's 2020-21 learning opportunities!

In addition to high-quality learning experiences, The Damascus Project offers free membership in our new network where you can connect with colleagues, get the latest news, and have unique access to the courses for which you have registered.
Youth and Young Adults Connecting for Racial Justice

The Minnesota Conference is partnering with staff from the national setting of the UCC and other conferences around the country to host and facilitate a series of online gatherings for youth and young adults to give voice to the unrest they are experiencing in these days and to encourage and support one another in their work for racial justice. Learn more about this fantastic line-up of rallies, in the form of town hall forums and webinars.
Financial Assistance for Congregations from Conference and National Setting

The United Church of Christ National Setting is offering financial assistance to local churches whose ministries have been challenged by the novel coronavirus pandemic. Applications are now being accepted. See the process described here .

Applications are being accepted from Minnesota Conference UCC congregations for the Pandemic Relief Loan Program. Access the application and further details here.

Congregations may also apply for  emergency grants  to cover operating expenses, technology needs, or community ministries; grants to cover the cost of  website development ; or  counseling assistance grants  for authorized ministers.
Joys & Concerns
Reverend Richard Fylling died on June 22 i n Hutchinson from complications of Parkinson’s Disease Dick ministered in Kansas, Iowa, and South Dakota before coming to Minnesota, where he was a member of New Journey UCC in Hutchinson. He served for five years on the Minnesota Conference Annual Meeting Planning Work Group and is remembered for his witty promotions of the event. The conference mourns with Dick’s wife Mary and with all of his family and friends even as his goodness and kindness are remembered and celebrated. A funeral will not be held until it is safe to do so.

Seth Patterson will be ordained to a call at Plymouth Congregational Church in Minneapolis on Sunday, June 28, at noon. Ordained clergy in the conference are encouraged to participate. RSVP to Doug Freeman at  dougf@plymouth.org  to receive a link to register for the webinar ordination.

Please join us on Sunday, June 28, for a service of closure and farewell in appreciation and celebration of the ministry of Rev. Eliot N. Howard . We will bid fond farewell to Pastor Eliot and Jan after 27 years of their faithful ministry and service to the congregation of Linden Hills Congregational United Church of Christ.  You can join the online service at 10 am through Facebook Live, gather in Linden Hills Park from 4:30-6 pm that afternoon, or send a card to Eliot and Jan via Linden Hills UCC, 4200 Upton Ave S, Minneapolis 55410.
News & Notices
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.

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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.