Pastoral Leadership Development Groups are Forming
In a previous post in the NH News promoting the Pastoral Leadership Development Groups (PLDG), the trait of resiliency was named. Leadership at this time “… is energizing a community of people toward their own transformation in order to accomplish a shared mission in the face of a changing world (Tod Bolsinger, Canoeing the Mountains, p. 36).” Developing resiliency as leaders is at the heart of the PLDG program.

To foster this trait, the NH Conference and Pastoral Counseling Services (PCS) in Manchester offer PLDGs focusing on a variety of settings in which ministry happens. Meeting ten sessions per year, each group provides a setting to develop leadership resilience personally and professionally in various ministry settings.

All PLDGs are led by skilled trained facilitators. You will see groups for active parish pastors, clergy newly called to ministry and/or the NH Conference, members-in-discernment, retired clergy & those nearing retirement, and minsters in specialized settings such as chaplaincy, spiritual direction, pastoral psychotherapy, etc. The NH Conference underwrites this program through the Grace Scott Fund, and each participant pays $250 annual tuition (no fee for retirees). Tuition is payable in installments as needed.

To join a PLDG starting this fall, contact the facilitator of a group that interests you. For general questions about the program, reach out to PLDG Administrator David Reynolds at (603) 533-8377 or

Now is the time to join a group, as they are filling up quickly. Come and nurture your leadership resilience in a PLDG!

Free Staters Publish a List of "Woke Churches"
The Conference received word this past week that a political group known as the Free Staters has published a listing of "Woke Churches". The target audience for this list is those who do not want to find themselves in such a church. Much of this information has since been publicized by NHPR and in several newspapers. 
The criteria to be considered a "woke" church (according to the Free Staters) is one of the following four things: 1) being LGBTQ affirming, 2) being involved in racial or social justice, 3) having continuing Covid protocols, or 4) being affirming of Ukraine. As you might guess, many of our New Hampshire Conference churches are identified as "woke" on this list. However, the churches of many other denominations are also on this list. Later in the week, there was also a similar listing for Jewish faith communities.
As best we can tell, all the information on this list comes from the websites and social media postings of the various churches and synagogues. In other words, it is all information that is already public.  
We share this news so that there is awareness among our churches. We encourage continuing the same safe church strategies that are used regularly. At this time, we are not encouraging our churches to do anything reactively as it can increase potential risk.    
We know of one incident at one of our churches that may be tied to this list. Last week, a man verbally accosted a couple of folks at a church about the "Black Lives Matter" sign on their front lawn. This incident has been appropriately reported to local law enforcement. We have not heard of any threats toward or other incidents involving our churches.  If you become aware of a threat or incident, please report it to local law enforcement and then inform the Conference office as soon as possible.
The New Hampshire Council of Churches and several of the judicatory heads of denominations in our state have been in touch with the Attorney General's Office. We are also maintaining regular communication to share information and support with one another.  
Finally, I would remind us that it is important that we not allow our faith commitments to be silenced at such a time as this. (It is certainly possible that trying to silence the faith witness of such churches and synagogues is part of the intent of such a list.) Our siblings in the LGBTQIA+ communities and in communities of color often find themselves in vulnerable places. If our faith witness is silenced, their vulnerability is only increased. Our voices for justice need to be even louder when things get uncomfortable.
Racial Justice Mission Group Announces Update to Their Bibliography of Selected Resources
The Racial Justice Mission Group (RJMG) is pleased to announce the release of an update to their Bibliography of Selected Resources, a curated list of over 300 books, articles, videos, audio programs, and web links covering many aspects of our work on racial justice and anti-racism. The original bibliography was published over six years ago as an appendix to the Process for Becoming a Racial Justice Church. This updated version brings in many resources that have been published over the last six years in this important field of anti-racism. If you’re looking to learn more in this rapidly changing field, we hope this bibliography will be a help to you. Feel free to share it with your churches, your racial justice committees, and your friends committed to (or just curious about) anti-racism work. The pdf document can be downloaded from the RJMG webpage at
Please Remember in Your Prayers...
In this time of political and social polarities, let us remember our pastors and churches as they endeavor to bear witness to God’s desire for a just and loving human community. The recent highlighting of ‘woke’ churches reminds us that such witness can come at a cost, and so let us be vigilant in our prayer and support of those who bear witness.

Let us remember in our prayers the Search Committee, as it continues the interview phase, in their process for selecting a candidate for the position of Associate Conference Minister.

O God, in your tender mercy,
Hear our prayers!
Across Our Conference
The Rev. David Keller accepted the invitation of the West Congregational Church of Concord, United Church of Christ, to become a half-time Bridge Minister effective September 1. This position will be a shared position with the Rev. Linda Fraser.

The Rev. Peter Ilgenfritz has accepted the invitation of the First Congregational Church, United Church of Christ, of Littleton to become their Interim Minister. Rev. Ilgenfritz’s ministry at Littleton begins September 6, 2022.

First Church in Jaffrey and the Southwest Association of the New Hampshire Conference of the United Church of Christ will gather to celebrate the Installation of the Rev. Stephen Miller as Pastor and Teacher at 3:00 PM on Sunday, September 11, 2022.

The Merrimack Association will hold its Fall Meeting on Sunday, October 2, 2022 at 1:30 PM at the First Congregational Church, Meredith. The meeting will be followed by the 3:00 PM Service of Installation for the Rev. Dr. Peter Lovett.

The Rev. Linda Hey will conclude her ministry as Interim Minister at the First Congregational Church, United Church of Christ, of Hampton. Her last Sunday at Hampton will be on October 2, 2022.

The Rev. Neil Wilson has announced his resignation from the role of Pastor and Teacher of the Laconia Congregational Church, United Church of Christ, and his retirement from active ministry. Neil’s last Sunday at Laconia will be October 23, 2022.

The Southwest Association of the New Hampshire Conference of the United Church of Christ will gather at the United Church in Acworth, United Church of Christ, to install Ms. Maureen Adams as Pastor and Teacher at 3:00 PM on Sunday, October 30, 2022.

The Rockingham Association of the New Hampshire Conference of the United Church of Christ will gather at the Newfields Community Church for a Service of Installation for the Rev. Cheryl Stromski at 2:00 PM on Sunday, October 30, 2022.

The Southwest Association will hold its Annual Meeting on Sunday, November 06, 2022 at 1:00 PM via Zoom.
Conference Minister
Associate Conference Minister

Sunday Schedule: September 11, 2022

In the morning, Rev. Gordon Rankin will be preaching at The United Church of Jaffrey, United Church of Christ, where Rev. Mark Koyama serves as Pastor and Teacher.

In the afternoon, Rev. Rankin will be at The First Church in Jaffrey, participating in the Service of Installation for their Pastor and Teacher, the Rev. Stephen Miller.

The Rev. Richard Slater will be preaching at First Congregational Church, United Church of Christ, in Littleton, where the Rev. Peter Ilgenfritz is serving as their Interim Minister.
Weekly News
The Weekly News is published to promote the mission and ministry of the New Hampshire Conference of the United Church of Christ.

These announcements are intended to be brief, timely, and of a general interest to our Conference readers. Supportive links are provided whenever they are available. We encourage you to forward these materials to others in your church using the link below and to share them in your bulletins and local church newsletters.

Send your items to deadline for submitting items for the next issue is Thursday at 12:00 PM.
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