Volume 19, No. 3 | January 18, 2023

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Equipping a courageous Church alive with Christ’s transforming love

Conference Disaster Coordinator at Work in Minnesota Conference UCC

The Minnesota Conference UCC welcomes Crispin Phillips as our Conference Disaster Coordinator. Cris joins a network of other volunteer Conference disaster coordinators across the United Church of Christ, who develop disaster preparedness plans for Conferences and congregations and assist with organizing disaster response and support should a disaster impact any of our congregational communities. 

“I know from personal experience how overwhelming and life-changing a disaster can be for a community,” says Conference Minister Shari Prestemon. “And I also know how life-giving and transformational the presence of the UCC can be after a disaster strikes. It’s important to me that our Conference have a disaster coordinator, and I’m thrilled Cris has been willing to dive right in to that amazing work.” 

Cris brings a wealth of experience with him to this important role. He is currently the Urban Agriculture Program Manager for Appetite for Change, a non-profit in North Minneapolis. He has been a Disaster Relief Coordinator and Response Coordinator with the Minneapolis/Twin Cities Chapter of the Red Cross. He has served on various action, feeding, and damage assessment teams in response to various disasters including Hurricane Katrina, flooding in southern Minnesota, and tornadoes in Greenburg, Kansas.

Crispin is a former developer of cooperatives with farmers in Jamaica, West Indies and the Cayman Islands where he facilitated learning and teachings through mentorship with farmers. He is a member of the Minnesota Volunteer Organizations Active in Disaster (MNVOAD).

Crispin has an undergraduate degree from Dillard University in New Orleans, LA and a graduate degree from Oklahoma State University. 

Reach out directly to Crispin Phillips for information about developing your congregation’s disaster preparedness plan. 

Conference News & Events

Celebrating Prairie Community Church

We celebrate the congregation of Prairie Community Church (UCC) in Lester Prairie as it concludes its ministry of nearly 124 years. It was founded in 1899 by 23 courageous members and leaves behind a beautiful legacy of service and faithfulness in the Lester Prairie area.


The church building has been deeded to another community church in town that has been leasing space for several years. That church's pastor participated in the final service of celebrating and thanksgiving on January 15. The Prairie congregation will also make a gift to the Conference from its remaining assets.

Let us celebrate the ministry of this wonderful church and pray God’s blessings upon its members and all who have called this church their spiritual home.

Outdoor Ministry Shares First in its Zoom Series on Environmental Justice

Watch the video below to learn about the 2023 Farm Bill and why it matters to us as a faith community in this one-hour discussion brought to you by the Outdoor Ministry of the MN Conference UCC. The Land Stewardship Project presented the 2023 Farm Bill, which covers health care, food concerns, climate change, and corporate accountability and responsibility.

Protecting God’s Gift of Creation

Psalm 24:1


Minnesota Conference 61st Annual Meeting

June 9-10, 2023

College of St. Benedict, St. Joseph, MN, with an online option

Hear Ye! Hear Ye! The gathering of the Minnesota Conference will commence once again in June. We will build on the hybrid model we inaugurated last year of virtual and in person workshops, meetings, and worship. Our hope is to engage our youth and young families, our local congregations, our state, and the Spirit to participate in protecting and renewing the Earth, which is God’s and the fullness thereof.

In the coming months, please watch for more announcements about workshops, events, registration, and all the good things of our Conference’s annual meeting.

Boundary Training for Authorized Ministers is February 22 & 23

Rev. Dr. Diane Weible, ordained minister and trained facilitator, will lead two Zoom sessions on Feb 22 & 23 from 9 am-noon. For credit, participants must be fully present and participate in both sessions. Each topic will include a case study and be discussed as a full group before breaking out into small groups for discussion.

Topics covered include: Power and Vulnerability, Social Media, Finances, Pastoral Identity and Vocation, Self-Care (burn-out, stress, compassion fatigue), Receiving Gifts, Boundaries and Church Conflict, When a Minister Leaves/Retires, Ministers as Church Members/Ministers in Four-Way Covenants Cultural Boundaries.

This training fulfills the standing requirement for authorized ministers in the Minnesota Conference. Cost is $60. REGISTER

Virtual National Gathering of UCC Rural/Small Town Churches Set for February 9-11

A Virtual National Gathering of UCC Rural/Small Town Churches and Ministries, "Nourishing the Seeds of Faith," is being presented by the Coalition for UCC Rural Ministries. It is being hosted by the UCC National Faith INFO Ministry Team of the Justice and Local Church Ministries. The event will be held from February 9-11, 2023 - 4:00-7:00 pm EST. REGISTER.

If you have questions, please contact the Rev. Roberto Ochoa, UCC Minister for Ethnic Inclusion, Rural and Small Churches at ochoar@ucc.org

Join Us for Our Second Covenant Day February 4

Robbinsdale Parkway UCC

February 4, 9:30 am to 3:30 pm

REGISTER by February 1

You are invited to our second Covenant Day hosted by Robbinsdale Parkway UCC in Minneapolis. This is a time to gather together and be the church! Covenant Days are filled with workshops, worship, food and fellowship — a time for members, lay leaders, and clergy of local congregations to connect with one another and Conference staff.

All are welcome! We have tried to offer workshops that are of interest to clergy and lay members of the church. This is an opportunity to meet others who are being church in this time and to discuss what it means to be people of faith in a pandemic-informed world. We look forward to seeing you!

Young Adults Ages 18-25: Last Chance to Register for January 27-29 Retreat

Reconnect with UCC camp friends for a weekend at Green Lake Lutheran Camp in Spicer, MN. This is a chance to relax, have some fun, create a meal together, and help plan the future for young adult programming in the MN Conference. Registration is open now until January 20 or when spaces are filled. Read our Covid guidelines.

When: January 27-29, 2023, begins at 6:00 pm Friday and ends 11:00 am on Sunday

Where: Green Lake Lutheran Camp, Medayto Lodge, Spicer, MN

Cost: $50/person | $25/person scholarship, if needed; contact sherin@uccmn.org


FourTHursday: Reframing Ministry: The Joy of Listening that Forms Community

January 26, 2023 @ 11:30 am - 1:30 pm

Join online or in person at United Theological Seminary of the Twin Cities

Lunch: 11:30am | Community Conversation/Resourcing: 12:00-1:30pm


Rev. Kevin Brown, Associate Conference Minister for Faith Formation, will facilitate a conversation that draws on new research and work about the counter-cultural practices of listening and the necessity for this practice as both balm and resistance amid the chaos, despair, and overwhelm of our time. We will explore together how to re-member our communities as spaces of hospitality and belonging rooted in the simple and challenging practices of holy listening.

One Great Hour of Sharing 2023

So let’s not allow ourselves to get fatigued doing good. At the right time we will harvest a good crop if we don’t give up, or quit. Right now, therefore, every time we get the chance, let us work for the benefit of all… Galatians 6:9-10

Sunday, March 19, 2023, the fourth Sunday of Lent, is the recommended date for the UCC’s One Great Hour of Sharing special offering. Unlike previous years, OGHS promotional materials will NOT be automatically mailed to your church. Please visit the WEBSITE to learn more and access helpful materials for participating in this 5 for 5 offering this year!

2023 UCC Yearbook & Directory

It’s that time again for the UCC to begin preparing the Yearbook & Directory for the coming year. The annual yearbook is not simply a formality, but is what your church's 501(c)3 status depends on! Data from the annual reports is also used in the church profile when you are searching for a new pastor - and if no reports have been submitted for your church for five (5) years, all data reverts to zeros. In case those aren't enough reasons, check out this list of 12 important reasons to report your annual church data!


Instructional materials (both videos and documents) for local churches are available at the Yearbook and Directory webpage. Data Hub closes for churches March 1 at midnight (Eastern Time).

Exploring the Enneagram

January 30 - March 12, 2023

Learn the Enneagram’s system of 9 Types and identify your type with The Damascus Project's upcoming learning opportunity. LEARN MORE & REGISTER

Joys & Concerns

You are invited to the ordination of Rev. Nathan Roberts February 19, 2:30-3:30 pm, at Edina Morningside Church. Rev. Roberts will continue to serve as Director of Community Engagement at First Lutheran Church, and will now be an ordained UCC Minister with rights and responsibilities to serve Word and Sacrament. Masks strongly encouraged. Clergy are invited to wear red stoles.

Upcoming Conference Events
More Resources & Opportunities

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  • The Conference website offers a wealth of resources related to faith formation, racial justice, and more.

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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.