Volume 17, No. 13 | March 31, 2021

Equipping a courageous Church alive with Christ’s transforming love
The Conference Welcomes New Clergy
One of the great joys we have in the Minnesota Conference UCC is welcoming new clergy. We are thrilled to welcome nine new clergy to positions around the state.

These amazing individuals have met on Zoom, preached on Zoom, trained on Zoom … and despite the great challenges of serving at this time, they have committed to congregations. We are deeply grateful and offer our prayers and blessings to them as they embark upon their journeys.

Our new clergy:
  • Greg Briggs, Peace UCC, Duluth (interim)
  • Sarah Brouwer, St. Paul's UCC on Summit, St. Paul
  • Nikki Darlene Frontz, Solomon’s Porch, Minneapolis
  • Kris Geer, Northern Lights Parish, near the Canadian border!
  • Andrew Greenhaw, The Congregational Church UCC, Rochester (co-pastor)
  • Winston Janusz, Peace UCC, Rochester
  • Shannon Smith, The Congregational Church UCC, Rochester, (co-pastor)
  • Ana Wilson, Grace UCC, Millville
  • Jim Wilson, St James UCC, Barnesville
A Prayer for Minneapolis
—Conference Minister Rev. Shari Prestemon

Loving, Servant God, we remember your journey on this blessed Holy Week. You rode into Jerusalem on a donkey, palms waving as you passed, voices shouting their hosannas. You wept over the city, grieving all they did not understand and refused to receive. You experienced the spectrum of emotion: joy, betrayal, brutality, and anguish. You bravely entered into spaces brimming with tensions and anger, doubts and fears . You found solace in prayer & in community with precious friends. You knew bitter pain and yet focused your unflinching gaze on the fulfillment of promises that beckoned beyond it.

Be present with us now in our own journey of complex emotions & deep suffering. Stand vigil with us in Minneapolis, where hearts tremble and tensions rise as the trial of Derek Chauvin begins. Grant strength & comfort to George Floyd’s family in their grief. Lend deep wisdom to the attorneys and judge and jurors. Pour your spirit on all who watch and wait, stomachs churned with anxiety. Hear the prayers we whisper and the prayers for which we cannot even find words. Move us to plead for justice with the courageous hearts of prophets. Instill in us your deep peace. Mingle your tears with ours as we look upon our city’s brokenness and sin.

Steadfast One, the whole world watches what happens here now, our collective breath held in nervous waiting. And so we turn to you, trusting that our story will reflect your story, that our pain too will give way to unstoppable hope. Wrestle new life and possibility from this moment that weighs so heavily upon us. Teach us the lessons we can learn from this journey. And pour upon all who are hurting and afraid your precious blessing, we humbly pray.

Conference News & Events
Celebrate the Ministry of Rev. Dr. Anita Bradshaw on April 6

The Conference invites you to a virtual celebration of the ministry of Associate Conference Minister Rev. Dr. Anita Bradshaw, who is retiring this spring. The celebration to be held Tuesday, April 6, from 5:00–6:30 pm via Zoom. REGISTER HERE. Once you register you will receive a confirmation email that will have a link to the virtual celebration.

If you want to recognize Anita’s ministry with a gift of gratitude, Anita has identified the following organizations as near to her heart: Penumbra Theater, One Voice Mixed Choir, MIGIZI, MN Conference Racial Justice. Cards for Anita may be sent to the MN Conference (122 West Franklin Avenue, Suite 323, Minneapolis, MN 55404.
So You Want to Build a Hybrid Worship Experience?

The Indiana-Kentucky Conference is offering a two-session series for its Conference members (via Zoom) and the wider church (via YouTube live streaming) that addresses the work of creating a worship service that is simultaneously online and in-person, without sacrificing the feeling of engagement and belonging for either type of worshipper. DOWNLOAD THE FLYER
New Positions Open

  • First Congregational United Church of Christ, Glencoe, MN, Pastor, Full-Time
  • New Spirit UCC, Savage, MN, Pastor, Part Time 
  • First United Church of Christ, Northfield, MN, Senior Pastor
  • Congregational Church of Excelsior, MN, Pastor, Part-Time

Read more on the Jobs page on the Conference's website.
Want to Talk Communications?

The Conference is gathering a group of church staff and lay leaders who are interested in and focused on communications. We want to share ideas, inspiration, challenges and tips. What's working for your church? Where are you struggling? What tools and platforms are you using? We will meet for the first time in April; subsequent meetings will be dictated by the needs of the group. Interested people should send an email to communications@uccmn.org.
A Testimony to the Extravagant Welcome of the United Church of Christ

United Theological Seminary of the Twin Cities is one of our Conference’s most important partners and one of the seminaries closely related to the United Church of Christ. Your congregation’s gifts to CUE help support Chicago Theological Seminary, United, and Eden Seminary (St Louis).

Our UCC seminaries provide an important pathway for a new generation of leadership in our churches and our world. Watch this video testimonial of a student at United Theological Seminary to hear about his journey to seminary and the extravagant welcome he found in the United Church of Christ.
“Kiss the Ground” Documentary Discussion with Rep. Todd Lippert & Land Stewardship Project

April 10 @ 10:00 am – 11:30 am
Outdoor Ministry, MN Conference United Church of Christ, and the Creation Justice Work Group of First Congregational UCC, Mankato are offering an exciting addition to our Creation Justice series: a free viewing of the documentary “Kiss the Ground” between April 1-10, with a panel discussion April 10 from 10-11:30 am, featuring Amanda Kohler from the Land Stewardship Project, Rep. Lippert, and a Minnesota farmer (who have presented the 100% Healthy-Soil Farm Bill to the MN Legislature). LEARN MORE AND REGISTER
Sign up for Power and Boundary Training Offered May 12 & 13
To accommodate demand, we have added another session for the Power and Boundary training this spring on May 12 and 13 (mornings only both days). REGISTER
Authorized Ministers: Anti-Racism Education Information
Authorized ministers can apply for approval of anti-racism education that isn't offered by the Conference or Damascus Project with the form available here.
Generosity Seminar Recommended
The Cultivating Generous Congregations Seminar for pastors and lay leaders offers an opportunity to explore faithful, practical, and tested ways to promoting generosity in our congregations. The seminar draws on current research, seeks guidance from the wisdom of scripture, and discusses the best practices in church-based fundraising. Class sessions held May 19, May 26, June 2, June 9, June 16, and June 23, 2021 from 6:30 – 8:00 pm EST. Between class sessions, the instructors provide materials to help you analyze the culture of your own congregation and learn how to create change. Cost is $150 per participant. REGISTER
Joys and Concerns
Rev. Dr. Anita Bradshaw's mother, Jean Bradshaw, passed away after a sudden decline in health on March 19.  Most of you will have met or interacted with Anita during her time as one of the Associate Conference Ministers here in the Minnesota Conference. The Minnesota Conference holds Rev. Dr. Bradshaw and her family in our prayers.

  • The Enduring Fund, established by Chapel Hills UCC of Edina in 2003, provides supplemental financial support to organizations, individuals and projects that align with the church's mission as a community of faith. Applications are due April 30. SEE INSTRUCTIONS AND THE APPLICATION FORM

  • The Conference website offers a wealth of resources related to ministry.

  • The United Church of Christ National Setting is offering financial assistance to local churches whose ministries have been challenged by the pandemic. See the process.

  • 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.