Conference bestows honors at 214th Annual Meeting
The Massachusetts Conference honored a number of individuals and churches at the 214th Annual Meeting June 14 - 15 in recognition of their ministries. A look at the honorees follows:
Christine Burns (left) and Reed Baer (right) accept a Bold Creative Initiative Award from Paul Sangree (center).
Elaine Cavanaugh (center) and Nancy Butcher (right) receive the...
214th Annual Meeting affirms fossil fuel divestment resolution
By Tiffany Vail
Associate for Communication
Delegates to the 214th Annual of the Massachusetts Conference this weekend overwhelmingly affirmed a Resolution urging divestment from fossil fuel companies - a resolution the Board of Directors had earlier voted to send to the UCC General Synod, the denomination's biennial meeting.
“This resolution arises from two basic realities,” said Vicki Kemper, pastor of the First Congregational Church of Amherst. “The first is that...
214th Annual Meeting: Summary of Actions
The 214th Annual Meeting of the Massachusetts Conference took the following actions June 14 – 15 at the Sturbridge Host Hotel & Conference Center:
Voted to affirm the Resolution Urging Divestment from Fossil Fuel Companies as submitted to the 29th General Synod of the United Church of Christ. The Board of Directors in December had voted to submit the resolution to Synod.
More information and resolution text: macucc.org/divest
Full article: macucc.org/ne...
Updates & Resources from the 214th Annual Meeting: Risking Vision
The theme for this year's meeting is taken from Habakkuk 2:2-3
2 Then the Lord answered me and said: Write the vision; make it plain on tablets, so that a runner may read it. 3 For there is still a vision for the appointed time; it speaks of the end, and does not lie. If it seems to tarry, wait for it; it will surely come, it will not delay. NRSV
Summary of Actions Taken
June 15, 2013
214th Annual Meeting affirms fossil fuel divestment resolution
June 15, 2013
Fossil fuel divestment, other issues, to come before delegates this weekend
The 214th Annual Meeting of the Massachusetts Conference will take up several issues in Sturbridge this weekend, including a resolution urging divestment from fossil fuel companies, a re-organization of the Conference volunteer structure and clergy compensation guidelines.
Delegates will also vote on whether to allow two churches that have closed to legally merge with the Conference, thereby transferring their financial assets to the Conference in order to carry their ministries forward...
Conference volunteer structure goes through major shift; proposal to go to Annual Meeting
The Massachusetts Conference has seen a major restructuring of its volunteer program development teams this year, transitioning from seven program commissions into four ministry councils on an experimental basis.
At the request of the Board of Directors, the Conference Annual Meeting in June, 2012, voted to remove from the Conference bylaws the provisions that established seven program commissions, thereby allowing the Conference to test out a new structure. The former...
Sabbatical coverage schedule announced for MACUCC staff
Because numerous members of the Massachusetts Conference Executive staff joined the staff at the same time, this summer is seeing a confluence of sabbatical times.
"We have a great staff that works well together, and we have come up with a schedule that assures adequate summer coverage while allowing staff to take the sabbatical and vacation time to which they are entitled," said Conference Minister and President Jim Antal.
Staff members will be off, as follows. In all cases, staff...
Kelly Gallagher to serve as Acting Associate Conference Minister
Massachusetts Conference Minister and President Jim Antal sent the following email to churches, Associations, clergy and lay leaders on Monday, May 13:
From: Jim Antal, Conference Minister & President
[please note that beneath my letter is a greeting from our new staff member]
Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,
Even as we anticipate Pentecost, I write with joyful news.
On Saturday, May 11, 2013, the Conference Board of Directors voted to...
Retiring ACM Peter Wells to be honored at Annual Meeting
The Annual Meeting Planning Committee announced this week that Associate Conference Minister Peter Wells, who is retiring after having served on the staff for 11 years, will be honored at the 214th Annual Meeting in Sturbridge in June.
On Friday, June 14, Wells will preach at the closing worship service, which will include a liturgy of blessing and farewell. A reception in his honor will follow the worship service.
The committee is sending the following email to delegates and churches on...
Support gathering scheduled for clergy in wake of Marathon bombings
Clergy serving in every setting of the Massachusetts Conference have received an invitation to gather together for worship, prayer and an opportunity to share stories, perspectives and resources in the wake of the Boston Marathon bombings.
The event will be held at Plymouth Church in Framingham on April 24 from 1:30 to 3:30 PM. An invitation to clergy was emailed Friday morning from Minister and President Jim Antal and the member of the MACUCC Disaster Resource Team, Don Remick, Jim Tilbe...
Reflections on the tragedy in Boston
A number of Massachusetts Conference staff and local pastors have been writing reflections on the tragedy in Boston on Patriot's Day. Some of those are listed here:
On the Massachusetts Conference Website:
The substance of our faith
Andy Gustafson, Associate Conference Minister
I know grief, I know anger, I know the thirst for vengeance, I know darkness. But thanks to God, I also know the light shines in the...
"We are not foresaken," says Nancy Taylor at Boston Interfaith Service
Nancy Taylor, senior pastor of Old South Church UCC in Boston, spoke during the City Wide Interaith Prayer service in Boston on Thursday.
"Here's what I know today: we are shaken, but we are not forsaken. Another's hate will not make of us haters. Another's cruelty will only redouble our mercy," she said.
Taylor was involved in planning the service with, Dan Smith, pastor of the First Church in Cambridge, Wendy Vander Hart, Associate Conference Minister, Nick Carter,...
Churches invited to share service information
Massachusetts Conference churches that are holding prayer services in the wake of the bombings in Boston are invited to share that information in the comment section here, and on the Massachusetts Conference Facebook page and the Massachusetts Council of Churches Facebook page.
Churches wishing to have someone trained in dealing with trauma on hand at their service is invited to contact Jim Tilbe of the MACUCC Disaster Resource Team. Jim will do what he can to connect...
Prayers, support, pour in from all over
Prayers of support, offers of assistance, and advice from those who have faced tragedy near their own homes have been spreading rapidly across the social network sphere and have been pouring into the Massachusetts Conference office.
Massachusetts Conference Minister and President Jim Antal has been receiving a steady stream of communication from his counterparts in other Conferences since the bombings in Boston on Patriot's Day.
"Connecticut stands ready... in prayer and more, should you...
Resources to help churches respond to bombings; report from Old South
The Boston Globe: Two Back Bay churches begin road to recovery
April 29, 2013
CNN: View over Boylston Street: Bostonians 'shaken' but resolute
April 28, 2013
VIDEO: NECN: Healing process begins at Old South Church
April 25, 2013
Chicago Tribune: Boston bombings: Marathon finish line becomes a place of worship
April 21, 2013
The Massachusetts Conference Disaster Resource Team sent this message...
Plans unveiled for garden in memory of Susan Dickerman
The plans for a Memorial Garden in honor of Susan Dickerman, who passed away in February after serving on the Massachusetts Conference staff for 26 years, were unveiled Saturday at a celebration worship service held to honor her ministry.
Donations are being accepted to transform the circle of grass between the Edwards House Meeting & Retreat Center and the Massachusetts Conference office building (the barn) in Framingham into a garden with dogwood trees, shrubs, ornamental grasses...
Warwick church drops fossil fuel company stock
By Marlene Gasdia-Cochrane
Inspired by letters and measures taken by Massachusetts Conference Minister and President Jim Antal, the members of the Trinitarian Congregational Church of Warwick are taking action and divesting. For several years the church has been holding 70 shares of Exxon Mobil Corporation stock that were donated to them, and reaping the cash dividends. However, on March 10th, the members unanimously voted to divest the church of those stocks.
“It was the right thing to...
Peter Wells announces plans to retire
Associate Conference Minister Peter Wells, who has served on the MACUCC staff for 11 years, announced Friday that he will be retiring at the end of August.
Wells currently serves churches and pastors in the Central and Hampshire Associations, as well as coordinating Justice and Witness ministries for the Conference. In the past he has also served as the regional minister for the Franklin, Hampden and Berkshire Assocations.
Wells sent out the following email announcement on...
Reviving Hope - Reviving Generosity
The following story is by Eric S. Anderson, Minister of Communications and Technology for the Connecticut Conference UCC and is reprinted with permission from CTUCC.org.
The Rev. Michael Piazza does not believe in a static Church. He believes in growth -- spiritual growth, outreach growth, and participation growth -- and in his decades of ministry at Catheral of Hope in Dallas, with the Center for Progressive Renewal, and now at Virginia Highland Church (UCC and Baptist) in Atlanta, Georgia,...
Conference gauging interest in regular bulletin insert
The Massachusetts Conference staff is weighing the idea of producing a regular bulletin insert designed to help inform the laity of Conference happenings, and is looking for feedback from churches.
"There is so much going on in the wider UCC – leadership training and faith-building events, justice actions, mission opportunities," said Associate for Communication Tiffany Vail. "We understand there is a limit to how much our pastors and church administrators can do to...