By Eric Anderson, Connecticut Conference UCC
and Tiffany Vail, Massachusets Conference UCC
The Twitterverse offers a snapshot of the Super Saturday experience last weekend: “Inspiring.” “Amazing.” “Diana Butler Bass left me tweetless--didn’t want to miss a word.” And it didn’t hurt that the keynote speaker herself declared, “Thanks, Mass & CT UCC. YOU ROCK!”
|Tweets about "#supersatucc"|
Nearly 700 people have registered for Super Saturday, being held on March 1st in Ludlow, meaning the event cannot accommodate any more attendees. Most of the 45 workshops are fully booked, and the cafeteria is at capacity for lunch. No walk-ins will be accommodated.
The event, being co-sponsored by the Massachusetts and Connecticut Conferences, is featuring acclaimed author Diana Butler Bass.
Anyone wishing to follow along with the discussions on Saturday can do so using the Twitter hashtag #supersatucc. The next Super Saturday will be held in October, 2014 - the date and location have yet to be announced.
Thank you! As a delegate to the Massachusetts Conference, United Church of Christ, you play a central role in the governance of the Conference. As a delegate you
1. Choose the Board of Directors and Officers of the Conference
2. Approve the annual budget
3. Decide on the OCWM retention rate
4. Set the per member Fellowship Dues rate (Conference Portion)
5. Adopt resolutions on behalf of the Annual Meeting
6. Bring the concerns of the local church to the wider church
7. Educate your congregation about the mission and programs of the Conference
This handbook is designed to provide you with helpful information about the Conference and your important role in advancing the mission of Jesus Christ in Massachusetts.
The Reverend Dr. James M. Antal, Minister and President
Massachusetts Conference, United Church of Christ
As a delegate from a local congregation, you represent your congregation at the annual meeting of the Conference. Familiarizing yourself with the contents of this guide, especially the by-laws and standing rules of the Conference, will help you to effectively carry out your responsibilities as a delegate. Prior to the Annual Meeting you will receive a packet entitled “Advance Materials”. This will include information on registration, meals, and resolutions to come before the meeting. Carefully review all the materials.
With this material in hand:
1. Discuss with your pastor and church council the best means to educate the congregation about the resolutions being proposed, and how best to obtain their input into your decision on these. Some ideas on how this might be done could include:
a. Announcements in worship and/or bulletin inserts
b. Special luncheon or dinner
c. Special council meeting dedicated to discussing the Conference annual meeting
d. Special congregational meeting, perhaps after Sunday worship.
2. The annual meeting is open to all. Invite other members to come to annual meeting with you.
3. Make the entire congregation aware that you are their delegate of the upcoming Conference Annual Meeting, and what you will be doing on their behalf at the Annual Meeting.
4. Register early!
The Conference annual meeting is a wonderful opportunity to meet other UCC people from throughout Massachusetts, to participate in deeply moving worship, and to engage in the governance of the Massachusetts Conference. When you register, you will receive a packet including additional material, including the schedule and location of annual meeting events.
During the annual meeting, there will be hearings on the resolutions to be presented. This is an opportunity to ask questions and to suggest changes or improvements to the resolution. Included in this guide are the standing rules that pertain to resolutions. You should familiarize yourself with these prior to annual meeting.
After Annual Meeting
Following the Conference annual meeting, you should give a report to your church council and to the congregation as a whole. This report should:
1. Give the highlights of the annual meeting
2. Let the congregation know of any new initiatives or changes in the Conference
3. Share what you learned in the hearings and plenary sessions
4. Report the actions voted on at the annual meeting
5. Encourage your congregation to get involved around issues raised in resolutions. For example, many churches discussed and then decided to switch to offering Fair Trade coffee during coffee hour and at church functions in response to a resolution passed at annual meeting on Fair Trade.
6. Share the information about “Super Saturdays”, the twice yearly conference-wide gatherings for workshops, worship and fellowship to be held each Fall and Spring. As a Delegate attending Annual Meeting, you will receive a special discount to attend these events, which are transferable to other members of your congregation if you cannot attend.
Between Annual Meetings
During this time you can make an important positive impact on the health of your congregation and the Conference. You are a primary conduit for communication between your congregation and the Conference. Check the website (macucc.org) regularly. Make sure all your boards and committees are aware of the resources, services and upcoming events that are available to them.
Educate yourself about the mission and work of the Massachusetts Conference and the wider church. Then share this with your congregation on an ongoing basis.
Visit your mission/outreach committee, or whatever other board or body recommends the amount to be given to Our Church’s Wider Mission. Make sure they understand the importance of this work and advocate for its generous support. Make sure your church’s budget includes payment of Fellowship Dues in full. Educate the treasurer, trustees and the congregation about Fellowship Dues and all the ministries it supports.
Encourage attendance at “Super Saturdays”, an incredible opportunity for the training and development of your lay leadership. This is especially effective when church members attend as a team.
If you are also a delegate to your Association, your duties will include representing your congregation at:
Similar to the Conference Annual Meeting you will elect leadership, approve budgets and often have special workshops, worship and presentations.
Ecclesiastical Councils approve candidates for ministry. This is one of your most important roles as an Association delegate! You will have the opportunity to question candidates on such issues as their call to ministry, theological perspective, gifts, skills, their understanding of the needs of the local church, support for the United Church of Christ, integrity, and preparedness for ministry.
Ordination is a major event in a person’s life and should be celebrated! Pastors are ordained on behalf of the entire United Church of Christ. The presence of both clergy and lay delegates at ordinations provides a powerful symbol of support and membership in the wider church for both the person ordained and the local church they have been called to.
Installations of pastors
An installation service represents the covenant between the Association, the local church and the new Pastor. Presence at installations by lay delegates from other churches lets the local congregation know that they are part of a wider church that cares about them and celebrates with them.
Other special events
Learn about the history of the Massachusetts Conference and about the United Church of Christ in general here.
The UCC is a church of many "firsts". Learn more here.
Learn about organization and governance in the Massachusetts Conference here: Associations and Regions.
The mission of the Massachusetts Conference, UCC is “rooted in the grace of God, to nurture local church vitality and the covenant among our churches, to make God’s love and justice real”. The most recent Annual Report tells stories of significant new initiatives and provides an overview of Conference ministries and the budget. Major activites are also summarized below.
What is OCWM? What does it support? Learn more here.
What are Fellowship Dues? Learn more here.
Annual Meeting is governed by Standing Rules which are voted by the delegates each year. The most current Standing Rules may be found here.
The current bylaws of the Massachusetts Conference are posted here.
Feb. 14 marked the one-year anniversary of the death of former Associate Conference Minister Susan Dickerman, who had served the churches of the Massachusetts Conference for 26 years.
In commemoration, those who were touched by Sue’s work are invited to contribute to Sue’s Circle, a garden planted in her honor between the Massachusetts Conference office and the Edwards House Meeting & Retreat Center. The garden was substantially completed in the fall, but there are some finishing touches still needed. A dedication of the garden will be held later in the spring, when many of the plantings are in bloom.
Alternatively, donations can be made in Susan's name to the Sustaining Pastoral Excellence Fund, in commermoration of her work developing the Pastoral Excellence Program. Those donations can be made online here.
Donations, with appropriate information in the memo line, may also be made out to MACUCC and sent to 1 Badger Road, Framingham, MA 01702.
Sue's Circle, just after initial plantings.
Massachusetts Conference Minister and President Jim Antal sent the following email to churches, Associations, clergy and lay leaders on Monday, Feb. 10:
From: Jim Antal, Conference Minister & President
[please note that beneath my letter is a greeting from our newly called Associate Conference Minister]
Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,
On Saturday, February 8, 2014 the Conference Board of Directors concluded a thorough national search process when they voted to accept the unanimous recommendation of the ACM Search Committee to call the Rev. Kelly Gallagher to serve as full time Regional Associate Conference Minister in the Massachusetts Conference, United Church of Christ.
Kelly is well known throughout the Mass Conference. Since August 1, 2013 she has served as the Acting ACM in the Central and Hampshire Associations, along with staffing the Justice and Witness Ministry Council. Prior to that, Kelly served as Conference Vice Moderator and Moderator, along with leading several churches and serving on the Hampshire and Hampden Associations’ Committees on Ministry. Kelly will continue her current responsibilities, and it is anticipated that she will be installed at the Conference’s Annual Meeting in Sturbridge on June 13-14, 2014.
To share this news with your congregation or others, please use this link: http://macucc.org/gallagher.
The process that led to this call:
In September 2013, the Board of Directors authorized its Chair to appoint a Search Committee on which I would serve ex officio. A five member search committee was recruited, consisting of three members from the Central Association, one from the Hampshire Association and one from the Board of Directors. From Central: the Rev. Dr. Deborah Clark, pastor of Edwards Church in Framingham, the Rev. Ms. Carol Reynolds, pastor of the First Congregational Church of Millbury, and the Rev. Mr. Steven A. Small, the Senior Pastor of the First Congregational Church, UCC, in West Boylston. From Hampshire: the Rev. Mr. Michael McSherry, Minister of Edwards Church of Northampton. From the Board: Ms. Linda Mesler, a long-time member of South Church in Andover and an attorney in the technology sector.
The Committee began meeting in October 2013. We agreed that the Conference Profile would be entirely web based and that we would conduct a national search from November 1 through December 31. We drew attention to this search on our website: http://www.macucc.org/news/detail/252 and listed the opening on the national UCC website under UCC Ministry Opportunities. I also drew attention to this opportunity by contacting the other 37 Conferences as well as various staff at the National Setting. We ended up receiving expressions of interest from 16 candidates from 12 states, and completed applications from 9 candidates. From this pool, the search committee identified 4 strong candidates we wanted to interview. After completing these interviews, the search committee prayerfully deliberated, attending to the many gifts which the candidates each brought. Guided by the Holy Spirit, we reached a unanimous recommendation.
If you have not yet had the opportunity to work with or meet the Rev. Kelly Gallagher, I hope you can do so in the near future. Her range of experience – serving in churches of all sizes, serving on a Committee on Ministry, serving as a Boundary Awareness Trainer, and serving on the Conference Board as Vice Moderator and Moderator – speaks to her exceptional qualifications. In all these settings, she has shown her ability to help others go deeper, to reconcile apparent conflict, to get to the heart of something important, and to do all of that with compassion and humor.
Here are a few excerpts from the search committee conversation and from Kelly’s references:
I invite you to find a way to welcome Kelly as our new Mass. Conference UCC Regional ACM and offer her your partnership as we continue this journey together. Her message for the Conference immediately follows.
FROM KELLY GALLAGHER:
It is my honor to accept the call to the settled position as the new Massachusetts Conference Regional Associate Conference Minister. For the last six months I have served as Acting ACM and have experienced the grace, hope and vitality of this Conference first hand. From the hill towns to the cities and everything in between our churches are doing amazing things. I am delighted to continue to work with the churches and pastors of the Central and Hampshire Associations “to nurture local church vitality and the covenant among our churches to make God’s love and justice real.”
Likewise, it has been incredible to work with the Justice and Witness Ministry Council of the Conference. Our Ministry Teams for Justice and Witness are doing brilliant work witnessing for the homeless and the marginalized, addressing hard conversations with compassion, and advocating for God’s love and justice in Massachusetts and beyond. I look forward to being a part of all of this as the new Joint Ministry Council structure continues to unfold.
I would like to thank Jim Antal and all my colleagues at the Conference Center for their patience and good humor as together we formed a new team. They have all been invaluable as I learned the ins and outs of this position. In addition to the joy of working with our churches is the joy of working with such an amazing team.
May God continue to bless the Massachusetts Conference of the United Church of Christ. I pray that my work in and on behalf of the Conference will be pleasing in God’s sight.
Peace and blessings,
In what he called an "unusual opportunity to briefly bring together a number of themes that matter," MACUCC Minister and President Jim Antal was interviewed on the UCC Divestment movement last week by Between the Lines, a weekly radio newsmagazine.
Listen to a recording of that interview, or read a transcript here: http://www.btlonline.org/2014/seg/140207bf-btl-antal.html
Tax time is that time of year we gather all our financial information together to figure out just how much income we made and how many deductions we can find. It is a great time to see just what our GQ – our “Generosity Quotient” - really is. What percentage of our income did we actually give away last year, and to whom?
If you itemize your deductions, take the total charitable deduction number from Schedule A and divide by your adjusted gross income from line 37 of your 1040. This will give you the percentage of your income you gave away last year. The average for all Christian givers is 2.9%. For Christians who attend worship regularly the average is 4.1%. How do you compare? Where would you like to be? What would you be willing to change in your spending patterns to be able to grow your giving to where you would like to be?
The first step is to have a plan. Paul advised the Galatians to set aside something on the first day of each week. Whether it is weekly, monthly or quarterly, a regular pattern of giving will do wonders for our GQ, and we will gain great joy in growing our generosity.
I was once taught that the essence of our work as a Conference and as a denomination is to “minister to the ministries of Jesus Christ in and through our churches” At our national UCC offices we have a Ministry Development Council which holds that same purpose. They are asking for our help so that they can better fine tune their work and develop the resources our churches, clergy and laity need for those ministries. Below is a request from them. Could you take some time before this week ends to respond to their request. Your insight and perspective would be invaluable. Blessings, Don
Do you consider yourself a leader within your church? The Ministry Development Council needs your help!
By Wendy Vander Hart
Associate Conference Minister
A blog by Ann McCann of the Massachusetts Coalition to Prevent Gun Violence
Galvanized by the horrific shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School and continuing gang violence and murder throughout Massachusetts, many faith communities, the Greater Boston Interfaith Organization (GBIO), and nonprofit organizations banded together in January 2013 to form the all-volunteer Massachusetts Coalition to Prevent Gun Violence. The goals of the Coalition are to increase public awareness of gun violence and to work for strong, common sense gun laws in
In my own church, First Church Cambridge, UCC, we were drawn to the work of the Coalition in the wake of Newtown and the Boston Marathon bombings and also because of an already existing concern about violence in our city. We wanted to raise our voices and join others in working for safety on our streets and in our schools by all possible means—legislative, social and all others. We realize we must counter the efforts of a well organized and well funded gun lobby that objects to many common sense steps that would make all citizens safer. As one of the
Although Massachusetts has some of the strongest gun laws in the country, and, as a result, the second lowest rate of gun deaths in the US (behind Hawaii), many aspects of existing laws regulating the purchase and licensing of firearms need to be strengthened, to reduce the number of illegal guns in circulation and limit access to them by unsuitable persons. The Mass Coalition identified five priorities for new legislation:
Universal background checks at point of sale every time a gun is sold, including private and gun show sales.
Limit handgun sales to one per month to deter straw purchases and multiple purchases by traffickers.
Share records of adjudicated commitments for mental health and substance abuse with the federal National Instant Check System to prevent sales to individuals committed involuntarily.
Expand the existing suitability standard that currently applies only to the issuance of a License to Carry to the issuance of FID cards as well, so that all information known to law enforcement will be used in determining suitability for gun ownership.
Require law enforcement authorities to attempt to determine, every time a gun is involved in an injury or death, the owner of the gun and where it came from; and to maintain and share that data with public health researchers, policy makers and the general public.
As I write this, we are waiting for action by the
In the meantime, we are preparing to lobby for the five Mass Coalition priorities, and we would welcome new members to the Coalition to join in this effort. The work and influence of the Coalition would be strengthened by many more churches and groups joining, particularly from central and western
We anticipate that Coalition members will be called upon to contact legislators, to ask them to support certain provisions of the anticipated legislation or amendments to it. Such contacts can be brief phone calls and email messages, for which the Coalition will suggest language. These calls will not take much time but do carry tremendous weight. Legislative staff tally them, and legislators seem to pay close attention to what their constituents are telling them. We can be sure that GOAL, the
No matter where your church or home is, your voice is important. Please contact Rachel Lewis of the Mass Coalition at firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested in supporting the Coalition and this lobbying effort. Please contact me or our minister, the Rev. Dan Smith, if you would like to know more about how this work is being organized in our church.
Submitted by Ann McCann email@example.com, on behalf of Witness Against Gun Violence and Inequality,
Endorsed by the Justice & Witness Council
The United Church of Christ is calling for a day of justice and peace, advocacy and activism. Let’s call our representatives, talk to our neighbors, sign a petition or plant a tree on March 4th and show what enormous difference can be made in small, simple action as we continue to seek to make God’s love and justice real! Learn more here.
Watch this video for inspiration:
This fall, our National Disasters Ministries of the UCC called a new executive director. Zachary Wolgemuth has already begun this ministry. Zach comes to us from the Church of the Brethren’s Disaster Ministry and has served on the national Board of NAVOAD (National Association of Volunteer Organizations Active in Disasters). He brings a depth of experience and insight to this work that is extraordinary. We are grateful for his ministry with us.
For the last couple years, the Disaster Resource Team has used its experience with disasters here in New England to develop and fine tune a Disaster Response Protocol for our Conference (read the protocol here). Now we are focusing in on the resources, education and support that our pastors, churches and communities will need to prepare for disasters and trauma.
If you would like to help develop these strategies and resources join us on March 6 from 5-8pm at our Conference center on 1 Badger Road in Framingham. If you can join us, RSVP to Karen Methot at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For the Disaster Resource Team; Don Remick, Jim Tilbe
Clergy and lay people from churches with 100 members or less: YOU are invited to attend a FREE regional small church gathering - a new opportunity to meet with other small churches in your area! Hosted by the Church and Clergy Development Councils of the MACUCC.
Gather with other small churches to discuss:
March 13 at The Church of the Pilgrimage in Plymouth. Register here.
There is no charge to attend, but pre-registration is required.
All gatherings are from 7-8:30 p.m. Download a flyer here.
UCC History, Polity and Identity
Facilitated by Debra Moore
For complete details please visit: http://www.macucc.org/pages/detail/2490
Questions? The Certification Program is coordinated by Elsa Marshall, Commissioned Minister and Assoc. for Christian Education at the MACUCC and the Director of the Resource Center. 508-875-5233
Download the PDF flyer by clicking here
This series of events are for those seminarians who are middlers or seniors. The events are designed to provide valuable information for navigating the entire Search & Call process within the United Church of Christ no matter what Association/Conference you are in Discernment with or where you will be circulating your Profile.
All Events will be held at the Congregational Church of Weston, 130 Newton Street, Weston, MA.
This winter MESA will be rolling out a new way to do the UCC Minister’s profile. This will include some of the fundamental elements of the current profile, but will also allow the option for tailoring it in new ways for different settings and ministry opportunities. While we have been in conversation around this new profile format, we have not yet seen the final product. Conference Staff will be having training on this starting in December. Given this new design, we felt it would be most helpful to revise our Seminarian Search and Call workshop so that we could incorporate the new format. As a result we have rescheduled the 3 workshops to begin in the new year. Please make a note and make a point to attend, this will be a helpful series. It may be helpful to know that current profiles will still be good for 18months (or the length that the Oxford Background check is still valid)
Cost: $25 per event - includes breakfast at all the events, lunch in January and materials.
For event information, please contact Andrea Bellarosa - email@example.com.
First Congregational Church of Sharon
29 North Main Street
Many churches find they plateau between 90 and 130 in worship. They are in between church sizes and unable to move forward. This workshop will help churchesdeal with all the realities, strategies and tactics it takes to grow beyond this awkward size and to grow in ministry and mission.
In this workshop you will learn:
Who should come?
Pastors and teams of leaders who want to help their church transition through the “awkward size”. A team must include the pastor and at least three lay leaders.
Cost per team:
$259 per team
Rev. Paul Nickerson of Nickerson Coaching. Paul is a leader in church transformation, and coaches congregations all over the country. Learn more at www.Nickersoncoaching.com.
Sponsored by the Church Development Council of the Massachusetts Conference, United Church of Christ
To the Ministers and Churches of the Hampshire Association
At the request of the Church and Ministry Committee of the Hampshire Association MACUCC You are called to an Ecclesiastical Council to examine Liza Knapp for approval of ordination pending a call.
A reception and fellowship will follow.
The First Congregational Church in Billerica hired ProAV Systems, Inc of Chelmsford to install new sound equipment, video projector and electric screen. They were wonderful, saved us a lot of money and the installers were wonderful. Even took an old pulpit and modified it to hold the mixer. Tell them I sent you!
The First Congregational Church of Salem, NH, U.C.C. is seeking a dynamic, Church Musician whose passion is to help people encounter and express their faith through music in weekly worship. We desire to cultivate an integrated worship experience on Sunday mornings with a balance of upbeat and intimate worship music (including traditional hymns and contemporary influences such as Integrity, Chris Tomlin, etc.). The Church Musician will be responsible for assisting in the planning and leading of Sunday morning worship, lead the Adult Choir and oversee the Youth Choir, already in place, with potential for more musical or worship ministries as we grow. This is a salaried, permanent part-time position. Interested candidates should send their resume and letter of intent to firstname.lastname@example.org All inquiries should be sent to email@example.com No phone calls please. Church Website: www.FCC-Salem.org
Three Dell GX620 desktop computers with Windows XP Professional OS installed are available. These computers have 1GB of ram and an 80GB hard drive. Additionally there is a Dell Latitude D610 laptop with Windows7 OS and a Linksys WAP4400N Wireless Access Point available.
The Rev. Emil Charles Beck, of Needham, died on March 7, 2014. Emil is the beloved husband of the late Betty May (Preston) Beck, father of Charles Beck of Shrewsbury and James Beck of Needham.
Rev. Beck received his Master of Divinity degree from Union Theological Seminary in 1951. He is a retired pastor of the Union Church in Waban. He was active in the leadership of the Board of Ministerial Aid in Massachusetts and Honorary Trustee Emeritus of Andover Newton Theological School. He is author of My Journey into the Trinity. Rev. Beck enjoyed summers with his family on the First Connecticut Lake in Pittsburgh, NH.
The Rev. Mr. Leroy (Roy) Nelson Hastings, Jr. died on January 27, 2014 in Derby, Vermont. Roy was born in Palmer, Massachusetts in 1921. He went to Worcester public schools, graduated from Clark University in 1943 and earned his masters from Hartford Theological Seminary in 1951.
Roy was called to many places, and spent 14 years at First Congregational Church in Whitman, MA.
To read more about Roy, please follow the link: http://caledonianrecord.com/main.asp?SectionID=4&SubSectionID=144&ArticleID=106133
There was a memorial service at the Brownington Congregational Church in Brownington Village, VT on Saturday, February 1, 2014.
It is the wish of the deceased and his family that contributions be made to the Brownington Congregational Church UCC for the church building fund.
The Rev. Mr. William E. Wimer III passed away on January 14, 2014. The Rev. Wimer is survived by his wife Alice, whom he met when they were both students at Yale Divinity School in 1942. He was ordained as a minister in 1945 in what later became the United Church of Christ. The Rev. Wimer served at Immanuel Congregational Church in Beverly, Massachusetts, as well as churches in Rhode Island, Minnesota, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, California and England. From 1963-1981, he was the Director of the Office of Audio Visuals for the Stewardship Council of the UCC. The Rev. Wimer is also survived by his three children, Allan Wimer (wife Robin Weiss) of Key West, FL, William Wimer IV of West Yarmouth, MA and Alice Wimer Erickson (husband Ken Erickson) of Gloucester, MA, in addition to grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
A memorial service was held at South Church in Andover, 41 Central Street, Andover, MA on Saturday, January 18, 2014.
To read more about the Rev. Mr. William E. Wilmer III please go to: http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/bostonglobe/obituary.aspx?page=lifestory&pid=169118089
The Dr. Rev. Margaret W. Crockett passed away peacefully on Sunday, August 11th, 2013. She was the beloved wife of the late James U. Crockett and the late Frederick E. Dickerman.
Rev. Ian J. Stewart, a former MACUCC minister, died peacefully on Thursday. Aug. 8, 2013 surrounded by family, while under hospice care in Portland, Maine. He was the father of Rev. Marc Stewart, Conference Minister of Montana-Northern Wyoming UCC Conference and Partnership. He also leaves behind his wife and two other sons.
Rev. Stewart had served churches in Gray, Maine (1968-1972), Boston Seaman's Friend Society (1972-1978), Banstead URC in Surrey UK (1979-1984) and Lakeville UCC in Massachusetts (1984-1998), and various interims in Maine. He graduated from Bangor Seminary in 1968. Prior to that time he had been a Master Mariner in the British Merchant Marines.
Rev. Stewart had a great faith and a gentle spirit. He will be missed by many for his gentle and calming presence.
A memorial service will take place at First Parish Church UCC in Saco, Maine on Saturday, September 7, at 11 a.m.