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...
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...
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...
Andover church redefines itself through Crossroads program
In what is likely a familiar scenario to many Massachusetts Conference churches, West Parish Church of Andover was struggling with lagging attendance and stewardship.
“Young families came and went, while many of our older folks were feeling burn-out," said member Ruby Easton. "Although there was no threat of closing the church, we definitely felt the need to do something to ignite enthusiasm. So several of us attended one of the Conference's Come and See events...
Conference receives $200,000 grant to further clergy development work
By Tiffany Vail
The Massachusetts Conference has received a $200,000 grant from the E. Rhodes and Leona B. Carpenter Foundation that is enabling an increase in the amount of time that new Associate Conference Minister Ellie Richardson can devote to clergy leadership development.
Richardson was initially called to work one-third time on clergy development and one-third time on lay development, which was the maximum time that could be funded from the Conference’s operating budget. This...
Missionary to Indonesia available for church visits
Global Ministries Missionary to Indonesia John Campbell-Nelson will visit Massachusetts from Dec. 29, 2012 until Jan. 29, 2013. During that time, John will preach and present about his ministry at Conference churches across the state.
John enjoys sharing the stories of his life in mission in Indonesia. He particularly enjoys preaching and teaching adult Sunday school or leading small group presentations. While his Sundays have been booked, John has some...
Churches invited to form Sister Church relationships with earthquake damaged churches in Chile
The Mission Partnership Committee has launched a new project inviting local congregations to enter into Sister Church relationships with Chilean churches that were severely affected by the earthquake there in 2010.
Invitations are going out to all churches in the monthly Mailing and weekly E-Mailing.
The Rev. Christopher Ney, chair of the partnership committee, says in the letter that the new project is a next step following the Lifting Up Hope campaign held immediately after the...
Resource Center Director will be missed
Martha Butler-Cook, Resource Center Director for the Massachusetts Conference for 11 years, will be leaving her position at the end of this week.
Butler-Cook is moving to Burlington, Vermont with her husband, Peter Cook, who is leaving his position as Senior Minister of the Plymouth Church in Framingham to serve as the Senior Minister at First Congregational Church in Burlington.
Butler-Cook has been working part-time for the Conference, assisting church leaders and educators...
Conference moves to consolidate emails
The Massachusetts Conference is taking a series of steps aimed at reducing the amount of email sent to church, clergy and lay leaders by consolidating information into new weekly email newsletters.
The Conference's monthly Emailing is being replaced by a weekly Emailing, which will include more of the information that has previously been sent out in stand-alone emails, such as event notices and other announcements. The new weekly Emailings will also include links to highlights on the...
2012 Annual Report now available
The Massachusetts Conference's 2012 Annual Report is now available. It can be downloaded here, or printed copies can be obtained by contacting Karen Methot.
Download the 22-page report here.
A message from the Minister and President, from the report:
Do not be conformed to this world but be transformed . . . . [Romans 12:2]
Dear friends of the Massachusetts Conference, UCC,
Jesus transformed lives. Many of the most joyous stories in scripture witness this truth. The eyes of...
More than 300 attend Super Saturday
More than 300 people from across the Conference headed to Ludlow High School Saturday morning for the Conference's fourth Super Saturday, a full day of worship, a marketplace and workshops.
Worship was led by Patrick Evans, Assistant Professor of Sacred Music at Yale Divinity School. That was followed by morning and afternoon workshops covering topics from stewardship to disaster relief to "prayer 101" to doing Bible study and worship with youth.
Western Region welcomes Rev Barbara Schenk as the new Pastoral Visitor
The Rev. Barbara Schenk has been named the new pastoral visitor for the Western Region, making her the Conference's third pastoral visitor.
Schenk will work closely and collaboratively with Associate Conference Ministers Jill Graham and Peter Wells to provide visitation and consultation with local pastors in the region. Between September and June, she will conduct 4 to 5 visits per month with local church pastors in the Berkshire, Franklin, Hampden and Hampshire Associations.
New wiki launched to aid church communicators
The Massachusetts Conference's Commission on Communication has launched a "Church Communicators' Wiki" to act as a clearinghouse for a variety of resources related to church communication.
Some current articles on the wiki, which is easily accessible to anyone online, include:
Using the new MACUCC Wordpress Theme: A series of tutorials on how to set up a new website using a Wordpress theme that was specifically designed for use by MACUCC churches (download the theme from...
Pastors Celebrate and Renew Their Call
By Eric Anderson
Minister of Communications and Technology
Connecticut Conference, United Church of Christ
WALTHAM, MA (05/10/2011) -- Hundreds of pastors, most from the United Church of Christ, were joined by some lay leaders and denominational staff for three days of renewal, fellowship, worship, and learning in Waltham, Massachusetts. The "Celebrating Call, Celebrating Challenge: Ministry in a Changing Landscape"...
Mortenson Cancels May 3 Event
The Massachusetts Conference, sponsor of an upcoming appearance by author Greg Mortenson in Worcester on May 3, announced today that Mortenson has withdrawn from his planned engagement due to health concerns.
Mortenson, who was the subject of a highly critical segment aired on April 17th’s “Sixty Minutes” program, announced recently that he is suffering from a hole in his heart which is reportedly due to be surgically repaired in Bozeman, MT, this...
Duke Divinity school examines effectiveness of Pastoral Excellence Program
Duke Divinity School's Faith & Leadership newsletter this week features an article on the effect the Pastoral Excellence Program Communities of Practice have had on the Massachusetts Conference as a whole.
"Research has shown that clergy and congregations benefit from pastoral peer groups," the article states. "But in the Massachusetts Conference, anecdotal evidence also suggests that these groups have a positive “trickle-up” effect, changing...
300 attend Super Saturday in Ludlow
More than 300 people from 116 churches – including congregations in New Hampshire and Rhode Island – attended the Massachusetts Conference’s second Super Saturday, held March 5 at Ludlow High School.
Participants took part in a rousing morning worship service led by five “provocative” pastors from across the Conference, and then were able to attend two workshops, share lunch and visit the marketplace before gathering again at the end of the day.
A Still More Excellent Way affirmed by 208th Annual Meeting (2007)
VOTED: September 29, 2007
The 208th Annual Meeting of the Massachusetts Conference of the United Church of Christ affirms the proposal from the Board of Directors titled, “A Still More Excellent Way: Transforming our use of Massachusetts Conference Resources for Vitality and Covenant (September 2007 revision)”, encourages all MACUCC members and clergy to participate in the new directions outlined therein, and calls on the Conference to realign our resources in the...