An Update from the RICUCC Disaster Coordinator

By Barbara Gregory

Since assuming the position of RI Conference Disaster Coordinator this past January, I am discovering and learning about the critical long term recovery work being done by UCC Disaster Ministries (DM) domestically and internationally.

I met 11 UCC Conference Disaster Coordinators (CDCs) April 4-7 at the annual gathering held in Oakland, CA.  I also participate in monthly conference calls or meetings conducted by UCC DM, RI Volunteer Organizations Active in Disasters (RI VOAD-includes representatives from government and non-profits such as FEMA, Red Cross, United Way, RI Community Food Bank, etc) and have been amazed by the resources readily available to prepare for disasters and learn of the need for individuals or work teams to serve those recovering from natural or human caused disasters.  

Read more to find out about resources and opportunities to assist those in need.

Photo: Barbara Gregory (middle) with Amanda Sheldon, Program Associate for National Disaster and Refugee Ministries and Zach Wolgemuth, UCC Disaster Ministries Executive

Wendy Vander Hart

Many Voices, One Mission:
Wrestling With Our Past

By Rev. Wendy Vander Hart is an Associate Conference Minister for the Massachusetts Conference, UCC.

What we remember and how we remember matters. I struggle with the concept of commemorating an assassination. As I write this, today, April 4, 2018, is an ugly anniversary. This day 50 years ago Martin Luther King Jr. was killed in Memphis Tennessee. There is great evidence that we still have a long way to go in realizing his dream and the fulfillment of this nation's promise that all are created equal (I would add - in the image of our Creator).
Through Racial Justice training that the Connecticut Conference initiated, and spread to the Massachusetts Conference, our mission is to move from tolerance to unity as well as to unmask, dismantle and eradicate racism. As I have experienced it, a huge part of Racial Justice training is learning and helping others to see. In this context we are teaching and learning to see the world as God sees it. The practice of seeing and remembering is steeped in our Christian faith.
Recently, I was meeting with leaders of one of the churches I serve. A large anniversary of the church's founding looms and they asked me - what best practices have I witnessed around celebrating anniversaries? I noted that connecting history to the present day and its issues has been a most effective commemoration.

Read more

Many Voices, One Mission is a regular series highlighting the ministries of the Connecticut, Massachusetts and Rhode Island conferences of the United Church of Christ.

Registration Open for Summer Camp at Irons

Irons Homestead is now accepting registration for two camping programs this summer.

Forest Day Camp is for children ages 6 to 12, and runs from June 18 - August 17, 2018. This nine week program offers a different theme each week. The camp runs Monday - Friday, 9 AM to 4 PM with before and after care available. 

Overnight Summer Camp is also available July 17 - August 3, 2018 for those going into grades 4 through 12.  Each day will have games, crafts, swimming and other water activities, worship, delicious food, singing, campfire and stories.

Go to more information and registration

Super Saturday Workshop Proposals Now Being Accepted

The next Super Saturday is being held October 20, 2018, at 
Keefe Regional Technical High School in Framingham, MA.
 Anyone wishing to share concepts and practices they have developed that are changing their congregation or community’s mission and ministry is invited to submit a workshop proposal.  Workshops that may be of particular interest include:  creative worship, church vitality in the 21st century, church leadership, faith formation/christian education, youth ministry, spiritual practices, care & wellness, community ministries, social media, and outreach.  As a workshop leader, your registration will be free.  

Find out more

Upcoming Conference Events

Together As One Online Forums
Leading up to the second Tri-Conference Annual Meeting of the Connecticut, Massachusetts and Rhode Island conferences, Conference leaders will be hosting a series of five online forums for discussion about the upcoming votes to formally create a new, unified conference.

Tuesday, May 15, 7:00 PM               Sunday, May 20, 4:00 PM
Wednesday, May 30, 1:00 PM         Thursday, June 7, 7:00 PM
Tuesday, June 12, at 7:00 PM

Helen Carpenter Bodell Ordination
May 20, 3:00 PM
Newman Congregational UCC, Rumford, RI

Ecclesiastical Council - Linda Hartley
June 3, 3:00 PM
Newman Congregational UCC, Rumford, RI

Tri-Conference Annual Meeting
June 15 - 16
Mass Mutual Center, Springfield, MA

The second joint Annual Meeting of the Rhode Island, Connecticut and Massachusetts conferences. Traci Blackmon will be the keynote speaker. Hotel discount deadline: May 15.

Farewell Celebration - Barbara Libby
June 24, 3:00 to 5:00 PM
Beneficent Congregational UCC, Providence, RI

Please come join us in bidding a heartfelt farewell to Barbara Libby, who is retiring after four years as Interim Conference Minister.

Ecclesiastical Council for Chontell Washington
July 1, 3:00 PM
Beneficent Congregational Church, Providence, RI

Eastern Regional Youth Event
July 19 - 22
California University of Pennsylvania, California, PA

The Connecticut, Massachusetts and Rhode Island Conferences are collaborating to provide bus service to the event, for youth who have completed 6th grade up to 2018 graduates of 12th grade. Indicate your interest now.

Second Tri-Conference Annual Meeting

June 15 - 16, 2018
Mass Mutual Center, Springfield, MA

“Hope does not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us."

- Romans 5:5

These are indeed times filled with hope as we – the Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island Conferences – consider voting to form a new, united conference with the hope of making our region a more just, loving, and compassionate place.

Read More & Register
Hotel Deadline: May 15

Other Events of Interest

Mediation Skills Training Institute for Church Leaders
May 7 - 11
Christ Church Cathedral, Hartford, CT

Presented by the Lombard Mennonite Peace Center (LMPC), this 5-day event is designed to equip church leaders with the skills necessary to deal effectively with interpersonal, congregational, and other forms of group conflict. Register by April 6 for early bird discount.

CT UCC Spring Boundary Training
May 8, 8:30 AM to 3:00 PM
Church of Christ, Congregational, Newington, CT

Basic and Advanced Boundary Training for Clergy

Rhode Island Interfaith Poverty Conference
May 9, 8:00 AM to 12:30 PM
Rhode Island College, Providence, RI

Join faith leaders, congregation members, advocacy and service organizations to learn more about poverty issues in Rhode Island and how you can make a difference! Guest Speaker: The Rev. Traci Blackmon

Bradley Conference: The Intersection of Ethics & Clinical Care
May 10, 8:45 AM to 12:00 PM
Bradley Learning Exchange, East Providence, RI

Concert #1 with Kim Trusty: Hope, Healing and Inspiration
May 13, 4:00 to 6:00 PM
St. Paul's Auditorium, Pawtucket, RI

Award-winning singer/songwriter Kim Trusty offers the first of three Providence concerts, this one dedicated to iconic women singers who have triumphed over hardship. With renowned storyteller Valerie Tutson. 

Trauma Informed Pastoral Care
May 15, 8:00 AM to 11:30 AM
Bradley Hospital, East Providence, RI

This presentation explores major concepts underlying a trauma informed approach to pastoral care. No charge.

70,000-Volume Book Sale
May 19 - 25
Andover Newton Theological School, Newton, MA

Because Andover Newton is moving to Yale Divinity School, a selection of some 70,000 books will be available for sale at prices of $3, $5, and $10. Click here for hours.

PREACH IT! A workshop on thematic preaching & worship planning
May 31, 2018 at 10:00 AM to 2:00 PM
Woodridge UCC, Cranston

Rev Susan Cartmell, Massachusetts Conference minister and author of "Uncommon Preaching" will be coming to RI for the day to explore a different way to approach preaching. 

National Open and Affirming Gathering
June 27 - 30
Cathedral of Hope,  Dallas, TX

Living Our Covenant Beyond Boundaries. Keynote by the Rev. Justo González II, a leader in the UCC's Sanctuary Movement. Registration now open.


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