Reflection on Loren Mead’s Life and Ministry

By the Rev. Barbara Libby
Interim Conference Minister

Recently there have been several significant deaths of persons who have impacted my ministry along my journey.

Last week it was Dr. James Cone, founder of black liberation theology. Cone was a powerful preacher, teacher and writer.  One powerful book by Cone entitled, The Cross and the Lynching Tree, is a timely reflection on racism in this era of Black Lives Matter and important work to do around racial justice.
This week I received news that Rev. Loren B. Mead, Alban Institute founder and former director, had died at his home in Alexandria, Virginia.  Mead created quite a sensation early in my ordained ministry with his book The Once and Future Church, which came out in 1991 and still stands as Alban Institute's all-time best seller. Loren B. Mead was a priest, educator, and author as well as founder of the Alban Institute – a remarkable source for so many practical things having to do with ministry and upon which I depended for so many years.

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May is Mental Health Awareness Month

Reprinted from the The Faith Community Nurse Health Ministry Newsletter

The 3rd Sunday in May, UCC congregations are encouraged to provide information about the brain illnesses 1 in 5 adults experience at any given time. Identifying a Mental Health Sunday provides the venue to openly talk about brain illnesses and dispel the myths surrounding these disorders. In doing so we are reducing the stigma felt by those who are affected and helping them feel more understood and accepted by their faith community faith community.

On the UCC MHN website the following new materials for 2018 are available:
Liturgy for Mental Health Sunday 2018 (PDF)
Sermon idea from an African American perspective
Mental Health and the Hispanic Community resource
Litany for Mental Health Sunday from a minority perspective
'When Mental Illness Hits You" sermon
'Touch My Wounds" sermon

Materials from 2017 are also posted on that page.

Read more for other activities to consider offering during this month or anytime during the year.

Many Voices, One Mission: Using Our Gifts

By Rev. Charlie Kuchenbrod, Executive Associate Conference Minister for the Connecticut Conference, UCC.

It is a great privilege to work for the United Church of Christ!
I had an unusual day recently.  Churches contacted me regarding:

  • A poorly managed incident in a day care program;
  • The termination of a lay staff member for misconduct;
  • Conflict over endowment spending, and a
  • Payroll administration problem needing a legal and diplomatic solution.

I didn't make much progress on other tasks!  I hope I provided competent support while recognizing the limits of my own expertise.  (First, do no harm!)  Let's imagine that the four churches felt well supported by the Conference that day.  No, actually, most of the members of each church had no clue that the Conference provided any support for their congregation.  There may have been a handful of people, or only one person, who felt well supported.  Furthermore, there were 230-something other churches in the Conference that I didn't do much to support that day.  I know that many people view administration as a diversion of resources from mission.  But didn't I have a positive impact that day?

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.

Eat at Chelo's to Support Irons Homestead

Eat at Chelo's Restaurant in Rumford on Monday, May 14 to help raise funds for Irons Homestead.

Any dine-in or take-out orders that present the attached flyer will be included in the fundraiser. Irons Homestead will receive between 15% and 20% of the pre-tax total for each order.  Diners should present one of the tickets in the flyers for each table or takout order.

The fundraiser has been organized by Newman Congregational UCC in Rumford.

Share this link to invite others

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

Spring Spruce Up at Irons
May 19, 8:00 AM to 7:00 PM
Irons Homestead Camp & Retreat, Glocester, RI

All hands needed to spruce up Irons Homestead for our super summer camp season.  We have jobs of all sizes and that require a full spectrum of experience. Grill Master David Goodfellow will cook up a hot lunch for all who participate. Come for the morning or afternoon or for the whole day.  Bring a work crew for a specific project.  Come solo and work alone or join another team. 

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

Free Fun Day at Irons Homestead
June 10, 12:00 PM to 7:00 PM
Irons Homestead Camp & Retreat, Glocester, RI

All members and friends of the UCC are invited to enjoy a day at the waterfront. Life guards on duty from 12:30 - 4 PM for boating and swimming; grills will be ready, please bring your own food. The field will be ready for play, the stone throwing area will be open, and there will be volleyball, basketball and lawn games in addition to waterfront fun.

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

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

Concert 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.

2018 Craigville Theological Colloquy
July 9 - 13
Craigville Retreat Center, Craigville, MA

This year's topic:  Building Bridges:  Immigrants, Refugees, and the Church. Keynote Speaker: Ms. Linda Hartke, President & CEO,, Lutheran Immigration & Refugee Service.


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