Rev. Traci Blackmon electrifies the 10th Annual Interfaith Poverty Conference

The Rev. Traci Blackmon, executive minister of Justice and Witness Ministries for the United Church of Christ, was the keynote speaker at last week's 10th Interfaith Poverty Conference held by the Rhode Island Interfaith Coalition to Reduce Poverty

“I refuse to stand by and see children who are unhoused and children who are hungry because your behavior is unacceptable,” said Blackmon, rousing the crowd. “I refuse to stand by and watch children assassinated in the street because your love for guns is greater than your love for God. I refuse to stand by and watch black and brown people marginalized in this country because you have created a God of Whiteness instead of a God of Justice.

“Not on my watch!”

Watch a video of Blackmon's speech, and read more, at Uprise RI

RI Interfaith Coalition to Reduce Poverty Calls on Churches to Take Action

The Rhode Island Interfaith Coalition to Reduce Poverty is offering a series of "next steps" for faith leaders to take following the 10th Annual Interfaith Poverty Conference held last week.

The Coalition suggests steps to take on housing, children's issues, race and poverty and fair pay/equal pay.

Find those steps here


Many Voices, One Mission: Inspired To Do

By Rev. Jonathan New, Associate Conference Minister for Stewardship & Financial Development for the Massachusetts Conference, UCC.

In the Massachusetts Conference I’m known as the “stewardship guy.” Of course, most people hear that and think “money guy.” Funny thing, I think of myself as the “mission guy.” Because, for me, the money is only important to the extent that it’s making mission and ministry happen.
I’m often in churches preaching on stewardship and meeting with church leaders. We talk about annual giving, planned giving, and capital campaigns. We discuss the proper management and use of endowment funds, and good budgeting practices. The problem of not seeming to have enough money to fund the budget almost always comes up. Like everyone, it’s hard for churches to pay the bills.
But, after twenty plus years in ministry, there’s something I know in my bones: No one was ever inspired to give generously by the call to “help us pay the bills”! 

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.

Webinar on Sex Offenders Offered

United Church of Christ General Counsel Heather E. Kimmel will be leading a webinar, Sex Offenders in Your Congregations: Recommendations and Best Practices on Wednesday, May 23, from 2:00 to 3:00 PM.

The webinar, sponsored and hosted by the Insurance Board.
is directed to Local Church pastors and lay leaders.  It is open to anyone, including those who are not participants in the Insurance Board program. 

Registration is required.  Register at:
The webinar will be recorded for anyone who cannot attend at that time.

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.

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

Other Events of Interest

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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