I Believe and Trust That It Is Time to Come Together, As One

In March of 2017 I wrote a newsletter lead that revealed how strongly I felt about the possibility of the Rhode Island Conference UCC, the Massachusetts Conference UCC, and the Connecticut Conference UCC coming together into one new entity that we are calling Together, As One.  I write again this week, with the Tri-Conference Annual Meeting coming up in less than two weeks. On Friday and Saturday, June 15 and 16, 2018, we will gather once again for the second year in a row as three separate United Church of Christ Conferences in Southern New England at the Mass Mutual Center in Springfield, MA. On that Saturday morning each of our Conferences will hold Annual Meetings. Final votes on the legal documents will be taken that will without a doubt change the course of the future for our three Conferences.

When I came aboard as your Interim Conference Minister in August of 2014 I had no idea that I might still be walking with you after nearly four years of discernment about the future of this Rhode Island Conference and the possibilities for our three Conferences!  I have been moved by this unique opportunity to continue walking right up to this historic vote in Springfield on June 16th.  I have been privileged to serve among you through this time of discernment.  I am profoundly thankful that my final years of active ministry in the United Church of Christ has given me the opportunity to help the Rhode Island Conference of the United Church of Christ move into a new future.  I would love to help bring God’s kin-dom into this place and this time – in southern New England in the 21st century. What a unique opportunity we have at the meeting on June 16th.  It has been a privilege to work with the Together, As One Team over these many months and to imagine together what it might be like to do Conference differently!

I will reiterate what I said last year as I anticipated the first Tri-Conference Annual Meeting: I believe and trust that God is calling the Rhode Island Conference into a new future.  I believe and trust that this future will challenge all of us with new vision and new ways.  I believe and trust that the shared and combined resources of our three historic UCC Conferences (Rhode Island, Massachusetts, and Connecticut) can empower greater ministry than any one of us could imagine or accomplish separately. I believe and trust that if we come together as one Together, As One Conference that we can indeed be stronger, bolder, more faithful, and even more vital!  I am very much in favor of coming Together, As One!

I continue to pray that this year’s historic meeting of our three Conferences will prove fruitful for all of us. Each of our RI UCC churches has the privilege to send the following to the June 15 & 16 meeting in Springfield, MA:

  • 5 voting delegates,
  • Plus 1 additional delegate for every 100 members or major fraction thereof,
  • Plus each church delegation can include at least 1 youth delegate,
  • Plus all authorized ministers – ordained, commissioned, or licensed  

Do you know who the voting delegates are from your church? 

Do you know whether your church has a full contingency of voting delegates for the June 15 & 16 meeting?

Although it is too late to pre-register online, we would still welcome and encourage your presence with us in Springfield.

If you are interested, please let your pastor know and call the Conference office at (401) 724-7700 to get registered!

Yours in Christ,

The Rev. Barbara J. Libby
Interim Conference Minister

(This post is also online - please share)

“Melt Me, Mold Me, Fill Me, Use Me”


By The Rev. Kurt Walker, Pastor of Chapel Street Congregational Church, UCC, in Lincoln, RI
We UCCers love to listen to the still, small voice of God whispering to us through the chaos of this world; to determine what it is that God would have us do to bring about God's kin-dom here on earth as it already is in heaven.  We tend to take that Call from of the Lord’s Prayer very seriously.

Yes, by all means, let’s partner with God the Creator to be not-so-secret agents of change with the divine.  Let’s go out to be in relationship with God, to do God’s will.  Let’s be about the business of breaking bread with the hungry, offering a cup to the thirsty, welcoming the wayfarer into our homes and our sanctuaries, clothing those who shiver from naked loneliness, caring for the ill, and visiting those held captive by the shackles of judgment, oppression, and persecution. 

As important as our actions are, I’ve learned that to become an effectual agent of God’s change, I must first be willing to be changed myself. 
Read the full post

This is the third in a series of four blog posts looking at the Vision, Mission and Purpose statement drafted for a new, unified Conference. Delegates from the Connecticut, Massachusetts and Rhode Island conferences will vote on formally creating this new conference at the joint Annual Meeting June 15-16 in Springfield, MA.

Many Voices, One Mission: Connected

By Jennifer Kronholm Clark, Program Director at Silver Lake Conference Center

We gathered on the beach after dark, full of roast pork and s’mores and drowsy at the end of a long week. A spotlight backlit the gathering, making shadows long on our faces. Cameron moved to the center of the circle and began to strum his guitar. He explained that his final gift to me, his secret pal, was a song. He began to sing:

When you’re down, and troubled, and you need a helping hand
And nothing, whoa, nothing, is going right 
Close your eyes and think of me, and soon I will be there
To brighten up even your darkest night.
At that long ago Midsummer’s Fest closing circle, an annual tradition among the Silver Lake summer staff, Cameron gave me a gift that I have carried with me since. Whenever I hear that song, whenever I feel alone and discouraged, I remember that moment, sitting with those people, singing in the dark, and I feel connected to a community. I grew up and I grew away, but the relationships I formed here drew me back.

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.

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.

Thursday, June 7, 7:00 PM
Tuesday, June 12, at 7:00 PM

Read more and sign up


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.

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.

Installation of Rev. Betsy Aldrich Garland
Sept. 9, 3:00 PM
Moosup Valley Congregational Church, Foster, RI

Other Events of Interest

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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Rhode Island Conference, United Church of Christ
8 Summer Street, Pawtucket, RI 02860
(401) 724-7700