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Best Practices for Staffing Your Faith Formation Ministries

By Debbie Gline Allen, Christian Education & Youth Ministry Consultant for the Massachusetts Conference UCC

You have discerned that your congregation needs to hire a Christian educator. Or perhaps your focus is on youth ministry and you want to search for someone who is trained in ministering with youth groups. Or you may be realizing that a traditional education and formation staff person may not be what your congregation needs right now. In all of these situations, there are multiple decisions to be made and no one-size-fits-all solution. So what do you do?

Fortunately, your Massachusetts Conference has three newly updated resources that you can use to find the best person or persons to guide you in forming the faith of your children, youth, and adults.

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Being Prepared: Disaster Supply Kits

By Lucy Costa, MACUCC Disaster Resource and Response Team

September is Preparedness Month and your Disaster Resource and Response Team brings you a wealth of resources. We offer you a bulletin insert prepared by team member Judie O'Donnell and other links and resources pertaining to creating an emergency 'grab and go' kit. 

Preparation is a part of our daily lives. We make lunches ahead to take to work or school.  We set up our boxes of pills for the week.  We decide what to wear for the day to be suitable for the weather conditions that day.  In preparing for emergencies, we gather supplies that will help us to meet needs that are not typically part of our daily lives.  

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Many Voices, One Mission: Viability

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

Churches are closing. 
This hits home regularly because I’m the Massachusetts Conference staffer working with churches considering closure.  In the UCC, from 2012-2015, 111 churches closed – one every two weeks.  The Massachusetts and Connecticut Conferences had one closure per year during this period, while Rhode Island had none.  However, I would note that currently the Mass Conference has 2-4 churches each year that are in some stage of the closure process, particularly if we consider that some of our churches essentially close through “adoption” – merger of a non-viable church with a relatively vital church. 
Churches are closing and – guess what? – that’s normal.  

We tend to think of churches as beyond time, assuming they should simply endure.  But, like people, all churches have a birth, a life, and a death.

Read the full post

Many Voices, One Mission is a regular series highlighting the ministries of the CT, MA, and RI Conference of the United Church of Christ.

Rise for Climate, Jobs and Justice

In response to the Global Climate Action Summit on September 12 - 14 in San Francisco, is planning a weekend of rallies on Sept 8-9. 

Rallies are planned for Sat., Sept. 8, in Massachusetts in East Boston, Beverly, Natick, Bellingham, Falmouth, Provincetown, Worcester, Colrain.

The UCC Northeast Environmental Justice Center and the CTUCC will take part at the New Haven (CT) Rally Sunday, Sept 9, at 1:00 PM.

Get details

Join the MACUCC at Worcester Pride Parade Sept. 8 

Please join us for this year's Worcester Pride parade! The Massachusetts Conference UCC and the ONA Ministry Team hope to have several Central Association churches participate this year. We have easy-to-carry small signs that marchers can borrow, and all Conference churches will walk behind the UCC banner, together!

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Conference Events

Super Saturday - Registration Now Open!
Oct. 20, 8:00 AM to 3:45 PM
Keefe Regional Technical High School, Framingham, MA

Join us for a full day of worship, workshops and networking. Keynote address by Dr. David M. Csinos, who writes widely about faith formation, children's ministry, youth ministry, and culture. 

Read more and register now!

Active Threat Training: Keeping your Church Safe if Trouble Comes in
Sept. 8, 9:30 AM to 11:30 AM
Feeding Hills Congregational Church, UCC

This training is presented by Blue-U Defense; a program of the MACUCC Disaster Resource and Response Team.

Northeast Boundary Awareness Training
Sept. 18 & 19, 8:30 AM - 3:00 PM
First Congregational Church in Billerica, MA

The Northeast Association is hosting a Boundary Awareness Training for all Clergy and Members In Discernment that have NOT yet participated or need to renew their training. 

Resource for Pastoral Relations Committees
Oct, 2, 7:00 PM to 8:30 PM
First Congregational Church, Millbury, MA

A workshop covering the purpose, best practices and ways to establish a group. Led by The Rev. Kelly Gallagher, Associate Conference Minister.

New to the Conference Gathering
Oct. 3, 11:00 AM - 2:00 PM
Edwards House Meeting Center, Framingham, MA

Clergy who have joined the conference within the last year are invited to meet fellow clergy, become familiar with Conference staff and resources, and help Conference staff learn how we may support your ministry.

Worship and Sacraments
Oct. 6, 8:30 AM to 12:30 PM
Centre Congregational Church, Lynnfield, MA

Faith Formation workshop led by Rev. Dr. Mary Luti, long-time seminary educator and pastor, author of Teresa of Avila's Way and numerous articles.

Active Bystanders Training
Oct. 24, 6:30 to 9:00 PM
Edwards House Meeting & Retreat Center

Get equipped with the tools to discern when to intervene, and how to interact appropriately to de-escalate tensions, and protect the targets of interpersonal attacks.

Resource for Pastoral Relations Committees
Oct, 29, 6:30 PM to 9:00 PM
First Congregational Church of Lee, MA

A workshop covering the purpose, best practices and ways to establish a group. Led by The Rev. Kelly Gallagher, Associate Conference Minister.

Interim Gathering
Oct. 30, 9:00 AM to 2:30 PM
Edwards House Meeting Center, Framingham, MA
We Should Talk: A Primer on the Circle Process presented by Sam Lovett and the Restorative Justice Task Team

What's In Your Health Care Plan?
Nov. 1, 12:00 PM to 1:30 PM

Options: Watch the webinar online OR attend at Edward House Meeting Center, Framingham
Learn how to become a health care planning ambassador to help adults & families make a personal health care plan.

Tending the Fire
Nov. 6-8; Jan. 8-10; March 12-14
Framingham, MA & Sharon, CT

This series of retreats helps clergy “think systems” in their congregations and their personal lives, so they can lead change that lasts.

Confirmation Retreat
Nov. 16 - 17
Prindle Pond Conference Center, Charlton, MA

Open to youth in grades 8 & up.


Free Online Webinars

The following webinars are offered free of charge to members of the Massachusetts Conference through a partnership with Practical Resources for Churches. Click title to register.  Find a complete list here.

Meet the Author: Faithful Celebrations
Sept. 12, 7:00 to 7:30 PM

Led by Sharon Ely Pearson, editor and Christian Formation Specialist with Church Publishing Incorporated

How to Preach a Dangerous Sermon
Sept. 19, 7:00 – 8:00 PM 

Help for preachers to respond to trying times by utilizing the four characteristics of the moral imagination. Preachers will recover and reimagine the leadership role of the church for the sake of justice and peace for all.

The Lifesaving Church: Faith Communities and Suicide Prevention
Sept. 20, 7:00 to 8:00 PM

Explore ways to safely talk about suicide in our churches, discuss the big questions, and examine the role of congregations in suicide prevention, intervention, and postvention. 

The Best Children’s Messages Ever
Sept. 25, 7:00 to 8:00 PM

Led by Debbie Gline Allen, MACUCC's Christian Education and Youth Ministry Consultant


Administrative Assistant, MBA and Northeast Regions, MACUCC
Provide administrative support to the Associate Conference Minister for the Northeast and Boston regions, the Northeast and Metropolitan Boston Associations, and the overall operations of the Massachusetts Conference.  Primary responsibilities involve coordinating communications and resources for committees, local churches, clergy, and members in discernment.

Other Events of Interest

Called to Teach Online Course
Sept. 10 - Oct. 1

A three-week course for new Sunday school teachers or experienced teachers who want to grow. Cost is $45.

Al Filipov Forum Peace & Justice Forum
Sept. 16, 4:30 PM
Trinitarian Congregational Church, Concord, MA

Recognizing UTEC, an organization that helps young people develop skills through paid work experience; social justice and civic engagement are embedded in all programming.

Innovation Association
Sept. 24 - 25
Heritage Hotel & Conference Center. Southbury, CT

An Innovation Hub experience including networking, collaboration and connection, open to anyone from the CT, MA and RI Conferences interested in innovative leadership.

UCC W.I.S.E. Conference for Mental Health
Sept. 29
South Congregational Church, UCC, Andover

Learn about action steps for individuals and congregations to become WISE (Welcoming, Inclusive, Supportive and Engaged) about mental health.

RACE: Facing History and Ourselves
Oct. 27, 7:00 PM
Charlemont Federated Church

This year’s Charlemont Forum will feature author Josephine Bolling McCall, who penned The Penalty for Success: My Father was Lynched in Lowndes County, Alabama


The Massachusetts Conference, United Church of Christ

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