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Brilliant Minds, Glowing Faces, Radiant Hearts

Sharon, CT-- The annual SHINE retreat was one of several retreats held at Silver Lake weekend.  Sponsored by the Connecticut Conference, SHINE seeks to nurture leadership skills in youth who are Thinking About Working For God (TAWFG).  
This year there was an assembly from seven CTUCC congregations: Bloomfield, Dixwell Ave UCC, East Woodstock Congregational, First Church of Christ in Hartford, Kensington, Liberty Christian Center, and Trumbull. 
On Friday night they were strangers or mere acquaintances, but after a day together the bonds of friendship were evidenced by laughter and song around the flames of a campfire.  A diverse group of youth were quick to create beloved community through team-building games, shared meals, and program time on the topic of racial justice.

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Trinity Minister Talks About Impact of Online Ministry 

The Rev. Jasmin E. Taylor?

The Rev. Jasmin E. Taylor, Associate Pastor of Digital and Media Ministry at Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago. recently spent some time online with Conference Minister The Rev. Kent Siladi talking about social media and the church.

During the interview (watch the recording by clicking above), the Rev. Taylor explained how her church uses social media to connect with people around the world, talked about "virtual membership" at her church, and gave tips for how churches can get started using various media platforms.

"One of the things that i've been super surprised about it is how well you can get to know somebody," Taylor told Siladi about her ministry. "You can feel people's spirits online - you can feel their integrity, you can feel their genuineness, you can feel who they are online. That's my goal, that people know who I am and they know I care."

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Middletown Celebrates Past With Commitment to Community and Future

In a letter to the congregation at First Church in Middletown, Rev. Julia Burkey outlines the events celebrating the church’s 350thanniversary, the church’s ancestors, and the current community-building efforts as the congregation recommits itself to a covenant signed 350 years ago this Sunday.

Shre wrote in part: "We need church more than ever these days and I believe with my every cell in the importance of local church, because we are one of the only institutions whose primary role is to care for the common good in community. I am humbled and honored to be your pastor at this moment in history. Our commitment to nourishment and to justice make my heart sing."

Read the full letter 

Read the Hartford Courant article: At 350 Years Old, Middletown Church Looks Ahead By Recognizing A Complex Past, Nov. 2, 2018

Many Voices One Mission: Actions Matter, Now

By Pam Arifian, Director of UCC Northeast Environmental Justice Center.

It might seem daunting to imagine how are world might function with the necessary changes in fossil fuel consumption, but we’ve only powered our economy with fossil fuels since the Industrial Revolution. We know better now that our actions are creating great suffering across God’s Creation, and most devastatingly to those who have contributed least to the problem. It is beyond time to be revolutionary again.

The good news is that the innovative human spirit and the technology exists to support this revolution, now. What a time to be alive! 

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

Reflection: Flag on a Wall

By The Rev. Shawn Fisher, Senior Pastor at First Congregational Church of Bloomfield, CT.

I got a call at home about an hour ago. 

"There's a woman here at the church in crisis. Can you come and talk with her?"

It's not the first time I've gotten that call. It won't be the last. At least I hope not. Not because I want people to be in crisis. Just because, if they are, and if we can help, I want them to find us. I want to be there.

She talked. I listened. Her situation isn't easy. They rarely are.

But it was made worse because someone taught her that when these things happen - that God was testing her.

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Starting With Scripture: Story Time

By The Rev. Dr. John Nelson, Pastor of Church on the Hill, UCC in Lenox. MA

Once upon a time this seemed a simple story about the exceptional generosity of an impoverished widow. Out of the goodness of her heart she gave an offering that far exceeded what the wealthy had given. “Go and do likewise,” was the lesson.
Of course “once upon a time” took place before we began to read more deeply. Why was it the treasury where she placed the coins — not the offering plate or the alms box? If she gave everything she had to live on, what happened after? After “once upon a time” became “today,” the story wasn’t so simple. 

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Starting with Scripture is a weekly devotional written by current and former clergy and church leaders of the Connecticut Conference, UCC. Subscribe to receive the reflection each Monday at:

Upcoming Conference Events

Online Innovation Sessions Being Offered This Fall

Suzi Townsley, Associate Conference Minister for Innovation, Leadership and Change, will be hosting a series of online conversations this fall: Zip Equip session on Dec. 4 is designed to support church leaders by providing some of the best thinking from the organizational development and change management world; and InnoJazz on Nov. 20 will be 40-minute innovation sessions to foster creative thinking. 

Read more and register

CTUCC Fall Boundary Training
Nov. 13, 8:30 AM to 3:00 PM
Church of Christ, Congregational in Newington

Basic and advanced training for clergy, including a plenary with the Rev. Ron Brown.

Authorized Ministers Luncheon
Dec. 4, 12:00 PM to 3:00 PM
Four Points by Sheraton Meriden

A luncheon to celebrate the 25th and 50th Ordination Anniversaries of 18 CTUCC clergy, featuring keynote speaker Rev. Kaji Spellman Douša, Senior Pastor of The Park Avenue Christian Church in Manhattan “The Park”.


Part-time Director of Youth and Families - Litchfield, CT (First)


Other Events of Interest

Growing Deeper Roots: Learning & Preserving the Story of American Congregationalism
Nov. 15, 10:00 AM to 3:00 PM
Wellesley Hills Congregational Church, Wellesley, MA

Explore the history of the Congregational tradition and learn how to keep old church records safe and organized, all in one day at this Congregational Library event.


Connecticut Conference, UCC
125 Sherman Street, Hartford, CT 06105
Toll Free in CT: 866.367.2822 | 860.233.5564