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Norfolk Church Collaborates To Improve Community

Nestled in the northwest corner of the state in Litchfield County, the town of Norfolk, Connecticut, has a population just under 2000. This picturesque town is home to nearly a dozen nationally recognized historic places, and three state parks. Norfolk is also the home of The Yale Summer School of Music — Norfolk Chamber Music Festival held at the Ellen Battell Stoeckel estate. It is the quintessential Litchfield Hills town, located in one of the richest parts of one the richest states in the country.
So it surprises people to learn that 9% of Norfolk’s population live in poverty. Equally surprising is the fact that there is no social worker in town.
Over five years ago, representatives from the Selectman’s office, the Immaculate Conception Catholic Church, and Church of Christ, Congregational, UCC, each doing what they could to assist those in need, came together to discuss how to work more efficiently and to complement each other. The three organizations formed Norfolk NET, a grassroots organization committed to alleviating poverty and fostering new relationships.
According to Church of Christ’s Pastor the Rev. Erick Olsen, the organization initially worked to provide a tighter net, “to prevent people from falling through the cracks.” That has changed. Norfolk NET has gone from a team of three people to about a dozen working on a safety net and dreaming about a way to facilitate and foster relationship building in the community.

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Many Voices One Mission: Doing Our Homework

By Martha Goodman, Administrative Assistant for the Southeast Area of the MA Conference, UCC

It’s been many years since homework, in the going-to-school sense, has factored into my daily life.  And I confess that, back in those days, I wasn’t very diligent in its completion.  I thought of it as unimportant busywork, and therefore not to be taken seriously.  (In all honesty, much of it was busywork.  But still.)  There were always more interesting pastimes, like reading a book or helping my mother bake cookies.  Homework was to be avoided when possible, rushed through with a “good enough” attitude when unavoidable. 
In the course of administering the search and call process for the Massachusetts and Rhode Island Conferences, I correspond every day with ministers who would like their Ministerial Profile sent to a church or churches seeking a pastor ... Preparing a profile certainly is a formidable task.  Candidates strive to write engaging, informative text that fits the limited space allowed.  “Good enough” isn’t good enough—their next pastoral call is at stake—so most candidates take this homework very seriously indeed.

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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.


Starting With Scripture: Beyond Trick Questions


By The Rev. Erick Olsen, Pastor of Church of Christ, Congregational (UCC), Norfolk

Through all history, there have been signs of “the end.” Climate change related disasters, the refugee crisis, rampant sexual abuse, white nationalism, and the Pacific garbage patch make Mark’s “earthquakes, wars and rumors of war” sound tame. Mark’s word to any of us who are tempted to give in to despair, is “the end is not yet.” No matter how we try to decode the signs of the time, it isn’t given to us to know the end of the story until we get there. “Therefore,” he says later, “we must keep alert.” A monk of the ancient Carthusian sect said, about our desire to know the future: “The darkness of the future is the necessary space for the exercise of our liberty and our faith.”

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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

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

Join us as we celebrate the 25th & 50th Ordination Anniversaries of Authorized Ministers who have guided our churches and congregations, been leaders in our Conference, who have been chaplains and educators in our communities, and who have faithfully served the United Church of Christ.  Featuring Keynote Speaker The Rev. Kaji Spellman Douša, Senior Pastor of The Park Avenue Christian Church in Manhattan “The Park”.

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2018 Christmas at the Lake
Nov. 30 - Dec. 2
Silver Lake Conference Center

Two sessions:
4th-6th graders, and 
7th & 8th graders.
Join your friends and make new ones as we anticipate Christ’s birth at Silver Lake, with or without snow!

Zip Equip
Dec. 4, 3:30 to 4:10 PM

Brainstorm by Questions, a conversation designed to support church leaders by providing some of the best thinking from the organizational development and change management world. 


Part Time Admin Assistant - CT Conference UCC
This position is a part-time position (25 hours per week) which provides administrative and program support to three ministries of the Conference.  The main components of the position include support for the Regional Ministers, the Racial Justice Ministry and the Consolidated Trust Fund.


Other Events of Interest

Non-Directive Coaching Skills Basics for Busy Pastors
Jan. 29, 9:00 AM to 3:00 PM
Edwards House Meeting Center, Framingham, MA

Led by Rev. Todd Weir and Rev. Jim Latimer, who teach how to listen powerfully and not give advice. 


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