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Vermont Conference, UCC 

E-KIT (Electronically-Keeping In Touch)

February 19, 2014 - Vol. 7, Issue 7  
In This Issue
Conference News
Annual Meeting News
Association News
Items of Interest
Peacemaker's Pulpit
UCC News Updates
Upcoming Events, Webinars, Online Seminars...
Calendar
Stewardship Message
Lectionary and Thoughts
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Recalculating 
the Way
 

 

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March 29, 2014

Lake Morey Inn, Fairlee   

 

Presented by 

the Vermont Conference UCC and  

the Episcopal Church in Vermont    


where new understandings of Vitality, Formation, Stewardship and Mission combine to create and nurture disciples in our congregations.

Designed for teams of 4-6 from each church (individuals also welcome), and a registration cost of only $10!


Click here for a flyer  - please print and share widely!  

 

Don't Miss Out! - Our last event sold out. And it's only $10!

 
Click here to register.
 
 
 

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Greetings Members & Friends,

In The Bulb There Is
A Flower...
 

I'm thinking a lot about bulbs these days (no, not the kind that give light - the kind that give life!).  You know -  

 

 

 

'In the bulb there is a flower...something God alone can see.*   

 

I'm thinking a lot about our children these days - what will their future be like - will they have faith?  When I was a local church pastor our children's choir loved to sing

 

'I am a promise, I am a possibility -

I am a promise with a capital 'P' -

I am a great big bundle of potentiality -

And I am learning to hear God's voice

And I am trying to make the right choice

I'm a promise to be anything God wants me to be.**   

             

On the first Sunday my newborn twins attended church they were brought forward to join the Young People's Time.  I took a Polaroid photo (oh, isn't that outdated!) of the group and we watched as the picture slowly developed.  We talked of when they, too, were newborn babies and how no one yet knew how their lives would unfold.  What kind of people would they become?  What amazing things would they do and discover?  What talents and gifts were yet to be developed?

             

And on Monday I read the Norwich Congregational Church's newsletter and read a quote that Bob Miller, the Chair of their Church Council, included in his invitation to the congregation to attend their church's Annual Meeting.

 

'What lies behind you and what lies in front of you

pales in comparison to what lies within you.***

 

Change is inevitable.  No matter your age - consider the changes you have experienced in your lifetime.  Both the external changes in technology, in culture, in world affairs, in politics, in your churches.  And the internal changes in yourself - from a child, to an adolescent, young adulthood, to the present.  What are you doing and discovering that you never could have imagined years ago? What talents/passions/gifts are you still developing?  Like that Polaroid photo some parts of who we are becoming are still not clear - are always still developing and unfolding

 

So consider your congregation.  In Vermont our congregations are very old.  What changes have they experienced - the ebb and flow of culture and technology.  Just since 2000 I remember churches who celebrated indoor plumbing for the first time (with a ceremonial first flush!) and the change from wood stoves to an oil furnace.

 

Yes, it's hard to face the changes of decreasing membership, aging members and shrinking dollars - alongside a surrounding culture that couldn't care less.

 

Yet - God is not dead.  Jesus Christ lives.  We are still called to be the body of Christ.  We are still called to be disciples on the Way - a Way that is in the world but not like the world.

             

Last week we heard Moses' challenge in Deuteronomy, '...I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse; therefore choose life...' (Deut. 30:19)

             

This coming Sunday we will hear words about what that life looks like and acts like,You shall be holy; for I the Lord your God am holy...' followed by examples of the 'holy' ways that we are to love and care for the neighbor we know and the neighbors who are strangers among us who are in need.  (see Lev. 19:1-2, 9-18)

 

So isn't the question - not - how can we survive? - but - how will we live?

 

In the bulb there is a flower...

We are a great big bundle of potentiality...

What lies within us...

How are we learning to hear God's voice...

How are we trying to make the right choice...

 

Why aren't we standing on tiptoes in anticipation of what amazing thing God is about to do?  Why aren't we open to what continues to be developing within us - on our way to becoming everything that God wants us to be?  What is it that we could never have imaged bursting forth like the flower out of the bulb?  What talents/gifts/passions wait to be unleashed in our midst?

 

 

Pam

Rev. Pam Lucas
Associate Conference Minister for
Search and Call and Small Church Ministry    

 


*     Natalie Sleeth
**   Bill and Gloria Gaither 

*** Ralph Waldo Emerson   

 

 

Conference News

Conference Ministers' Schedules

~Next week Lynn Bujnak will be attending the Collegium/Council of Conference Ministers annual retreat in Orlando, FL.

~On Saturday, February 22, Pam Lucas will be meeting with the United Church of Hardwick's Search Committee and on Sunday she will be preaching at the Installation of Rev. Robert Hamm at the 1st Congregational Church of Newfane.

~On Sunday, Jim Thomas will be preaching and leading a workshop at the Bridgewater Congregational Church.

 

Annual Reports

A reminder that Department and Committee Chairs' Annual Reports are due at the Conference Office no later than March 15, 2014.   

 

Attention All Pastors

Have you thought about updating your ministerial profile? Have you ever done a profile? Are you thinking that a change might be in your future? Whether you are an Interim, Settled, Licensed, Commissioned or in-between minister, the NEW Ministerial profile is here. There is now one profile no matter the type of ministry you are interested in. The Vermont Conference is offering 2 days of training to learn the new profile. They will be on Thursday, February 27 from 10-12 and Saturday March 8 from 10-12. Please RSVP to Lynn at the conference office if you would like to attend one of these training dates. Can't make either date? Let Lynn know when a good time will be and we will try to set up another training date a little later this spring.

 

-Lynn Thomas

Administrative Assistant and Placement Coordinator

802-728-4999 thomasl@vtcucc.org

 

 

'Rooted and Grounded in Love' - A Feast of Possibilities for Exploring a Life Practicing the Presence of God

Some members of the Department of Christian Education got together to consider this passage from Ephesians (3:14-19) and to brainstorm some resources that may be helpful to you and to your congregation during this year of exploring 'Rooted and Grounded in Love' beginning with Lent.

 

To download/view the resource, click here. (If you need a hard copy of the document, please request one by emailing:  information@vtcucc.org).  

 

 

 

 

 

Local Church Forms 101

Some of the most common mistakes when trying to complete the local church forms online are:

 

  • going to the correct login page - yb.ucc.org

  • using the correct login - Conference number (82) followed by church number 82**** (ex. 821610 [Waterbury] or 820050 [Barre])

  • using the correct default password - password

  • putting data in the correct place - "my church" tab not "church reports" tab

 

These simple steps will help you to be in the right place to enter your information. Remember to update each page.

 

As always, if you have questions please feel free to call me at 802-728-4999 or email  thomasl@vtcucc.org). 

 

--Lynn Thomas

Administrative Assistant and Placement Coordinator

 

 

Annual Meeting News
Vermont Conference Annual Meeting
Again .... Ho Hum ...
 

Not This Year!  

 

You are invited to a time of post-Easter renewal

 

at the  

Lake Morey Resort

Fairlee VT

 

Friday-Saturday 
 

April 25-26

 

Our theme is "Rooted and Grounded in Love"

 

and the program will be designed to refresh our souls. Amidst the business we are called to address, we'll have extra time for reflection and rest, as well as walks around Lake Morey.  

 

Our retreat leader and facilitator is Gregory Norbet from Hanover, NH, who will share ideas and practical tips for: building a personal prayer life, abiding in Christ, and reclaiming our vocation. He'll also share some of the music he has composed during (and since) his days as lead musician at Weston Priory.  

 

Worship and workshops will be creative and wonderful, as always, and your presence will make it all even better!  

 

So plan on attending.

 

Registration will open on March 1.

 

Annual Meeting Webpage

 

Association News

 

Windham Union Association - Ecclesiastical Council and Installation of Rev. Robert Hamm,  1st Congregational Church, Newfane - February 23, 3:00 PM.  Click here for additional information.   

Grafton-Orange Association - Spring Training Day - March 15, 1st Congregational Church, Lebanon, NH.  Click here for more information/registration.

● Windsor-Orange Association - Installation of Rev. Joshua Moore, United Church of South Royalton - March 16, 4:00 PM.  

Southwest Association - Mission Day - March 22, 2nd Congregational Church, Bennington.  Click here for preliminary information.

 

Items of Interest
'March Forth on March 4th' and Work for Justice! - The United Church of Christ is calling you to join a one-day initiative next month, to "March Forth on March 4th" with simple acts of justice work.

"As we March Forth, as one church, in a one-day effort, we hope that together we can raise awareness of justice issues around the world with simple acts of advocacy," said the Rev. M. Linda Jaramillo, executive minister of UCC Justice and Witness Ministries. "We are called to see the big picture in which people are struggling to live with dignity. Our faith challenges us to understand our lives are interconnected with theirs."  

 

Visit:  http://www.ucc.org/marchforth/ for more information.

 

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Ecumenical Lenten Carbon Fast - 2014 will be the fourth year we have provided a day-by-day opportunity to fast from carbon as a Lenten discipline. Initiated by the UCC and endorsed by other denominations and faith groups, people of every Christian perspective - and people who are not Christians - have benefited from this opportunity to become more conscious and conscientious in their daily lives.  Daily email messages will begin on Ash Wednesday, March 5, and continue through Easter Sunday, April 20, 2014 (ff you were signed up for 2013 - you are automatically signed up for 2014). 

 

Congregations that participate are encouraged to gather weekly to share their experiences, support one another, compare notes, share resources and pray.

 

Visit macucc.org/carbonfast for more information and to sign up.

 

--An Initiative of N.E.R.E.M. - New England Regional Environmental Ministries

 

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Atkinson Residence Website - the Frances Atkinson Residence for the Retired now how a presence on the internet. Visit:   http://www.atkinsonresidence.org/.

 

 

 

 

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Peace Workshops - A Lenten Possibility - As we begin to think about Lent and possible Lenten disciplines, I would like to offer, as an option, my four-session workshop, entitled, "Building Peace One Person At A Time." I've done this three times now, once for folks from the church I attend (Bethany in Randolph), once for church and non-church folks in Randolph, and once for the Shrewsbury Church; and feel they have been well-received (a scheduling consideration, I no longer drive I night). Also, the material is in a form that I could send to you, if you were to choose to present the material yourself. More information about the workshops, and several comments from evaluations, can be found at this link.

 

--Betty Edson
802-728-4057
bedson30@gmail.com

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Covenant Hills Christian Camp News - Covenant Hills has a New and Improved website and is now accepting registrations online for the 2014 camping season.

 

Visit the new website at:  http://www.covenanthillsvt.com/ and read all the news.  Click here for a poster.

 

 

 

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Minutes Matter - Rev. Dr. Davida Foy Crabtree, who serves as the Interim Conference Minister with the Florida Conference of the United Church of Christ, recently produced a document to provide guidance to those to take minutes in all settings of the United Church of Christ.  Click here to read her Standards for Minutes.  

 

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Old South UCC Boston Marathon Scarf Project - Marathoners from around the world come to the Church of the Finish Line - Old South Church in Boston - for our annual Blessing of the Athletes. In this year of Remembrance and Hope, our vision is to wrap each runner in the love poured into stitches of handmade blue and yellow scarves. We promise to wrap runners in your love until all your scarves are distributed.

 

Suggested Guidelines:  Scarves should be interwoven with love and courage, measuring approximately 4"-6" wide and 60" long, any pattern. Colors: blue and yellow (Use the official Boston Athletic Association colors Pantone 109C and Pantone 294C as a guide.)

 

Artists (knitters, crocheters, weavers): send or bring your scarves to arrive by April 5, 2014. We are accepting scarves immediately. Send to:  Old South Church, 645 Boylston St., Boston, MA 02116 (617-536-1970 / info@oldsouth.org).

 

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Mental Health Ministry - If your church has a mental health ministry, or a ministry that goes beyond hosting AA meetings for those who struggle with substance abuse in themselves or their loved ones, Betty Keller would be very interested in hearing of your work.

  

If your church does not have an active ministry in mental health or substance abuse, but is interested in hearing of ways to serve those who struggle with mental health and substance abuse challenges in themselves or their friends or family members; interested in educating members and/or the public about mental illness or substance abuse; or interested in reducing stigma and increasing opportunities for recovery in Vermont, Betty would also be interested in hearing from you.

  

You may contact her at 802-748-1966; or bjkellermd@gmail.com.  Thank you to all for thoughts and prayers for support, strength, and healing for any needing such ministries.

  

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NGLI: Target 2030 (apply by March 21) - the Next Generation Leadership Initiative: Target 2030 (also called "NGLI: Target 2030," "NGLI," and "the Initiative") is a 20-year focus on energizing and sustaining younger, emerging United Church of Christ local church pastors, rooted in the belief that healthy, catalytic pastors lead to healthy, vibrant congregations.

 

 NGLI: Target 2030 seeks to honor and challenge young clergy who demonstrate significant potential and have accepted the high calling to parish ministry, who view parish ministry as a career path, and are willing to make a long-term commitment to service in congregational settings of the United Church of Christ.

 

Those selected for NGLI: Target 2030 will be provided with advanced training to hone their skills and gifts in order to serve as transformational leaders in the congregational context. They will also have the opportunity to create a cohort of colleagues in which they can encourage and challenge one another, as well as reflect together on the life of a local church pastor in the 21st century. A significant financial incentive, valued at approximately $75,000, will be provided in return for a 10-year commitment to local church ministry in the United Church of Christ and faithful participation in the NGLI program.

 

Visit:  http://ngli2030.pbucc.org for more information.

  

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UCC Women's Week - March 2-8, 2014 - Transfiguring Spiritual Practice: Seeking the Radiance of God through Social Media - The United Church of Christ will celebrate Women's Week this year during the first week of March, March 2-8, 2014. This brings us into line with other denominational and secular observances of Women's Week (World Day of Prayer for Women is March 7; International Women's Day is March 8). The week encompasses Sunday March 2, Festival of Transfiguration, and Wednesday, March 5, Ash Wednesday.  Click here for a link to resources which will be posted on February 1.

  

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Gun Violence Prevention Sabbath - March 13, 2014  - Congregations across the nation are joining the Washington National Cathedral and Faiths United to Prevent Gun Violence to remember those who have lost their lives to gunfire, pray for those whose lives have been forever changed because of the loss of a loved one, and to continue the discussion on how communities of faith can work together to help reduce gun violence. Learn more about how your congregation can get involved in the Gun Violence Prevention Sabbath. Contact: Sandra Sorensen at sorenses@ucc.org.  For more Information: http://marchsabbath.org/.

 

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Peacemaker's Pulpit

 A Monthly Message from the Department of Mission's Just Peace Advocates

 

 Gratitude!

 

Gratitude! You might ask what gratitude has to do with peace. Without gratitude-deep, deep gratitude-I would not be able to dedicate my life to social service and working for justice and peace. I have been doing peace and justice work for many years now-marching and being arrested during the Vietnam War era, providing shelter to the homeless in Washington, DC and in Maine, writing letters and marching to make people aware of El Salvador's fight for freedom, and riding buses from New Jersey and Vermont to the Capitol to remind legislators that great numbers of people do not align themselves with those who want to wage war. And today I am involved in programs that feed the homeless and educate about environmental issues, and I am part of the Vermont Low Income Advocacy Council.

 

In all of that, I have found that faith and gratitude are the powers that help me stay strong and not give up. Peace work and justice work is hard work. It can be discouraging and depressing to see the world as it is. As wars continue to be fought throughout the world, the poor grow poorer, large numbers of people remain hungry or homeless, drug use increases and gangs become a way of life for many youth, it would be easy to become tired. As we realize that our hard work doesn't bring sweeping changes, it would be easy to just give up and sink into our own safe little lives. I, personally, cannot let that happen to my life, so I look to like minded people for support, turn to my faith for strength and remind myself that, filled with gratitude, I am able to continue to follow the call to love kindness, do justice and walk humbly with my Lord.

 

--Judi Joy

of Bethany Church, Montpelier,

is the Department of Mission representative

on the Vermont Low Income Advocacy Council. 

 

UCC News Updates    

~~~~~

 

Got news? Please take a minute, and let the UC News team know. Please send your news tip via email to newsteam@ucc.org.  P.S.  Let the Conference know too - vtconference@vtcucc.org!

 

Upcoming Events, Webinars, Online Seminars

 

Don't Forget the Following Events!

 

map

 

 

Ministry Workshops from Andover Newton Theological School

  • Fulfilled: Living and Leading with Unusual Wisdom, Peace, and Joy.   March 21, 9 AM to 3 PM

  • I Love to Tell the Story: An Introduction to Biblical Storytelling.   May 2, 10 AM to 4 PM

Click here for more information/registration.

 

2014 Ecumenical Advocacy Days.  March 21 - 24, 2014.  Washington, DC.  Registration is now open.  Click here for more information/registration.

 

UCC New England Women's Celebration IXMarch 28 - 30, 2014.  Portland, ME.  Click here for more information/registration.

 

Vermont Low Income Advocacy (VLIAC) Legislative Day.  April 4, 2014.  Statehouse, Montpelier, VT.

 

A Special Saturday Learning & Service Event! - High School Youth Groups, Middle School Youth Groups, Lay Leaders, Clergy and Interested Adults. Explore Global Mission ... Experience Local Mission  and Be Inspired by the Gospel of Mark:  A Storytelling Performance by Rev. Bert Marshall.  Saturday, April 5, 2014.  First Congregational Church, UCC, Burlington, VT. Click here for a flyer with all the details.

 

 

 

UCC Office Support Staff Network (UCCOSSN) Annual Conference.  April 24 - 26, 2014.  Charlotte, NC.  Registration is now open.  Click here for more information/registration.

 

 

 

 

 

 

43rd Annual New England Association of United Church Educators (NEAUCE) Conference: Rooted in Faith.  May 6-8, 2014.  Centerville, MA.  Registration is now open.  Registration Deadline:  March 31, 2014.  Click here to register.  Click here for the brochure.

 

 

 
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Click here for more Upcoming Events.

   

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webinarsUpcoming Webinars & Other Online Seminars 

 

Online Course:  Healthy Boundaries for Ministry 101 - February 24 - March 28, 2014.  8:00 PM.  Sponsor:  FaithTrust Institute/Center for Progessive Renewal.  Instructor:  Rev. Dr. Marie M. Fortune.  Click here for more information/registration.

 
  • For a listing of webinars from the UCC Justice and Witness Ministries and Faith Trust Institute, "Addressing Domestic and Sexual Violence: Tools for Faith Leaders" Series, click here.

  • For a list of upcoming conference calls/webinars from the UCC Pension Board, click here.
  • For a list of upcoming webinars from the UCC Insurance Board, click here.
  • For a listing of upcoming Alban Institute webinars, click here.
  • For a listing of Andover Newton Theological School's Online Seminars, click here 
Calendar
CalendarFor Calendar items, please see the online Conference Calendar or the latest biweekly issue of E-Events NewsletterTo submit an event: click here.  

  

The next E-Events Newsletter will be published on Thursday, February 20. [Deadline to submit events:  February 20, Noon].    

 

Don't miss these events: 

 

Conference EventsAssociation Events
Local Church EventsEcumenical Events
Regional EventsNational Events
Other Events of Interest


Stewardship Message for February  

 

Stewards of Godly Language

 

And a voice came from heaven, "You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased."  

Luke 3:22b English Standard Version

 

When I was coping with the sudden, severe onset of rheumatoid arthritis, a friend said, "God does everything for you that you can't do for yourself, and nothing that you can." Hmmm... I wonder. Her words were neither comforting nor reassuring given my burning question, "Who am I, now?"

 

What God did do for me was to answer that question. "You are my beloved child." God assured me, "know who you are and I am in this with you." That was all I needed to hear. I heard the echo of God's words spoken at Jesus' baptism. My pastor called this God's language of love.

 

Each one of us is God's beloved. In my year-round practice of generosity, I continually focus on how generous God has been... the beauty of creation, a circle of friends, a church community, the opportunity to serve, having enough, amazing grace, Christ. So, how generous are we called to be?

 

Generosity flows in many ways. What better way to honor God's love and affirmation than to speak God's language of love? To recall we're addressing another of God's beloved when we speak, and use Godly language? In the month of hearts and flowers (and chocolate!), may we practice God's language of love.

 

 

A message by Doris Powell, author of Stewards in the Household of God: a Resource for Holistic Year-round Stewardship.


 

~~~~~ 

 

For monthly Stewardship messages from the UCC, click here.

 

[This resource is a free service and is made possible by your gifts to Our Church's Wider Mission.]

 

 

Lectionary Gospel Lesson & Thoughts for the Week

The Gospel lesson this week is: Matthew 5:38-48, where Jesus says,  

"If anyone strikes you on the right cheek, turn the other also."

 

Here are some thoughts for the week:

*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  * *

If we could read the secret history of our enemies,

we should find in each man's life

sorrow and suffering enough to disarm all hostility.

 

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

 

*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *

 

If I am even with my enemy, the debt is paid;

but if I forgive him, I oblige him for ever.

 

William Penn

 

*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *

 

I choose my friends for their good looks,

my acquaintances for their good characters,

and my enemies for their intellects. 

A man cannot be too careful in the choice of his enemies.

 

Oscar Wilde

 

*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *

 

The true and noble way to kill a foe,

Is not to kill him.  You, with kindness, may

So change him, that he shall cease to be so,

And then he's slain.

 

Emile Chartier

 

*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *

 

The Bible tells us to love our neighbors,

and also to love our enemies;

probably because they are generally the same people.

 

G.K. Chesterton

 

 * * * * * * * * *

 
Did you know...

Your OCWM (Our Church's Wider Mission) contribution to the VT Conference makes this email newsletter and the numerous programs described herein available to you and your church.
 
Have you considered remembering the Vermont Conference in your will? You could leave a lasting legacy which would support the good works of the Conference and our churches.

To submit items for E-KIT, please send them to Sybil McShane at mcshanes@vtcucc.org.  Items are due Friday for publication the following Wednesday.
 
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802-728-4999 | Vermont Conference, UCC | 36 N Main St | Randolph | VT | 05060
E-KIT 02-19-2014