COMMAntary Vol. 8, No. 42

COMMAntary: e-newsletter of the
Minnesota Conference United Church of Christ

brought to you by generous contributions
to Our Church’s Wider Mission

Vol. 08, No. 42

17 October 2012

Mission Bite: from across the Minnesota Conference
from Rev. Charlotte Frantz, Pilgrim Congregational UCC, Duluth

Northeastern Minnesota Flooding Recovery

A donation of $10,000 for the Northland’s long-term flood recovery effort was recently received from the United Church of Christ National Office for Disaster Ministries and the Minnesota Conference of the United Church of Christ. The Rev. Charlotte Frantz, of Pilgrim Congregational Church, along with the Rev. Paul Van Antwerp, of Peace UCC and Jon Blevins, newly called minister of United Protestant Church of Morgan Park, are pictured here with Drew Digby, regional co-ordinator of flood recovery efforts.

Immediately after the flood, Florence Coppola of the National UCC, headquartered in Cleveland, Ohio, and Rev. Dr. Karen Smith Sellers, Conference Minister of the Minnesota Conference UCC, emailed the three congregations who share membership in the United Church of Christ. They inquired about the flooding in Duluth and surrounding areas and asked how they could be of help.

The United Church of Christ disaster relief funds are often used for long-term recovery after the most immediate, emergency needs have been met by other agencies and organizations. In northern Minnesota, the donation was designated for help in hiring case managers and the Flood Homes with Hope fund for household needs not otherwise met through insurance, government programs and foundations.

“We are honoring the work and ministry of Pilgrim, Peace and the Protestant Church of Morgan Park, because we know they have been involved in various ways as communities in northern Minnesota are recovering,” said Florence Coppola, Executive for National Disaster Ministries for the UCC.

“We are pleased to offer this support from funds designated for disaster relief and collected during our denomination’s One Great Hour of Sharing funds,” added the Rev. Dr. Karen Smith Sellers.

“We are pleased to share this support provided by brother and sister congregations throughout Minnesota and across the nation,” said Charlotte Frantz, minister at Pilgrim. “Once you experience a disaster in your own community, you know how much it means to receive such assistance.”

News and Information
Called to Covenant Action
by Dwight Wagenius,
co-chair, Conference Justice and Witness Team

Called to Covenant Action

There are two principles of a free election on which all should agree. Those who either are not citizens or who have lost their right to vote should not be voting. Every citizen regardless of economic or physical condition, politics, religious belief, race, gender, or age must be given an opportunity to vote.

– ECM editorial board, 22-paper rural Minnesota newspaper chain

The primary justice issue in the Bible is economic justice, because the world of the Bible was marked by massive economic injustice. The Bible’s passion for economic justice concerns the basic necessities of life. The basic necessities were controlled by the ruling elite which structured the world in their own self interest.

We have a strong defense against economic injustice in our time, not available in biblical times-the right to vote! It doesn’t make any difference where we live or who we are-this country is stronger and more just when virtually every adult is empowered with their

constitutional right to vote. Few restrictions should limit this right, and a change in those limits should be made only when it has been demonstrated that the rights of the majority are in danger. There has been no credible demonstration of a danger. Thus says this rural editorial board, and many other editors and readers, of Greater Minnesota newspapers.

The constitution was written to protect our rights, including the right to vote. The right of every citizen to cast a ballot outweighs the prevention of alleged but unproven voter fraud.

The proposed Minnesota constitutional amendment regarding voting would result in eligible voters, especially seniors, the young, men and women serving in the military, and people with disabilities and low incomes, losing their right to vote. We are charged by our faith to oppose such actions. Vote NO twice on constitutional amendments this November.

Volunteers still needed in MO, ND and NY!
Are you looking for a Fall/Winter work trip opportunity, or even just a place to volunteer? Decisions have recently been made by our local partners in Binghamton, Joplin and Minot to continue work on repairing homes through December 2013. In all three places work will continue through the winter months (weather permitting). There is a need for volunteer work groups especially in these places noted here. There is a lot of work still to be done and Minot and Binghamton are particularly in need of volunteers. Details for groups are included via the links below. Your help is greatly appreciated!

Joplin, Missouri

Minot, North Dakota

Binghamton, New York

Upcoming Events
Clergy Clusters in the coming week
Northwest Cluster: Thursday, October 23, 10:00am
First Congregational UCC, Moorhead

South Central Cluster: Thursday, October 23, 2:00pm
Federated Church, Morris

Church Craft! Make sure you’re there!
The Minnesota Conference United Church of Christ invites you to…

Church Craft: Crafting a process for getting people on-board in your church


Come for a one-day workshop with Michael Piazza!

In this workshop, you will learn:

  • How to attract new people to your church using basic tools every church has (or should have)!
  • Best practices in basic hospitality when people visit for the first time.
  • Shaping membership classes that inspire instead of bore people.
  • Setting up small groups that shape disciples.

October 27, 2012 | 10:00am – 4:00pm

$30 – lunch included!

Teams of three or more bring their pastor for free!

Robbinsdale UCC, Robbinsdale

Register Now!

4th Thursdays

Join faith formation leaders of children and youth from the Minnesota Conference UCC on the 4th Thursday of the month to eat together, share resources and learn fresh ways to engage our ministries.

Thursday, October 25th, 10:30am-1:30pm

All are welcome to attend this cross-denomination Christian Education event at sparkhouse.

  • Discover and be a part of the innovative process for creating and producing Christian Education materials
  • Meet other Christian Educators in the area
  • Special Guest: Delia Halverson, Author and Christian Education Consultant

At noon we will share lunch with the UCC children, youth and faith formation leaders, where we will discuss Ashley Grant criteria for the 2013 mission dollars – be one of the first to know!

Where: SparkHouse, 2800 Lyndale Ave, Minneapolis

Cost: Free (includes lunch)

Registration: online, Register Now!

Opportunities for justice in action right here!
Take the Challenge:

United Against Hunger: An Interfaith Partnership

Could you live on $31.50, the average weekly food supplement for recipients of SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program)?

Join your Conference Justice & Witness Team

for two important programs:

November 11, 2:00-4:00 PM:
Join the Food Stamp Challenge

Holy Trinity Lutheran Church, 2730 E. 31st St., Minneapolis

Join multi-faith religious and community leaders to gain a glimpse of life on a food stamp budget. Shop for $31.50 worth of groceries, the amount given to recipients of SNAP. Explore the wisdom of Judaism, Christianity and Islam on caring for the poor.

November 18: Taking Action:
Combat Hunger in Minnesota

10 AM-12:30 PM Prepare and serve food for families at The Family Place at 244 10th St. East, St. Paul

12:30-2:30 PM Learn from experts about how to combat hunger in Minnesota at First Baptist Church, 499 N. Wacouta St., St. Paul

Sponsored by Jay Phillips Center for Interfaith Learning

Co-sponsors include: Adath Jeshurun Congregation, Beth El Synagogue, Beth Jacob Congregation, Greater Minneapolis Council of Churches, Islamic Center of Minnesota, Jewish Community Relations Council, Justice and Witness Team of the Minnesota Conference of the United Church of Christ, Minnesota FoodShare, Minnesota Rabbinical Association, Muslim American Society of Minnesota, Northwest Islamic Community Center, and Saint Paul Area Council of Churches

For information on hunger in Minnesota, see below:

For information on the national initiatives that inspired our programming, see below:

For more information, please contact: Rabbi Amy Eilberg at rebamy or Rev. John Guttermann, intpasj (Co-Chair, Justice & Witness Team)

All Saints: A Day for All Families
All Saints: A Day for All Families

7:00pm, Thursday, November 1st

Hennepin Avenue United Methodist Church

511 Groveland Ave., Minneapolis, MN 55403

United we proclaim God’s journey with the saints throughout the ages. United we sing out a faith for today. United we vision a future where God’s love is known for all. In an ecumenical worship service in the tradition of All Saints, people of faith from congregations across Minnesota will be joined by clergy and denominational leaders, members of the Twin Cities Gay Men’s Choir, and a mass choir, to honor the prophets, priests, and ordinary people who have followed Jesus’ message of love for God and neighbor. Living this witness in the world today, we raise a call to action with All Saints: A Day for All Families. All are invited to join in this service of remembrance and prophetic action.

Do you have an extra coat?
Minnesota Council of Churches Refugee Services lacks enough winter wear for the many adult refugees facing their first Minnesota winter. Please consider donating adult coats and winter accessories. Donations can be delivered to the MN Church Center, 122 Franklin Ave., Minneapolis, anytime during business hours. Contact Kristin by email or at or 612-230-3219 for more information.

Local Church Events
Local Church Events
Check out all the events happening at our local churches across Minnesota on our Local Church Events Calendar! You can surf around the calendar to see what’s coming up across the Conference. Just click on the title of the event in the calendar to get more details.

  • Thursday, October 25: alisonb. Simple as that!
Employment Opportunities
Check out the Employment Opportunities portion of the Minnesota Conference website. Click here to see the listings.
Financial Development Associate
The Minnesota Conference of the United Church of Christ seeks a part-time (approximately 12 hours per week) Financial Development Associate. This support position assists the financial development work of the Conference. Key accountabilities include:

  • Create and oversee production of fundraising promotional materials;
  • Help develop and clearly articulate the case for giving to the Conference;
  • Support constituent relationships and engagement; and
  • Manage donor date through the data base.

The individual selected for this position will have the following education/experience:

  • Bachelor’s degree or equivalent plus one to three years of experience and/or demonstrated interest in development and managing financial development strategies;
  • Practical understanding of and commitment to the core values and modus operandi of the Minnesota Conference of the United Church of Christ;
  • Track record of measurable results of identifying, cultivating, and soliciting individual donors;
  • Demonstrated ability to manage self with limited supervision;
  • Excellent verbal and written communication skills; and
  • Flexibility and ability to maintain focus.

Also requisite for the position are:

  • Good interpersonal skills, enthusiasm, and a willingness to function as part of a team;
  • Proficiency in social media and Microsoft Office (Word, Publisher, Excel, and Outlook);
  • Familiarity with SAGE Fundraising software (preferred);
  • Access to car and able to drive; and
  • Ability to pass a criminal background check without restrictions.

The position will be located at the Conference office, 122. W. Franklin Ave., Suite 323, Minneapolis.

Send cover letter and resumé to Rev. Dr. Karen Smith Sellers, Conference Minister at karenss or to 122 W Franklin Ave #323, Minneapolis, MN 55404.

In This Issue
Mission Bite
Called to Covenant Action
Volunteers still needed!
Clergy Clusters
Church Craft!
4th Thursdays
Opportunities for Justice!
All Saints: A Day for All Families
Extra Coats?
Local Church Events
Employment Opportunities
Financial Development Associate
Quick Links
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Headlines from across the United Church of Christ

Right now: Talking Marriage in Minnesota


UCC Coalition for LGBT Concerns

Right now: National Gathering celebrates the past and makes plans for the future


Global Ministries of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and the United Church of Christ

Right now: Jon Barnes was recently appointed as Mission Interpretation Executive in Indianapolis.


Association of United Church Educators

Right now: Regional educator events announced


Congregational Vitality

Right now: Are you attending Widening the Welcome? There’s still time to register!


Justice & Witness Ministries

Right now: Ahoy! Are you participating in Community Supported Agriculture? Aye!


Council for Health and Human Services Ministries

Right now: Rev. Tyrone Fowlkes has faith in the future.

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