April 2023 E-Newsletter
General Synod 34 - Making All Things New
June 30 - July 4, 2023 - Indianapolis, IN

Sign-Up to Volunteer at Synod!

The Indiana-Kentucky Conference is the host Conference for this year's Synod and they are currently looking for volunteers to help with all make Synod happen. They have reached to us as a neighboring Conference to share all the various volunteer opportunities. These are for folks who are attending as visitors only, not delegates. You will also receive a discounted registration as a thanks for volunteering! The details are below.

Wherever a General Synod is held, the home Conference acts as host. We in the IKC are thrilled to be the hosts of General Synod 34 in Indianapolis! In order to make such a large event a success, we need many hands to make light work and we're asking YOU to join us in a shift as a volunteer.

The process to volunteer happens in three steps:
  1. Apply to volunteer by clicking here.
  2. You'll receive a discount code after you apply to volunteer you can use to Register for General Synod here which will allow you to register for the entire event for only $65 (be sure to enter the code!) 
  3. Attend your shift and help us make this the best General Synod yet!

Shifts are approximately 4 hours and there are many volunteer opportunities - click here to find out what they are. If you're not sure what you'd like to do, contact our Synod Volunteer Coordinator, Kim Armstrong, to discuss the best fit for you. 

Click here to volunteer and please stay tuned and email the Local Arrangements Team if you have any questions at generalsynod2023@ikcucc.org. We are looking forward to loving and serving like Jesus alongside you! 
Workshop Proposals
Proposed Resolutions
Act to Make a Difference in the Health & Wellbeing of Our Youth
UCC Wellness Ministries Reflection

Taking scripture as our guide, the Wellness Ministries of the National Setting of the UCC under Justice and Local Church Ministries believes that all individuals are created in God's image and are blessed and loved equally by God. The activities within our ministries vary from congregation to congregation, yet all desire to inform, support, and advocate for measures that support the wholistic health of everyone. 

Understanding that LGBTQ adolescents experience many health-related challenges and disparities, the Wellness Ministries Leadership Team has offered through this newsletter effective health promotion strategies for their health, safety, and well-being. We are alarmed because current legislative sessions across our country are now debating the highest number of anti-LGBTQ bills ever introduced in a single legislative period. Many of them place trans youth at risk of losing gender-affirming health care. We join other UCC leaders in encouraging congregations to commit to putting love and justice into action by responding. 

Contact Wellnessministries@UCC.org for more information as you consider how you and your Wellness Ministries can respond and advocate for at-risk youth.
UCC publishing love letters to trans youth...

"What the world needs now is love, sweet love." Those lyrics from a 1965 ballad made popular by Dionne Warwick resonate loudly today, during a time when the rights of trans and all LGBTQ+ people are increasingly under attack.

Read more
Cultivating Generous Congregations Seminar
A Pre-Synod Event
United Church of Christ

The CGC Seminar for pastors and leaders offers an opportunity to explore faithful, practical, and tested ways to promote generosity in our congregations. Be sure to recruit at least a team of two for this program. Changing the culture of your congregation requires more than one dedicated leader. This pre-Synod seminar will be held in person on June 29th at First Congregational Church (7171 N Pennsylvania St, Indianapolis, IN 46240) from 9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. with lunch provided and on June 30th from 9:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.. 

An online session will be held on June 7th from 6:00 p.m. - 7:30 p.m. CST. 
The registration fee is $300 (per team of two) and $150 for each additional team member. 
Individuals without a team may register for $200.
Contact Andrew Warner at warnera@ucc.org for any questions about the event.
The Illinois Conference Outdoor Ministries is making lots of things happen in 2023! Registration for this year's camps and retreats is open! The Outdoor Ministries Committee also recently released it's updated COVID policy for this year. Click on the button below to view the new policy and accompanying letter explaining the reasoning behind it.
Our Whole Lives Training Retreat
April 21st - 23rd
Tower Hill Camp
Festival of Homiletics Retreat
May 15th - 18th
Tower Hill Camp
Upcoming Events
Christian Nationalism Lecture
Tuesday, April 11 @ 7:30 PM
Elmhurst University

The Rev. Dr. John C. Dorhauer, general minister and president of the United Church of Christ, will reflect on the challenge of faithfulness in the face of Christian nationalism, and the need for religious leaders and people of faith to openly discuss and confront it. The lecture will take place on Tuesday, April 11th at 7:00 p.m. in Hammerschmidt Memorial Chapel. This is a free event, but registration is encouraged.
Getting Ready for Earth Sunday Webinar
Wednesday, April 12 @ 12 PM CST
United Church of Christ

Many churches celebrate God's creation on the Sunday closest to Earth Day (April 22nd). To support congregations in making the most of this occasion, Creation Justice Ministries has created a resource that brings the lens of justice to food, the most immediate and tangible way that we connect with the natural world around us. In this webinar, Karyn Bigelow will introduce the resource and talk about specific ways churches can deliver a powerful message and experience on Earth Sunday. Even if you cannot make the webinar at its scheduled time on April 12th at 12 p.m. CST, still sign-up, and we will send you a link to a recording of it. Register now!
Earth Day Summit
Saturday, April 22 at 10 AM CST
United Church of Christ

This online event will take place on Saturday, April 22nd at 10 a.m. CST. The theme is “What’s Possible?: Earth Day Stories of Hope.” This two and a half hour summit will feature a keynote from the Rev. Jim Antal, a panel of inspiring speakers, the presentation of the Dollie Burwell Prophetic Action Award, and a video showcasing the uplifting story of Mayflower UCC in Minneapolis. Even if you cannot make the event at its scheduled time, still sign-up, and we will send you a link to a recording of it. Register now!
Pray Away Film Screening
Saturday, April 15 at 12 PM CST
United Church of Hyde Park

Please join us for a special screening of Pray Away on Saturday, April 15, 12:00 p.m. at United Church of Hyde Park (1448 E. 53rd Street, Chicago, IL 60615). Pray Away is a documentary film highlighting the harm and pain that many religious institutions have caused to the LGBTQIA+ community due to "conversion" therapy efforts and the trauma from those experiences. Many religious communities have distanced themselves from overt conversion therapy, but unfortunately more covert versions still exist. Faith leaders, clergy, trusted messengers, and more than 20 local and national organizations are working to enhance LGBTQ+ dignity and inclusion and stop conversion therapy in all its forms through screening this film and mobilizing communities for change. The screening will be followed with a panel discussion featuring survivors of conversion therapy, mental health experts, LGBTQ advocates, and faith leaders who will reflect on the themes of the film. Come learn, reflect, connect and consider what moving change forward looks like in your context! 

Our incredible co-sponsors are Chicago Coalition of Welcoming Churches, Chicago Theological Seminary, Eden United Church of Christ, Gather, Living Well Ministries, Multitude Films, The Open and Affirming Coalition Of the United Church of Christ, and United Church of Hyde Park. Panelists include survivors of "conversion therapy", mental health experts, LGBTQIA+ advocates, and faith leaders who will reflect on the themes of the film as well as propose a way to end conversion therapy, in all its forms, once and for all.

Doors open at 11:30am. Program begins promptly at 12:00 p.m. Lunch provided! Link to RSVP: https://tinyurl.com/chicagopa 
April Calendar at a Glance
Ordinations, Installations, Ecclesiastical Councils
None scheduled for the month of April.
Events in the Illinois Conference & Beyond
Apr 4-7: Spring Quilt Retreat at Pilgrim Park Camp.
Apr 7: Conference Office Closed - Good Friday.
Apr 11: Christian Nationalism Lecture with Rev. Dr. John Dorhauer. 7:00 p.m. at Elmhurst University in Hammerschmidt Memorial Chapel.
Apr 12: Earth Sunday Webinar. 12:00 p.m. via Zoom. Register here.
Apr 15: Pray Away Film Screening. 12:00 p.m. at United Church of Hyde Park. Register online here.
Apr 21-23: Our Whole Lives Training at Tower Hill Camp.
Apr 22: Earth Day Summit. 10:00 a.m. CST via Zoom. Register here.
Apr 22: Eastern Spring Association Meeting. 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. at Pilgrim Park Camp. Register online here.
Apr 29: Joint Prairie/Western Spring Association Meeting. 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at Pilgrim Park Camp. Register online here.
Conference and Association Committee Meetings
Apr 6: PA Committee on Ministry. 9:00 a.m. via Zoom.
Apr 12: Outdoor Ministry Committee. 9:30 a.m. via Zoom.
Apr 13: FVA Committee on Ministry. 9:00 a.m. via Zoom.
Apr 13: CMA Committee on Ministry. 12:00 p.m. via Zoom.
Apr 15: Stewardship Committee. 3:00 p.m. via Zoom.
Apr 16: WA Council Meeting. 2:30 p.m. via Zoom.
Apr 18: FAB Committee Meeting. 9:00 a.m. via Zoom.
Apr 18: WA Committee on Ministry. 9:00 a.m. via Zoom.
Apr 19: EA Committee on Ministry. 9:30 a.m. via Zoom.
Apr 24: FVA Council Meeting. 6:00 p.m. via Zoom.
Apr 25: PA Council Meeting. 10:00 a.m. via Zoom.
Employment, Education, & Resources
Employment Opportunities
Ministerial opportunities within the United Church of Christ.

Recently Added Lay Employment Opportunities:

Chicago, Bryn Mawr Community Church seeks PT Administrative Assistant

Chicago, Edgebrook Lutheran Church seeks PT Community Youth Leader

Elmhurst, Bethel UCC seeks PT Dir. of Children/Youth Ministries

NEW! Evanston, First Congregational seeks PT Director of Community/Communications

Grayslake, United Protestant Church seeks PT Music Director

Naperville, First Congregational UCC seeks PT Bookkeeper

Wheaton, St. Matthew UCC seeks PT Dir. of Children's Ministries

Wheaton, St. Matthew UCC seeks PT Dir. of Youth Ministries

For a list of current open positions with the National UCC click here.

For current open positions with UCC Cornerstone Fund click here.

For more lay employment opportunity postings, click here.

Please let us know if you have a job opening you would like to share,
and also update us once the position is filled. Contact Sarah Lohrbach.
Grow Your Church: The Board Game
United Church of Christ
The Grow Your Church board game is designed to get people talking about church vitality through the Marks of Faithful and Vital Local Churches. It will help deepen relationships with the covenantal partners with creative conversation. This game is for decision makers and strategic thinkers, and for all people who love their church and want to see it grow in vitality and faithfulness. Learn more and order it here. Ages 12 and up; shipping in June.
Summer and Fall Course Offerings
PATHWAYS Theological Education
PATHWAYS Theological Education, Inc. is a 501c3 program that grew from a program of the Southeast Conference UCC. It remains affiliated with the Southeast Conference. The program offers a full menu of courses for those seeking authorized ministry, for those wanting continuing education, and for those looking for a progressive theology, ethics, or practical church course. The courses are asynchronous, geographically unbound, affordable, and aligned with the UCC Marks of Faithful and Effective Authorized Ministers. Please be in touch with any questions. You may apply online at pathwaystheological.org.
New Resources!
OCWM & Stewardship
United Church of Christ

National has been working on updating resources for OCWM. These resources highlight work being done in the National Setting that is supported by Our Church’s Wider Mission Basic Support. A poster and four bulletin inserts help tell the story of how OCWM Basic Support strengthens local congregations. You can find these free resources here.

“Because of You, Our Church Changes Lives” is this year's UCC stewardship theme, making the connection between donor generosity and the ministry and mission of your congregation. Materials include extensive resources for worship, sermons, and faith formation for children, youth and adults. The materials also provide practical tools such as logos, commitment cards, bulletin inserts and letters. Guidance for every step of your campaign helps you make the best use of these robust materials. Various download options are available here. Print resources will ship in February.
Church Newsletter Request
Please send us your newsletters so we can keep up with what's going on in your church.
Address for printed newsletters: Illinois Conference UCC, 1840 Westchester Blvd., Suite 200, Westchester, IL 60154. Electronic newsletters: Please add Sarah Lohrbach at SarahLohrbach@ilucc.org to your church’s mailing list.
THE ILLINOIS CONFERENCE UCC E-NEWSLETTER is published by the Illinois Conference of the United Church of Christ, 1840 Westchester Blvd., Suite 200, Westchester, IL 60154. The Rev. Molly Carlson, Conference Minister; Sarah Lohrbach, Editor. Copy may be sent to: SarahLohrbach@ilucc.org. 
This communication is made possible by your contributions to

Our Church's Wider Mission (OCWM)
Illinois Conference of the United Church of Christ | (708) 344-4470
1840 Westchester Blvd., Suite 200, Westchester, IL 60154