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Faithful Fridays

Friday, January 5, 2024

Health and Human Service Sunday

A message from the Council for Health and Human Service Ministries Team:

Every year, the United Church of Christ designates a Sunday in January as the time to uplift the many gifts of the Health and Human Service Ministries across the church. This year, Health and Human Service Sunday takes place on January 28, 2024.

Liturgical resources for observing Health and Human Service Sunday are now available on CHHSM's website or by clicking on the blue button below. This year's materials were composed by the Rev. Dr. Elyse Berry, and include unique elements such as a Sound Meditation for Healing and Wholeness and meaningful prayers and litanies.

Especially now, it is worth remembering that the word liturgy means "work of the people," and this special Sunday is a way to celebrate the healing work of our CHHSM members and those on the frontlines in our UCC congregations.

Learn More/Get the Resources

Church Moderator & Treasurer Cohorts


The Illinois Conference is collaborating with Keith Clark-Hoyos again in 2024 to offer lay leader focused trainings. We have decided to expand the training by offering two different courses each week, along with offering the training all year long in 2024. The cost to participate in each one of these cohorts is $125. Each cohort will be capped at 14 participants. The modality is Zoom format.

Registration for the Winter Cohorts is open through January 12th and there is still space available! The first two cohorts will begin in mid-January. "Now That You're a Moderator" will begin on Tuesday, January 16th and "Now That You're a Treasurer" will begin on Wednesday, January 17th. You can find more information about each cohort and register online by clicking on the corresponding buttons below.

Moderator Cohort
Treasurer Cohort

Primary Season: Prioritizing Climate Solutions

UCC Webinars 

Recent headlines have highlighted a "waning enthusiasm" among voters who have helped propel environmental justice champions into office in previous elections. A decline in enthusiasm has been noted among Black, Hispanic, and young voters. Among voters concerned about the climate crisis, dissatisfaction and anger have arisen as fossil fuel projects in Alaska and Appalachia move forward. In this webinar, we will focus on what can be done to create the momentum needed for champions of climate justice to be elected into office. We will look at how climate solutions can be prioritized in the primaries, so that policies in accord with environmental justice values can be advanced. Our featured webinar guests include speakers from the League of Conservation Voters, the Black Voters Matter Fund, and the Green New Deal Network. Even if you cannot make the webinar at its scheduled time on January 10th at 12:00 p.m. CST, still sign-up, and we will send you a link to a recording of it. Register now!

Boundary Awareness Training


The Illinois Conference is offering a training on Tuesday, January 23rd from 1:00-3:00 p.m. via Zoom. This training will again be based on the book Sustaining Ministry: Foundations and Practices for Serving Faithfully by Sondra Wheeler. Participants are required to read the book and submit a short 1-2 page reflection. Email your reflection to Naomi in the Conference Office in order to register for the training. There are currently four (8) people registered and we need a minimum of ten (10). A decision will be made a week prior.

There are also boundary trainings being offered by the Southern New England Conference. Click here to learn more. The cost is $85.

Youth Leadership Symposium


This six month leadership symposium will prepare youth to lead in local congregations and support them in designing and implementing their own project for their home Church. This is not a leadership team, but rather a leadership lab where High School age leaders can explore their gifts, receive wisdom from other leaders, and imagine new possibilities for their local congregation. Participants can attend in person at Chapman University, through "Pod" locations, or via Zoom where participants will form their own cohorts. Any congregation in the United Church of Christ or Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) may have one youth and one adult participant. Session one is February 3rd. There is no registration fee. Click here to learn more.

Governance Listening Sessions

The Governance Revisions Team has been hard at work. This fall, presentations were made at each Association Fall Meeting as well as at the Conference Annual Celebration. We know that this is hard information to take in quickly so we’ve saved in depth feedback sessions for January. Join the Governance Team for any of the ZOOM meetings listed below to make your voice heard. Your input will shape the way decisions are made within the Conference for years to come. Click on the link below to register for the session you would like to attend.

Monday, January 8th, 6:30 PM

Thursday, January 11th, 10:00 AM

Sunday, January 21st, 2:00 PM

Wednesday, January 24th, 6:30 PM

Spencer LaJoye at Tower Hill!

Spencer LaJoye is coming to Tower Hill on Saturday, February 3rd for a concert at 7:00 p.m. Eastern. LaJoye is an East Coast singer/songwriter with Midwest roots, a classically-trained violinist with a proclivity for Broadway vocals, and a student of Americana music with a theology degree hanging in their studio. They’ve been writing and touring their own autobiographical folk/pop music for over a decade, but the virality of their 2021 anthem “Plowshare Prayer” secured them a permanent place in hearts and households across the world, as well as a peculiar career as a veracious songsmith with an unshakeable pastoral presence. Charming and banter-heavy, Spencer’s live performances at theaters, listening rooms, church sanctuaries, backyards, folk festivals, spiritual conferences, and queer clubs keep diverse audiences laughing one moment and weeping the next. 

Suggested donation is $20. We will also have cottages available if folks want to spend the night. Cottages (sleep up to 6) will be $100, and St Phil (sleeps up to 12) will be $400. Please call Tower Hill (269-426-3881) to inquire further/reserve.

Spencer is such a gifted musician and theologian; it's going to be a really special evening and I hope you will be able to attend. Check out their music on YouTube, especially Plowshare Prayer.

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FAITHFUL FRIDAYS 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: 

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