March 15, 2024


Illinois Mandated Reporter Requirements

Prepared for the IL Conference by Mark Harris, Attorney

Conference members are reminded that the definition of “mandated reporters” for purposes of the Illinois Abused and Neglected Child Reporting Act (the “Act”) includes clergy and educational personnel and childcare personnel. If a mandated reporter has reasonable cause to believe that a child known to them in their professional or official capacities may be an abused or neglected child, that individual has an obligation to immediately report to the Department of Children and Family Services. A mandated reporter will be considered to know a child in a professional or official capacity if, for instance, the reporter (i) comes into contact with the child through a regularly scheduled program, activity or service, or (ii) is affiliated with a church or other entity that is directly responsible for the care, supervision, guidance or training of a child.

Note that an individual does not have to be employed by the church in order to be considered in contact with a child in a professional or official capacity. Even volunteers could meet this definition. Also, a “child” under the Act is generally defined as any person under the age of 18. Clergy members may be exempt from reporting in certain specific cases involving clergy privilege.

Mandated reporters are also required to complete training initially within three months of becoming a mandated reporter and at least every three years thereafter. Free training resources are available through the Illinois DCFS website.

Brush Harbor Retreat for Clergy of Color

Come join us Thursday, May 2 - Saturday, May 4 at the Tower Hill Retreat Center in Sawyer, Michigan. As Clergy you constantly pour into others - our job is to pour into you. Come to connect deeply with your peers surrounded by the healing power of nature. The Brush Harbor Retreat for Visionaries of Color is led by Rev. Michelle Hughes and Eyvette Jones-Johnson. The cost is $150/person and includes meals and lodging.

Tower Hill Camp & Retreat Center is located just 60 miles from the Chicago area, but we are a world away. Our 60-acre retreat facility includes 30 acres with wooded trails, access to a private beach on Lake Michigan, and lovely cottages and retreat centers designed with the comfort of adults in mind.  All participants will have private bedrooms (all bedding and towels provided) in cottages or retreat centers that also have comfortable indoor and outdoor gathering spaces.  We invite you to check in at our office, Gammon Hall, any time after 3pm. After you’ve settled into your room, take time to relax, take a nap, read or take a walk. Our opening circle will begin at 5:30pm at the Cross at Vesper Hill.

UCCMA Conference

This summer, the UCC Musicians Association is hosting a national conference, the first in-person conference in 5 years! The Conference will take place July 10-13, 2024 at the First Congregational Church of Greenwich, Connecticut. Designed for church musicians, choral and handbell choir members and worship leaders, the three-day event includes workshops, plenary sessions, worship services, evening entertainment and networking opportunities. Learn more here.

Exploring the UCC

An overview of the birth, development, structure, beliefs, values, and ethos of the United Church of Christ. Participants will get an overview of the five major streams that contributed to the UCC, how our Congregational polity works, understand some important UCC beliefs, and discuss how the UCC views scripture. Registration closes 24 hours before session. This course is open to anyone. Please note: this does not meet UCC MID requirements. Learn more here.

The Dollie Burwell Prophetic Action Award

In recognition of the vital power of bold faith leadership that publicly challenges the corporate and governmental institutions responsible for environmental injustices, this award will be given to congregations, ministerial teams, or other groups in the UCC who have exemplified the tradition of prophetic action that runs from biblical times to today. Ministerial teams or groups must be based within a congregation, association, or conference. Central to applying for this award is documenting an action for which the applying group has played an integral role in organizing between April 1, 2023 and April 1, 2024. The application deadline for this award is April 9, 2024. Learn more and apply online here.

UCC Clergy Women Leadership Event

Registration is now open for the 2024 UCC Clergywomen Leadership Event. “Weaving our Tapestry” takes place April 16-18, 2024 in Charleston, SC, with the 2023 Antoinette Brown Awardees as the keynote presenters. This event is open to all authorized UCC Clergywomen. Please share this with all the clergywomen in your Conference.

Regional Youth Event

Registration is open for the Great Lakes/West Central Regional Youth Event this summer, July 17-20 at Augustana College in Rock Island, Illinois! The theme for the event is "Love is Greater Than Fear." The Many will be providing music and worship leadership, along with a special appearance by Flamy Grant! The event is open to youth who will have completed 6th grade through 12th grade in 2024. Groups are required to bring one chaperone for every 1-5 youth. Click here to download the flyer.

Register Online Here

Sense of Wonder

Women's Retreat

During the weekend retreat, women of all generations will explore what it means to be embodied in themselves and as the communal Body of Christ. This gathering is expansive to include all women, trans and cis, as well as non-binary people comfortable in a space that centers on the experience of women. Our retreat leader is The Rev. Dr. Elyse Wagner Berry. The cost is $275 for double occupancy, $325 for single. The fee includes meals and materials.

Register Online

Festival of Homiletics Retreat

Join with clergy from around the region to participate together virtually in the Festival of Homiletics, May 13-16. We will view the best sermons, lectures, and worship services together via the live feed, with opportunities to process and discuss the presentations. There will also be time for fellowship, resting, and outdoor activities. Double occupancy is $450. Single occupancy is $500. Tower Hill Camp is offering 10 scholarships of $150 towards the cost of this retreat, using discount code: IL150.

Register Online

Reflective Leadership Grant Opportunity

In 2024, Leadership Education at Duke Divinity School plans to award upwards of 30 Reflective Leadership Grants, which provide Christian leaders “balcony time” to reflect on accomplishments, broaden perspectives and discern next steps. The grant welcomes applicants who serve in a range of leadership roles, from project director to senior administrator, and who are working in a variety of organizations, including denominations, seminaries, church-related colleges, consultancies, congregations, Christian nonprofits, Christian social enterprises and others. They are particularly interested in supporting leaders whose work contributes to healing and hope in their communities by strengthening congregations, social services, schools and other organizations.

Application opens on March 18, 2024. Sign-up here to express interest in applying and be notified when the application opens. The application deadline is May 28, 2024 at 11:59 PM ET. Award notification will be July 29. Click here to register to attend one of the three Q&A Sessions. Each session takes place from 12:00 - 1:00 p.m. CST. The session dates are March 25, April 22, and May 6.

Conference/Local Church News & Events

Chicago Metropolitan Association MID Gathering

Save the Date for the MID Annual Gathering on April 6th from 10:00 a.m. - 1:30 p.m. at Pilgrim Congregational Church. This event is for MIDs, Advisors, and COM members. Registration will open early next week!

Boundary Training

The Illinois Conference is hosting Clergy Boundary Awareness Training, facilitated by the Rev. Molly Carlson, on Tuesday, April 23rd from 9:00-11:00 a.m. This two-hour training via Zoom will be based on the book Sustaining Ministry: Foundations and Practices for Serving Faithfully by Sondra Wheeler. There is no cost for Authorized Ministers in the IL Conference. In order to register, participants are expected to read the book and submit a short 1-2 page reflection on the book. This training needs a minimum of 10 participants will be capped at 48. In order to register, please email your reflection to the Conference office. You will then be sent the information to register online for the training.

Transforming Rights Justice through Faith

Save the Date for the inaugural summit of The Love, Human Rights and Restorative/Transformative Justice Initiative. The summit will take place on Saturday, April 20th from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. and will include inspiring and informative speakers, electrifying performances, and an interactive wisdom exchange. Registration will open March 18, 2024 - SPACE WILL BE LIMITED.

The Purpose:

  • To engage persons and communities of faith around the intersections of faith, human rights, rights of the child and restorative/transformative justice.
  • Harvest ideas for increasing knowledge and mobilizing people for putting life into these values in relationships interpersonally, systemically, and structurally.

This is a collaborative initiative of: A Just Harvest, Black Doctorates Matter, Church of the Good Shepherd Congregational, GapGyrlz and Gyz Human Rights Consortium, Illinois Conference of the United Church of Christ, Nehemiah Trinity Rising, Samuel DeWitt Proctor Conference and Woodlawn Restorative Justice Hub.

Messy Church Conference at Northfield

You don’t want to miss the Messy Church USA National Conference “Celebrate the Mess” coming April 18-20, 2024 in the greater Chicago area! Celebrate the Mess Conference begins at 3:00 p.m. on Thursday, April 18th and ends with a take away lunch at 1 p.m. on Saturday, April 20th at Northfield Community Church, a UCC church, in Northfield, IL. The conference will include workshops, large group sessions, and Messy Church sessions with worship, music with Music Makes Community that all will: help Messy Churches start, create, and grow; share wonderful successes and fantastic failures; and connect old and new friends. Check out for more conference info, workshops and keynote speakers, discount rate to the Renaissance Hotel, and more.

Does your church have news to share or an upcoming event you would like to advertise? Email us the information and any accompanying graphics/flyers.

Calendar At a Glance

Mar 16: Summer Camp Directors Training. 2:00 p.m. via Zoom.

Mar 17: Western Council Meeting. 3:30 p.m. via Zoom.

Mar 18: CMA Council Meeting. 6:30 p.m. via Zoom.

Mar 19: FAB Meeting. 9:00 a.m. via Zoom.

Mar 19: Western Committee on Ministry Meeting. 9:00 a.m. via Zoom.

Mar 20: Eastern Committee on Ministry Meeting. 9:30 a.m. via Zoom.

Mar 25: FVA Council Meeting. 6:30 p.m. via Zoom.

Mar 27: Eastern Council Meeting. 6:30 p.m. via Zoom.

Apr 1: CONFERENCE OFFICE CLOSED. Have a blessed Easter!

Apr 6: Personnel Committee Meeting. 9:30 a.m. via Zoom.

Spring Association Meetings - SAVE THE DATE

April 13: Fox Valley Spring Meeting at Christ Tamil in Downers Grove. More details coming soon.

April 20: Joint Prairie and Western Spring Meeting. More details coming soon.

May 4: Chicago Metropolitan Spring Meeting. 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. at The Church of the Good Shepherd. More information coming soon.

There will not be an Eastern Association Spring Meeting.

Employment Opportunities


St. Paul UCC in Palatine is seeking a PT Office Administrator.

United Protestant Church in Grayslake is seeking a Music Director.

Lay Employment Postings
Ministerial Positions
National UCC Openings

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.

Contact Us

Mon-Fri 8:30 - 4:30


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