May 3, 2024


Strengthen the Church Offering & LEEAP Committee Update

The LEEAP (Local, Envisioning Evangelizing and Planting) committee was established to support the Conference with new church starts and initiatives. We are currently under reconstruction as we emerge from the pandemic. As the Conference is re-structuring itself to operate more effectively and efficiently with reduced staff and resources we are re-visioning and re-purposing. LEEAP is back in action and focusing on the following three areas to support the congregations and Conference.

  • New Church Start
  • Innovations in Ministry
  • General Assistance

We are excited to begin offering small grants for the first year beginning in June 2024 and disbursement by October 2024. These grants are what the Strengthen the Church Offering will help support. Be on the lookout for more information!

The Strengthen the Church offering supports the expansion of ministry and growth of UCC local congregations. As God calls our congregations to be the church in new ways, your generosity will plant new churches, awaken new ideas in existing churches, and develop the spiritual life of our youth and young adults. Most congregations will receive the STC offering on Pentecost Sunday, May 19, 2024. Download the resources here.

Rethink Children & Youth Ministry Summit

In collaboration with leading practitioners and experts in the field, this summit is a unique opportunity for congregational leaders, educators, parents and caregivers, and anyone passionate about nurturing the spiritual growth and faith formation of children, youth, and their families. Our virtual gathering will delve into various aspects of these vital ministries, providing insights, practical tools, and strategies to foster a strong foundation of faith. The summit is free to attend and runs from May 20-24. Learn more and sign up here.

Virtual Support Space for BIPOC LGBTQ+ Pastors

Join our Virtual Support Space, exclusively for LGBTQ+ BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, or other Peoples of Color) Pastors, Licensed, or Ordained Clergy serving UCC ONA congregations, led by Atosha McLean, LCMHC. At the core of Atosha’s practice is establishing an authentic and non-judgmental connection with clients, providing a safe space for exploration and healing. With expertise in various therapeutic modalities including Solution-Focused Therapy, CBT, and Mindfulness, Atosha empowers individuals to navigate their wellness journey. Our support space welcomes LGBTQ+ BIPOC pastors, licensed or ordained clergy serving UCC ONA congregations. Join us and thrive in this empowering community tailored to your unique needs. Learn more and register here.

Virtual Support Space for Pastors of ONA Churches

Build community and gain support from other ONA Pastors! Informal and confidential setting: Share your experiences, challenges, and joys in leading an ONA church with a group of understanding colleagues. Facilitated by an expert: Rabbi Dr. Edith Meyerson, a renowned spiritual care provider and facilitator, will guide the conversation and offer support as needed. Your level of participation: Feel free to share as much or as little as you’re comfortable with. Who should join: All pastors leading Open and Affirming churches. This is a great opportunity to connect with other pastors who share your commitment to inclusivity, gain insights, and receive/offer support in a nurturing space. Registration is required and the session is confidential. Learn more and register here.

Mental Health Sunday

May 19th is Mental Health Sunday this year, but any Sunday is a great Sunday to focus on mental health! Click here for a PDF of Worship Resources for your Mental Health Sunday created by the UCC, UCC MHN, and United Church of Canada. Below, you can also find videos you may use during your worship services as we raise awareness about mental health challenges and mental wellness.

Pathways Theological Education

Because classes are not bound by geography and have a flexible weekly schedule, PATHWAYS courses are able to fit into the rest of your busy life. Courses typically involve weekly readings and discussion in a facilitated online forum, offering practical, open-minded education and a learner-centered environment where participants can bring their own questions and insights.

UCC Polity and History (12-wks) starts on May 8, 2024.

Four- and Six-week long summer courses offered include:

  • What about the Bible (4-wks) – June 1 to 30, 2024
  • Stories of Christian Saints and Sinners (6-wks) – May 8 to June 18, 2024
  • Pluralism and Religion in North America (6-wks) – July 10 to August 20
  • Introduction to Spiritual Health (Pastoral Care) (6-wks) – June 19 to August 6, 2024

Go to to find out more.

Volunteers Needed

Have you considered volunteering with PATHWAYS either on the Academic Council or as a Board member? We are a small organization where council and board members help move PATHWAYS forward. If you or someone you know would like to learn more about us or apply to volunteer, please contact us via the website.

Serve with Global Ministries!

Global Ministries seeks candidates to serve internationally. Opportunities to serve include:

Fully Supported Mission Co-Workers

  • Salary and Benefits Provided
  • Physician, East Timor
  • Physician, Zimbabwe
  • Academic, Philippines
  • Other Positions TBA, Africa Region

Global Mission Interns (21-30 years old)

Short-Term Volunteers (2 weeks - 6 months)

Long-Term Volunteers (1+ years)

To apply visit or contact Rev. James Semmelroth Darnell, International Recruitment and Training Coordinator at

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.

The last day to register for $250 before the rates increase is May 15th!

Register Online Here

Children & Youth in Music & Worship

UCC Musicians Association

The Summer 2024 issue of Worship, Music and Ministry is devoted to the topic of children's and youth participation in church music and worship. Let’s keep the conversation going in an open forum on Saturday, May 18, 2024. Share your ideas, suggestions and questions with our host Jim Boratko and board member Greg Chestnut who has expertise in children's music. This is a free, one-hour conversation on ZOOM. All are welcome. 11:00 a.m. CST. Register here for the event to receive the Zoom link. All conversations are recorded and posted on our YouTube channel in case you’d like to catch up on any that you missed.

Black Churches Leading with Solar UCC Webinar

Wednesday, May 29, 12:00 PM

With the federal government paying for at least 30% of the cost of solar installation, if not 40 to 50%, many congregations that own their own building can no longer afford to not go solar. In this webinar, we will focus on Black churches leading with solar. We will hear experts discuss everything one needs to know about government incentives and solar financing. Even if you can’t make it - register, and we will send you a link to the recording afterward. Register now!

Together for Tomorrow: Planned Giving Webinar

Wednesday, May 22, 6:30 PM

While a significant wealth transfer occurs as each generation passes, many congregations and ministries remain unprepared to promote planned giving options. Only 5% of people leave a charitable bequest even though nearly a third of people would if asked or invited to consider one. This workshop will share key concepts and help you create an action plan for your congregation or ministry to promote planned giving. Register online here.

UCCMA 2024 Conference

Conference 2024, the national biennial gathering of the United Church of Christ Musicians Association (UCCMA), 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. The conference’s theme, “A place at the table,” inspired the planning for the entire conference experience. Our goal is to send participants home reenergized with lots of new resources and ideas to use in their local congregations. This conference is open to all. Learn more here.

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

Conference/Local Church News & Events

Cancer Symposium

Covenant United Church of Christ

On Saturday, May 4, 2024, Barbara W. Smith and Covenant United Church of Christ will continue our partnership with American Cancer Society to elevate the importance of health equity, advancements in cancer research and diversity in clinical trials. We are asking for you to please share the flyers with your employees , their families, and friends, hoping they can attend.  You may not know; cancer has and continues to affect African American and Women of Color at an alarming rate. The Cancer Symposium begins at 8am with a continental breakfast and ends at 11am. Your community support will provide access to life saving information as we join ACS in its fight to “Faith over Fear… Get Screened. Help us to End Cancer as We Know it, for Everyone.”

71st Anniversary Celebration

Congregational Church of Park Manor

All are invited to join us in celebrating The Congregational Church of Park Manor’s 71 years of Ministry. This event will be held on Sunday, May 19, 2024, 2:00 pm to 6:00 pm at 7000 S. Dr. Martin Luther King, jr. Drive, Chicago, IL 60637.  Our theme: 71 years of Celebrating God’s Grace, Goodness and Mercy. This event will feature George Cooper’s GIII musical trio and vocalist featuring a variety of musical styles, jazz and sacred. Delicious refreshments and delectable desserts will be served. The Congregational Church of Park Manor, UCC was chartered in 1953 and continues to reach out to the community proclaiming God’s love for His people. We know that Jesus is the Hope for the world. As a congregation, we are excited to be moving forward into newness, change and growth.

It's Showtime! Stewardship Event

The Illinois Conference Stewardship Committee looks forward to a stronger, more hopeful future with churches throughout the Conference starting on June 1st! It's time to turn on the lights, adjust the sound, open the curtain, it's show time! Time for churches to show the true ministers of God which they were pre-pandemic and can be again. Don't miss this opportunity to interact with your peers on Saturday, June 1st. Doors open at 9:15 a.m. The seminar is being held live at Peace Memorial Church (10300 W 131st St, Palos Park, IL 60464). Click here to download the flyer.

Register Online Here

Lavon Bayler Receives Honorary Degree

Lavon Bayler will receive an Honorary Doctorate Degree from Eden Seminary on May 18, 2024 in recognition of her writings, which include two Books of Prayers, and Liturgical Resources for Years A, B, and C including Calls to Worship, Invocations, Prayers of Confession, Offertory Prayers, and Hymns for every Sunday and special days throughout the year. Lavon Bayler previously served the Illinois Conference as Assistant Association Pastor for the Northern Association and as Fox Valley Association Pastor.

Avondale Faith and Health Collaborative Provides Hospitality – and a Taste of Home – for Asylum-Seeking Families

In recent months, families from Venezuela and other countries have been entering neighborhoods in many of our communities, seeking asylum and a better life. Eager to work and fend for themselves, for the time being they are dependent on the hospitality of neighbors for food and shelter.

Years earlier, Advocate Health Care, along with St. Nicolai United Church of Christ and Kimball Avenue United Church of Christ, formed the Avondale Faith and Health Collaborative to improve health outcomes in the community. Advocate provides a Faith Community Nurse and Community Connector to work with faith and community partners on health issues that the community has said are important to them. 

When migrants started arriving in the neighborhood, Nilda Garcia, Advocate’s Faith Community Nurse, met the children and families while visiting a shelter established by the Chicago Park District for families seeking asylum.

Nilda learned that while they appreciated the public’s outpouring of support and donations of meals, some of the children experienced indigestion, diarrhea and vomiting after eating the unfamiliar foods. Many other children simply missed the home-cooked meals they were accustomed to eating.

The moms also shared how stressed, isolated, and bored they felt living at the shelter, and how they’d enjoy cooking their own food again.

Nilda and partners from the Avondale Faith and Health Collaborative wanted to do something to help the families feel more at home. So, they arranged for the women to use the kitchen at St. Nicolai church to prepare one of their favorite food staples. Click here to read more of the story.

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

Meetings and Events

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

May 6: Stewardship Committee Meeting. 6:00 p.m. via Zoom.

May 8: Outdoor Ministries Committee Meeting. 9:30 a.m. via Zoom.

May 9: Fox Valley Committee on Ministry Meeting. 9:00 a.m. via Zoom.

May 9: CMA Committee on Ministry Meeting. 12:00 p.m. via Zoom.

May 13: Governance Team Meeting. 3:00 p.m. via Zoom.

May 14: LEEAP Committee Meeting. 6:00 p.m. via Zoom.

May 14: Tuthill Committee Meeting. 7:00 p.m. via Zoom.

May 15: Eastern Committee on Ministry Meeting. 9:30 a.m. via Zoom.

May 18: TPIRC 2nd Quarter Cohort Meeting. 10:00 a.m. via Zoom.

May 19: Western Council Meeting. 3:30 p.m. via Zoom.

May 21: FAB Committee Meeting. 9:00 a.m. via Zoom.

May 21: Western Committee on Ministry Meeting. 9:00 a.m. via Zoom.

May 19: Eastern Council Meeting. 6:30 p.m. via Zoom.


Nov 1-2: Conference Annual Celebration at First Congregational of Western Springs.

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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