May 2023 E-Newsletter
Rising Rivers - Disaster Response
Conference Disaster Coordinator

Anyone watching the TV news in the last several days knows that most of the rivers in the Midwest are already high, and rising rapidly. If they are not already at or over flood stage, they will be within a very short time. The snow melt in the upper Midwest is just beginning, and there is a very large amount still to melt which guarantees that there will be widespread flooding events all the way from Minnesota to the Gulf of Mexico.

This is an appeal for all of the congregations of the Illinois Conference to consider assembling as any Church World Service Cleanup Bucket Kits as you are able. Email Roger Dart with questions. Click here for information on the national Disaster Ministry $250.00 grant for assembling ten (10) bucket kits.
Important Note:
There will be NO Faithful Fridays this week.
Strengthen the Church Offering
United Church of Christ

The Strengthen the Church offering supports the expansion of ministry and growth of local UCC churches. Support of this offering helps the UCC fulfill its commitment to creating a just world for all by investing in ministries that meet the emerging needs of local communities. Congregations will take the offering on Pentecost Sunday, May 28. Resources available as digital download or in print and include the following:
  • Campaign Overview and Resource Pages
  • Reflection by Rev. Dr. John Dorhauer
  • 3 Bulletin Inserts including a poem by Rev. Dave Long-Higgins and a reflection by Rev. Traci Blackmon
  • Music Video of “On Holy Ground” with images of new churches and ministry funded by this offering
  • Envelopes (Order individually. Do not come in packs)
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.

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.
Dorhauer: Christian nationalism threatens democracy and...

United Church of Christ General Minister and President the Rev. John Dorhauer spoke April 11 at Elmhurst University in Illinois on the need for people of faith to confront Christian nationalism.

Read more
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.
Upcoming Events
Webinar on Police Violence and Environmental Justice
Wednesday, May 10 at 12 PM CST
United Church of Christ

In Atlanta, faith leaders have been involved in a struggle to confront violence in multiple forms as they seek to prevent the destruction of the Weelaunee Forest for the building of a police training facility in a predominantly Black community. Through their actions for a just world, these faith leaders have additionally sought to honor Manuel “Tortuguita” Terán who was killed by the Georgia State Police while protecting the forest. This webinar will feature faith leaders from Atlanta as they share with us about this cause of justice. Even if you cannot make the webinar at its scheduled time, still sign-up, and we will send you a link to a recording of it. Register now!
Celestial Theater
May 5, 7, and 13 at 7:30 PM
Lux Cantorum

Join us for “Celestial Theater” May 5th, 7th, and 13th to hear divinely inspired selections from musical theater and opera. The concert on May 13, 2023, will be at Pilgrim Congregational Church, 460 Lake St, Oak Park, IL 60302 at 7:30 pm, conducted by Wilbert O. Watkins. Click here to learn more.
Park Manor Church Celebrates 70 Years!
Sunday, May 21 at 3:00 PM
Congregational Church of Park Manor

All are invited to celebrate The Congregational Church of Park Manor’s Platinum Jubilee to be held Sunday, May 21, 2023, 3:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. at 7000 Martin Luther King Drive in Chicago. The Congregational Church of Park Manor, United Church of Christ, was chartered in 1953 at the beginning of the Civil Rights Movement. For the past 70 years The Congregational Church of Park Manor, United Church of Christ, has ministered to the community through newness, change and growth. By the Grace of God Park Manor is stepping into a new era. Park Manor is excited to celebrate 70 years of ministry with our community. The event theme Past, Present and Future will feature Maggie Brown, jazz vocalist and Oscar Brown Jr.’s daughter; George Cooper ’s GIII musical group; video and photograph exhibit of Park Manor’s history intertwined with Chicago. Light refreshments will be served. COVID-19 protocols observed. To register for this event call church at 773 224-4700 or send an email to
Can the Church Change? Summit
May 22-26, 2023
Convergence & UCC

10 voices answering the important question: How do we decolonize the imagination and visions for the future? Do you think the church can change? It's a big question. If yes, what's the most important direction for that change? Where do you see the Spirit at work in our current shifts? What is the most important practice, action, reflection space churches could take up when learning to decolonize their imaginations for a creative, flourishing future? Registration is FREE! Learn more and register here.
Boundary Training
May 23 & July 15, 9:00 AM - 3:00 PM
Illinois Conference UCC

Conference Minister, Rev. Molly Carlson, will offer two online Boundary Trainings via Zoom based on the Ordained Minister’s Code. There will be two offerings this year. The first is on May 23rd and the second is on July 15th. Both classes will take place from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. There is no cost for Authorized Ministers of the IL Conference. These classes are also good for retired ministers. We need a minimum 18 registered to make the class work and will accept up to 48 for each session. We will cancel the week before if registration is too low. Attendance is required at the entire session. Click on the button below to register for your preferred date. Molly will also be offering other Boundary Training sessions later this year based on the book Sustaining Ministry: Foundations and Practices for Serving Faithfully  by Sondra Wheeler. More information will be shared about these sessions soon.
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 for any questions about the event.
May Calendar at a Glance
Ordinations, Installations, Ecclesiastical Councils
May 21: Service of Installation for Rev. Erin Wyma. 4:00 p.m. at St. Matthew UCC in Wheaton. Fox Valley Association.

June 4: Service of Installation for Michael Cassady. 3:00 p.m. at St. Peter's Evangelical UCC in Kewanee. Western Association.
Events in the Illinois Conference & Beyond
May 1: Festival of Lights. 7:00 p.m. at Elmhurst University.
May 6: CMA Spring Meeting. 8:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. at Bryn Mawr Community Church.
May 10: Stop Cop City Webinar. 12:00 p.m. CST via Zoom. Register here.
May 15-18: Festival of Homiletics retreat at Tower Hill Camp.
May 20: Summer Camp Counselor Training. 2:00 p.m. via Zoom.
May 21: Congregational Church of Park Manor 70th Celebration. 3:00 p.m. - 6:00 p.m.
May 22-26: Can the Church Change? Summit. Learn more here.
May 23: Clergy Boundary Training. 9:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m. via Zoom. Register Here.
May 29: Conference Office closed in observance of Memorial Day.
Conference and Association Committee Meetings
May 2: Property Committee. 10:00 a.m. via Zoom.
May 4: PA Committee on Ministry. 9:00 a.m. via Zoom.
May 10: Outdoor Ministry Committee. 9:30 a.m. via Zoom.
May 11: FVA Committee on Ministry. 9:00 a.m. via Zoom.
May 11: CMA Committee on Ministry. 12:00 p.m. via Zoom.
May 13: Stewardship Committee. 3:00 p.m. via Zoom.
May 16: FAB Committee Meeting. 9:00 a.m. via Zoom.
May 16: WA Committee on Ministry. 9:00 a.m. via Zoom.
May 17: EA Committee on Ministry. 9:30 a.m. via Zoom.
May 20: Conference Council Meeting. 9:00 a.m. via Zoom.
May 21: WA Council Meeting. 2:30 p.m. via Zoom.
May 23: Tuthill Meeting. 7:00 p.m. via Zoom.
Employment, Education, & Resources
Employment Opportunities
Ministerial opportunities within the United Church of Christ.

Recently Added Lay Employment Opportunities:

Aurora, New England Congregational Church seeks PT Director of Youth Ministries

Crystal Lake, First Congregational Church seeks FT Dir. of Children/Youth Ministries

Oak Park, Pilgrim Congregational Church seeks PT Assistant Pastor

St. Charles, Congregational UCC seeks PT Director of Ensembles

For a list of current open positions with the National UCC 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.
Webinar, Resources - Mental Health Awareness Month

May is Mental Health Awareness Month, and the United Church of Christ is kicking it off with a webinar conversation about youth mental health and how it intersects with Our Whole Lives.

Read more
Summer Chaplaincy Training
University of Illinois
The University of Illinois Hospital and Health Sciences System (UI Health) Department of Pastoral Care is pleased to announce that enrollment is now open for our Summer 2023 Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) cohorts. We have partnered with the Institute for Clinical Pastoral Training (ICPT) to offer full-time (July 3-September 24) and part-time (July 3-December 24) CPE units. These will be on-site hybrid units, offered at various levels of the CPE experience, based on enrollment. Prerequisites for admission to the program include a bachelor's degree, or greater, from an accredited college or university and a minimum of two (2) years of ministerial experience or applicable professional experience. Applicants without a bachelor's degree must have a minimum of five (5) years of ministry experience or applicable professional experience.
Prior to submitting an application online, in order to be accepted into the UI Health program, prospective students will need to forward the following documents to our office and schedule an interview:
  • Completed and signed Faith Leader Referral Form
  • Reflective autobiography giving special attention to pivotal life events and relationships that have shaped you as a person.
  • Describe a situation where you helped a person in a difficult situation (applicants with previous CPE experience should provide a case study).
  • Describe your understanding of CPE and what do you hope to gain in both personal and professional development?
  • Resume or curriculum vitae that describes your education, training, and work experience.
Application materials for full and part-time units are due May 12, 2023 and can be submitted by email to There is a $150.00 non-refundable application fee. The tuition per unit is $1235 paid directly to ICPT and must be paid two weeks prior to the first day of the unit. Click here to download the flyer and learn more.
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
OCWM & Stewardship Resources
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.
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 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: 
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