United Church of Christ News

A Pastoral Letter on Racism: A New Awakening

The national leaders of the United Church of Christ have released a thoughtful reflection and call to action about racism in our country.


UCC executive Linda Jaramillo to retire in September

The Rev. M. Linda Jaramillo’s passion for justice still burns brightly. But this fall, the national officer of the United Church of Christ and Portland, Ore., native will put that passion to work back home.


"Black Lives Matter" banners evoke hostility in New York communities

Two New York churches are subjected to hostility because of a bold proclamation which is interpreted as anti-police. See how Black Lives Matter banners touched a nerve, and what the congregations are doing about it.


Worship led by children as a foundation for faith formation

Children are the future. But United Church of Chapel Hill and the Faith Formation Team of the United Church of Christ are working to help make the gifts of children a contributing part of the congregation today. That's why the Faith Formation Team and United Church of Chapel Hill, in Chapel Hill, N.C., are partnering to share ways to use the gifts children bring to worship in an Inspiring Model of Ministry: And The Children Shall Lead Them on February 21-22, 2015. 


New Florida conference minister has high hopes

The Rev. John Vertigan has high hopes for the Florida Conference of the United Church of Christ. The greatest of those hopes for Vertigan, the incoming conference minister, is that the conference continues to embody a covenant of welcome, mutual respect, and engagement in the church and in society.


An Advent Call for Accountability

During an Advent gathering to envision the future of ministry in the 21st century, 140 leaders of the United Church of Christ released a letter to the church addressing the racism they see in cases in Ferguson, New York and Cleveland. A message of outrage this holy season calling for accountability and justice for all people.


Shadow Rock UCC offers sanctuary to Guatemalan immigrant

A routine traffic stop changed the life of Misael Perez (Eleazar Misael Perez Cabrera). A native of Guatemala who built a life for himself as a roofer in the Phoenix area, Perez--facing deportation after police pulled him over--has now been taken into sanctuary at Shadow Rock United Church of Christ.


Authorized Ministerial Updates October 2014


Pumpkin patch fundraiser brings people together in New Jersey and beyond

At first glance, it looked more like a pumpkin patch than a church lawn –until the sale started at the First Congregational Church of River Edge (FCCRE) in early October. The Pumpkin Patch Project – 3,000 pumpkins, a farmer's market and a slew of volunteers make up this annual fundraiser for the River Edge, N.J., church that brings the congregation together and helps boost the economy of the Navajo people.

"The church started doing this six years ago, said the Rev. Chuck Holm, pastor of FCCRE. "It's good outreach, a great mission and a wonderful way to connect with people in our community."

It's also a huge undertaking. The pumpkins, which are grown on the Navajo Indian Reservation in Farmington, N.M., and trucked in, take hours to unload and arrange. Volunteers staff the pumpkin patch daily for almost a month, six days a week from 10 to 7, and Sundays after service from 11 to 7.

"This has been our major focus the whole month of October, said Holm. "It's great fun, but it's a lot of work." The most visible part, he adds, is when the truck arrives and thousands of pumpkins need to be unloaded. "We usually have over a hundred people forming a chain to take them off the truck."

They hand pumpkins to each other, down a line which snakes from the truck to the lawn. Most of the people are volunteers from the surrounding areas. While FCCRE has 275 people in the congregation, not all of them are able bodied enough to participate. So organizer Pam Weiler had to find other help – recruiting local retirees, and high school kids from the surrounding towns who need community service hours.

It's an effort that will pay big dividends – some which stay with FCCRE, with the majority sent to the Navaho community in New Mexico.

"As of Oct. 26, FCCRE has sold $29,000 in pumpkins and we expect to top $30,000 this year," Weiler said. "The church keeps 40 percent, this year $12,000, that will be used for church renovations."

FCCRE is just one of a few New Jersey churches in the Pumpkin Patch Fundraiser family, raising money for the pumpkin industry on the reservation. Around the country, this seasonal fundraiser is held by thousands of churches and other non-profit organizations – 1,300 locations in 48 states, representing 30 denominations.

Weiler proposed the idea seven years ago, after she attended an organ concert at a church in Englewood, picked up a pumpkin on the way out and thought it would be a good way to raise funds from outside the congregation.

FCCRE was in a time of transition, and Pam and her husband, Ron Phillips, persuaded the church council to take it on. The first year, the church committed to just a quarter truckload of 600 pumpkins, and they were the last on the list to take delivery – during a pretty bad storm.

"We started unloading pumpkins after dark during a Northeaster, and finally – four hours later – we were finished. When we counted them, we had 1,600 pumpkins (since the church before us didn't get all theirs unloaded). But we sold almost every single one. It was a blessing in disguise. It brought everybody together." And the rest is history.

The bake sale portion of the project, the Farmers Market Stand, started with applesauce the first year, branched into hundreds of pies and scores of homemade pickles and everything in between.

"Everybody does their specialty, and with amount of interest the sale generates, our baked goods have traveled across the United States," said Weiler.

"I could not begin to calculate the total hours required to run this project," said FCCRE member Eileen Mars. "It really is a labor of love for our little church. The congregation comes together beautifully, and that never surprises me."

"We always manage to pull it out," said Phillips. "And we see a lot of people who come every year. We try to get to know their names and to greet them. It's actually interacting with others and learning their stories. We get to meet people because of the pumpkin patch that we would never get the opportunity to meet otherwise. Even when we are distributing the rest of the pumpkins, taking them to veterans homes, and to shut-ins after the sale. It's more to us than just a bunch of pumpkins sitting on a lawn."

"It's really been a great opportunity to reach out," said Holm. We've gotten weddings and new members because of this project. There have been some very unexpected positives to come out of this. People can come on the property and just talk to each other."


Authorized Ministerial Updates September 2014

Ministerial changes reported in the Data Hub—the UCC's information system for ministers and churches—for new positions/calls entered into the system in September 2014.

STANDING CODES
CC: Congregational Christian
CM: Commissioned Minister
DS: Dual Standing
LM: Licensed Minister
MID: Member in Discernment
MS: Ordained Ministerial Partner Standing
OM: Ordained Minister 
POC: Privilege of Call
U: Unknown/No UCC Standing
POSITION CODES
P: Pastor
SP: Senior Pastor
CP: Co-pastor
AP: Associate or Assistant Pastor
IN: Interim Pastor
SU: Supply Pastor
Y: Youth Ministry
OL: Other local church position
MM: Minister of Music
PE: Pastor Emeritus
CE: Director of Christian Education

DS, Arlene Greenwald, IN, Saint John's UCC, Phoenixville, PA
OM, Amy A. Bruch, Y, Congregational UCC, Topsfield, MA
OM, Ronald A. Rising, IN, Emmaus UCC, Vienna, VA
LM, Pat Carson, OL, Zion Evangelical UCC, Evansville, IN
DS, David Kieffer, P, Liliuokalani Protestant Church, Haleiwa, HI
POC, Alan Hutchens, P, Christ Reformed UCC, Lexington, NC
U, Evelyn Kenny, OL, Saint Luke's UCC, Philadelphia, PA
OM, Ryan Sirmons, P, The United Church of Christ of Annapolis, Edgewater, MD
MID, Regina Kinney, P, Second Congregational Church, Wilton, NH
MID, Taisi Alaelua, P, CCC Malamalama Ole Lalolagi, Carson, CA
OM, Arthur Conrad Urie, IN, Westmoreland United Church, Westmoreland, NH
U, Karen H. Stokes, IN, Trinity UCC, Northport, MI
OM, Camille F. Gianaris, P, Pilgrims' UCC, Fruitland Park, FL
OM, Daniel Borchers, P, Saron United Church of Christ, Sheboygan Falls, WI
MS, Jayne Ryan Kuroiwa, P, Windward United Church of Christ, Kailua, HI
U, Shannon Witt, P, First Congregational Church of Green Island UCC, Miles, IA
LM, Keith Edwards, SP, Pilgrim Congregational UCC, Houston, TX
LM, Janet Monroe Sherman, P, Trinity United Church of Niederwald, Niederwald, TX
OM, Glennyce Grindstaff, P, Community UCC, Greenbelt, MD
DS, Mary Beth Mardis-LeCroy, P, Saint Paul's UCC, Madrid, IA
LM, John Chaplin, IN, First Congregational United Church of Christ, Mason City, IA
OM, Jeffrey Gallagher, SP, United Congregational Church of Tolland UCC, Tolland, CT
OM, Gilford Cornell Bisjak Jr, P, United Church of the Valley, Temecula, CA
OM, Paula J Elizabeth, IN, Community Church Congregational, Corona Del Mar, CA
LM, Beverly Bammel, SU, First Congregational United Church of Christ, Houston, TX
LM, Bonnie Jacque-Gorecki, P, Saint Paul's (Erin) UCC, Colgate, WI
CM, Jeanne Haemmelmann, Y, Pass-a-Grille Beach Community UCC, Saint Pete Beach, FL
OM, Matthew W. Baugh, IN, Iglesia Congregacional Unida UCC, Albuquerque, NM
OM, Denise Louise Griebler, P, First United Church of Christ, Richmond, MI
U, Jessica Schirm, P, Saint John's UCC, Nashua, IA
U, John Nichols, IN, First Parish, Lincoln, MA
OM, Scott A. Ressman, P, United Church of Christ, Rockville Centre, NY
U, Mary A. Dobson, P, Plymouth UCC, Dunkirk, IN
MID, Louis J. Vetri, SU, Trinity UCC, Rehrersburg, PA
OM, Patti Helmer Aurand, SP, Shepherd of the Hills Congregational UCC, Phoenix, AZ
U, Susan Thomas, SP, Trinity Congregational UCC, Fitchburg, MA
LM, Greg Baskerville, P, First Congregational UCC, Newell, IA
LM, Burton Bagby-Grose, P, St. Paul UCC of Corpus Christi, Corpus Christi, TX
OM, Bruce P. Macleod, IN, Central Congregational Church UCC, Chelmsford, MA
U, James Chesnutt, SU, First United Church, Farnhamville, IA
OM, Richard S. Denuyl Jr, SP, First Congregational Church, Old Greenwich, CT
OM, Cynthia E. Robinson, P, New Ark Church UCC, Newark, DE
OM, Patrick Campbell, IN, Church of the Master United Church of Christ, Hickory, NC
LM, Hannah Hannover, Y, United Church of Christ Congregational, Ames, IA
OM, Brady E. Abel, SP, United Church of Sun City UCC, Sun City, AZ
U, Pastor Panama, P, First Samoan Congregational Christian Church in Arizona, Phoenix, AZ
OM, Jean M. Simpson, IN, Community Congregational UCC, New Port Richey, FL
OM, Bonnie L. Lipton, IN, Community Congregational UCC, New Port Richey, FL
LM, Greg Baskerville, P, United Church of Christ, Fonda, IA
LM, Anna Larson, P, Circles of Faith UCC, Waubun, MN
U, David Elton, SP, United Church of Los Alamos, Los Alamos, NM
OM, Hal Chorpenning, P, Plymouth Congregational UCC, Fort Collins, CO
U, Richard Safford, SP, United Church of Angel Fire, Angel Fire, NM
OM, Greg A. Larsen, SP, First Congregational UCC, Rochester, MI
OM, Daniel E. Furman, SP, Hudsonville Congregational UCC, Hudsonville, MI
MID, Patricia Marsden, P, Newmarket Community Church, Newmarket, NH
U, Emily Slade, OL, Bethlehem UCC, Evansville, IN
OM, Nate Klug, IN, Congregational UCC, Baxter, IA
OM, Hannelore C Nalesnik, SP, Federated Church of Ayer UCC, Ayer, MA
OM, Kristy May, P, Zion United Church of Christ, Calumet, IA
MID, Eric Stricklin, P, First Congregational UCC, Coloma, MI
OM, Darek L. McCullers, P, Dry Creek UCC, Candor, NC
OM, Janice J. Springer, IN, First Congregational UCC, Cedar Rapids, IA
OM, Micah M. Schlobohm, IN, First Congregational UCC, Wisconsin Rapids, WI
OM, Corrine Dautrich, IN, First United Church of Christ, Reading, PA
OM, Christine Lee Pifer-Foote, SU, Allegheny United Church of Christ, Alleghenyville, PA
OM, Kathryn Rust, IN, Peace United Church of Christ, Schofield, WI
MID, Caroline Hamilton-Arnold, AP, Newtown Congregational UCC, Newtown, CT
OM, Charles J. Guerreno Jr, IN, First Congregational Church of Benzonia UCC, Benzonia, MI
LM, Linda Kozlowski, P, Calvary UCC, Barto, PA
OM, Gabriel Andries Oberholzer, P, Greenmont-Oak Park Community UCC, Kettering, OH
OM, William S. Freeman, P, United Church of Christ, Menifee, CA
OM, Kelly Forbush, P, First Congregational UCC, East Hartford, CT
U, Janis Christensen, P, Presbyterian UCC, Le Mars, IA
OM, Arthur L. Cribbs Jr, SP, Filipino-American UCC, Los Angeles, CA
OM, Roger Carroll Banker Daly, IN, South Deerfield Congregational UCC, South Deerfield, MA
OM, Daniel Haas, P, St. John's UCC of Rosenberg, Rosenberg, TX
OM, John MacIver Gage, SP, United Christian Church, Austin, TX
U, Will Green, SP, Ballard Vale United Church, Andover, MA
OM, David Brandon Lindsey, P, Little River UCC, Annandale, VA
OM, Talitha J. Arnold, SP, United Church of Santa Fe UCC, Santa Fe, NM
LM, Lynn Butterbrodt, AP, Saint John's UCC, Clarence, IA
OM, Jerold A Garber, IN, Los Altos UCC, Long Beach, CA
MID, Thea Mateu, SU, Community UCC, San Dimas, CA
MID, Beatrice Manning, AP, The First Parish of Bolton Interdenominational, Bolton, MA
OM, Bruce S. Schoup, IN, United Church of Christ, Schleswig, IA
OM, Anna E Butera, SP, First Congregational UCC, Plympton, MA
OM, Jams Zehmer, P, Zion Evangelical & Reformed UCC, Lenoir, NC
OM, Stuart W Tyson, IN, Cocoa Beach Community Church UCC, Cocoa Beach, FL
U, Elliott Munn, CE, Congregational UCC, Orange, CT
OM, Kendall H. Brown, IN, Edgewood UCC, East Lansing, MI
LM, Steven Jewett, P, New Horizons UCC, Akron, IA
LM, Joe Kay, AP, Nexus Church UCC, Hamilton, OH
OM, Jon R. Haack, P, Promise United Church of Christ, Dallas, TX
OM, Leonard W. Dacy, AP, Promise United Church of Christ, Dallas, TX

The Center for Analytics, Research and Data (CARD) provides oversight of the UCC Data Hub through which ministerial changes are made. However, Conferences and Associations are responsible for reporting changes and maintaining ministerial records in this system. If you have questions about this information, please contact the appropriate Conference or Association.