Short Hand

Short Hand

May 31, 2009
Written by Daniel Hazard


The National Religious Campaign Against Torture (NRCAT) is holding a significant religious public witness at the White House, Thursday, June 11 at noon. The witness occurs during Torture Awareness Month and organizers hope to influence the President regarding the need for a Commission of Inquiry into U.S. torture practices.

Five heads of faith groups and other senior religious leaders will be present: the Rev. John Thomas, Archbishop Vicken Aykazian (Armenian Church in America), Rabbi Steve Gutow (Executive Director of the Jewish Council for Public Affairs), Ingrid Mattson (President of the Islamic Society of North America), and the Rev. Michael Kinnamon (General Secretary of the National Council of Churches.)

Lay members and local clergy, in clerical dress, are encouraged to attend. For event details and worship resources please visit or contact Michael Neuroth, phone 202/543-1517 or


The "Spirituality and the Holy Spirit" conference will be held at the Craigville Conference Center, a ministry of the Massachusetts Conference UCC, on Cape Cod, Mass., July 13-17. The five-day event will focus on the restoration of ancient spiritual practices in Protestant and evangelical churches.

A keynote presentation by Mark S. Burrows, professor of the history of Christianity at Andover-Newton Theological School, is on "The ‘Immediate Theatre' of the Spirit: The Peril and Promise of Christian Spirituality Today." A second presentation by Andrew Lang, minister for web community at the UCC national office in Cleveland, is titled "Lectio Divina: Breathing Space for the Word of God."

The conference is designed for laypeople as well as clergy. The event will feature two ecumenical celebrations of Holy Eucharist with music, Taizé vespers, daily morning prayer and Bible study, and workshops on ancient and contemporary practices, including centering prayer, art and spirituality, and Celtic Christianity.

Register online at or call 508/775-1265.


The 2009 New Church Leadership Institute will be held Aug. 4-7 in Atlanta. Designed for seminary students and UCC authorized ministers working with new and revitalizing churches, the Institute gathers potential and practicing new church developers and church re-developers for one week of intensive training in the latest tools and theories.

Participants will be trained in developing a foundational theological framework for evangelical ministry with social justice values as evidenced by coursework, readings and presentations, understanding and apply a framework for organizational strategic leadership, increasing personal strategic leadership effectiveness in three key areas: thinking strategically, spotting opportunities in alignment with the strategy, and influencing others' commitment to long-range visions and objectives, strengthening personal spiritual practices so as to encourage an articulate, passionate faith experience while deterring long-term burn out, determining how to enhance the learning processes necessary for effective strategy making and strategy implementation within their churches in the future.

The Institute will offer separate tracks for new church developers and church re-developers. Recognizing the unique needs for planting and revitalization, organizers have created curriculum that address the training and tools required for each task.

Registration is $580, $880 for seminary students seeking credit. More information is available at or from the Rev. Cameron Trimble at


Global Ministries, the joint mission agency of the UCC and the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), is offering the following training opportunities for those interested or engaged in global mission.

June 5, 2009 – United Christian Church in Austin, Texas. Registration and information at 512/218-8110 or

Oct. 9-11, 2009 – UCC/Radisson Gateway hotel, Cleveland, Ohio. Registration and information at 216/736-3209 or

June 21-23, 2010 – Greensboro, N.C., prior to the Disciples Women's Quadrennial Assembly. Details at


The Justice LED, a program designed to assist UCC members in developing their leadership while also implementing Justice and Witness Ministries' vision and mission, has begun.

There are four guiding principles within the Justice LED curriculum:

We have been called to provoke our theological understanding of justice so that we might be better equipped to interpret it. 

We must think beyond our existing approaches and beliefs about justice by grounding ourselves at the foot of the cross of Jesus Christ, where we are both humbled and glorified. 

We respond to the challenge by moving from the foot of the cross into the world together, valuing ourselves and one another as much as God values us. 

We also come here as members of community, yearning for relationships and accompaniment in the struggle.

The goal of the program is to enlarge the pool of justice leaders through training and collegiality.  JWM will train 30 trainers throughout the UCC and believes trainer teams can train an additional 250-300 persons, and the circle grows continually.

A multi-day training will be held in October. Registration and information available from Loey Powell, 216/736-3715 or


General Synod is offering child care during business sessions and Saturday morning for infants through completion of kindergarten. Children in first through sixth grade will have programming during the business sessions and from 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. on Saturday.

The cost is $25 per child per day for Friday and Sunday, and $35 per child per day for Saturday, Monday and Tuesday. Snacks and beverages will be provided during program hours. Parents will pick up their children for the lunch and dinner recesses.

The program will be housed in a secure area of the convention center with care provided by volunteers screened in accordance with Safe Church guidelines. To ensure quality care, appropriate staff-child ratios, and supervision, drop-in care is not available and children must be pre-registered. Please contact Marcia Beer — or 517/332-3511 ext. 209 — or download a registration form at under the General Synod link.

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