"On entering the house, they saw the child with Mary his mother; and they knelt down and paid him homage."Read more
The Supreme Court decision giving some corporations the right to deny coverage of certain types of contraception to their employees based on their religious freedom will have a great impact on women of color. Although, the ruling does not single out women of color, our political and economic realities tell us that women of color often bear the brunt of the negative impacts of restrictions on women’s health.
Differences in rates of disease and health status among women of color and other vulnerable populations can be defined by many factors including poverty, education, employment with living wages and good benefits, neighborhood economic conditions, presence or lack of social support networks, cultural values, affordable housing, the degree of toxins and pollution in the air and affordable, quality, accessible health services. When these differences are combined with conditions that are unfair, unjust and avoidable, health equity – the achievement of good health regardless of one’s social position or other social factors – is threatened. The Supreme Court’s decision impacts the health equity of women of color in thee ways:
1. The Cost of Birth Control: In 2011 approximately 57 million adult women were covered through employer-sponsored insurance. If the policies of other companies like Hobby Lobby become the norm rather than the exception, it could impact contraceptive access for millions of people in the U. S. and have a disproportionate impact on women of color who, with lower income and wealth on average, may not be able to afford to pay for their contraception out-of-pocket.
Women of color are more likely to be low-income, and also more likely to work a minimum wage job. Getting an IUD could cost as much as an entire month’s rent working at the minimum wage. Purchasing birth control pills without insurance or benefit of plans that include prescription drugs could range $20 and $130.00 a month depending on the brand. Women of color, who are already struggling to make ends meet, may face increased burdens. That could mean doing things like splitting one pack of pills between two women each month or not using birth control at all. There are now more than 1 million Asian-American women living in poverty, an increase from 700,000 in 1999. This decision is yet another barrier for Asian-American and Pacific Islander women who already face significant health disparities and barriers to insurance.
2. Risks of Unplanned Pregnancy: The risks of carrying an unintended pregnancy to term are much higher for women of color. Black women are four times more likely to die during childbirth than white women. Being unable to prevent a pregnancy due to the financial barriers put in place by this decision puts lives at risk. Women of color are also at higher risk for infant mortality, low-infant birth weight and premature delivery – all things that pose significant long-term risks to the mother and child.
3. History: Women of color have dealt with a long history of reproductive control at the hands of employers and the government. From treatment in public hospitals, to welfare reform, to family caps limiting the number of children welfare recipients can have. Women of color have long had to fight for the right to control their own reproduction. This case just adds another layer to controlling fertility, this time at the hands of employers.
For more than thirty five years the General Synod of the United Church of Christ has advocated for health care as a right and a priority for all people. We are rooted in the conviction that all forms of injustice can be overcome. Health inequities are the consequences of public policies, and as such can be changed. Tackling health inequities requires widening our understanding of health and health care to include the ways in which lifestyle factors influence individual and community health. The Affordable Care Act made great gains by requiring insurance companies cover birth control with no out of pocket cost to women. Many women of color rely on a safety net for basic health care and needs. Let us remain vigilant in our advocacy making sure this net continues to remain safe for everyone and especially for women.
In early October, 2015 heavy rains inundated South Carolina. Columbia, SC was heavily impacted as nearly 4313 families in Lexington County and 18031 in Richland County registered with FEMA for assistance. As needs assessments continue and long-term recovery needs are being identified UCC Disaster Ministries is working closely with FEMA and other agencies to begin repairs on select homes that qualify to receive assistance and require minimal casework.
The Disaster Recovery Support Initiative (DRSI) is a new project that has been developed collaboratively with the United Church of Christ Disaster Ministries (UCCDM), Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) (CCDOC), and Church of the Brethren Disaster Ministries (BDM). The focus of this Initiative is to provide support for the development of local Long Term Recovery Groups by deploying a small team of experienced individuals to a disaster affected area soon after the incident. The team’s purpose is to train, coach, and mentor local leaders and volunteers as they plan their own recovery in order to help them start the work of rebuilding homes faster and more efficiently.
Work Needed: Repair/Rebuild homes damaged by flooding. Work ranges from basic carpentry to sheetrock, flooring, painting, roofing, insulation and finish molding
Site management: Site and construction management is being provided by UCC Disaster Ministries in partnership with local recovery agencies
Time: Arrive Sunday afternoon and depart Saturday morning; work Monday-Friday
Minimum Age: 15 years (senior high age groups accepted)
Adult to Youth Ratio: 1:4
Maximum Group Size: 12
Accommodations: Holy Apostles Orthodox Church at 724 Buff St., West Columbia, SC
Required: Insurance certificate from the sending church and waiver forms
Tools: Tools are provided for most types of carpentry work however, groups are encouraged to bring their favorite tools
Meals: Groups will be expected to purchase and prepare their own meals.
2017 Yearbook & Directory Statistics (based on annual reports)
2017 Eleven Year History Reports
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2016 Eleven Year Conference Reports
Kansas - Oklahoma
Montana, Northern Wyoming
Missouri Mid - South
2015 Yearbook & Directory Statistics (based on annual reports)
2015 Eleven Year Conference Reports
2014 Yearbook & Directory Statistics (based on annual reports)
2014 Eleven Year Conference Reports
Volunteers are still needed in New Jersey and especially in Monmouth and Ocean Counties as many individuals and families still remain displaced from Superstorm Sandy.
There were over 72,000 homes effected in New Jersey and many of these residents are still not recovered. Recovery has been slow due to a lack of personal funds, a lack in volunteerism and delays in the many state and local grants opportunities available. UCC Disaster Ministries has partnered with Presbyterian Disaster Assistance and Lutheran Disaster Response to continue the work in NJ. Through this partnership each organization is providing resources and support for the ongoing work.
HOLMDEL UCC HURRICANE SANDY VOLUNTEER INFORMATION
Work Needed/Type of work: Repair/rebuild homes damaged by Superstorm Sandy. Work ranges from basic carpentry to sheetrock, flooring, painting, and finish molding. Sometimes, based on the volunteers' skills, other jobs can be accomplished.
Site management: Site and construction management is being provided by UCC Disaster Ministries in partnership with LSMNJ Disaster Recovery.
Time: Arrive Sunday afternoon and depart Saturday morning; work Monday-Friday - or as mutually agreed on.
Minimum Age: 16 years
Adult to Youth Ratio: 1:3
Maximum Group Size: 12
Accommodations: You will be housed in the Youth Room of our newly renovated Fellowship Hall. Cots will be provided. There is a lounge area with TV as well as pool and ping pong tables for your enjoyment. You will also have use of our full kitchen and beautiful backyard. There is one shower on site, but those over 18 will also be able to shower at the Fitness Center of Brookdale Community College – a 5-minute drive from the church. We are across the street from an excellent deli for breakfast and lunch, and within walking distance of a family restaurant/pizzeria. A supermarket is close by.
Location: Holmdel, NJ - approximately 15 minutes from Union Beach, Keyport and other Northern Monmouth County construction sites.
Required: Insurance certificate from the sending church and waiver forms (to be supplied).
Tools: Limited tools are available at the construction sites, but groups should plan to bring their own tools when possible.
Meals: If desired, we will provide pizza on the first night and one dinner (on a mutually agreeable day). Groups will be expected to purchase and prepare all other meals.
HURRICANE SANDY VOLUNTEER INFORMATION: HOUSING IN CAMP EVANS, WALL, N.J.
Work Needed: Repair/rebuild homes damaged by Superstorm Sandy. Work ranges from basic carpentry to sheetrock, flooring, painting, and finish molding. Sometimes, based upon the volunteers skills, other job needs can be accomplished.
Site management: Site and construction management is being provided by UCC Disaster Ministries in partnership with local recovery agencies, Presbyterian Disaster Assistance, and Lutheran Disaster Response.
Time: Arrive Sunday afternoon and depart Saturday morning; work Monday - Friday
Minimum Age: 16 years (senior high age groups accepted)
Adult to Youth Ratio: 1:3
Maximum Group Size: 60
Accommodations: Camp Evans in Wall, NJ is a “brand new” 144 bed facility built after Sandy. The facility has 3 large bunk rooms (separated by gender), bathrooms, 2 TV areas, wifi, a game room, computer room, cafeteria room, kitchen trailer, and 2 shower trailers each with a washer and a dryer. The building is located within a gated facility that has plenty of parking and outdoors space.
Required: Insurance certificate from the sending church and waiver forms
Tools: Limited tools are available on site but groups should plan to bring their own tools when possible
Cost: $20 per person per night (includes access to all Camp Evans amenities)
Meals: Groups will be expected to purchase and prepare their own meals
Scheduling: 866-732-6121 or firstname.lastname@example.org
- Preparation for the trip: "Mission Trips That Matter" by Don C. Richter, Upper Room Books
- On-Site Reflection: "Meeting God in the Ruins: Devotions for Disaster Volunteers" Free copies may be ordered from the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America by calling 800.638.3522 ext. 2580 (ISBN 6-0001-6788-1); pay shipping only.
- Follow-Up Action: Help your local community prepare for possible disaster and response. Be sure your congregation has a plan in case of local disaster (View sample plan). Get to know your UCC Conference Disaster Coordinator and stay involved.
These tools and programs have been especially designed to strengthen the justice ministry in your congregation. Learn more about each of them by using the links below.
Ecumenical Advocacy Days
Ecumenical Advocacy Days is a yearly gathering of the ecumenical Christian community. This weekend of learning, worship and advocacy is grounded in biblical witness and our shared traditions of justice, peace and the integrity of creation. Our goal is to strengthen our Christian voice and to mobilize for advocacy on a wide variety of U.S. domestic and international policy issues. Learn more and join us in DC!
Host a Justice Revival
What it is: Over the past several years, Justice and Witness Ministries has supported local churches in the creation of “justice revivals.” These revivals have been opportunities to be inspired by preaching and informed by workshops and training all through the lens of justice. So far, revivals have been hosted in Vancouver, WA and Milwaukee, WI. Rev. Andrew Warner, who is pastor of Plymouth Church in Milwaukee, has captured his planning process and put it into a toolkit for others to use as a model.
How to use it: Use this event as a way to spark a revival of justice work in your local church or conference. Download the Revival Manual and consider how such an event could be held in your community. Reach out to Justice and Witness Ministries for support, and inform your local conference office for help with planning or promotion.
|Issue-Centered Programs||Other Opportunities
A2A is the terminology used within the United Church to refer to congregations that have completed the Accessible to All process and thereby made the commitment to be physically and attitudinally welcoming of people with disabilities. The A2A process has for many years been defined by the A2A resource “Any Body, Everybody, Christ’s Body”; the “process” is completed by completing the check list in the back of the A2A resource and sending this checklist to UCC Disabilities Ministries.
Our Whole Lives is a series of sexuality education programs for six age groups: grades K-1, grades 4-6, grades 7-9, grades 10-12, Young Adults and Adults. The resources are written by professional sexuality educators and provide accurate information for parents, teachers and pastors to be used in the affirming and supportive setting of our churches. We offer training opportunities for individuals who want to become OWL instructors.
In 2009, General Synod XXVII approved a resolution that established the Economic Justice Covenant Program. The resolution encouraged all congregations and other settings of the UCC to become Economic Justice Churches (or Economic Justice Seminaries, Associations, Conferences, etc): to study economic injustices, pray and discern God's will for their economic justice ministry, draft and adopt an Economic Justice Covenant, and engage in actions to promote economic justice.
This curriculum is designed primarily for a local church but is easily adaptable for the needs of other settings.
Homegrown Faith & Justice introduces children and youth ages 3 to 18 to the following topics, with Biblical reflection and age-appropriate conversation moments and activities:
We challenge all our congregations to become Green Justice Congregations. Why not just “green?” Because like Sally Bingham says, justice is more than just changing light bulbs. It is about a transformation of our hearts and minds to see God’s creation in new ways that lead to living in new ways. It is about acting on new values in your life and in the life of your community.
Become an immigrant welcoming congregation. The Journey toward becoming an Immigrant Welcoming Congregation involves multiple study and reflection sessions. Download this wonderful toolkit created by our UCC Southwest Conference.
Just Peace Church
The Just Peace Church vision is a hallmark of United Church of Christ theological identity. For over two decades, the Just Peace Church pronouncement has inspried a grassroots movement of UCC congregations committed to corporately naming and boldly proclaiming a public identity as a justice-doing, peace-seeking church.
Congregation-based community organizing (CBCO) is community organizing rooted in faith bodies that come together in answer to God’s call to love our neighbors, stand with the marginalized, and work with God for a more just society.
Open and Affirming
Open and Affirming (ONA) is the United Church of Christ's (UCC) designation for congregations, campus ministries, and other bodies in the UCC which make a public covenant of welcome into their full life and ministry to persons of all sexual orientations, gender identities, and gender expressions.
UCC Fair Trade Coffee Project
The UCC Coffee Project means that your congregation can partner with UCC Justice and Witness Ministries and Equal Exchange in building fair trade for small farming communities by serving fairly traded coffee, tea and cocoa, and chocolate, almonds, and olive oil for justice at fellowship hour on Sundays. It is a way for your congregation to join hands with farmers and communities in the developing world.
|Centers of Education and Social Transformation|
The UCC Centers for Environmental Justice at Pilgrim Firs and Silver Lake Conference Center are places where participants can come from all over the U.S. and be immersed in a justice-centered response to climate change and environmental equity.
This is the goal of the UCC Washington office is to make a better world possible by addressing the systemic problems that we face as a country and as part of the world. Hunger, poverty, peace and security, racism, care for the earth. These are among the types of justice issues that we work to improve through federal policies.
|Please note: The Daniel F. Romero Center for Border Ministries (Centro Romero) is no longer a national border immersion program of the United Church of Christ. We are in the midst of exciting conversations among an expanded list of partners to determine the design of future border justice programs. More information will follow as these plans unfold.|
BLANK FORMS - FOR CONFERENCE/ASSOCIATION USE ONLY
Beginning August 1, 2014, CARD will no longer be receiving paper forms for processing in the Data Hub. Conferences and Associations will have the ability to make all necessary changes within the Data Hub.
However, if you would like to continue utilizing these forms for your Conference or Association's own information collection purposes, we have provided blank copies of each of the forms. These blank forms are available below in PDF and Word format.
A few notes about these forms: The PDF format maintains all of the appropriate drop-down selections so that individuals can complete the form by computer and then print the completed version. We advise that these forms not be printed prior to completion since the drop-down selections on some of the forms will not be visible. Also, please note that the Word formatting will depend greatly on the version on your computer. We strongly suggest editing this form in the manner that is most helpful for you, while still maintaining consistency with the information fields in the Data Hub.
Video tutorials are available now!
Form Templates for Internal Conference/Association Use
People Update Form - This form is typically used when a person needs to be added or removed (inactivated) from your Conference/Association, or when there are any other changes to a person's information.
PDF | Word
Necrology Form - This form is typically used for deceased ministers in conjunction with the People Update Form.
Information Review Form: As part of the covenantal relationship between authorized ministers and their Association / Conference, each Commissioned, Licensed or Ordained Minister is asked to fill out an annual Information Review for the Committee on Ministry where their standing is held. The practice of providing Information Reviews to all authorized ministers on an annual basis is robust in some Associations/ Conferences but is not consistent across the life of the church. This year, CASA and MESA are jointly offering a sample Information Review Form for Committees on Ministry to use. Please send this form either physically or electronically to all authorized minsters, including those serving in specialized minstry settings. Feel free to adapt the form to the needs of your Association / Conference. Please refer to section 8 of the UCC Manual on Ministry for background on the practice of Information Reviews. Additional questions can be directed to Rev. Elizabeth Dilley, email@example.com or 216-736-3841.
Please note: the Web brower Chrome may not function properly for the forms. You may want to use Internet Explorer or Mozilla.
To download the newest version of Adobe Reader, click here.
Local Church Ministries UCC, Church Building & Loan Fund and United Church Funds offer this Living Legacy workbook as a discernment and decision-making resource for "Legacy Congregations," churches that conclude their ministry and seed new ministries. This mixture of narratives, guidelines, inventories and resources is designed for use by leaders from all church settings who work with congregations who are considering their 'capstone' ministry.
Click here to order. See PowerPoint about Living Legacy below.
Who will use this Workbook? You may be a…
• Leader/member of a congregation who wonders if you need to 'get real' about your church's future
• Congregation seeking guidance in implementing your decision to close
• Pastor who seeks to guide your congregation in implementing a decision they have already made
• Conference staffperson or volunteer consultant to congregations
• Interim pastor who specializes in transitioning congregations
• Member of your Association Church & Ministry Committee and assisting churches
The Living Legacy Workbook includes these chapters and resources.
Chapter One – Mind the Gap sets the context for the challenges our churches encounter in recasting their vision and call to mission for today and tomorrow.
Chapter Two – Is it Time? introduces tools for congregational assessment and methods of decision-making; by David Schoen, Congregational Assessment, Support and Advancement, UCC Local Church Ministries
Chapter Three - Legacy Inherited, Legacy Futured clarifies the concept of Legacy. In following this program, a congregation is helped toward a longer view of its gifts and mission.
Chapters Four – Role of the Legacy Pastor introduces the role of the pastor who ministers in a Legacy setting and pastoral care needs in these congregations.
Chapter Five – Church Buildings as Living Legacies describes the several options for a congregation to consider for the stewarding and disposition of church-owned real estate; by Patrick Duggan, Executive Director, UCC Church Building and Loan Fund.
Chapter Six - Financial Assets as Living Legacies addresses the stewarding of assets and presents a variety of bequest vehicles that legacy churches may use to distribute their assets; by Cheri Lovell, Director, Marketing & Strategic Initiatives, United Church Funds.
Chapter Seven - Legal Issues in Church Dissolution and Merger covers the fiduciary responsibilities and legal process of church dissolution, merger, and asset purchase, addressing liabilities for dissolved churches; by Heather Kimmel, UCC Associate General Counsel.
Bible Studies and Discussion Questions are for use in the process of closure and legacy discernment; by Kate Huey, Dean of the Amistad Chapel at the UCC Church House.
Bibliography points toward helpful books, websites and resources including worship liturgies.
Closure and Legacy Blogs
“Let’s Have the Conversation”
“Mind the Tiller: Leading a Church to Closure”
“Final Act of Faith: Closing Congregations Nurture Next Generation of Mission”
“What Do 111 Closed Congregations Tell Us?”
“Caring for Pastors in Closing Congregations”
On August 9, 2014 in Ferguson, Missouri a young black man named Michael Brown was shot and killed by a white police officer. While tragic and heartbreaking, this incident is not unique. This type of violence is echoed in communities across our nation.
What happened in the ensuing days is something that seized the imagination and attention of a country and perhaps a world. In the weeks following Michael Brown’s shooting advocates have rallied to call attention to issues of racial discrimination and the militarization of our police forces. UCC clergy and lay leaders have offered prayers, resources, and their physical presence both to aid in the healing of the community of Ferguson, and in an attempt to address the broader systemic issues that underlie what happened in Missouri.
These are challenging times and difficult issues, but together we are called to do the work of healing the hurt in our midst, addressing the lack of understanding between communities, and taking on the sin of racism in our desire to see the Church live and be as one.
Why "Black Lives Matter"
When a church claims boldly “Black Lives Matter” at this moment, it chooses to show up intentionally against all given societal values of supremacy and superiority or common-sense complacency. By insisting on the intrinsic worth of all human beings, Jesus models for us how God loves justly, and how his disciples can love publicly in a world of inequality. We live out the love of God justly by publicly saying #BlackLivesMatter.” (Read more.)
Prayer & Study Resources
Prayers for Racial Justice
Since the killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson, MO, a collective of UCC faith leaders from across the country have gathered on conference calls convened by the Rev. Geoffrey Black. They share about the on-going efforts at local and conference settings to keep people mobilized and engaged in countering institutional racism and sanctioned violence. And they seek to identify all-Church initiatives with course of actions that can make a difference over time. Last year they called UCC churches to recognize Sunday, August 9, 2015, the actual anniversary of Mike Brown’s death, as a time for us to pray together for racial justice. In the course of that process they prepared a variety of prayers for use by congregations. These prayers may be adapted and used on other days and in other settings in which people gather to pray and witness to justice for all who suffer the violence of racial injustice.
To request free"Black Lives Matter"
- Call to Worship - Dorhauer
- Call to Worship - Jefferson
- Children's Sermon Starters - Wood
- Litany on Gun Violence - Byrne
- Pastoral Prayer - Jefferson
- Prayer of Confession - Jefferson
- Prayer of Confession - Fairman
- Prayer of Lament - Fennema
- Charge to Community Action - Fennema
A Pastoral Letter on Racism: A New Awakening
As America honors the legacy of the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. and the ideals of equality, service and beloved community that he lived and died for, the Cleveland-based United Church of Christ has released a Pastoral Letter on Racism, with the hope and expectation that it will be read in our 5,100 churches nationwide on Martin Luther King Jr. weekend or to conclude the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity on Sunday, Jan. 25.
With the recent rash of deaths of African Americans at hands of police, the UCC national leaders hope Martin Luther King weekend will be an opportunity for us to both address those issues through our continuing advocacy and hope for change toward King’s beloved community. Read the letter.
Pastoral Response to Grand Jury Decision
United Church of Christ General Minister and President the Rev. Geoffrey A. Black has released this statement in response to the decision of the grand jury.
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ:
In the months that have passed since the fatal shooting of Michael Brown last August, the attention of the nation on Ferguson, Missouri, has sharpened the reality that racism still exists in our country and is as deadly as ever. Our prayers for justice have been fervent but the truth remains that in communities around the country, racial profiling of people of color by law enforcement, and particularly of young African American men, far too often has lethal consequences.
Day after day, protestors have peacefully marched in the streets of Ferguson, demanding that justice be done. People of faith, including UCC clergy and leaders, and young people living in the area, have provided key leadership in this organizing effort. Even so, a state of emergency was declared days before the announcement of the St. Louis grand jury decision on whether or not Officer Darren Wilson would face criminal charges.
Our United Church of Christ Statement of Faith reminds us that God promises to all who trust in God “courage in the struggle for justice and peace.” In the wake of the grand jury decision not to indict Officer Wilson and the implication that Michael Brown’s death was justified, the people of Ferguson, of the St. Louis area, and of the nation at large are left with an open wound and no visible means to begin the healing process. Disappointment, frustration and anger abound. Any and all of these responses are understandable.
However, we are also reminded by our statement of faith that we are engaged in a “struggle for justice and peace.” These two concepts are appropriately joined. To engage in the struggle takes courage and a renewed commitment to advocacy and action, to deepening racial awareness by engaging in sacred conversation, and to truthfully examining – then dismantling - the systems of privilege set in place by racism. It requires building God’s beloved community beyond racial divides. That is where true peace abides.
We in the national setting of the United Church of Christ stand in prayerful solidarity with the people of the St. Louis Association and the Missouri Mid-South Conference. We join you and all others who are advocating for justice and working for peace in Ferguson and the St. Louis area as well as in communities around our nation. We invite the whole United Church of Christ to do likewise.
Much more can and must be said on this topic. To that end, we are preparing a more extensive pastoral letter which will be issued during Advent. In the meantime, let us prayerfully face this moment of lost opportunity, seeking God’s gift of courage to continue the struggle. Therein lies our hope for the transformation of this society to a just society for all.
Peace and blessings,
The Rev. Geoffrey A. Black
General Minister and President, United Church of Christ
UC News Coverage
Commentary: We Are All Affected
December 4, 2014
Lancaster Seminary to explore race and violence in forum on Ferguson
October 15, 2014
Moral march in Ferguson underscores justice for all
October 9, 2014
Support and solidarity with Ferguson
August 21, 2014
Geoffrey Black invited to preach, pray in Ferguson
August 19, 2014
UCC communities, leaders mobilize to support Ferguson
August 18, 2014