Defining who Extravagance UCC will be focus of Cleveland, online events
Written by Connie N. Larkman
November 4, 2013

A diverse group of people from across the life of the United Church of Christ is gathering at the denomination's national headquarters this week, bringing expertise and ideas, dreams and prayers to help lay the foundation for Extravagance UCC, a new online spiritual community. 

"It is so very exciting to see the dreams of Extravagance UCC beginning to take shape," said gathering pastor the Rev. Jo Hudson.  "It is my hope that this gathering of those who are representing this new faith community will help us define just who it is Extravagance UCC will be and how we will 'be' the church in a virtual world."

This week, more than fifty people will be working directly with Hudson at the Leaders in Koinonia (LINK) Event Nov. 6 - 8, in Cleveland, Ohio to address developmental questions of identity and mission, covenant and community. And for the first time, others interested in joining the discussions virtually will be given several opportunities to participate live, with selected portions of the program livestreamed (see below). No registration is required.

Extravagance UCC, announced at General Synod 2013 is envisioned as a geographically-dispersed community of faith congregation that gathers in a new way of defining church in the 21st century. 

"The great thing about being a virtual faith community is that anyone who is interested can participate," said Hudson, the former senior pastor of Cathedral of Hope, one of the largest UCC congregations in the country. "I am excited that we will have live streaming of some of the events as well as a continuous Twitter feed."

All those interested are also invited to connect with Extravagance UCC through Tumblr, a social media platform that allows for interaction among people who are interested in this exciting new spiritual community.

Zillah F. Wesley II is a member of Peoples Congregational UCC in Washington, D.C., and 2nd Vice President of the UCC United Black Christians. He'll be in attendance in Cleveland this week. "What excites me about Extravagance UCC is that it is an online community of faith and people can gather no matter where they are in the world and feel connected to the UCC church," Welsey said. As one who has grown up in the UCC, Wesley loves what the church means and looks to share it widely. "This is a great opportunity to be a part of something great, a new (opportunity) that can help people in their faith."

"I'm excited about the outreach opportunities that this project makes possible," said Alex Sloan-Marrero, director of media ministry for Coral Gables United Church of Christ, who is coming from Florida to join the LinK event. "I think it will be especially great for people living in rural areas who often do not have access to progressive faith communities."

Bart and Brenda McCandless of Evansville, Indiana will also be participating in the Extravagance UCC discussion.  The retirees say they have spent the past several years exploring, learning, and changing the ways that they live and serve God; traveling, downsizing and joining some diverse communities of people beyond geographical and cultural boundaries. "My husband and I inquired on this new way of church because of our belief that our neighbors are much more than those who live in close proximity to us, said Brenda. "Upon retiring, our desire was to join an intentional community and live very simply with others. It's what attracts us to Extravagance UCC - The hope that we can do church and relationships a bit different. Share challenges and support, as well as worship with a diverse group of others!"

Here are the times all are invited to join the Extravagance UCC event via live stream.
Wednesday, November 6, 2013 (12:15 – 12:45 p.m. EST)
Opening Worship, led by the Rev. Jo Hudson.

Thursday, November 7, 2013 (9:30 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. EST)
Keynote Address and Conversation with the Rev. Meg A. Riley, Senior Minister, Church of the Larger Fellowship.  Church of the Larger Fellowship is a Unitarian Universalist 3,500 member congregation without walls.  See to learn more.
Friday, November 8, 2013 (11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m., EST)
Closing Worship, led by the Rev. Jo Hudson.

There's also the opportunity to join the conversation on Twitter throughout this week (and beyond) by using the hashtag, #envisioneucc.

"I want to invite anyone who is interested to participate in this Extravagance LinK event by watching and Tweeting," Hudson said. "Surely God is doing a new thing in our midst." 

Connect with Extravagance UCC by visiting


Ms. Connie N. Larkman
Managing Editor & News Director
700 Prospect Ave.
Cleveland,Ohio 44115