UCC, Disciples partner in spring conference on stewardship

steppinglogo.jpgThe United Church of Christ and the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) have shared full communion since 1989. Soon the two denominations will continue their partnership in a brand new way: philanthropy and stewardship.

The UCC Office of Philanthropy and Stewardship and the Disciples of Christ Center for Faith and Giving are presenting “Stepping into Stewardship,” a national financial conference that takes place March 30-April 1, 2016, in Orlando, Fla.

The event represents a developing partnership between the UCC and Disciples in the area of stewardship education and generosity.

“Our congregations have shared challenges in the area of stewardship development, and so this conference will permit us, together, to consider our challenges relative to the great opportunities before us,” said Cheryl Joseph Williams, UCC director of Philanthropy and Stewardship.

“We cannot continue to live in the generosity of those who have come before us without being more intentionally strategic in how we leverage and grow our relationships and resources to ensure a vibrant and healthy church in the future – this is, in fact, what stewardship is and how we live it out,” Williams said. “Financial giving across many church platforms is relatively flat or decreasing, while the need for program, mission, and operating support is increasing. This conference will provide a forum to unpack the complexities of this, while raising up real-world practical tools to help churches develop short-term and long-term solutions grounded in inspiring generosity.”

The conference will feature author J. Clif Christopher as keynoter, (Not Your Parents’ Offering Plate, Rich Church/Poor Church), with participation of the Rev. John Dorhauer and the Rev. Sharon Watkins, the general minister and presidents of the UCC and Disciples. In addition, William Enright, Founding Director of the Lilly School of Philanthropy’s Lake Institute on Faith and Giving, will be a featured presenter.

Event organizers are encouraging church leaders to network within their conferences to learn fresh ideas on stewardship they can pass on with local churches.

“We are encouraging conferences to send teams of people who are willing to come, hear, participate, and then take back to congregations solid best practices in stewardship,” Williams said. “To support this, we are providing a discounted registration rate in instances where more than one person is attending from a conference.”

Additionally, the event will feature more than a dozen workshops on a variety of stewardship topics, and will officially launch a national UCC stewardship network.

“Last spring, we announced our goal to launch a national UCC Stewardship Network made up of representatives from each conference,” Williams said. “This volunteer network will help to support, connect and equip congregations for healthy stewardship practices. We hope that each conference will appoint a representative to the UCC Stewardship Network and send the conference liaison to the Stepping into Stewardship conference, as the network will gather for its initial meeting during the conference.”

The registration fee for the first attendee from a conference is $139, and $99 for each participant after that from a conference. The cost includes dinner on March 30, and breakfast and lunch March 31 and April 1. Registration for the Stepping into Stewardship Conference opens in early October.

Questions, including those about discounts, should be directed to Melina Higbee in the Office of Stewardship and Philanthropy or Rev. Bruce Barkhauer in the Center for Faith and Giving.

Categories: United Church of Christ News

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