The Manual on Church: Perspectives and Procedures for Association and Local Church Covenantal Partners explores the covenantal relationships between local congregations and Associations/Conferences acting as Associations. MOC is to be used by and with Committees on the Ministry, Association and Conference staff, and local church members to foster dialogue and increased understanding of what it means to walk together in all God's ways as expressions of the church.
The Church Shaped by Covenant
Autonomy and Oversight in Covenantal Relationships
Expectations of Associations in Covenant with Local Churches
Expectations of Local Churches in Covenant with Associations
Entering into Covenant
A Chart Summarizing the Procedure for Entering into Covenant
Dissolution of Covenantal Partnership
Characteristics of Faithful Covenantal Relationships
Glossary of Terms
For more than 25 years, The Leaders Box has proven to be a valuable resource for local church leaders to consult regarding questions of committee structure, staff positions, constitutional revisions, volunteer recruitment, group life, covenant, church membership, and much more.
The original Leaders Box was an actual box with hundreds of letter-size "cards" that could circulate from a church's library. While some of the cards are notably outdated (for example, one card describes the use of a mimeograph in newsletter production, and there are no cards that provide guidance on the construction of a church website), still much of the informaiton remains insightful for churches today.
Particularly relevant and often-requested cards from The Leaders Box are available in PDF:
Ageism and the Church
Constitution and Bylaws of Your Church
Mission of Your Church
Organization and Structure of Your Church
Persons with Disabilities and the UCC
Power and Authority
Seminaries and the UCC
Theology in the UCC
Positions, Offices and Organizations
Governing Board Member
Nominating Committee Member
Pastoral Relations Committee Member
Secretary of a Group
Secretary of the Church Office
Secretary or Clerk of the Church
Tasks and Skills
Annual Meeting Planning
Church Office Management
Communicating within the Church
Employing Persons in Your Church
Evaluating a Meeting or Program
Introducing an Idea
Members Who Have Moved Away
New Member Assimilation
Planning in the Local Church
Position Description Writing
Searching for a Pastor
Seminary Students and Your Church
Teaming of Leaders
Visiting in the Hospital
"Looking at a student means seeing beyond that person as a learner and thinking of the development of the whole child. It means considering all aspects of a child's personality 'works in progress.' It means showing them love and gentle guidance and acceptance. My faith calls me to be the most positive part of the day for many children." —Whose Child Left Behind? Why?, "All Denominational Survey," Public School Educator, Illinois Conference
Many congregations establish formal partnerships with public schools in their communities. Such congregations respect religious liberty by focusing on service and honoring the First Amendment's protections. They provide mentoring, and tutoring. They promote literacy. They help children with music or reading or gardening or science projects. School staff and church partners get together for joint visioning. The limits are as wide as the imagination.
Justice & Witness Ministries Resources to Support School-Congregational Partnerships
- What Can Your Church Do Through Partnership to Support Children, Teachers, and Your Public Schools? This 2012 resource is packed with ideas and suggestions for your church's collaboration with your neighborhood school.
- Experiencing Public Schools, A Process of Immersion and Discernment is a short guide to help your congregation set up, carry out, and reflect on an immersion trip to one of your community's public schools.
- Whose Child Left Behind? Why? Report of the UCC Public Education Task Force's work between 2001 and 2005. Ends with ideas for a church that wishes to partner with a school. Study guide is published in the 2006 Message on Public Education .
Specific Models and Resources to Help Churches with Partnerships
National Education Association Priority Schools Campaign: NEA has launched a major campaign that includes outreach and materials to guide and support congregational-school partnership activities to help transform schools that struggle and are in School Improvement Grant status. Here is how NEA describes its Priority Schools Campaign: "Ours is a transformation that unites all stakeholders—students, administratorrs, policymakers, parents, communities—in a collaborative mission to fulfill the promise of public education." Here is a guide for community partners: What Community Members Can Do To Support Priority Schools.
The Children's Aid Society in New York City, with its National Technical Assistance Center for Community Schools (212) 569-2866), and extensive on-line resources, offers among the strongest models for full service Community Schools that may include multiple partners and services like health and dental clinics and Head Start programs. These are the lighted school houses, open from early morning into the evening and on weekends. While a congregation rarely serves as the lead partner in a Community School, if your city has a group of Community Schools, your church can explore joining the coalition under the coordination of the lead agency, which will provide extensive institutional support in terms of fund-raising and service management. Here is the story of a visit to a wonderfun Community School in the Washington Heights neighborhood of Manhattan.
Faith For Change provides this overview of a new Graduation Ministry Toolkit. Faith for Change staff will come to your congregation free of charge to train volunteers for your congregation's graduation ministry.
One Church One School is a nationwide partnership initiative of the Christian Methodist Episcopal Church, which encourages congregations in any denomination to join One Church One School. Check out the website for program information or contact Executive Director, Ms. Phedonia Johnson email@example.com, (773-651-00710).
By Elizabeth M. Casparian, Ph. D.,
and Eva S. Goldfarb, Ph.D
Our Whole Lives 4-6, designed for use by parents, teachers and pastors with either a grades 4-5 groups or a grades 5-6 groups (or just one of these grades), helps participants learn about and discuss the physical and emotional changes of puberty. The program offers accurate, unbiased information on human sexuality to preteens who need it to make responsible decisions and stay healthy. The first session includes both parents and children. Following sessions may involve parents in class and include a Home Link message from The Parent Guide to Our Whole Lives that connects classroom and home and engages parents and children in conversation about sexuality. Participants also read Robie Harris's best-selling book, It's Perfectly Normal.
Eva Goldfarb, Ph.D., is an assistant professor in health programs at Montclair State University where she teaches and conducts research in human sexuality, curriculum development, and evaluation of health education programs. Co-author of Filling the Gaps, a book on hard-to-teach topics in human sexuality, she has over twelve years of experience teaching courses, leading workshops, consulting on media projects, conducting seminars and developing curricula in the areas of human sexuality and sexual health. Goldfarb holds a doctorate in Human Sexuality Education from the University of Pennsylvania.
Elizabeth Casparian, Ph.D., has been a consultant in health and sexuality education for over eleven years, writing and developing teaching materials and videos, and leading training sessions and seminars with adolescents, parents, teachers and other professionals. Co-author of Filling the Gaps, a book on hard-to-teach topics in human sexuality, she has written and consulted on sexual health issues with universities, public service organizations and schools. Casparian holds a doctorate in Education Leadership in Human Sexuality from the University of Pennsylvania.
WHAT MATTERS TO YOU? MATTERS TO US
Engaging Six Vital Themes of Our Faith
What Matters to You? Matters to Us - Engaging Six Vital Themes of Our Faith provides essential reflections on core themes of the United Church of Christ, while inviting new and long-standing members alike to consider their own identity and faith formation.
What Matters to You? Matters to Us - Engaging Six Vital Themes of Our Faith in both its online and print versions is adaptable to various congregational settings. View deas for Teaching and Learning for examples on how use this resource.
You can order the entire printed resource by calling 800-537-3394 or from UCPress.com.
God is Still Speaking, .... Ready, Set, Grow! The Evangelism Ministry Team is glad to present these e.word resources for congregations and disciples to grow in the vitality of their witness to the still speaking God. This resource contains a new e.word Volume 4.1 and all the articles found in all six volumes.
New vision churches
Nearly 100 new and renewing congregations of the United Church of Christ have requested information and assistance from the Evangelism Ministries Team. The Evangelism Team is actively involved with many of these congregations. Click here to find a new or renewing congregation near you.
is a website designed for anyone, clergy or lay interested in evangelism and looking for resources that will help them understand more fully what the Bible requires of us. The information will assist you in sharing the grace of God and the salvation of Jesus Christ with others and encourage you as individuals and as churches to awaken to the many opportunities you encounter each day to be an evangelist. Here you will find stories about evangelism, religious humor, some of the more popular trends, recommended resources, and links to many of the other Christian evangelism sites on the internet as well as links to the evangelism Web sites of the Evangelism Connections partners.
Evangelism Connections is a partnership of evangelism staff persons from the following denominations: African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church, American Baptist Church, Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), Church of the Brethren, Evangelical Lutheran Church of America, Presbyterian Church of Canada, Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), Reformed Church of America, the United Church of Christ, The United Methodist Church and Net Results.
Item Number: ECE102
Title: "In Our Own Words: Youth Speak Out About Living the Life"
12 for $8 or $.75 per copy
For assistance, please phone customer service at 1-800-537-3394
or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Other Vital Resources
Why do we need to do things differently?
Where do we start?
Transitioning your church
Advertising/marketing/reaching new people Denominational issues
Hispanic churches/ Resouces en el espanol
African American churches
Evangelism and worship
Financial and stewardship
By Patricia Hoertdoerfer
This guide is designed to help parents (and other loving caretakers) respond to children's questions and concerns about sexuality. It includes information about the sexual development of children and tools to help children grow up in sexually healthy ways. It is intended to guide, inform, and prepare parents for roles as sexuality educators. Each age-level program guide includes a summary of the topics of each session, question parents often ask and possible responses, and examples of how to take advantage of "teachable moments." The questions and teachable moments may be directly or indirectly related to each session.
There is a Ceremonies and Celebrations section that provides descriptions of ceremonies parents may wish to use for family celebrations. A glossary of terms used in both Our Whole Lives for Grades K-1 and Our Whole Lives for Grades 4-6is included. The resource section includes resources required for the program, suggested resources for young children, older children, and parents and families.
The Reverend Patricia Hoertdoerfer, author of The Parent Guide to Our Whole Lives Grades K-1 and 4-6, is a Unitarian Universalist minister of religious education. She serves as the director of children's programs and family ministry for the Unitarian Universalist Association.
UCC New Church Development Basic Planting Check List
A Guidebook for Planting New Congregations
A Guidebook for Planting New Congregations in the United Church of Christ.
God is Still Speaking through new churches in the United Church of Christ today.
The Guidebook may be downloaded here -
Complete Guidebook [PDF]
64 pages (301k)
Table of Contents/Introduction [PDF]
Part 1 - Seeking Leaders [PDF]
We need leaders who seek to be empowered by the Holy Spirit
Part 2 - Stirring [PDF]
Are you utterly convinced the Holy Spirit has called you to develop a new church?
Part 3 - Equipping [PDF]
God speaks to church planters
Part 4 - Financing [PDF]
Building trust around money issues is important pastoral work in new church development
Part 5 - Launching [PDF]
To claim covenantal partnership with the United Church of Christ requires an understanding of the denomination's policies and polity.
Part 6 - Challenging [PDF]
The Body of Christ is strengthened as new churches are born in our midst
Guidebook Bible Study Scriptures [PDF]
United Church of Christ Resources [PDF]
The Guidebook is a tool for:
United Church of Christ Conferences and Associations.
Committees on New Church Development.
New Church Pastors.
Potential New Church Planters
Core Group Members of a New Church Initiative.
Seminaries teaching about Evangelism and New Church Development.
Ecumenical Partners planting churches with the United Church of Christ.
And more . . .
We celebrate this new resource in the United Church of Christ! It is so timely to the The Stillspeaking Initiative. In December 2004 and January 2005, the Evangelism Ministry Team responded to the more than 320 email questions that came from the Find a Church Website.
41% of the emails came from people who could not find a church or had a question about a church in their neighborhood.
50% of those emails turned into "there is no church" in this community (21% of the total emails)
3% of the emails expressed interest in starting a new church!
The Stillspeaking Initiative has not only given great witness to a message of hope and extravagant welcome in the name of Jesus. It has given an invaluable visibility to the United Church of Christ, and it is also giving us invaluable information about the location and demand for new church development. The challenge before us is to begin communities of the still speaking God where there are none. What perfect timing for this resource and guidebook in that journey!
Use it! Order more copies for your people at United Church Press
Look for additional updates as new chapters are written.
Also Coming Soon ... Church Renewal Workbook!
By Barbara Sprung
Our Whole Lives K-1 supports parents, teachers and pastors in educating children about birth and sexuality. The program affirms all kinds of families and helps children identify and avoid sexual abuse. Activities include stories, songs, arts and crafts. Each session includes a Home Link message from The Parent Guide to Our Whole Lives that links classroom and home, promoting conversation between parents and children about sexuality.
Barbara Sprung is co-founder and co-director of Educational Equity Concepts, Inc., a national nonprofit organization that conducts research and develops programs and resources to eliminate bias due to gender, race/ethnicity, disability, and socio-economic status. She has authored childhood education resources including Learning About Family Life, a K-3 curriculum; Quit It, a K-3 teacher's guide addressing teasing and bullying; and two preteen books, Preteen Pressures: Stress and Preteen Pressures: Death. Sprung holds a B.A. in Early Childhood Education and an M.A. in Child Development.
By Pamela M. Wilson, M.S.W.
Our Whole Lives 7-9 is the centerpiece of the program series. Through a variety of engaging activities, participants build values, interpersonal skills, and knowledge. The comprehensive approach speaks to participants' needs today and helps prepare them for a healthy and meaningful tomorrow. Initial sessions of the program include parent orientation. The first session includes parents and young people.
Pamela Wilson, M.S.W., has been an independent program consultant and trainer since 1983. She has developed and led sexuality education programs with youth and families. She currently trains and develops curricula for educators and counselors on issues of human sexuality and adolescent parenthood. In addition, Wilson conducts training on diversity issues with nonprofit organizations and corporations. She is the author of numerous publications, including When Sex Is the Subject: Attitudes and Answers for Young children. She is featured in the sexuality education videos Raising Healthy Kids: Families Talk About Sexual Health and Little Questions, Big Questions: The case for Family Life Education in the Early Grades.
In 1932—while many Americans were reacting to reports of atrocities committed by Japanese forces in China—two leading Protestant theologians debated in the pages of Christian Century whether U.S. military intervention in the conflict would be a "just" or "unjust" war. The theologians were H. Richard Niebuhr of Yale University and his brother, Reinhold Niebuhr of Union Theological Seminary in New York. Both were members of the Evangelical and Reformed Church, one of the UCC's antecedent denominations, and both influenced many members of the first and second generations of UCC pastors who studied under them.
The rising tide of conflict in Asia and Hitler's imminent seizure of power in Germany were stirring renewed fears of war, and motivated both men to reexamine Christian traditions regarding war and its moral consequences. We present these papers because they are relevant to the international debate over terrorism and the use of armed force in self-defense.
H. Richard Niebuhr argued for a principled "inactivity" based on radical trust in God. He wrote: "The inactivity of radical Christianity is not the inactivity of those who call evil good; it is the inaction of those who do not judge their neighbors because they cannot fool themselves into a sense of superior righteousness. ... It is not the inactivity of the noncombatant, for it knows that there are no noncombatants, that everyone is involved, that China is being crucified ... by our sins and those of the whole world. It is not the inactivity of the merciless, for works of mercy must be performed though they are only palliates to ease present pain while the process of healing depends on deeper, more actual and urgent forces." But Reinhold Niebuhr disagreed: "Love may qualify the social struggle of history but it will never abolish it, and those who make the attempt to bring society under the dominion of perfect love will die on the cross. And those who behold the cross are quire right in seeing it as a revelation of the divine, of what man ought to be cannot be, at least not so long as he is enmeshed in the processes of history."
Also linked from this page is the 1985 General Synod pronouncement on "Just Peace"—an alternative to traditional "Just War" doctrine—and UCC theologian Susan Brooks Thistlethwaite on the relevance of the Just War tradition to the war against Iraq.
The UCC Office of General Ministries, which sponsors this page, thanks the Rev. John Deckenback, Conference Minister of the Central Atlantic Conference, and his staff who provided us with the original text of this debate. We also thank you for your congregation's financial contribution to Our Church's Wider Mission, which makes this service possible.
Radical trust in God
H. Richard Niebuhr argues that radical obedience to God requires Christian nonviolence. Any other response would mean distrust in God and God's promises.
In a fallen world, Reinhold Niebuhr replies, Christians cannot act as if the reign of God has already been established, and must sometimes use force to protect the innocent.
A final word
In a letter to the editors of Christian Century, H. Richard Niebuhr sums up the debate.
Turning to Tradition
In making moral judgments about the war in Iraq, says UCC theologian Susan Brooks Thistlethwaite, Christians can find help from a "1,500-year-old tradition."
The "Just Peace" doctrine commended by the UCC's General Synod in 1985 is distinct both from "just war" theory and traditional Christian pacifism.