A Note from your Area Conference Minister

Dear Friends in Christ:
Advent is here!  We flip the books back to the beginning and start a new church year.  In the midst of the messy-busy-ness of this season, may you experience hope, peace, joy, and love in your life, your family, your church, and your community.

Michael Ciba
The Rev. Dr. Michael Ciba  [he/him/his]
Area Conference Minister and Team Leader

Regional News and Association Events

Dealing with Holiday Stress: How to Stay OK on the Road More Traveled

The Middlebury Congregational Church is hosting a free presentation on managing holiday stress, Tuesday, December 7th at 7pm in their church social hall,  1242 Whittemore Road, Middlebury, CT 06762  Please wear a mask.  More information can be found on their Facebook event page.


What's new with you?  Does your Church or Association have events or news that can benefit from being shared - Meetings, Ecclesiastical Councils, Ordinations, etc?  This newsletter space is just waiting to be populated by your activity!  Please share your events and news with Jill Ford, Program Support Associate ( to be included in future bi-monthly publications.

The Southwest Region of the Southern New England Conference is comprised of:

  • Fairfield East Association
  • Fairfield West Association
  • Litchfield South Association
  • Naugatuck Valley Association
  • New Haven Association
  • New Haven East Consociation

Conference Events and Resources

(visit SNEUCC.ORG/EVENTS for a full list of events)

Public Service Loan Forgiveness

(How to Get Your Student Loans Forgiven)

The National Setting of the United Church of Christ is engaged in work around student loan forgiveness, particularly in light of the recent change allowing clergy and lay church employees to be eligible for public service loan forgiveness.  They will be hosting a zoom session on December 3 at 2pm, to help church staff navigate these changes and other methods of easing loan burdens.  This webinar will be hosted in partnership with the National Council of Churches, and the discussion led by Attorney Ashley Harrington, a senior official of the Federal Student Aid Office of the US Dept. of Education.  Advance registration is required.  Register here.

Faith in our Future Together Grant (Round 2)

The Southern New England Conference is currently accepting applications for the Faith In Our Future Together grant.  Through this funding, the conference will deploy its resources, including $1 million of unrestricted funds currently functioning as endowment, to help selected churches move through the disruptions caused by the pandemic and emerge stronger.  In selecting churches for this funding, the conference will keep in mind the intersection of pandemic and system racism.  Click here to learn more about this grant opportunity.

Life's Lessons for all Ages from the Hundred Acre Wood:  Winnie the Pooh and Friends

Join us for the program focused on wellness, facilitated by Debbie Ringen, Minister for Health and Wellness, followed by a Q&A period. 

Thursday, Dec. 2,  12-1:30pm

Advance registration, required, found here.

Go Tell it On the Mountain: Saugatuck Congregational Church of Westport, CT

In the most recent episode of the Go Tell It On The Mountain series, Executive Conference Minister the Rev. Darrell Goodwin interviewed the Rev. Allison Patton, senior pastor of the Saugatuck Congregational Church of Westport, CT  Click here to read and watch.

"A Good Neighbor: Welcoming Afghan Refugees"

Are you discerning whether your congregation is called to help resettle Afghan refugees?  Already working on resettlement but need help with cultural aspects?  Join this 7pm Wednesday, December 8 webinar, led by Rev. James D. Ross II, Minister for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, and Rev. Elizabeth Garrigan-Byerly, Area Conference Minister for the North Central Region of the Southern New England Conference.  Read more here.

Covid Update for Churches: Singing!

As congregations across the Southern New England Conference return to varying levels of in-person worship, laments are rising, becoming louder: We want to Sing!  Some have thrown open the doors, gathering, and singing together, while others are remaining online only.  The difference lies in the details.  Read more here.

You're Invited: SNEUCC Tech Deacons Control Room

A place for all those adapting or adapted to Digital Ministry, in its many forms.  The SNEUCC Tech Deacons Control Room is a private Facebook group of Tech Deacons in our area for the purpose of facilitating information sharing.    Many thanks to Kevin Williams, Tech Deacon and Director of Welcome for Westfield Congregational Church in Danielson, CT, for conceiving of the idea and developing the page.  Click here to join this group.

And, consider joining the weekly Tech Deacon Discussions for continuing conversation of digital ministry and new technologies, with two time slots - Tuesday mornings at 11am and alternating Tuesday evenings at 7pm.  For the morning gathering, click here.  To register for the  evening gathering click here.

Sunday after Christmas Worship

Although the Conference has not created a new service this year, you are welcome to use parts or all of the service from last Christmas.  You can find those videos here.  The Long Awaited Gift worship service available for download in whole or in parts.

Observance of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Join us for a virtual time of worship, reflection, and facilitated conversation led by one of the 2022 SNEUCC Theologians in Residence, Rev. Dr. Diane Schmitz.  Read more here.

Do we have your church leaders listed correctly?

Have your church administrator (or whoever handles your church's email account) visit the Church Dashboard to make sure we're connecting with all the current leaders in your church.

Small Church Summit

Date:  Saturday, February 26, 2022

Location: Edward's House, Framingham, MA

Contact the Center for Transformational Leadership for further details.

Save The Date - Super Saturday

Keefe Technical High School, 750 Winter Street, Framingham, MA

Saturday, March 19, 2022 from 9am to 3:30pm

We are pleased to announce that the next Super Saturday event will follow a hybrid format.  What does hybrid mean?  Hybrid will be a variety of workshops that are in-person, virtual and a combination of both.

Workshop proposals (for presenters) are being accepted until 12/31/21.  Follow this link to submit a workshop proposal.  Please contact Andrea Bellarosa with any questions.

Congregational Economic Evaluation Tool

This survey helps leaders compare their stewardship and financial practices to other faith communities and to identify best practices they can implement. The survey is available at
For additional information, resources and upcoming events click here for the Stewardship, Generosity, Fundraising and Financial Management page.

December Environmental Ministry Team Calendar

Don't miss this month's curated collection of events, resources, and climate action opportunities from the SNEUCC Environmental Ministry Team!  Read it here.  Curated by Victoria Guest for the SNEUCC Environmental Ministries Team.

Pastoral Counseling Programs Available to

Authorized Ministers

Ministry is a demanding profession.  The great and small stresses of life and the give and take of parish ministry can be challenging.  The Southern New England Conference is committed to the well-being of its Authorized Minsters and to providing support for those who provide leadership to the church.  Thanks to the generosity of historic benefactors, we are able to provide Authorized Ministers with standing in an Association of the Southern New England Conference, and their spouses/life partners/significant others, with a short-term, three-session consultation for stabilization and referral. Please click here to learn more.

UCC History & Polity in Late Winter 2022

The Penn Central Conference will be offering a fully on-line UCC History and Polity class beginning February 11th and running until April 1st. The class meets via zoom every Friday for 3 hours (2:00 – 5:00 EST). They will use a Basecamp platform for each cohort, which works very well. Last year almost 50 students came from as far away as Hawaii, South Dakota, Maine and California. They welcome MIDs, POCs, Dual Standing…and those who have interest in our history and contemporary life. The cost will be $300.  Any individuals or COMs interested are welcome to contact Rev. Dr. Carrie Call or Rev. Nora Foust with questions. The Penn Central Conference will have an on-line registration later in November.

Boundary Training - 1.0 Foundations of Boundary Training

WHEN: Tuesday, January 18, 2022 and Wednesday, January 19, 2022 9am to 3pm (lunch provided both days)

WHERE: at The Plymouth Church in Framingham, 87 Edgell Road, Framingham, MA 07701

DETAILS: limited to 12 participants.  Cost and other details, including a registration link can be found here.

Discipleship Opportunities

Restful Advent - Zoom Chapel

Tuesdays (11/30 to 12/21) 9:00am to 9:45am

Join us on Zoom each Tuesday during Advent to pray, rest, and reflect.  We will follow the Restful Advent Devotional developed by Rev. Emma Brewer Wallin, Minister for Environmental and Economic Justice. Register here.

SNEUCC Prayer Vigil for World Aids Day

Ending the HIV Epidemic: Equitable Access, Everyone's Voice

Wednesday, December 1st, 2021 at 12:00pm via Zoom.  Join us for a noontime online prayer vigil of readings and music.

This World AIDS Day, UNAIDS is highlighting the urgent need to end the inequalities that drive AIDS and other pandemics around the world. 
Without bold action against inequalities, the world risks missing the targets to end AIDS by 2030, as well as a prolonged COVID-19 pandemic and a spiraling social and economic crisis.  Register here.

Safe Environments Webinar

Wednesday 12/8, 2-3pm via Zoom

This one hour info session will provide orientation to Abuse Prevention Resources from the UCC Insurance Board. Pastors, Deacons, Faith Formation leaders, Trustees, and HR Committee members are encouraged to attend. Debby Kirk, Faith Formation team leader will provide an orientation to the materials.  Sample templates for policies, background checks and screening, as well as training programs for teachers and volunteers will be reviewed.  Register here.

SNEUCC Virtual Confirmation Enrichment Programs

Once again, the Faith Formation team will be offering virtual enrichment gatherings for your local church confirmation classes.

Upcoming dates for enrichment program sessions include:

  • Racial Justice: January 23rd, 2022 (TBD soon)

  • UCC 101: February 27, 2022

  • Discernment: March 19th, 2022 (Super Saturday)

  • Interfaith Exploration: April 3rd, 2022 (TBD soon)

Contact Faith Formation program support associate Sean Amato for more information about registration and session content.

Outdoor Ministries


The Southern New England Conference engages in Outdoor & Retreat Ministry with the following sites:

Edwards House Meeting & Retreat Center, Framingham, MA
Edwards House offers fully-equipped meeting space for working gatherings both large and small as well as a warm, intimate setting for small overnight retreats.

Irons Homestead, Glocester, RI
Nestled in the northwest corner of Rhode Island and where you can still see the stars at night.

Pilgrim Day Camp, Framingham, MA
This is a traditional summer day camp with over 50 years of experience in providing children safe, summer fun. 

Silver Lake Conference Center, Sharon, CT
With more than 60 acres of wooded land on lakeside shores, Silver Lake offers many opportunities for young people.

Christmas at the Lake Family Day -Saturday, Dec 4th - 10am

Celebrate Christmas, Silver Lake Style!  Bring your family to camp for a day of fellowship by the fireside, games, crafts, hot cocoa, chili, and some Adventure games.  Spend time outdoors with other families as we enter the season of Advent and prepare for Christmas.  Visit this webpage for more information, including cost and registration details. 

Celebrations, Transitions and Obituaries

Beginning in September of 2021, this bi-monthly newsletter will recognize and celebrate Ordination Anniversaries listed from 5 years and forward in increments of 5 years, as well as milestone church anniversaries

Church Anniversaries

(in 2021 not previous recognized)

300 Years
First Congregational Church of Litchfield
225 Years
Middlebury Congregational Church
125 Years
Union Memorial Church, Stamford

(Please contact Jill Ford if we have missed your anniversary.)

Transitions within the Southern New England Conference can be found here.

Obituaries within the Southern New England Conference can be found here.


A full list of classified postings can be found here on the SNE website.  Some examples include: Church Administrator, Digital Minister, Organist/Choir Director, Director of Faith Formation as well as items for sale or free.  Visit our classifieds web page for details of each listing.   Church administrators are welcome to use the online template to submit information.

Pulpit Supply Information

Please email Jill Ford at for an updated copy of the regional pulpit supply list. 

If you are interested in being included on the Southwest Region pulpit supply list please contact Jill Ford.

Newsletter Subscription

You are receiving this newsletter because we've identified you as a local church or you have standing in one of the associations in the Southwest Region of the Southern New England Conference. This newsletter will be sent around the 15th and 30th of each month. If you would like to unsubscribe or change your email preferences, please visit and enter your email address.


Southwest Region of
The Southern New England Conference, United Church of Christ

125 Sherman St.
Hartford, CT 06105