A Note from your Area Conference Minister

Dear Friends in Christ:
‘tis just a little more than a week before Christmas.  As you make final preparations in your churches and homes may God’s blessing surround, comfort, and strengthen you.  May the New Year be full of possibility even as we continue to face challenges in our world and in the church.

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

Regional News and Association Events

TODAY - Dec. 16th, 6PM

Mary in the Bible and Maryam in the Qu’ran;
An Evening of Reflection on the Mother of Jesus,
 A Role Model for Christians and Muslims Alike

During the Season of Advent, Christians prepare for the birth of Jesus, who calls us to be neighbors to all people. What better way to get to know our Muslim neighbors than to come together to learn how the Mother of Jesus is respected in both Christianity and Islam.

Please join Reverend Lisa Eleck, M.Div., and Colleen Keyes, Ph. For a Time of Scripture, Reflection and Shared Prayer in person or over Zoom
TODAY - Thursday, December 16th, 2021 at 6:00 pm
Olivet Congregational Church, UCC
2102 Main St. Bridgeport, CT 06606
 ~ To join on Zoom, click on this link   ~

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)



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. The deadline for Round 2 applications is January 15, 2022.

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.

Greetings to UCC Churches and Friends in Immigration Ministries

from Irene Willis Hassan, MDiv, Minister for Refugee and Migration Ministries, Global H.O.P.E., United Church of Christ National Ministries

Starting in January, I will be hosting a monthly Zoom meeting on the second Tuesday at 6pm ET, making the first meeting on January 11, 2022, at 6pm ET. This meeting is open to any individual or church engaged in refugee & migration ministries. The tenor will be intentionally reflective for churches to deepen their spiritual engagement with the powerful and important ministries we share together in addressing refugee and migration issues across the denomination.  (CONTINUE HERE FOR MORE)

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.

When Someone in Worship Tests Positive for COVID

What do I do when someone who attended worship tests positive for COVID-19 one to two days later? Steps for congregations, plus CDC Recommendations. Read more here.

COVID Conversations: Ask the Doc about Covid, Christmas & Church

What's a pastor to do? Infection rates are rising again and churches want to safely worship this Christmas. We're in another surge, plus the Omicron variant, and folks need to be vaxxed and boosted. Do you want to know the safest way to worship in-person? What about when your people travel? Should we continue with in-person? Is safe for children to attend in-person? What's up with Omicron? Why don't you ask the infectious disease doc? Join the Massachusetts Council of Churches for this urgent gathering and listen to Dr. Regina LaRocque, MD, MPH of Massachusetts General Hospital. Follow this link to view a 54 minute conversation, from the MA Council of Churches.

Lunch & Learn for Leaders Series

Lunch & Learn for Leaders is a new FREE monthly series starting in January hosted by the Center for Transformational Leadership. Every third Thursday, join us at noon for a 50-minute session of learning and discussion. Each month we will offer a bite-sized opportunity to learn valuable concepts and practices from a subject expert. Our wide-ranging topics are relevant to areas of mission and ministry that you, our clergy and lay leaders, have indicated are timely for your congregations. The schedule includes: (CONTINUE READING)

Communicating Your Vision

by Elisa Wilson, Program Support Associate, Center for Transformational Leadership

Communication. It is responsible for the exchange of ideas; the declaration of feelings; the formation and perpetuation of relationships. As a leader, have you considered how your communication approaches might impact your ability to extend and achieve your vision? As leaders, the creation of a vision is only the first step towards enacting change, as it is through the communication of this vision that ideas transcend one mind and enter the minds of many. But how do we communicate our visions to different audiences, particularly when those to whom our ideas are directed have their own visions and thoughts? (CONTINUE READING 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 Elisa Williams with questions.

Save The Date - Super Saturday March 19, 2022 9am to 3:30pm

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

"A Future With Hope: Relevant, Prophetic and Transformative"

Featuring Special Guest Rev. Sarah Drummond, Founding Dean of Andover Newton Seminary at Yale Divinity School.

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.

Safe Environments Webinar

Jan. 12, 7:PM - 8:30PM Online

This one-hour info session will provide orientation to Abuse Prevention Resources from the UCC Insurance Board.  Sample templates for policies, background checks and screening, as well as training programs for teachers and volunteers will be reviewed.

For Authorized Ministers - an update on the Profile Portal & National Office

As you most likely know from their excellent communications, the National Office has been working on migrating the ministerial profile portal to a new database. It went live last week! Authorized Ministers with accounts in the old system should receive an email from “Engage Support” asking them to update their password. This is a legitimate email and you should respond to it. If you missed the earlier offerings, training for the new profile system has been recorded and will be available at a later date. Please also note that the Profile Office will be closed from December 21, 2021, through January 3, 2022.

Quarterly Racial Justice Training
Jan. 15, 8:30AM to Noon

All are welcome to join us for this racial justice training facilitated by Rev. James D. Ross II, Minister for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.

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.

Lilly Endowment Clergy Renewal Programs

Details and application materials for the 2022 programs are now available!  Eligible congregations will be able to apply for grants of up to $50,000 each to support a renewal program for their pastor.  Up to $15,000 of the grant may be used for congregational expenses associated with the renewal program. Applications are open now through April 27, 2022.  Click here for information and applications.

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 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.

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, with the exception of December 30th. 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