Charting a New Course for Faith Formation

by Debby Kirk

To say that the pandemic has turned our world upside down is an understatement. In our ministry we have skirted potholes and faced detours. We have planned programs only to have to re-route, postpone, or scrap our ventures entirely.  In spite of these challenges, faith formation leaders have proved to be a persistent and creative bunch.  You have pivoted programming and maintained connections with families, always with the goal of sharing God’s love.

In peacetime or war, in times of plenty or hardship, the message of God’s steadfast love endures. We know that generations before us have responded by delivering faith in new ways that met the needs of their day.  The stories and teachings of Jesus have been shared at the seaside and in the desert, in rustic churches and grand cathedrals, in homes and in communities. Whether we teach in person or online, our call is to love and serve the Lord and pass along the gift of faith to the next generation.  

COVID has prompted us all to take stock and re-assess.  This is a good time for faith formation leaders to step back from the day-to-day details of ministry and climb up to the balcony to reflect. What are surprises or successes of the last two years? What new ministry or approach is needed for the future?  Which programs can you let go of?

Read more here! (5min.)

Salt and Light in Newington

by Sean Amato

This month, our Spotlight on Service is on the work of the SALT ("Serving and Learning Together") high school youth group - a ministry of Church of Christ, Congregational in Newington, CT.

Coordinated by Kara Russell, Assistant to the Pastor for Children and Youth, SALT is a reflection of the church's faith expression: youth readily participate in good works every Sunday, taking part in a culture of faith-through-service that - per Kara - existed in the congregation well before her arrival."The kids are doing it because it's what they want to do," reports Kara. "They look forward to confirmation in eighth grade, because it means they can serve."

SALT's work is extensive, conducted throughout the greater Hartford area, and - at least according to this author - a successful model for youth engagement.

Read more here! (5min.)

The Bridge Initiative Includes and Inspires

by Debbie Gline Allen

Heather Rochette, the former Minister for Christian Education at the Townsend Congregational Church UCC, credits her successful program, The Bridge Initiative, to divine inspiration. While the spark came from a mother’s love for her child on the autism spectrum, the doors that opened along the way for the creation of this program were truly God-inspired.

As a mother of a child with autism myself, I was intrigued about The Bridge Initiative and contacted Heather to learn more about it and how it has impacted her congregation.

Read more here! (5min.)

Got Questions? Faith Formation Office Hours

Send us a note, give us a call (phone numbers are listed below) or drop in at one of the Wednesday evening sessions in May!
We are happy to answer general questions, assist with resources, or simply serve as conversation partners if you are experimenting with a new idea regarding faith formation.

Office hours are Wednesday evenings from 7:00pm to 8:00pm in May (the 18th and 25th). These sessions are open to clergy, faith formation practitioners, and lay leaders.

Register here to receive a Zoom meeting link!

Congratulations to our April Raffle Winner!

Emily Carle of Center Church of South Hadley, CT was our raffle winner last month, having received a copy of John Roberto's Lifelong Faith: Formation for All Ages and Generations from the Faith Formation team.

A Member in Discernment within SNEUCC, Emily is currently pursuing her Master of Divinity (MDiv) at Louisville Seminary. Blessings, Emily!

May Raffle: Bronwen Mayer Henry's
Radioactive Painting


If you loved NEAUCE's keynote presentation or just looking for a new doorway to creativity and kindness, it would be worth your while to take a chance on, Radioactive Painting a new book by Bronwen Mayer Henry - or if you're lucky, you could win it in this month's Discipleship Matters raffle!

Upcoming SNEUCC Events & Programs

A Community Response to Tragedy:
One Link at a Time

May 19th, 2022 from 12:00pm to 1:30pm

Interfaith outreach to the wider community in the wake of a shared trauma expands a church’s healing ministry.  Join us for a look at how a local town came together to offer a trauma informed response after a tragedy and how one church participated.  An introduction to trauma-Informed practices and the Wellness Sciences that support growth in the face of adversity will frame the discussion. 

The program will be presented by Kathleen Zagata, the Health Minister at First Congregational Church in Winchester, MA. Kathleen is a clinical nurse specialist in Community Mental Health and a Marion Woodman Body-Soul Rhythms trained leader. For 12 years during the Iraq War, she facilitated a group for families of deployed soldiers and veterans. Currently, she provides wellness counseling for those facing health and lifestyle challenges.

Interested in attending? Register here!

Keeping Children Safe Webinar

May 26th, 2022 from 7:00pm to 8:30pm

This workshop provides skills, knowledge and attitudes to prevent child sexual abuse in congregations. Topics discussed include: safe environment, working with parents, prevention strategies, signs and symptoms, and responding to disclosures. This is a modified workshop with materials from ChildrensTrust Fund MA.

Rev. Domenik Ackermann is Minister for Education at West Parish Church in Andover, MA, and a Ph.D. Candidate at Boston College. He is a Child Abuse Prevention trainer certified by the ChildrensTrust Fund MA.

Interested in attending? Register here!

Southern New England Conference
Third Annual Meeting

Saturday, June 18th, 2022 from 9:00am to 2:30pm
$49 per participant
Registration deadline: June 13th, 2022

Join together for inspiring worship, updates on the ministries of the Conference, Speakouts, a Keynote Address from the Rev. Patrick G. Duggan, and preaching by Executive Conference Minister the Rev. Darrell Goodwin. Delegates and attendees will also have a chance to gather in smaller groups for conversation around topics such as: ministry as we transition from pandemic to endemic, approaching church governance in a new way, developing a process for voting Annual Meeting Resolutions, and more.To see the list of Ministry Engagement Gathering offerings, please click here.

Interested in attending? Register here!

Re-Imagining Faith Formation:
A Holistic Vision and Approach

Thursday, June 23rd, 2022 from 7:00pm to 8:30pm

Are you spinning your wheels in your faith formation efforts? Feeling stuck or tired after countless pandemic pivots?  Wondering about next steps and how to plan for fall?

Come and hear how one church overcame roadblocks, embraced the opportunities presented by the pandemic, and re-imagined a holistic vision for faith formation.  Patricia Berry, Minister of Faith Formation and members of her team at United Congregational Church will outline the ways their congregation is living out a life-giving ministry model based on a grassroots process, shared power, and a theology of abundance. This workshop will discuss practical tools such as deep listening, identifying gifts and passions in the congregation, and alternative metrics.   You'll gain insights for building intergenerational relationships and re-visioning a faith formation ministry that is led by the Holy Spirit.  

Interested in attending? Register here!

Our Whole Lives (OWL) Facilitator Training

November 11th-13th, 2022
at Silver Lake Camp & Retreat Center

Looking to bring this faith and sexuality curriculum to your congregation?  

Implementing the nation’s most highly regarded sexuality education curriculum is a big responsibility. Training prepares facilitators to succeed in their role and enables your faith development team members to understand their own and others’ sexuality within the context of United Church of Christ values.

We are pleased to announce that our trainers for the program are Jane Detwiler (UUA) and Rev. Kim Kendrick (UCC)!

SNEUCC will offer Jr/Sr High Training covers curriculum for two levels; Grades 7-9 and 10-12. Cost is $425 per person which includes registration, lodging in Retreat Center at Silver Lake, and six meals.

Register here!

For a complete listing of SNEUCC events, please see our calendar.

"Help Me Help You!"

by Tiffany Vail, Director of Media & Communications (SNEUCC)

Hi there. As the Director of Media & Communications for the Southern New England Conference of the United Church of Christ, I am here to ask you for a favor. Or, to paraphrase Jerry Maguire – I’m here to ask you to help me help you.

Our Conference staff is dedicated to providing information, resources, training and networking opportunities to local church leaders to enhance their abilities to carry out their ministries.

Your church’s stewardship committee, your green team, your worship leaders, your educators and youth leaders, your tech crew, your treasurer, your trustees or council or moderator – we have resources for all of them.

But in order to let them know what’s available, we need to be able to reach them. That’s where you come in.

Read more here! (5min.)

News from Silver Lake

Come to Camp! Take the Plunge!

Registrations have opened for Summer 2022


The Silver Lake Summer 2022 brochure is now available online! Check out all the awesome programs available and start getting excited for summer. Over twenty-eight conferences to choose from! Click here to download the brochure.

In addition, the Faith Formation Team has set aside funds to support youth of color who wish to attend camp. For those interest, select the program you wish to attend and then begin your registration; during application, scholarship registration can be made in the application's Document Center.

Interested, but wanting to know more? Visit camp at the Silver Lake Open House on Sunday, May 15. Register for the event here!

SNEUCC Resources

Updated! Several of the Faith Formation team's resource pages/lists have been updated with new and current material. These updated resources include Safe Conduct and Church Safety, Talking with Children and Teens about Tough Issues (including the war in Ukraine), and Vacation Bible School.

Under Your Wing: Parents, grandparents, and caregivers of younger children: are you looking for a way to talk about bodily safety and physical development with your 5-7-year olds? If so, check out this video series from the UCC/UUA's Our Whole Lives (OWL) program. Afterward, you're welcome to explore the OWL K-1 Books and Media Recommendations for additional resources.

Post Pandemic Pondering & Planning: "A Resource for Faith Re-Formation" in our pandemic era, this publication by the Presbyterian Mission's Office of Christian Formation may be useful for religious organizations emerging from COVID-19 restrictions.

What Next?: "A creative tool to help ministries and communities of faith re-imagine our program and life together", this is another helpful resource from the Presbyterian Mission for use in group and solo faith formation.

YMI - Mental Health: "Articles, essays, curriculum, videos, and other resources for providing mental health supported during the Pandemic", this resource by Yale Divinity School's Youth Ministry Institute may be of use in your ministry to younger members of the congregation struggling to keep up with life amidst COVID-19.

Look for more helpful materials and curated links under Make Disciples on

Program News

Faith Formation Leadership Program

The Faith Formation Leadership Program is taking its summer break, but will return in October 2022 with a new slate of exciting educational opportunities. Keep an eye on this space (and FFLP's website) in early June for information on how to register.

Interested in learning more about the 2022-2023 FFLP program year?
Click here!

Faith Formation Communities of Practice

Looking to connect with peers and share ideas for ministry?  Communities of Practice provide support, theological grounding, and new resources to help you in your work. Groups are led by a trained facilitator and meet every 4 to 6 weeks.

Register here if you are interested in joining a group.

Confirmation Retreat/Enrichment Survey  

Thank you to all who participated in our Spring 2022 programming! Though COVID challenges impacted our retreat schedule, we were pleased to connect with 25 congregations and over 200 participants.

Help us plan for the 2022-2023 program year! Fill out this brief survey to let us know your interest in confirmation retreats, and online enrichment programs. Fill out the survey and give us your feedback!

Partner Events

NEAUCE Announces 2023 Planning Team

As part of its 2022 annual event, the New England Association of United Church Educators (NEAUCE) has announced its coordinating committee for 2023! The team is as follows:

Kristin Putney - Chair Rev. Jessica Moore - Registrar
Stacy Inman - Treasurer Sean Amato, SNEUCC - Conference Rep
Kerry Stewart - CT Rep Amy Middleton - MA Rep
Rose Stansfield - ME Rep Kristin Forselius - NH Rep
Patty Berry - RI Rep Jenny Cummings - VT Rep

Please note that, while she is not listed on the above graphic/chart, the New England representative for the national-level AUCE Board will be
Debi Mastroni-Kenyon.

Practical Resources for Churches

Practical Resources for Churches (PRC) has excellent resources for faith formation.  PRC has archived materials on their website and offer live  webinars most every week. SNEUCC underwrites PRC, so these programs available to our congregations for free. Look for them on our conference events calendar! Below are links to several upcoming events that may be of interest to individuals engaged with faith formation work.

June 8th - 9th, 2022

What is hybrid faith formation? How can we do it better and in a sustainable way? How can creativity help us unlock new ideas and extend our reach? How do we care for ourselves and lead well through times of transition?

Join colleagues from across the country on June 8th - 9th, 2022 to explore these questions, learn, connect, worship, and renew during AUCE’s second virtual national event. This conference will offer 6 interactive and engaging workshops (you can register for 1, 3, or all 6) led by colleague experts and tailored to the needs of faith formation leaders for today. In addition, all are invited to participate in creative worship, self-care practices, and two colleague connection sessions for networking, encouragement, and sharing. Interested in learning more about AUCE's annual event? Click here to access the event flyer!

Register here!

TAKE NOTE! The new SNEUCC VOIP phone system is now in place. Even when staff members are working from home, it is easy reach us by call or text us using the numbers listed in the footer of this email.  We are always happy to hear from you!

SNEUCC Classified Ads

The SNEUCC Classifieds page has job postings as well as items for sale.  Church administrators are welcome to use the online template to submit information related to your church's advertised needs.


Faith Formation Team:
Debby Kirk, Faith Formation Team Leader - 860-761-7103
Debbie Gline Allen, Minister of Faith Formation - 508-244-4332
Sean Amato, Support Staff - 860-761-7199