Words from your Area Conference Minister

Psalm 139:13-14 

For it was you who formed my inward parts; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. 

I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; that I know very well. 

Earlier this month the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) declared a state of emergency for LGBTQ+ people in the US. According to their website they did this, “For the first time following an unprecedented and dangerous spike in Anti-LGBTQ+ legislative assaults—more than 75 anti-LGBTQ+ bills have been signed into law this year alone, more than doubling last year’s number, which was previously the worst year on record.”  

When I’m asked, “Is it really necessary to be an OPEN & AFFIRMING Congregation? We welcome everyone, why do we have to make a statement.” My response is a resounding Yes! Yes, it is important and necessary because my life, my safety, my spiritual well-being, and those of queer and transgender people in the community, state, nation and the world depend on it! 

Being able to live authentically, to be who God has created you to be, and believing, the words of the Psalmist, not just intellectually but deep in your bones, is powerful and life affirming. 

Knowing there is a community of faith that is intentional about creating an environment that is welcoming, inclusive, and affirming of LGBTQ+ people, is no small thing. For it can be life changing and perhaps even lifesaving. This is not an exaggeration. In a June 7th NY Times Op-Ed, writer Charles M. Blow quotes some statistics regarding teen suicide in the LGBT community. Citing the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, “one-fifth of gay, lesbian, or bisexual high school students attempted suicide in the past year. Last year the Trevor Project found that 45% of LGBTQ youths seriously considered attempting suicide in the preceding year.” 

Being an Open and Affirming Congregation is no small thing! For those congregations who have made that proclamation, I encourage you to continue finding ways to live into what it means to be ONA. For those churches who have yet to make that proclamation, I encourage you to prayerfully consider taking the steps to move beyond ‘welcome’, towards affirmation and full inclusion. 

Happy Pride! 

Rev. Margret Hofmeister 

Your out and proud, ACM SW Region SNEUCC 

Regional, Association & Church Events


What are you up to? 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 send your events and news Roz Hooks to be included in future monthly publications.  The Southwest Region of the Southern New England Conference is comprised of:

Do we have your church leaders listed correctly?

Please have your church administrator (or whoever handles your church's email account) visit the Church Dashboard (part of the Southern New England Conference's data base) to make sure we're connecting with all the current leaders in your church. If you have difficulty logging into your account please contact Nancy Stubbs at


Emmaus Coaching Program - As Members in Discernment, you are on a journey--discerning God’s beckoning voice, calling you into ministry. A Together We Thrive coach can be a great companion wherever you are on that journey— ready to ask powerful questions, challenge any assumptions that may be holding you back, and just generally traveling alongside you as you learn and reflect on what lies ahead.

Clergy Renewal

Throughout the Bible, spiritual renewal is lifted up again and again as essential to human wellbeing. Keeping the sabbath holy is one of the ten commandments. The 50-year Jubilee of rest is even extended to the earth. Jesus routinely stepped away from the demands of his ministry to pray alone. Self-care is not selfish; it is faithful.  Click above for more information.

Boundary Awareness Training

The Southern New England Conference of the United Church of Christ invites our Authorized Ministers into the following conversations around clergy wellness and boundaries.  Click above for more information.


Here we recognize and celebrate Ordination Anniversaries listed from 5 years forward in increments of 5 years, as well as milestone church anniversaries of 100+ years (acknowledging every 25 years).



The Rev. Ingeborg Haug - 6/3/1973

The Rev. John Van Epps - 6/17/1973


The Rev. Olivia Hayes Robinson - 6/16/1978


The Rev. Ruth LeBar - 6/29/2003


The Rev. Amanda Ostrove - 6/10/2008




First Congregational Church of Guilford


United Churches of Durham


The Congregational Church of New Canaan

First Church of Christ, Congregational of Redding, CT


Milton Congregational Church 

Prospect Congregational Church, UCC


Southport Congregational Church


Evangelical & Reformed UCC


Conference & Partner Updates




See all the great updates from the 4th Annual Meeting!

Reports, Photos, and Recordings.

Search Committee Gathering -
Consensus/Building a Team Dynamic
Monday, July 31, 2023 at 7:00 PM to 9:00 PM 

If you serve on your church's search committee, this event is for you.  Rev. Liz Garrigan-Byerly, Executive Minister for the Area Conference Ministry Team, and Jill Ford, Search & Call Associate, will lead this 2-hour Zoom gathering for church search committee members.  The focus for July 31 will be how your committee can build a team dynamic that will help you make decisions using a consensus model.  Mark your calendars for 7/31/23 7pm to 9pm.  Registration is required.  Click HERE to register.

 General Synod       June 30 - July 4, 2023

Synod is for everyone! Not just the delegates or attendees. Here are some ways you can participcate:

  • We invite you to share your hopes, prayers and comments with our SNEUCC delegation by filling out this form.
  • General Synod @Home is a collection of worship and faith formation resources available for local churches to use on July 2, the Sunday that General Synod holds community worship in Indianapolis. They include liturgical elements, the communion liturgy, faith formation resources and a video sermon and text. Please share it with your local church leaders. Our very own Debby Kirk was part of the team that put this together; thank you!
  • Read General Synod news as it happens.

Racial Justice Cross-Pollination Gatherings

These Cross-Pollination Gatherings are intended for local church leaders involved in racial justice ministries. This is an opportunity to exchange ideas, celebrate successes, and troubleshoot challenges. Join us!  
These sessions take place on the fourth Monday of each month at 6:30 PM via Zoom. Next one is Monday, June 26th.   Sign up here.


The Afro-Christian Convention

From 1892 to the 1960s, the Afro-Christian Convention was composed of 150 churches and 25,000 members, located primarily in North Carolina and Virginia. In June 1957, when the founding/merging leaders of the new United Church of Christ processed through Cleveland, representation of the Afro-Christian Convention churches was folded into the representation of the Convention of the South—a 1950s initiative of the Congregational Christian denomination to fold Black churches of the South into a single conference.

New Partnership to Bring Incredible Days to Edwards House 

The Southern New England Conference's Edwards House Meeting and Retreat Center is partnering with Incredible Days to host four weeks in July during which youth and intergenerational groups can sign up for mission programs where participants will stay at Edwards House and do daily service projects focused on addressing urban poverty in Greater Boston. 

2023 STEWARDSHIP Resources

Discover Your Why: How a Clear Purpose Strengthens Evangelism, Giving, and Impact
Wednesday, Jul 26 2023 - 7:30 PM
Narrative Budgets: Telling your Story by the Numbers
Wednesday, Aug 23 2023 - 7:30 PM
All Stewardship Webinars offered in 2023 by the National UCC Office are listed here. 

2023 Meditation Practice & Training, Online

Meditation Practice and Training
with Rev. Matt Carriker

Meditation Session Dates:
90-minutes; Thursdays 7:00 pm-8:30 pm  
July 6th, 13th and 20th

Meditation Teacher Training Sessions:
90-minute sessions; 7:00 pm -8:30 PM
July 6th, 13th, 20th, 27th & August 3rd, 10th


Greetings Authorized Ministers,

We wanted to bring to your attention several upcoming programs that you might be interested in taking advantage of, offered by Together We Thrive.  Details and registration links for all the programs may be found at 

Faith Formation

Incredible Faith Mission: Boston 

Four week-long programs in July.  Youth and intergenerational groups can sign up for one of the four Sunday-Friday programs, in which participants will stay at Edwards House in Framingham, MA, and do daily service projects focused on addressing urban poverty in Greater Boston. 


Announcing 2023 Justice Summit Preachers 

The 2023 Justice Summit, taking place Oct. 7 in Boston, MA and online, will be focused on Trans and Nonbinary Belonging in the Church. It will begin and end with worship, each with a keynote preacher. Rev. Nicole Garcia - Faith Work Director at the National LGBTQ Task Force - will preach at the opening worship service, and will also lead a workshop on Raising a Progressive Christian Voice in the Public Square. Rev. Tyler Connoley - Conference Minister for the Central Pacific Conference - will preach at the closing, and will lead a workshop on Genderqueer Heroes in the Bible. Read about these two preachers below. 


Outdoor Ministries


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

Do You Need a Day Away?
Edwards House provides Complimentary Retreat Days to New England Non-Profit, Lay, and Clergy Leadership. Two different opportunities can be found here

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 - registration now open!
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

Share the ministry of Silver Lake Camp & Retreat Center with your community!  To help you get the word out about Silver Lake’s exciting programs, visit for a collection of materials and resources. 

Transitions and Obituaries

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

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

William Zito


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.

Pilgrim Day Camp registration is full for the summer. 
Summer Staff can apply here:

Temporary Ministerial Coverage List

The Southern New England Conference maintains Temporary Ministerial Coverage (TMC) lists for all 6 SNEUCC regions. These lists contain Clergy and Lay people that are interested in providing Sunday Supply, Sabbatical Coverage, and Bridge Coverage. All the people included on the list have had a Criminal Background Check and are required to have Boundary Awareness Training as well as Racial Justice Training. 

These TMC lists are regularly updated in real time.  If your church is in need of a list please reach out to the Program Support Associate for your Region:

North Central & Northwest Regions: Deb Holmes,
South Central & Southwest Regions: Roz Hooks:
Northeast & Southeast Regions: Lynn Varney:

If you are interested in being included on any of the Temporary Ministerial Coverage regional lists please contact Jill Ford at

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. The Regional Newsletter will now be sent on a monthly basis. The regular schedule will be on the Third Tuesday of each month. If you would like to have events included please make sure to have them submitted by the Second Wednesday of the month to Roz Hooks.

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
860-761-7196 ext. 165

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