From our Director's Desk

Greetings beloved siblings in Christ,

I hope the Summer has offered you rest, renewal and an opportunity to prepare for a new program year with energy and excitement. At the Center for Transformational Leadership, we have spent the last few months reflecting on the 2022-2023 program year, gleaning wisdom from what worked and what could have been done differently or better, and have been planning another robust year of programming. We also have been developing new systems of support for churches and leaders and curating excellent resources to help equip leaders for the work of sharing the Gospel and building up the body of Christ. This edition of our newsletter is just a snapshot of our offerings for 2023-2024; we hope you will find something that captures your attention in the listings below. As always, the Center for Transformational Leadership is ready to listen to your needs, provide the tools you are seeking, and be a place of teaching and learning for all who seek to lead the church and live the love and justice of Jesus.

Blessings & Peace,

Rev. Heather Ramsey Mabrouk

Affinity Groups

Women in Ministry Affinity Group w/Rev. Kerri Parker--Register Here

Cultivating Resilience Affinity Group w/Rev. Judith Cooke--Register Here

LGBTQ+ Clergy Affinity Group w/Rev. Nicole Garcia--Register Here

Unmasking Grief Affinity Group w/Rev. Joe McGarry--Register Here (Registration ends 8/31)

Millennials in Ministry Affinity Group w/Rev. Liz Miller--Register Here
(Registration ends 8/31)

Season of Jubilee Affinity Group for Retired Clergy--Register Here

Seasons of Jubilee
An Affinity Group for nearly and newly retired Clergy!

We will begin this fall on Monday, September 25, 2023, with a presentation by Rev. Dr. Bruce Epperly about retirement based on the  research he conducted on clergy retirement and his resulting book, The Jubilee Years: Embracing Clergy Retirement. Through a series of 7 sessions, each addressing a relevant topic, we will gather and explore meaningful service in retirement, ways to navigate spiritual and emotional changes, new ways to kindle and sustain joy, financial stability, and spiritual well-being. Each session will have a guest presenter who brings a unique viewpoint on the topic from their own knowledge and experience to enable the cohort to openly explore some aspect of the retirement journey.

Affinity Groups for Churches Building A Legacy

Starting in the Fall, leaders from local churches working with the SNEUCC Legacy Church Specialist and discerning a path forward will be invited to join an Affinity Group related to the church’s chosen path. Each group will be led by a pastor who has walked a similar journey with one of the churches they have served. Groups being offered will be focused on Completion of Ministry; Merger or Collaboration; Being Church Without a Building, etc. More information will be forthcoming in September.


Upcoming Events

Lunch & Learn webinars return for a third year! Lunch & Learns offer insights and information that help lay leaders and clergy lead churches and build up the body of Christ. These noon-time sessions on the third Thursday of every month are offered for no cost through Proportional Giving to Our Church's Wider Mission (OCWM) every month September - November and January - May.

September 21, 2023
October 19, 2023
Best Practices for Church Rentals w/Rev. David Cleaver-Bartholomew--Register Here
November 16, 2023
Shepherding Your Church Into and Through Generative Conflict w/Elliot Altomare-- Register Here
Topics for 2024 include:
  • Explore the latest research, trends, and statistics and learn more about the Center for Analytics, Research, Development and Data (CARDD) and the relevance of research for our congregations.
  • Best practices for sorting, culling and storing your church records and archives.
  • Defining Legacy & Threshold as stages of a church's life and the options available at each stage.
  • Innovation: The Story of an Ecumenical Faith Community
  • Church & the Seminary: Creating environments of Cooperative Learning

NEW Justice Lunch & Learn Series

The Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion team and the Center for Transformational Leadership have partnered to pilot a series of Justice Lunch & Learns. The sessions will take place at noon on the first Thursday of each month beginning October 5 and continuing through June 6, 2024. 
Justice Lunch & Learn sessions will focus on priority justice issues and will often be hosted in collaboration with conference ministry teams. Here are topics for the upcoming program year, look for additional information coming soon: 
October 5, 2023: “100 Percent ONA:” Living a successful ONA ministry 

November 2, 2023: “Becoming WISE: Breaking the silence about mental illness,” a conversation with Rev. Dr. Sarah Lund, the UCC’s Minister for Disabilities & Mental Health Justice. Dr. Lund will talk about creating churches that are responsive to the mental health needs of members and the efforts of the Southern New England Conference’s effort to join the mission to be Welcoming, Inclusive, Supportive, and Engaged (WISE) in the mental health of the community and the wider world.

December 7, 2023: Book discussion on The Afro-Christian Convention: The Fifth Stream of the United Church of Christ, with Rev. Dr. Yvonne Delk and Dr. Julia M. Speller 

Topics for 2024 include:

  • Welcome.Us webinar with the Immigration, Refugee, and Asylum Task Team about resources for working with migrant communities 

  • Environmental Ministries  

  • Mental Health Ministries 

  • Open & Affirming Ministries 

Super Saturday

Super Saturday will return in 2024 as a Hybrid Event. This highly anticipated event will look slightly different than in years past, but will still offer a time of shared worship, helpful workshops, networking opportunities, and a time to break bread together. Mark your calendars for March 16th and look for more details later this year.

Fall Workshops

What does stewardship ministry look like today? What are the best practices to incorporate into your fall stewardship campaign? Join Grace Pomroy as she explores what stewardship is (and what it isn't), how to talk about giving with Millennials and Gen Z, how to make "the ask" during your fall stewardship campaign, and what the future of church funding might look like.
No matter where your church is on its faith journey to understanding, you are welcome at our Justice Summit! Learn more and sign up today at

The Gifts of Collaboration Across Denominations

November Workshop: (7:00-8:30 on Nov 1st) Rev. Jenny Gregg, Episcopal Diocese of Western Mass, Rev. Joel Bergeland, Zion Lutheran Church, ELCA and Rev. Mike Denton, South Congregational UCC in Pittsfield, MA.

Over the last several years, the downtown churches of Pittsfield have worked together on a variety of efforts that have brought life and revitalization to our community and individual congregations. Come and hear our joy and work together. Bring your questions and ideas. Let's dream of communities that are enriched by a collective witness of our love in Christ.

The Small Church Roundtable series will return this season beginning this fall. A team has been formed of leaders who have passion and experience in small church ministry and who will gather in September to create this year's series of discussions. Look for more information and future dates in our next edition of Innovation Now!

Communities of Practice forming now! The benefits of participating in a Community of Practice are as numerous as those who participate. Based on interest, groups are formed to begin in September and January of each year. Individuals may be invited into existing groups when an opening occurs. Want to know more? Please follow this link for more information.

Noteworthy Offerings

Noteworthy Offerings

Partners in Building 2023
Online Conference
hosted by the UCC Church Building & Loan Fund 

Your church property might be a key ingredient to your congregation’s future impact.

Partners in Building is the only Church-led, faith oriented event that provides comprehensive education about real estate redevelopment, from concept to completion. The conference is open to church leaders of any Christian denomination based in the United States. It includes opportunities to connect with loan partners, capital fundraising executives, building professionals and other experts to discuss your goals. There will be presentations and workshops on land use, repurposing resources for mission, faith-based entrepreneurship, fundraising and the future of ministry as well. 

Staff Picks

Staff Picks

Alban at Duke Divinity School
Leaders Shape Communities-"The church is an alternative community shaped by a vision of Christian discipleship. Therefore, how might Jesus’ view of power influence the way we make decisions as a church?"  Read the full article Here.

            image of a soccer player celebrating with fans

Faith and Leadership

Learning leadership lessons from the World Cup-"The 2023 Women’s World Cup can teach us about the beauty of expanding the table for all, and the ongoing need for equality."  Read the full article Here.

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This newsletter and the work of the Center for Transformational Leadership is made by possible by your church's contributions to Proportional Giving to Our Church's Wider Mission.