Words from your Area Conference Minister


As evening approached, the disciples came to him and said, “This is a remote place, and it’s already getting late. Send the crowds away, so they can go to the villages and buy themselves some food.” Jesus replied, “They do not need to go away. You give them something to eat.” “We have here only five loaves of bread and two fish,” they answered.
-Matthew 14.15-17
Inadequate!  Not enough time, not enough resources, not enough!  Matthew 14 starts with Jesus’ learning of the depraved murder of John the Baptist.  In grief and presumably anger, he withdrew to be alone. However, crowds followed him still wanting to be healed.  Although needing healing himself, Jesus, was compelled by compassion – like so many of us in ministry – to push through.
The disciples noticed that the day was ending and people’s stomachs were starting to growl (most likely theirs).  They didn’t have enough food and hadn’t budgeted for a catered meal; hence, their advice to Jesus.  However, Jesus was compelled by compassion – like so many of us in ministry – to feed the people anyway.
The needs are high even as many of our congregations face decreasing membership numbers, pledges, and endowments.  It’s easy for feelings of inadequacy to creep in; feelings of not only not having enough, but feelings of not being enough.  Feeling overwhelmed myself, I encountered the words below from Steve Garnaas-Holmes in an ACM devotional time:         
“Receive my inadequacy [God]. 
Let it be in your hands, not mine.
Let my lack be space for you.”

Beloved, I invite you to be not discouraged, but to make space for the Divine to work miracles even with our inadequacies.  Perhaps unlike Jesus, I also invite you to take your Sabbaths and stick to them! Trust and equip other leaders in your congregation to minister.  There are times when compassion compels us to push through to meet the needs of others, and there are times when compassion for self must compel us to take the rest that we need to be well.  The Good News is that the Holy is still at work, so make space for miracles not relying on our strength alone!
Be well,

Rev. Isaac Lawson

Area Conference Minister, South Central Region

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 South Central 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

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.

Be on the look-out for the 2023-24 Clergy Wellness Retreats.

Each region will have a dedicated date and time which will start in November 2023 - May 2024.  More information coming soon!


ATTENTION ALL MIDs:  Proclaiming the good news of the gospel is a passion and commitment we share. We hope you will join us in doing so by sharing the enclosed invitation with your theological students. The Donald A. Wells Preaching Prize was established in 2007 to honor the years of service of the Rev. Dr. Donald A. Wells, Executive Director Emeritus of the Massachusetts Bible Society. Dr. Wells, a devoted advocate for social and economic justice, served as Executive Director for nearly twenty years.  

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.

  • November 13, 2023, 9:30am-2:30pm
  • January 9 & 10, 2024, 6:30pm-8:30pm (both sessions must be attended.

New Haven Pride 2023:  

SNEUCC is deciding to support/sponsor New Haven Pride and to partner with United Church on the Green in New Haven in providing also providing a conference presence at this community event.


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).

If your name or church has been missed please contact Roz Hooks and updates will be made to your record and reflected in the next newsletter.


65 Years

The Rev. Donald Miller - 9/28/1958

25 Years

The Rev. Dr. Stanley Sencabaugh - 9/27/2998




First Church of Middletown


Enfield Congregational Church


First Church of Christ Congregational, Glastonbury


First Church of West Hartford 

First Congregational Church of Old Lyme


Newent Congregational Church


Ellington Congregational Church


First Congregational Church in Bloomfield

The Congregational Church in Killingworth

The Congregational Church of Union


West Suffield Congregational Church


Congregational Church of East Hampton

Gilead Congregational Church


The First Church in Hartland


Wolcott Congregational Church


Avon Congregational Church


Terryville Congregational Church


Park Church, Norwich


Fishers Island Union Chapel 

Conference & Partner Updates

Offerings from MESA

There is so much to learn when you are new to a COM! This webinar supports orientation of new COM members by covering topics such as roles, boundaries, theological foundations, ethical participation, and discernment. This webinar is meant to compliment, not replace, orientation provided by COMs. All are welcome, but especially appropriate for new COM members

What’s in a Collection: The Creation and Publication of an Inventory List
Sept. 20, 1:00 to 2:00 PM • Online
Congregational Library Archivists will walk you through how to create an inventory list, what tools can be used to create the inventory, and how to make that inventory accessible for those wishing to view the archive.

Advent Worship Planning Webinar
Sept. 20, 2:30 to 5:00 PM • Online
Music that Makes Community offers their annual webinar offering worship ideas, preaching/planning prompts, and suggested congregational songs and choral music from varied musical traditions.

The Historical Directory of the Christian Denomination and Afro-Christian Churches
Sept. 27, 1:00 to 2:00 PM  • Online
A Congregational Library virtual discussion with author Richard H. Taylor about this important new resource.

Music That Makes Community Workshop
Sept.30, 9:30 AM to 4:00 PM
Pilgrim United Church of Christ, New Bedford, MA

Singing, learning, and fellowship, with a focus on singing as a practice that can enliven congregational worship and strengthen our commitments to welcome all people.

SAVE THE DATE:  Church Safety Workshop

Saturday, November 28, 2-5pm

First Congregational Church of Shrewsbury, MA (no online option)

With presentations from Lisa Gonzalez at the UCC Insurance Boards, local insurance agents, and the federal government Protective Security Advisor Program, churches will feel better equipped to extend extravagant welcome while keeping themselves and their ministries safe. This free workshop is made possible by the UCC Insurance Board and your Proportional Giving. We encourage churches to send a few delegates, especially from your Safe Church Committee, Trustees, Buildings & Grounds, Council or whatever groups will benefit more. Registration will be live by 10/1/23.


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.  Sign up here.


Protecting Your Church: Considerations in the Wake of Civil Unrest

The foundation of mitigating risk is proper planning. Now more than ever, developing a disaster preparedness plan is critical.  This plan should include all potential incidents (weather, chemical spills, civil unrest, and pandemics). Since many churches have not resumed operations, now is the perfect time to address these concerns as part of your plan to reopen. Churches across the country have recently encountered new challenges in the form of peaceful protests that have turned violent; naturally, congregations are concerned about their church property. Based on options for consideration provided by the Department of Homeland Security, we have provided information to help keep your congregation and church property safe. Without knowing specific information about a facility and its threat environment, it is not possible to recommend considerations that are specific for your house of worship.  Insurance Board protects your ministry by offering resources to support it.



Once a upon a time, donors gave out of a sense of obligation and loyalty. Today, most donors care about the impact they make in the world. We will discuss ways to discuss your congregation's impact on your community.  Wednesday, Sep 27, 2023 07:30 PM - ONLINE

All Stewardship Webinars offered in 2023 by the National UCC Office are listed here. 

Practical Resources for Churches

The Southern New England Conference is a member of this group and all churches can access their offerings. PRCLI offers webinars and online workshops, check them out! They can be found here.

PRC Webinar - Two More Small-Church Worship Strengths: Co-Creator Gifts & Widening the Word
Sept. 26, 2:00 PM to 3:00 PM • Online
Learn how to diagnose your local gifts and curate lavish worship with them. In this webinar, you’ll learn to deepen worship with and for your community.

PRC Webinar - Dementia Friendly Congregations
Oct. 3, 2:00 PM to 3:00 PM  • Online
We’ll delve into how your congregation can support people with dementia and their caregivers, and create a welcoming environment.

PRC - Making the Best of Our Third Thirty
Oct. 5, 2:00 to 3:00 PM  • Online
The webinar will discuss how we can Pray, Plan and Prepare for our own aging journey so that the last chapters of our lives can be the best possible, both for us and our loved ones. 



PATHWAYS’ Fall Schedule of Courses, Register now for the Fall II courses. The registration process is easy and remains open through the first day of class.  If you have questions, please contact us through the website.
Fall II:  6-week upcoming courses beginning October 9, 2023


SNE Women's Fall Rejuvenating and Relaxation Retreat

Deadline for registration is Wednesday, September 20th

The SNE Women's Connection Team is planning a Fall Rejuvenating and Relaxation Retreat to be held at the Barrington Congregational Church in Barrington, Rhode Island on Saturday, September 30, 2023.  

Registration begins at 9:30 a.m. - program starts at 10:00 a.m. 
There will be various activities centered around prayer, fellowship, embracing nature, small healing and wellness groups, plant-based education and communion. 

Lunch will be included in the registration fee of $35.00.  A registration form is available here and hotel information is here. 


The Center for Transformational Leadership equips clergy and lay leaders, congregations and covenantal partners of the SNEUCC with resources, tools and support to create a new vision and do the transformative ministry they are called to do in the local church, local community and the world.

  • Lunch & Learn: Revising Your Church's Bylaws 
    Sept. 21, 12:00 to 1:00 PM  • Online 
    When the timing is right, the purpose is clear, and a plan is in place, revising a set of bylaws can breathe new life into a congregation. 

Faith Formation

SNEUCC OWL Trainings

Exploring Curriculum & Digital Resources - a Faith Formation Leadership Program Class
Oct. 21, 8:30 AM to 12:30 PM  • Live Online
How to evaluate, select, and adapt curriculum materials based on the appropriateness for the congregation’s needs and mission.

Registration is now open for the 2023-2024 Faith Formation Leadership Training and Certification courses. This program is the only theologically progressive entry-level training opportunity for faith formation and youth ministry leaders in the the country! Participants may choose to take classes either as stand-alone opportunities, or as part of a process for certification in faith formation &/or youth ministry leadership in the Southern New England Conference UCC.    

SNEUCC Offers Two OWL Training Opportunities 
Oct 6 – 8, Edwards House, Framingham, MA 
Nov. 10 –12, Silver Lake Camp & Retreat Center, Sharon, CT. 
These facilitator training retreats are being led by Jane Detwiler and Sandra Greenfield. 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 the United Church of Christ 's values. 



2023 Justice Summit: Trans & Nonbinary Belonging in the Church


Oct. 7, 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM
Old South Church, Boston, MA and Online
This full-day event will include worship and preaching, workshops, relationship-building and connection.

Outdoor Ministries

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

2023 Grief Retreat at Silver Lake - Taking care of ME while Remembering YOU 

Sept. 22 - 24 
Silver Lake Camp & Retreat Center, Sharon, CT 
Whether it has been recent or more than a decade since your loved one died, learning to live again can be a challenging journey. 

Edwards House Meeting & Retreat Center, Framingham, MA  

Irons Homestead, Gloucester, RI  

Pilgrim Day Camp, Framingham, MA  

Silver Lake Camp & Retreat Center, Sharon, CT  

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.


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.

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 South Central Region of the Southern New England Conference. The Regional Newsletter will now be sent on a monthly basis. The regular schedule will be on or near 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.


South Central Region of
The Southern New England Conference, United Church of Christ

805 Old Main St.
Rocky Hill, CT 06067
860-761-7196 ext. 165

This newsletter is made by possible by your church's contributions to
Proportional Giving to Our Church's Wider Mission.