How Do You Define Innovation?

How do you define Innovation? This is one of the most important questions a congregation can ask itself OR perhaps a better way to frame this is: defining innovation is an important practice that will prompt a congregation to ask some of the most important questions it may need to consider as it discerns how to transform ministry and mission now and in the future. Assistant Director, Karen Ziel, writes on definitions of innovation showing up in the current cultural lexicon by authors suggesting various ways that understanding innovation and transformation may assist churches in moving through these times.

(4.50 mins.) Read more from Karen on Innovation here 

Grieving is a journey, not a destination. 

We can tend to our relationship with God throughout the legacy building and ministry completion process, with activities tailored to this process. We can be intentional about naming what will be lost, grieving, and moving towards healing and wholeness in times of worship, prayer, singing; guided reflection, special sacraments, and Bible study.

(2.40 mins.) Continue Reading Charlie's insights here

Discover insights and ideas in what we've been reading!

Our Director, Heather recommends:
-An article from Gallup- 
by Jeffrey M. Jones

In U.S., 47% Identify as Religious, 33% as Spiritual

Nearly half of Americans (47%) describe themselves as religious, another 33% say they are spiritual but not religious, and 2% volunteer they are “both.” Although the vast majority of U.S. adults have one of these orientations toward the nonphysical world, the 18% who say they are neither religious nor spiritual is twice the proportion Gallup measured when it first asked this question in 1999. Over the same period, the percentage identifying as religious has declined by seven percentage points. Continue Reading and learn more here.

Assistant Director Karen recommends:
-An article from UCC Vital Signs and Statistics-

The Graceful Goodbye by Gail Irwin

I’m leaving my church. In fact, this is the seventh time I’ve left a church in the last twelve years. As an Intentional Interim Pastor, leaving churches is part of my job. I’ve learned that departure is a task full of gratitude, grief, and awkward, emotional encounters with people I care about.

(4 mins.) Read Gail's entire reflection here.  

We are pleased to invite our congregations and their leaders to a variety of program opportunities created with your expressed needs in mind. As you prepare to register for the exciting programs being offered, The Center for Transformational Leadership would like to share some guidance - tips and practices - for registration to our events.

You can find them here!

Season of Jubilee Affinity Group Enrolling Now!

An invitation and opportunity for nearly and newly retired clergy to gather together for engagement on the topic of retirement and fellowship with other clergy navigating this new life transition. The first presentation will feature Rev. Dr. Bruce Epperly about navigating retirement based on the research he conducted on clergy retirement and his resulting book, "The Jubilee Years: Embracing Clergy Retirement". This opportunity is a chance to gather with others at this life-stage in a series of 7 sessions, each addressing a relevant topic. We will gather and explore meaningful service in retirement, ways to navigate spiritual changes, relationships, 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 with knowledge and experience to enable the cohort to openly explore some aspect of the retirement journey. The sessions will be hosted by the staff of the Center for Transformational Leadership.

For all the details, cost, more information, and to REGISTER link here.

Year 3 Fall Series of Lunch and Learn Webinars Continues!

Coming In October-

More information and REGISTER here!

Coming in November-

More information and REGISTER here!


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: 

“100 Percent ONA:” Living a successful ONA ministry REGISTER Here!

Upcoming programs include:

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 (Special 90-mins program) 

Better Together:  
The Gifts of Collaboration Across Denominations
November 1st at 7 PM

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 own stories and let's together dream of communities that are enriched by a collective witness of our love in Christ. 
Presented by:
Rev. Jenny Gregg, Episcopal Diocese of Western Mass,
Rev. Joel Bergeland, Zion Lutheran Church, Pittsfield, MA and
Rev. Mike Denton, First and South Church, Pittsfield, MA

Save the Date!
Small Church Roundtable Series Begins

Our popular series returns bringing hope and inspiration to lay and clergy leaders serving small congregations. Join the Small Church Advisory Team members for 75-minutes of lively conversation.

November 9th from 1-2:15 PM

Watch our website for registration and more information! 

From our Partners at Practical Resources for Churches

 Link here to Upcoming Webinars! 

We'd recommend: 

Dementia Friendly Congregations
Tuesday, October 3, 2023
2:00 - 3:00 PM EDT
Leader - Pat Baker

Mission Possible for the Small Church:
Simplifying Leadership & Structure

Thursday, November 9, 2023
2:00 - 3:00 PM EST
Leader - Kay Kotan

The Center for Transformational Leadership is here to serve you!
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This newsletter is made by possible by your church's contributions to Proportional Giving to Our Church's Wider Mission.