Words from your Area Conference Minister


Do you know what YIGBY means?
 “It’s been said at Arlington Presbyterian that the call from God to create affordable housing […] was bigger than our previous building—so the walls of the building had to come down.  This was a radical act of faith to express the radical love of God.” Welcome - Arlington Presbyterian Church
In 2016, Arlington Presbyterian Church (APC) sold its land to a non-profit developer to create 173 units of affordable housing for people who earned 60% less of the area’s median income. The church now rents the ground-floor space for services.  APC was highlighted in an AP article about a growing YIGBY – yes in God’s backyard – movement in which churches are building homes  to stem the housing crisis. 

“Even if just 10% of the faith-owned land got activated tomorrow for affordable housing,” said Rev. David Bowers, a leader of Faith-Based Development Initiative, “we’re talking about potentially hundreds of thousands of units around the country.”

Beloved, I offer the above read as food for thought as we navigate this changing religious landscape and explore what additional tools we need for our radical kin-dom building toolkits.

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.


2023 -2024 Clergy Wellness Retreats:

November 15, 2023 - Northwest Region

The Southern New England Conference is excited to once again partner with the UCC Pension Boards to offer a series of six Clergy Wellness Retreats during the 2023-24 Program Year.

There will be one retreat per region, with the intent of helping ministers build local, supportive networks of clergy colleagues.

However, clergy are welcome to choose the date and location works best for them. Please click here for registration and more information.


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.  

This year’s prize-winning sermon will be based upon a biblical text that brings to light the issue of Economic Justice and will be featured in our online Martin Luther King Day service on January 15, 2024. Deadline to submit a sermon is November 1, 2023.  More information here

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).

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.


5 Years

The Rev. Christopher Solimene - 10/21/2018



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

Church Safety Workshop

Saturday, November 18, 2-5pm

First Congregational Church, UCC
19 Church Road
Shrewsbury, MA 01545

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. REGISTER HERE


Installation of the 10th General Minister and President
Oct. 20, 5:00 PM
Lakewood Congregaitonal Church, Lakewood, Ohio, and Online
The installation of the 10th General Minister and President of the United Church of Christ, The Rev. Dr. Karen Georgia A. Thompson.


Search & Call Orientation for Clergy

Oct. 31, 2:00 to 4:00 PM • Online
We’ll discuss the overall Search & Call process, preparing your UCC Profile, interviewing skills, discernment best practices and more.


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.



2023 STEWARDSHIP Resources

October 25, 2023 - 7:30 EST
Donors Who Don't Come to Church: Engaging Donors Outside of Sunday Morning
Registration information here

2023 STEWARDSHIP Theme Materials

Materials for your congregation's annual stewardship efforts, this year featuring the theme “Because of You, Our Church Changes Lives,” connecting donor generosity with the ministry and mission of your congregation.  The materials include eight complete worship services, hymn suggestions, sermon starters and faith formation sessions for children, youth, and adults.

The materials also provide practical tools such as logos, commitment cards, bulletin inserts and letters. Campaign guidance for every step of a year-round or seasonal effort to help you make the best use of these materials for specific context and size.
Materials available as print bundles or digital downloads. 

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: Launching Light
Oct. 23, 2:00 to 3:00 PM  • Online
Elizabeth Christie and Karen Ware Jackson will share how they plan to use the "Light" curriculum for Advent and Christmas to equip families for faith formation not only at church, but everywhere else!

PRC Webinar: Holy Listening
Oct. 24, 2:00 to 3:00 PM • Online
Holy Listening is a sacred technique that helps children and teens discover their spiritual strength and resiliency. It can be used with all the children and teens in your church, community, at school and at home. 

PRC: Now and Next for Youth Ministry
Nov. 2, 2:00 to 3:00 PM • Online
Deech Kirk of the Center for Youth Ministry Training describes some of the common challenges confronting youth ministry today and some of the characteristics of the newer, innovative ministry models that are taking shape.

PRC: Writing a Protection Policy that Works for Children, Youth, and Vulnerable Adults
Nov. 7, 2:00 to 3:00 PM • Online
Whether you're starting from scratch or looking to update/edit a current policy, join us to learn about writing a policy that actually works for your congregation.



PATHWAYS Theological Education, Inc. is pleased to announce the appointment of The Rev. Dr. Ruth E. Shaver as Academic Dean of the program. Shaver says, “I started seminary thinking that I would become an academic. God had other plans for the short term, leading me into Christian Education and then parish ministry before I had the opportunity to teach on the faculty of the Penn West Academy. That led me to PATHWAYS and now to this position, where I feel like an academic with the added joy of working in parish ministry. I really do have the best of both worlds.”  

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.

Better Together:  Gifts of Collaboration Across Denominations:

Join 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 as they share their stories of collaboration. 

Lunch & Learn: Shepherding Congregations into and through Generative Conflict

Nov. 16, 12:00 to 1:00 PM • Online
When we join together in community, a lack of shared norms for successfully navigating conflict further enflames toxic polarization. This workshop will provide tools and language to help shepherd our congregations into and through generative conflict.

Faith Formation

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 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. 

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.

Exploring the United Church of Christ - Our History, Our Beliefs, Our Identity
Oct. 28, 8:30 AM to 12:30 PM • Online
An overview of the birth, development, structure, beliefs, values, and ethos of the United Church of Christ.  A class in the SNEUCC Faith Formation Leadership Program, in partnership with Eden Theological Seminary.

2023 Harvest Day Women's Yoga Retreat at Silver Lake
Oct. 28, 10 AM to 4 PM
Silver Lake Camp & Retreat Center, Sharon, CT

A day of exploration and restoration, rather than performance and perfectionism.

Faith Formation Round Table: Intergenerational Worship, Part II
Nov. 7, 12:00 to 1:00 PM • Online
A brief overview on welcome and inclusion, and sharing of resources on creating a prayground space and ways to incorporate storytelling and a message for all ages. 


Racial Justice Cross-Pollination Gathering
October 23, 6:30 PM  • Online (Monthly on the fourth Monday)

Racial Justice Book Study on 'Afro-Christian Convention: The Fifth Stream of the United Church of Christ'
December 7th, 12:00PM - 1:30PM

Join our book discussion on The Afro-Christian Convention: The Fifth Stream of the United Church of Christ, a program of the Justice Lunch & Learn series presented by Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, in partnership with the Center for Transformational Leadership.

Book editor Rev. Dr. Yvonne Delk and contributor Dr. Julia M. Speller will lead the discussion on Dec. 7 at noon. There will be an optional racial justice certification component for clergy. More details to come!   Click here for more information and to register.


 Becoming WISE: Breaking the Silence about Mental Illness in our Churches and Communities

Nov. 2, 12:00 to 1:30 PM • Online
This DEI Lunch & Learn session will e led by Rev. Dr. Sarah Lund, UCC Minister for Disabilities & Mental Health Justice

Ongoing Gatherings:

*Cross-Pollination Gathering: Environmental Ministries
Oct. 16, 6:30 PM • Online (Monthly on the third Monday)

Oct. focus: What does it take to put solar panels on our church?
*Racial Justice Cross-Pollination Gathering
Oct. 23, 6:30 PM  • Online (Monthly on the fourth Monday)
Oct. focus: How do we set and measure goals for racial justice programs?
*Open and Affirming Cross Pollination Gatherings
Nov. 13, 6:30 to 7:30 PM • Online (Monthly on the second Monday)
Nov. topicHow do we move from LGBTQ+ inclusion to belonging?

Outdoor Ministries

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


Edwards House Meeting & Retreat Center, Framingham, MA  

Irons Homestead, Gloucester, RI  

Pilgrim Day Camp, Framingham, MA  

Silver Lake Camp & Retreat Center, Sharon, CT  

2023 Our Whole Lives (OWL) Facilitator Training

Nov. 10 to 12
Silver Lake Camp & Retreat Center, Sharon, CT
Elementary Grades Training, which covers curriculum for two levels; Grades K-1 and 4-6. OWL is the nation’s most highly regarded sexuality education curriculum

Youth Retreat: Sabbath in a Modern Age
Nov. 10 - 12
Silver Lake Camp & Retreat Center, Sharon, CT
This 2-day retreat is intended for teens  to worship, to sing, build community, and to reflect on the meaning of Sabbath in our modern, technological world

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.

The Rev. Allen Humes - 10/4/2023


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.

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.