2019 Annual Meeting Workshop Details

Following the theme for the Annual Meeting, this year’s workshops have been organized following four different tracks. This means that if you are interested in a particular aspect of the theme, you can find at least one workshop addressing that particular focus during each workshop time. Of course, you do not need to follow any particular track and can just choose what is appealing to you during each workshop time.

SIGN UP FOR WORKSHOPS

The four tracks are as follows:

  1. Unity Across the Lines
  2. Strategies for Creating Unity
  3. Unity Within and Without
  4. Unity with Creation

Friday 6:30p – 8:00p

Conversations in Theological Diversity – (Track 1)

Participants will describe their theological location and have the opportunity to ask one another questions about their descriptions of their theologies. This gives a space in which we can express our diverse theologies and grow in our understanding of others. We will touch on a tangential discussion of social location as a contributing factor in our theological development.

PRESENTER:  Rev. Glenna Shepherd, Pastor at Pleasant Hill Community Church. She has facilitated this on four continents, and it has invariably led to greater understanding and appreciation of the variety of theologies that are represented in our faith communities.

Welcoming our Veterans and their families to enter our doors and stay on our pews: Recognizing the challenges of re-integration and building a pathway to care – (Track 1)

Many say one of the first casualties of war is the God of one’s childhood. Our faith communities often are an important point of contact for our veterans and their families, and yet sometimes we are unaware of how to have conversations that directly relate to the wounds of war. During our time together we can explore pertinent topics such as: Identifying potential conflicts between civilian and military cultures; Deployment; Moral injury; PTSD; Suicide Prevention; Hearing the narratives.

PRESENTER: Rev. Jennifer Crenshaw has met Fellow level with the American Association of Pastoral Counselors, and is currently the Vice President of the Tennessee Association of Pastoral Psychotherapists. She has worked with veterans from every era co-facilitating PTSD groups and counseling those with Military Sexual Trauma as well as the palliative end of life care. Jennifer is a member of Brookmeade Congregational Church, Nashville TN.

A Brief Summary of Gender – (Track 1)

In service to others, we should try to understand each other as much as we can while admitting that sometimes we don’t. The way that we classify our own gender identities, or choose not to do so, should be a constant dialogue with any ‘others’ that we may not understand. Questions and respect are integral, as is the knowledge that self-expression is constant and should never be suppressed by self or others.

PRESENTER: Mr. Gavin Warren is a Vanderbilt Divinity graduate seeking ordination in the UCC. He currently serves as the Secretary to the Board of Directors of the Southeast Conference and worships at Holy Trinity Community Church in Nashville, TN.

Church Marketing Best Practices – (Track 2)

This workshop will cover how to improve your church’s visibility in your community. It will discuss how to lay a strategic foundation and define your congregation’s personality. We’ll discuss how to be persuasive without being manipulative by building and launching a good church marketing plan with goals, strategies and action steps. We’ll also provide best practices for using social media and your church’s website.

PRESENTER: Don Harris is our Conference Communications Director. He has been designing websites since 1995, and working with churches around the country for the last decade to help improve their online presence.

What Holds us Together as the Southeast Conference? – (Track 3)

Churches and Ministers in the Southeast Conference are diverse in their geography, history, theology, and focus for mission. You are invited to join in a conversation about what is it that holds us together.  What are the values that we have in common and how to we live out those values as the Southeast Conference?

PRESENTER: Rev. Char Burch has been serving as the Transitional Conference Minister for the Southeast Conference since January 2019. She has specialized in interim/transitional ministry for 37 years and is a member of Pleasant Hill Community Church, Pleasant Hill, TN.

Healthy Ministry Begins with Self-Care – (Track 3)

In this workshop, we will consider the priority of self-care in ministry, assess our efforts at self-care, and examine possibilities for change and support.

PRESENTER: Rev. Marie Fortune is the Founder of FaithTrust Institute and author of the first curriculum for clergy on healthy boundaries. She also has written IS NOTHING SACRED?, KEEPING THE FAITH, and SEXUAL VIOLENCE: THE SIN REVISITED. She is semi-retired and living at Uplands Village.

Restoring Dignity at Home and Abroad – (Track 3)

Global Ministries is the combined overseas ministries of both the Disciples of Christ and United Church of Christ denominations. We walk with people, organizations, and churches all over the world to share God’s love by restoring dignity. But what is dignity and how do we restore it? In this workshop, we will discuss global missions, the church, and how to restore dignity at home and abroad.

PRESENTER: Ms. Cara McKinney has been serving as a Global Mission intern since 2016 with Melei Xojobal, a children’s advocacy partner in Chiapas, Mexico. Chiapas is located in the Southern Mexican state, bordering Guatemala, with a large indigenous community.  She is a member of the Disciples Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Cleveland, OH.

How We Are Bringing A Community Solar Array to Pleasant Hill – (Track 4)

The workshop will share the process of how the project developed at Pleasant Hill, TN. It began with an idea which was shared with meetings arranged to spread the word, and then a committee evolved to develop and carry out necessary tasks. The presentation will include the current status of the project.

PRESENTER: Ms. Gail Ford is a member of Pleasant Hill Community Church where she is the Core Minister for Congregational Care. She initiated the solar project within at Pleasant Hill and is chair of the Solar Committee. Her major qualification for doing this is her interest and willingness to engage in making this happen.

Saturday 9:00a – 10:30a

Stewardship and Ministry… and Why your OCWM Support Matters – (Track 1)

There are three foci to this workshop: To broaden the vision of Our Churches Wider Missions, and to provide insight as to how our contributions support these causes; To provide support and education on how to start planned giving programs; To establish plans that can transform your ministry or projects that can fortify your endowments in the future.

PRESENTER: Ms. Carrole Moss is the Generosity Coordinator for the Southeast Conference.  She is a minister at Victory for the World Church, in Stone Mountain, GA

Doing Justice – Loving Mercy – Walking Humbly: Engaging Your Church in Social Justice – (Track 1)

There are very few UCC churches that do not take the call to ministries of social justice seriously. Although our spirits are willing, bodies and minds sometimes need some help. In this workshop, we will 1st talk in general terms about a spiritual basis for doing this work.  We will then have an informal panel discussion to hear how other churches are doing this important work.

PRESENTER: Rev. Alan Ballentine is involved in community and social justice ministries in the Huntsville, AL area. He is active and provides pulpit supply for the United Church of Huntsville. He is also a Software Change/Configuration Manager for a small aerospace and defense contractor in Huntsville.

Resurrection, Faith, Ministry: The Unlikely Story of an LGBT Youth Program in the Deep South –  (Track 1)

This workshop will explain how a small, new church overcame a tremendous setback to their primary community ministry, a weekly support group for LGBTQ teens and, in regrouping, created a far more impactful organization. Presenters will share 1) a ​resurrection story​ about overcoming a threat to the youth group through its rebirth as a 501c3 with powerful curriculum and leadership, 2) a ​faith story​ about strengthening and trusting community connections to take the ministry to new heights, and 3) a ​ministerial story​ about listening to and serving “the least of these” (our LGBTQ kids) without using Christian language they associate with prejudice and harm. The presenters will invite discussion from participants about successes and challenges of a nontraditional model for youth ministry in which the church ministers to youth in the community context, not within the ministries of the church.

PRESENTERS: Rev. Ellen Sims, Pastor of Open Table UCC in Mobile, AL; Justin Litaker and Corey Harvard, Executive Directors of Prism United and active members of Open Table UCC.

Shattering the Mental Health Stigmas – (Track 1)

This workshop will be a conversation around confronting the stigmas in our church and community. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) one in every five Americans experienced a mental disorder in any given year, and half of all Americans have such disorders at some time in their lives. Our purpose is to raise awareness and offer fundamental tools to deal with this growing issue in our homes, churches, and communities.

PRESENTER: Dr. Bryan Jones is a professional counselor, an ordained minister, clinical chaplain and clinical pastoral education supervisor. Dr. Jones is the Executive Director of the Joshua Generation Care and Consultant Services, LLC.  Dr. Jones has been featured as special guest on several shows discussing mental health, spiritual health, and wellness.  Dr. Jones is the host of the radio show. “Therapeutic Conversations” which airs every Saturday on 108 praise radio in Atlanta.

Conversation with the General Minister and President of the UCC – (Track 2)

This is an opportunity to have a dialogue with the Rev. Dr. John Dorhauer: ask questions about the national setting of the UCC and the focus of the mission of the United Church of Christ.

PRESENTER: Rev. John Dorhauer has been the General Minister and President of the UCC since 2015. He has served as a local church pastor in Missouri, as an Associate Conference Minister in the Missouri Mid-South Conference, and then Conference Minister of the Southwest Conference of the UCC prior to his election as General Minister and President.

Where Do I Start in Retirement? – (Track 3)

The workshop will present various items and concerns to consider as you approach retirement. There will also be an opportunity to learn about Uplands Village which is a Life Plan Community related to the United Church of Christ.

PRESENTER: Ms. Sheri Collins, Director of Marketing for Uplands Village in Pleasant Hill, TN.

Grow Your Own Church Green Team – (Track 4)

The workshop will include: 1) What our belief and faith tells us about protecting our earth; 2) How to get started with a Green team; 3) What kinds of things you need to think about going forward in your Green Team.

PRESENTER: Ms. Sue Peeples is the Co-Minister of the Justice and Mission Core Ministry at Pleasant Hill Community Church, Pleasant Hill TN; Leader of the church’s Green Team; and Lifetime conservationist and recycler.

Saturday 10:45a – 12:15p

Shattering the Mental Health Stigmas – (Track 1)

This workshop will be a conversation around confronting the stigmas in our church and community. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NACM) one in every five Americans experienced a mental disorder in any given year, and half of all Americans have such disorders at some time in their lives. Our purpose is to raise awareness and offer fundamental tools to deal with this growing issue in our homes, churches and communities.

PRESENTER: Dr. Bryan Jones is a professional counselor, an ordained minister, clinical chaplain and clinical pastoral education supervisor. Dr. Jones is the Executive Director of the Joshua Generation Care and Consultant Services, LLC.  Dr. Jones has been featured as special guest on several shows discussing mental health, spiritual health and wellness.  Dr. Jones is the host of the radio show. “Therapeutic Conversations” which airs every Saturday on 108 praise radio in Atlanta.

Church Marketing Best Practices – (Track 2)

This workshop will cover how to improve your church’s visibility in your community. It will discuss how to lay a strategic foundation and define your congregation’s personality. We’ll discuss how to be persuasive without being manipulative by building and launching a good church marketing plan with goals, strategies and action steps. We’ll also provide best practices for using social media and your church’s website.

PRESENTER: Don Harris is our Conference Communications Director. He has been designing websites since 1995, and working with churches around the country for the last decade to help improve their online presence.

Conversation with the General Minister and President of the UCC – (Track 2)

This is an opportunity to have a dialogue with the Rev. Dr. John Dorhauer: ask questions about the national setting of the UCC and the focus of the mission of the United Church of Christ.

PRESENTER: Rev. John Dorhauer has been the General Minister and President of the UCC since 2015. He has served as a local church pastor in Missouri, as an Associate Conference Minister in the Missouri Mid-South Conference, and then Conference Minister of the Southwest Conference of the UCC prior to his election as General Minister and President.

United in Song – (Track 2)

What better way to celebrate unity than to sing together? We’ll participate in a fun, upbeat rehearsal and then sing for the Saturday afternoon worship service.  All skill levels encouraged!  Songs will be at least somewhat familiar.

PRESENTER: Rev. Glenna Shepherd is Pastor at Pleasant Hill Community Church. She has taught classes in worship, the arts, music, and preaching for three decades and has designed worship for a number of conferences. She is a contributor to the resources of Worship Design Studio. With a masters degree in music and having served in several congregations as Minister of Music, she brings a love of poetry, music, and drama to the creation of worship experiences that connect on multiple levels.

Supporting Members in Discernment –  (Track 3)

Does your church have a member who is considering a call to ministry?  Do you have a Member in Discernment at your church already? If you have ever wondered how your church can support them in their journey, this is an opportunity to learn more from those who have moved through the process, or supported Members in the process.

PRESENTER: Rev. Heather Fosburgh serves as the Associate Conference Minister for the Southeast Conference. She is a member of Kirkwood UCC, Atlanta.

Taking it Back to Church: A Mini Boundary Awareness Training for Laity – (Track 3)

The workshop is designed: To increase awareness of the need for healthy and appropriate boundaries in the clergy/congregant relationship; To provide clergy and spiritual leaders with guidelines and suggestions for developing appropriate boundaries and necessary self-care strategies; To illustrate the impact of appropriate versus inappropriate boundaries in promoting effective ministry.

PRESENTERS:  Ms. Carrole Moss serves as a Boundary Awareness Trainer and is the Generosity Coordinator for the Conference. She serves Victory for the World church in Stone Mountain, GA as an associate minister. Carrole served on the Conference Commission on Ministry for 12 years in various positions.

Rev. Marsha Brown is the pastor of Phoenix Christian Church (UCC) in Wildersville, TN;  a member of the Conference Commission on Ministry; and has completed FaithTrust Boundary Awareness leadership training.  She was among the first ministers ordained through Pathways, a program of the United Church of Christ.

Sanctuary of the Heart: Developing New Ways to Accompany our Immigrant Neighbors –  (Track 3)

In this workshop, we will focus on emerging forms of mission and advocacy for immigrants, particularly in the “Bible belt” where many of our churches are located.  What can we do as UCC congregations? How can we re-frame the conversation about undocumented immigrants in each of our cities?  Come and learn about the new ways that some congregations are forming relationships with immigrant communities. You will also receive an educational plan for an adult Sunday school program  (aimed at changing the hearts of more conservative congregations) to use in your home communities.

PRESENTER: Ms. Tonya Barnette, serves as Minister for Youth and Children at Church of the Savior UCC, Knoxville and is a Member in Discernment in the Southeast Conference. She has been part of faith-based pilgrimages to the border in Tucson Arizona, the southern border of Mexico, Honduras, and Guatemala and is passionate about all facets of immigration, asylum, and refuge in Knoxville. She will graduate from Lexington Theological Seminary with a Masters of Theological Studies in June.

Faith to Fight: Faith and Environmental Justice –  (Track 4)

This workshop is designed to be a discussion on Environmental Justice, Equity, and Race.  We will discuss the history of the UCC in the Environmental Justice Movement and we will be challenged on what we can do as a faith community to combat environmental injustices in the communities that we serve in.

PRESENTER: Rev. Michael Malcolm is the Environmental Justice Representative for the Southeast Conference of the UCC; Pastor of Rush Memorial UCC in Atlanta; Executive Director of The People’s Justice Council, and Alabama Interfaith Power and Light.

Sunday 9:00a – 10:30a

A Brief Summary of Gender – (Track 1)

In service to others, we should try to understand each other as much as we can while admitting that sometimes we don’t. The way that we classify our own gender identities, or choose not to do so, should be a constant dialogue with any ‘others’ that we may not understand. Questions and respect are integral, as is the knowledge that self-expression is constant and should never be suppressed by self or others.

PRESENTER: Mr. Gavin Warren is a Vanderbilt Divinity graduate seeking ordination in the UCC. He currently serves as the Secretary to the Board of Directors of the Southeast Conference and worships at Holy Trinity Community Church in Nashville, TN.

How Does the UCC Work? – Polity 101 – (Track 3)

Local Churches, the Conference, General Synod, Ministers, lay members – ever wonder how all these groups interact and interface in the UCC? This workshop will be a crash course on how the different parts of the United Church of Christ relate and fit with one another.  What roles each play and how their work is connected and supported by the other. The workshop will also highlight ways you can learn more and delve deeper into our polity or structure.

PRESENTER: Rev. Heather Fosburgh serves as the Associate Conference Minister for the Southeast Conference.  She is a member of Kirkwood UCC, Atlanta.

Restoring Dignity at Home and Abroad – (Track 3)

Global Ministries is the combined overseas ministries of both the Disciples of Christ and United Church of Christ denominations. We walk with people, organizations, and churches all over the world to share God’s love by restoring dignity. But what is dignity and how do we restore it? In this workshop, we will discuss global missions, the church, and how to restore dignity at home and abroad.

PRESENTER: Ms. Cara McKinney has been serving as a Global Mission intern since 2016 with Melei Xojobal, a children’s advocacy partner in Chiapas, Mexico. Chiapas is located in the Southern Mexican state, bordering Guatemala, with a large indigenous community.  She is a member of the Disciples Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Cleveland, OH.

Greening Your Church: Getting Started – (Track 4)

Going green is popular, but adopting a green mindset is not always easy. Committed Earth stewardship involves multiple phases including thinking green and acting green. In this class, we’ll provide suggestions for how to make your church more environmentally friendly.

Presenter: Don Harris (our Conference Communications Director) has a Bachelor of Architecture degree from the University of Oklahoma, is a registered architect, and a LEED Accredited Professional.