2021 Annual Meeting: Healing Forward

Annual Meeting June 18-19, 2021

Such a wonderful time we had at our 55th Annual Meeting! Our theme of “Healing Forward” provided us with the opportunity to reflect on the brokenness that we have seen and experienced this past year while we looked forward to who God calls us to be.

Thank You!

Many people should be recognized for their time and hard work in making the Annual Meeting possible: The Annual Meeting Planning Committee, Worship participants, Worship leaders, Social Hour Emcees, our Tech Team, and our Sponsors. We also thank Ugena Whitlock as the moderator who guided us through the Business session. Click here to view the list of those who helped to make the Annual Meeting a successful event.

Pre-Annual Meeting Events – Open to everyone!

Tuesday, June 15, 7 pm EDT/6 pm CDT – Hearing on the proposed budget and proposed changes to the Conference Constitution/Bylaws.

Thursday, June 17, 7 pm EDT/6 pm CDT – Special Presentation on “Juneteenth.” So what is it and why is it important to many of our churches? Our guest presenter is Bishop Yvette Flunder, pastor of City of Refuge UCC, Oakland, CA and Bishop of The Fellowship of Affirming Ministries. A recording of the video is available on YouTube.

Annual Meeting – June 18-19

Those who registered before June 6 will receive Gift Boxes – with items to use in the Opening Worship, a Raffle Ticket for the Friday Evening Social Time, and special items to remember this Annual Meeting.

Friday:

  • 7:00 pm EDT/6:00 pm CDT – Opening Worship (VIEW on YouTube)
    We begin with Worship that will introduce our theme, “Healing Forward:” naming brokenness that we have experienced this past year and leading to ways we move forward.  It will include music from our local churches; preaching by Rev. Kim Wood, the candidate for Conference Minister; Holy Communion, etc.
  • 8:30 pm EDT/7:30 pm CDT – Social Hour via Zoom
    This is an informal BYOB (Bring Your Own Beverage) event.  Come visit with people, have a conversation with Rev. Kim Wood, AND be present to win one of 4 prizes with your Raffle ticket!

Saturday:

  • 9:00-10:15 am EDT/8:00-9:15 am CDT – Workshops
    Workshop descriptions and information about presenters can be found under the Workshops Tab.
  • 10:30-11:45 am EDT/9:30-10:45 am CDT – Workshops
  • Break
  • 12:45 pm EDT/11:45 am CDT – Business Session
    • A recorded message from Rev. Dr. John Dorhauer, General Minister and President of the UCC
    • Necrology -with the opportunity for one person from each church to read the names of those who have died during the past year.
    • Voting on the proposed changes to the Conference Bylaws
    • Budget
    • Vote on calling the candidate for Conference Minister
  • 3:30 pm EDT/2:30 CDT – Closing Worship (VIEW on YouTube)

Annual Meeting Registrants (both delegates and visitors) will receive an email with instructions on how to register for specific workshops.

Click the “+” icon to view more details about each workshop. Click here to download the workshop description as a PDF.

9:00 a.m. Saturday: Helping Your Church Become “Accessible To All

In this workshop, the audience will be introduced to the UCC’s Accessible to All (A2A) designation. A2A is the UCC’s project that enables churches to be inclusive of people with disabilities. Included will be a training on how your church can become “Accessible to All.” Presenter: Becky Ramage-Tuttle is a proud member of Kirkwood United Church of Christ in Atlanta, Georgia and serves on the Board of the UCC’s Disabilities Ministries.

9:00 a.m. Saturday: Post-Pandemic Possibilities: Cleaner Air?

Observers and scientists around the world noticed that the global shutdown of most industry and trade in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic resulted in cleaner, clearer air across the globe. Levels of both airborne particulates and polluting gases such as nitrogen dioxide dropped as much as 80% in London and 45% in New York City, but levels are on the rise again. What changes can we make, and what changes can we advocate, to make clearer, cleaner air permanent? Presenter: Presented by PATHWAYS Theological Education Academic Council Chairperson, Rev. Dr. Ruth Shaver, who is the lead author of the coming Environmental Justice Certificate program and the Interim Pastor and Teacher of The Congregational Church of Mansfield (Massachusetts), UCC.

9:00 a.m. Saturday: The Myth of Binary

Gender, transgender, non-binary, gender fluid – the “T’ of LGBTQAI. Do you feel lost in knowing what any of these terms mean and how to minister to folks? We will only have an hour, but we will try and get you information that you need to know. Come with an open mind and loving heart! Presenter: Rev. Tom Query (he/him/his) is a cisgendered Pastoral Counselor and founder of the Wellspring Counseling Center in Decatur, Georgia. The folks at Wellspring are a collective of highly skilled and talented professional counselors, change makers and transition experts who specialize in positive and accepting attitudes towards sexuality and gender.

9:00 a.m. Saturday: The Great Unveiling: How the World Is Changing and What It Means for the Church

As we journey through troubling, challenging, and curious days, we are living in a time that feels scary and new. But what if the fractures we are seeing in our social order, the ramifications of a fractured global economy, and the unleashing of people of faith into a world seeking wisdom but not seeking institutional Church is actually revealing what has been true of our world for a long time? We are being invited to create a world on the other side of this time without many of the constraints that narrowed our imagination and options in previous ages. We now face one of the greatest opportunities ever seen in human history. What does this mean for our churches? As people of faith, what is our role to play? What will be demanded of us, and what should we be prepared to offer? Join this webinar exploring these questions and more. Presenter: Rev. Cameron Trimble is the CEO of Convergence, a leadership and congregational consultancy formed in partnership with the United Church of Christ.

9:00 a.m. Saturday: General Synod 33: What is it About?

Rooted in Love is the theme for General Synod 33 which will be virtual this year, July 11-18. This workshop provides an opportunity to hear about the events at General Synod, speakers, how it will be done virtually, and the resolutions to be considered. Presenters: Tyler Ung and other Southeast Conference General Synod Delegates

10:30 a.m. Saturday: The Importance of Becoming W.I.S.E. (Welcoming, Inclusive, Supportive, and Engaged for persons with mental health challenges)

We will explore the ways in which mental health challenges impact congregations and discuss the benefits of being better prepared to minister with persons who experience symptoms of mental illness. Churches can be a place of hurt or a place of healing. The W.I.S.E. process increases the chances for churches to be communities of healing. Presenter: Rev. Dr. Rachael Keefe is the author of “The Lifesaving Church: Faith Communities and Suicide Prevention” (Chalice, 2018), the pastor of Living Table UCC in Minneapolis, MN, and an advocate for better mental health understanding in faith communities.

10:30 a.m. Saturday: Do Black Lives Really Matter? The Aftermath of the Derek Chauvin Trial and Conviction

This workshop will explore how 500 years of white nationalism and white supremacy continues to impact the lives of African descended people. Despite the conviction of former police office Derek Chauvin for the murder of George Floyd, hate crimes are increasing and law enforcement officers continue to kill African Americans. What is the response of white Christians in this moment? And how will they change the trajectory of racists policies, systems, institutions and individuals in order to dismantle racism? Presenter: Rev. Dr. Velda R. Love serves as Minister for Racial Justice in The Justice and Local Church Ministries of UCC. Rev. Love develops resources in an effort to equip UCC congregations to be on a restorative racial justice journey in order to dismantle and eradicate structural, systemic, and individual racism. This includes writing curriculum, resources, and providing training opportunities.

10:30 a.m. Saturday: The Way of the Spirit

The workshop will examine, discover and discuss the many WAYS of the Spirit. We will discuss the many ways in which we have seen Spirit manifest in the various forms of worship we have seen in various denominations. We will discuss how the SPIRIT has helped us through this past season as well as the seasons ahead. Presenter: Rev. NaDine Rawls has been in ministry for almost 30 years, inviting LGBTQ people back into relationship with Jesus. She is an alumnus of the Reformation Project 2016 Leadership Development Cohort, which is a “Bible-based, gospel-centered approach to inclusion” in the church. Rev. Rawls is a member of Real Inclusive Ministries (RIM) UCC in Atlanta, GA and serves as one of the Spiritual Advisors to RIM’s Praise Team.

10:30 a.m. Saturday: Effective Branding in Ministry Worship Experience

An effective brand strategy gives you a major edge in increasingly worshipping experiences. Branding simply put is your promise to your members. It tells them what they can expect from your ministry, and it differentiates your ministry from that of other ministries. Your ministry is derived from who you are, who you want to be and who people perceive you to be. Our workshop will guide you through the necessary steps of creating and maintaining a solid brand through print, web and social media. Presenter: Creative Art Director Maurice Cook, of EM Designs Group, is borderline obsessive about pairing his creative disciplines and branding strategies with the more technical skills required for successful digital marketing. His devotion to creative talent has helped bring digital experiences to life by merging powerful branding with innovative technology. It is a philosophy that motivates fresh ideas that integrate into customers’ connected lifestyles.

10:30 a.m. Saturday: Healing Forward and through WERiSE

Did you know that the Southeast and Southern region have the most disproportionate energy burden? There are vulnerable families paying upwards of 20% of their income to their utilities. By doing weatherization, these families could see a 13% savings. This crisis has created a call to action for us as stewards of creation. I want to invite you to envision with me ministry that meets the needs of community while economically uplifting the community and congregation. Let’s discuss weatherization as healing ministry for planet and people. Presenter: Rev Michael Malcom is the Environmental Minister for the Southeast Conference; Executive Director of The People’s Justice Council; and Executive Director of Alabama Interfaith Power and Light. Rev. Malcom is also a minister at Beloved Community UCC, Birmingham, AL.

10:30 a.m. Saturday: Discipleship to Jesus in an Age of Mass Incarceration

“And when was it we saw you sick or in prison and visited you?” And the Lord will answer them: “Truly, I tell you, just as you did to the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me. “Matt. 25:39-40. This is a workshop on Jesus in an age of mass incarceration. We will examine what is occurring in our country regarding imprisonment and what Jesus might ask us to do in response. Bring your Bible. Presenter – Rev. Joseph Ingle, UCC minister, who in his senior year in seminary, visited prisoners at the Bronx House of Detention and his world was changed. He began working against the death penalty, working with the condemned in all Southern states, and abolition of the death penalty, as well as opposing mass incarceration. Joe is the author of “Slouching Toward Tyranny: Mass Incarceration, Death Sentences and Racism” which can be ordered through Amazon.

THANK YOU TO OUR SPONSORS