The Rev. J. Bennett Guess will keynote the Fall Meeting of the Connecticut Conference in October.
Photo by Eric Anderson
Four BIG Goals for the UCC
The long-term strategic goals presented at April's Consultation are:
1. The UCC is a bold, widely-known and respected public voice of Christianity in service of God's ever-unfolding mission.
2. There is a welcoming UCC community of faith that is accessible to all -- no matter who they are or where they are on life's journey.
3. Every UCC person is well-equipped to be growing in faith, be theologically conversant, and be active in the global mission of the church.
4. The UCC has a wealth of prepared, excellent leaders that reflect the diversity of God's beloved community.
The goals are expressed positively, in the sense that "this is what it will look like when we achieve them," rather than as statements of fact about the present.
United Church News: UCC leaders present vision plan at Annual Consultation (April 2012)
by Eric Anderson
HARTFORD (08/22/2012) -- Planning is well along for the Fall Session of the Connecticut Conference Annual Meeting, to be held at Middletown High School on Saturday, October 20. The program for the day is to lift up and celebrate "Bold, Inspirational Goals," a theme raised by last spring's vision plan of the national setting of the United Church of Christ. The Conference will be blessed to hear the Rev. J. Bennett Guess, the UCC's Executive Minister for Local Church Ministries, as he conceives the future which lies ahead.
Guess and his colleagues in the denomination's Collegium of Officers -- General Minister and President the Rev. Geoffrey A. Black, Associate General Minister Mark Clark, Executive Minister for Justice and Witness Ministries the Rev. M. Linda Jaramillo, and Executive Minister for Wider Church Ministries the Rev. James Moos -- presented four long-term strategic goals to the UCC's Annual Consultation in April, a gathering of conference ministers, local church pastors, and national staff. The Collegium followed up by outlining eight initial strategies that would help the church attain these goals, and the consultation participants engaged in a "World Cafe" over the next day to put some flesh to the bones.
The Connecticut Conference will also need to take up the challenge of the future during the Fall Meeting. Some things will still await decision -- the Search Committee will have only ceased receiving new profiles twenty days before -- while other matters will come before the delegates, including a new budget plan for 2013. Interim Conference Minister the Rev. Charles L. Wildman will speak, and delegates will honor the contributions of Ms. Carole Fanslow, a member of United Hill UCC in Trumbull and former President of Connecticut Women of the United Church of Christ, with the Living Waters Award. Representatives from the Kyung-Ki Presbytery in the Republic of Korea, the Conference's ecumenical partners, will take part in the day's activities.
On Friday, October 19th, the annual Authorized Minister's Lunch will welcome the Rev. Christopher L. Webber, author of American to the Backbone: the Life of James W. C. Pennington, the Fugitive Slave Who Became One of the First Black Abolitionists. In 1834, when Pennington began studying at Yale Divinity School, the first African-American to do so, the end of slavery in America was a "Go Big" vision. Webber's address, appropriately, is titled "Defining the Dream: James Pennington and the beginning of the struggle for racial equality in America."
Before his nomination to the Collegium in 2011, Rev. Guess served as the UCC's Director of Publishing, Identity, and Communication. A local church pastor for twelve years, Ben led Zion UCC in Henderson, Kentucky, through a period of significant growth and courageous public witness which earned him a Just Peace Award in 1997.
Three resolutions will be presented to the delegates for consideration. The Environmental Ministry Team has submitted a resolution calling for state legislation that will require labeling packages of genetically modified foods. CT Women of the UCC have proposed a resolution affirming the civic rights of women and calling for resistance to any attempts to subjugate them, and the Westfield Congregational Church UCC in Danielson have presented a resolution calling for the adoption of "The People's Rights Amendment" in the United States Constitution.
Worship will feature the preaching of the Rev. Alison Buttrick-Patton, senior minister of the Saugatuck Congregational Church UCC in Westport, and the celebration of holy communion.
The Rev. Eric S. Anderson is Minister of Communications and Technology for the Connecticut Conference UCC.