Business Meeting Planned On-Line for June 13

Given the current state of uncertainty about when gathering in large groups may again be advisable, the Board of Directors has decided to cancel our in-person Annual Meeting at the College of St. Benedict June 12-13.  A short, virtual meeting for voting delegates only will instead be held on June 13 to attend to essential business of the Conference.  Watch COMMAntary for further details in the coming weeks.

We are hoping to host a “re-gathering” of the Conference sometime this fall.  This would be a time to celebrate being together again in person and to give thanks to God for all the ways we have been upheld and strengthened by the bonds we share in the Minnesota Conference and the graces God has given.  As those plans unfold we will get word to you.

About our Keynote Speaker.  Samantha Fuentes: We are also determining how we might still benefit from the words and experience of our planned Annual Meeting speaker, Samantha Fuentes, a survivor of the Parkland, FL school shooting, at some later date.  Stay tuned!







From 2019:

The 57th Annual Meeting of the Minnesota Conference will be June 7-8, 2019 at College of St. Benedict in St. Joseph

Mark your calendars!  Our Annual Meeting this year will be Friday and Saturday only, June 7 & 8  in 2019. Pentecost is on Sunday of that weekend and so the Annual Meeting Planning Work Group and the Conference Board of Directors is planning this shorter weekend schedule.

We hear every day about how polarized and divided our nation has become.  We feel that division in our communities and in our congregations.  And yet our call as Church is to be the One Body of Christ, intent on fostering our connections and building each other up even in such challenging times.  We are to tend the ‘covenant’ that we talk so much about in the United Church of Christ.

Our Annual Meeting theme is “Created for Connection: One Body, Many Members.”  How are we growing our connections within the Church and outside the Church? How are we healing and bridging divides within our own communities? How does or could our collective membership in the United Church of Christ facilitate those connections?

Our keynote speaker for Saturday, June 8, will be General Minister and President of the UCC, Rev. John Dorhauer.

The Bible study leader for Saturday morning will be Rev. Dr. Clyde Steckel.

David Lohman will lead us in music.

Stay tuned for more details.

Registration is now open.  Follow this link to register.


ANNUAL REPORTS (Annual Reports are starting to come in.  Check back often as new ones are added daily)

Conference Minister Prestemon

Associate Conference Minister Bradshaw

Associate Conference Minister Wagner

Moderator Bartz

Director of Leadership Development (The Damascus Project)

Committee on Ministry

Development Committee

Immigration Team

Minnesota Palestine Israel Network (MN PIN)

Open & Affirming Team

Registrar’s Report

2018 Annual Report



2018 Annual Meeting Minutes – Unapproved

2019 Ballot

Summary Agenda Updated 5/8/2019

2019 AM Workshops and Hearings Updated 6/6/2019

12 Step Meeting Flyer

Crossroads Flyer

College of St. Benedict Map

2019 Skillbank Form

Procedures and Rules

Glossary of Terms

2020 Proposed Compensation Guidelines

2020 Vision Update

Narrative Budget

Town Hall Forum Document

Celebration Book

FAQs for Strategic Discernment Process and Pilgrim Point Camp



Motion to convert Pilgrim Point Camp into an Independent 501c3

Resolution Calling on the Fifty-Seventh Conference of the Minnesota Conference of the United Church of Christ and its Congregations to urge the Minnesota Legislature and Governor to pass a law designating Minnesota as a Sanctuary State

A Resolution Calling for Racial Justice through Reparations





Resolution Process

Annual Meeting FAQ 

Welcome Letter

Registration Details

Youth Information



From 2018

The 56th Annual Meeting of the Minnesota Conference will be June 8-10, 2018 at College of St. Benedict in St. Joseph

This year’s theme for the Minnesota Conference Annual Meeting is In This Moment: Acting in Faith.

We will be invited by our keynote speaker, our panel of local churches from around the Conference, our Bible Study leaders and our worship leaders to consider what this moment— in the life of our churches, our families, our communities and our country—asks of us.

How might we, as Christians, be responsive and relevant to changing needs? How do we support churches that are rooted in the gospel of love and justice so they can be nimble enough to act in specific and concrete ways? How are we prophetic and pastoral? How are we willing to risk everything  for the sake of the gospel and what does that look like?

Join us and be inspired, be challenged, be invited, be convicted, be delighted… through art and poetry, music and movement, sermon and study, skills-building and strategic preparation… to be God’s Body in the world. Explore with us what it means to ACT in FAITH in THIS moment.

Here are flyers, forms and reports from the 2018 Annual Meeting:

Preliminary Schedule for Annual Meeting

Annual Meeting FAQ

Youth Invitation Flyer

Friday Entertainment Flyer – Jam Session

Artist in Residence Flyer

Pre-Event Flyer

Workshop Descriptions

Annual Reports

2017 Annual Report

Associate Conference Minister, Rick Wagner

Committee on Ministry

Conference Minister, Shari Prestemon

Development Committee

Disaster Ministry

Immigration Team

Justice & Witness

2019 Narrative Budget

Open & Affirming Team


Registrar Report

Unapproved Minutes of the 2017 Annual Meeting

Resolutions and By-Law Changes to be voted on :

At our Annual Meeting in June, the Conference will have the opportunity to ratify amendments made to the national UCC Constitution at the 31st General Synod last summer.  Before those amendments can be implemented, 2/3 of Conferences nationwide must vote to ratify them before the next General Synod.  This vote will be a simple “yes” or “no”; no language of the Constitution or amendments may not be changed as part of this process.  You can find the entirety of the UCC Constitution with proposed amendments HERE.  There is also a Guide to Proposed Changes and a Timeline and Process for the UCC Constitution available for you to read.


Minnesota Renewable Energy Standard Resolution

On Preventing Gun Violence and Recognizing it as a Public Health Emergency

Hearings on Friday and Workshops on Saturday:

On Friday we will have hearings for the 2019 budget, the Treasurer’s Report on the Conference Financial Stability, and the 2019 Compensation Guidelines.  Saturday afternoon has 21 options of various workshops for you to choose from.  For details on these options click HERE.

Resources for Churches 

Worship Service for Sunday, June 10

Sermon for Sunday, June 10

2018 Annual Meeting Pre-Event: June 7th at 11:00 a.m. through June 8th at Noon

In This Moment, Acting in Faith: A Gathering of Deeply Flawed People Creating Justice

Join us for a Pre-Annual Meeting Gathering of faithful justice-seekers within the United Church of Christ as we explore what faithful, strategic, creative, timely, wise action looks like. We’ll join with brilliant movement-builders, prophetic ministry teams and kindred faithful folks as we hear the stories of forebears in justice, play with ethical spectacle, learn concrete organizing skills and take collective action together. We’ll also break bread, worship, have after-hours and other sacred relationship-building time.  A schedule of workshops and more information is available here.

Costs:  $50 registration fee for food and program plus lodging that ranges from $35-$47/night on campus at St. Bens. Scholarships may be available for part of the registration fee.

Our Keynote Speaker for Saturday, June 9 is Rev. Dr. J. Bennett Guess

The Rev. Dr. J. Bennett Guess is executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio, since July 2017. A prominent civil rights activist and minister, Ben came to the ACLU of Ohio with outstanding civil liberties and non-profit management credentials.

He formerly served as vice president of the Council for Health and Human Service Ministries, a national association of 70 corporations and 400 communities, facilities and programs, including major health care providers, lifespan retirement and affordable housing communities, family and children’s services, and more. He led in the areas of executive management, strategic planning, governance, marketing and communication.

To read his full bio click here.  We are very excited to have Ben lead us as we act in faith in this moment.

Our Annual Meeting weekend will also include inspiration from a panel of local congregations from around the conference sharing their stories of faith in action. All congregations and individuals across the conference are encouraged to take part in sharing images and postings of how they are acting in faith in this moment by beginning to post them now on Twitter and Facebook using #InThisMoment, #ActingInFaith, & #MNUCC. We also ask that congregations bring with them to Annual Meeting the images and stories of how they are acting in faith to share and inspire others.

Pamela Cook

Rev. Janice Steele

The inspiration to action will continue with Bible studies provided by Pamela Cook and Rev. Janice Steele along with art, music, skill-building, and strategic preparation for continuing to respond and act on the ever-changing needs of the world. As always, Annual Meeting also provides many opportunities for fellowship and worship with friends old and new. Adults and youth across the Conference are encouraged to join in the conversation and actions.

Worship and Bible Study for the 2018 Annual Meeting Weekend

There’s just something about the story of Esther that both draws us in, and hopefully draws us out of our hesitancy and insecurities.  Esther, who wonders how it was she who is swept into a life of royalty,  is suddenly faced with a tough decision about whether to use that power to save her people or not.  Mordecai challenges her hesitancy, “Perhaps this is the moment for which you have been created.”

I’m anxious to explore this text with you at the Minnesota Conference Annual Meeting through morning Bible Study and through four distinct worship experiences.  We’ll begin the meeting with a brief opportunity to ponder and celebrate our own unique calls to ministry and acknowledge God’s presence with us for the weekend.  On Friday night we’ll dig a little deeper into the text through drama and declamation.  Saturday will offer a more meditative experience and we’ll pause to remember those saints of the Conference who are no longer with us.  Sunday will be a grand celebration of our weekend together.

A talented group of colleagues will be offering their gifts in worship.  Bob Gregory-Bjorklund is working with a team to bring life to our scripture texts.  Hans Peterson is offering his musical gifts to keep us singing throughout the weekend.  Once again, Ruth Johnson is creating beautiful space for our worship through visual art.  And Rev. Tony Romaine is working with me to craft these gifts into cohesive worship experiences.

So give the book of Esther another read.  Find your place in the text.  Come with your questions and your discoveries.  I’m looking forward to worshiping with you!


Rev. Jill Warner

Worship Chair for the Annual Meeting Planning Work Group.

55th Annual Meeting  |  June 9-11, 2017  |  College of St. Benedict    

The 55th Annual Meeting of the Minnesota Conference is in the books.  Many of you asked for copies of the State of the Conference Address from Shari Prestemon, our Conference Minister as well as copies of our other Keynote speakers. We do not have resources from Rev. DeShazier, but do have the keynote and workshop materials from Rev. Dr. Lizardy-Hajbi.  You can view them here:

State of the Conference 2017 by Conference Minister Rev. Shari Prestemon

Rev. Dr. Lizardy-Hajbi keynote slides

Rev. Dr. Lizardy-Hajbi keynote address

Rev. Dr. Lizardy-Hajbi workshop slides

The Conference’s Annual Meeting is rich with vital worship experiences, opportunities to meet new people and reconnect with old friends, chances to share your passion for social justice – all towards the re-invigoration of faith in our daily lives. Clergy and laity from across the state come together at this annual event.

At our Minnesota Conference Annual Meeting, we focused on what it means to be a truly vital church, understanding that vitality is not limited to only the number of people in worship on Sunday.  We explored this theme in a number of different ways: keynote addresses, table-top conversations, workshops, and worship.  This was a time to be inspired by one another with amazing work that is happening already and with new ideas that were shared across the state.

Our two keynoters are Rev. Julian DeShazier, senior pastor from University Church in Chicago, provided an energetic and inspiring address about how our church is growing and thriving into the future.  Rev. Kristina Lizardy-Hajbi from the UCC National Setting talked about indicators of church vitality, again highlighting that numbers are just one of many indicators.

Grace and Peace,

2017 Annual Meeting Planning Work Group

Forms for Annual Meeting 2017

Resolutions call and process combined

Workshop Submission Form 2017

Annual Meeting FAQ

Exhibit Form

Welcome Letter

Procedures and Rules Regarding Business Sessions

Congregational Resources

Sermon for June 11

Worship planning (including music, scripture, and prayers) for June 11

Event Documents (included in AM Packet)

Campus Map

Hearings & Workshop Descriptions

Offering Designations

Summary Agenda

Annual Meeting Offerings

Skill Bank Form 2017

2017 Annual Meeting Evaluation Form

Procedures and Rules Regarding Business Sessions

Summary of Progress on Previous Resolutions

Proposed Budget

Reports for Annual Meeting 2017 (not included in AM Packet)

2016 Annual Report of the Minnesota Conference

2016 Annual Meeting Minutes Unapproved

CM Shari Prestemon

ACM Kevin Brown

ACM Rick Wagner

ACM Steve Boorsma

Moderator Janet Bartz

Committee on Ministry

Development Committee

Disaster Ministries

Faith Formation Team

Immigration Team

Justice & Witness Team

Open and Affirming Team

Personnel Committee

Documents to be Voted On:

Israel-Palestine Resolution

2018 Compensation Guidelines – Unapproved version

2018 Narrative Budget -Unapproved version

Ballot for Elected Positions

ONA Pre-event

ONA Gathering Information

2017 Annual Meeting Keynote Speakers

kristinaRev. Dr. Kristina Lizardy-Hajbi serves as the Director of the Center for Analytics, Research and Data (CARD) in the United Church of Christ’s national setting. She received a Master of Divinity degree from Iliff School of Theology and a Ph.D. in Educational Leadership, Research and Policy from the University of Colorado. Prior to her current role, Kristina served in the ministry area of faith formation for the national setting and has worked in the local church, hospital chaplaincy, youth ministry, and higher education. In her current research role, she serves on the steering committee of the Faith Communities Today (FACT) Survey, a periodic national survey of U.S. congregations, for which Kristina analyzed the most recent results and reported on the state of young adult ministries within congregations. She has also contributed to research regarding congregational vitality and ministerial excellence and works with others in the national setting to assist congregations in developing metrics for vitality. Kristina and her spouse Ali live in Aurora, Colorado with Mr. Sneakers, their five-year-old guinea pig.  She will speak on Friday evening and lead a workshop Saturday afternoon

rev-julian-deshazierRev. Julian DeShazier
is a Chicago native, and a graduate of Morehouse College and the University of Chicago Divinity School. Pastor Julian serves University Church in Chicago, IL and is also an award-winning hip hop musician and songwriter, known to many as “J.Kwest.” In 2015, he won an EMMY Award for his role in the short film, Strange Fruit. He has also been featured on Fox, CBS, and NPR; on the late Dr. Maya Angelou’s Sirius XM radio program; and on the cover of the Chicago Reader. Julian is currently an adjunct professor both at the University of Chicago Divinity School and McCormick Theological Seminary, and a regular voice on Huffington Post and Sojourners publications.  He will be our Keynote Speaker on Saturday and lead small group sessions following his address.

FROM 2016:

June 10-12, 2016
College of St Benedict in St Joseph, MN

The Conference’s Annual Meeting is rich with vital worship experiences, opportunities to meet new people and reconnect with old friends, chances to share your passion for social justice – all towards the re-invigoration of faith in our daily lives. Clergy and laity from across the state come together at this annual event.

Logo AM 2016

Keynote Speaker – Rev. Dr. Traci Blackmon
“Repairers of the Breach” | Isaiah 58:9-12

Rev Dr Traci Blackmon Rev. Traci Blackmon’s life calling is to serve God and the church in ways that encourage us to do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly in fellowship with all believers. Initially ordained in the African Methodist Episcopal Church, Rev. Blackmon served in various ministry capacities for 9 year prior to becoming the first woman pastor installed in the 159 year history of Christ the King United Church of Christ in 2009. Rev. Blackmon became nationally recognized as a prominent voice for social change when Michael Brown was shot in Ferguson, MI, just miles from her church. She immediately got involved in organizing with the Black Lives Matter movement, effectively assisting and collaborating with the people in the community working for justice.

Rev. Blackmon currently serves as Acting Executive Minister of Justice & Witness Ministries for The United Church of Christ and was appointed to an advisory council for the US President in January 2016. Read more about Rev. Dr. Traci Blackmon.

UPDATE:  Here is the video of Rev. Traci’s Keynote speech and here is the Q & A session that followed.

FullSizeRenderFriday Evening Story Teller – Jim Bear Jacobs

Jim Bear is the Parish Pastor at Church of All Nations and member of the Stockbridge-Munsee Mohican Nation, an American Indian tribe located in central Wisconsin. He is a cultural facilitator in the Twin Cities and works to raise the public’s awareness of American Indian causes and injustices. We are happy to have Jim with us as our story-teller on Friday evening!

UPDATE:  Here is the video of Jim Bear Jacobs sharing his story

Saturday Evening Guest Musician – Marty Haugen 

Marty Haugen is a liturgical composer, workshop presenter, performing and recording artist, and author. A number of his published songs, including Shepherd Me O God, Gather Us In, and All Are Welcome are well-known to many religious denominations. Marty will be involved in the Saturday evening worship service and will lead us in a time of music at our Saturday evening social gathering.


Rev. Shari PrestemonSunday Preacher – Rev. Shari Prestemon

Conference Minister of the Minnesota Conference UCC, Reverend Shari Prestemon, will be our preacher during the Sunday morning worship. Her sermon – “Call to Courage” – will draw on our meeting’s focus scripture, Matthew 14:22-33. How is God calling the Church today to reach beyond our fears and dive in to the murky waters?

UPDATE: Here is the video to Sunday Morning Worship with Rev. Shari preaching.

Event Documents:

2015 Annual Report

Frequently Asked Questions about the Annual Meeting

Campus Map

Summary Agenda

2017 Proposed Compensation Guidelines

2016 Minnesota Open and Affirming Gathering Pre-Annual Meeting Gathering

2015 Annual Meeting Minutes Unapproved

Workshop Descriptions and Room Assignments

Skill Bank Form 2016

Keynote Speaker Traci Blackmon Bio

2016 Annual Reports:

2016 Annual Reports


CM Shari Prestemon

ACM Rick Wagner

ACM Steve Boorsma

ACM Garth Schumacher

Moderator Cindy Mueller

Committee on Ministry

CUE Seminaries

Development Committee

Disaster Ministries

Faith Formation Team

Global Partnerships Team

Immigration Team

Open and Affirming Team

Personnel Committee

Pilgrim Point Camp Committee

Professional Development Committee

Resolution Documents:

BIG Resolution

BIG Supportive Document

Immigration Resolution FINAL

Annual Meeting Weekend Resources:

June 12 Worship

Annual Meeting Sermon Ideas

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