The Massachusetts Conference 2014 Annual Report, Amazing Works of Faith in Massachusetts and Beyond, is now available. Copies were given to all Annual Meeting attendees, and multiple printed copies will be sent to church leaders in August. You can also request copies by contacting Karen Methot at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The report begins with the following letter from Conference Minister & President Jim Antal:
Dear Friends of the Massachusetts Conference,UCC,
Our common story, told in these pages, portrays the uncommon story that is the Massachusetts Conference of the United Church of Christ. Our common story is driven by the covenant that unites us. Our uncommon story is made up of the ministry and mission of our congregations and members who devote their God-given gifts to our shared mission – to make God’s love and justice real.
A tall order – a high bar. But the Massachusetts Conference UCC enjoys a challenge! As 2013 began, your Conference Board of Directors voted to bring to national Synod a resolution to divest from fossil fuel companies. Few thought this could succeed. As winter turned to spring ten additional Conferences joined us, and at our national Synod in July the UCC became the first national body and the first denomination to vote to divest from fossil fuel companies.
This past year we began to talk about covenant in a new way – reflecting on the gift and reality of interdependence. It seemed natural to expand our embrace of “extravagant welcome” by recognizing that we actually need one another. We put this into practice when we took a risk and invited the Connecticut Conference to join us in co-sponsoring the March 2014 Super Saturday. Lo and behold 650 eager UCCers showed up! Additional opportunities for UCC cooperation throughout New England are in the works.
The mission and ministry of each congregation is seeking every day to make God’s love and justice real. In addition to this, we are finding ways to expand our horizons well beyond what a single congregation can do – and even beyond what a single Conference can do! Call it covenant – call it interdependence – we are affirming that we are “better together.” That was the hypothesis we tested twelve years ago when we launched the Pastoral Excellence Program – and every time a community of practice gathers we prove it again.
In these and many other ways, your conference is attempting to live into Jesus’ assurance that as his disciples, we will do “greater works than these ...” May the stories in this report be your blueprints in building greater works and inspire you to join others in our common calling to make God’s love and justice real.
The Rev. Dr. Jim Antal,
Conference Minister and President
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