Congregations engaged in capital campaigns, or individuals interested in planned giving, may wish to consider a gift to one of the following conference funds:
The Jim Antal Fund for Justice and Witness Ministries supports many of the activities described in the “Changing Our World” section of the website. It underwrites programming and staffing to help our churches respond to God’s call to “do justice, and love mercy, and walk humbly with God” (Micah 6:8). This means different things for different churches. We have congregations who discern a call to welcome immigrants, others who are passionate about racial justice, others who offer free community meals… the list goes on. The role of the Conference is to facilitate this work, by:
The 2018 Annual Report provides a more detailed picture of some of the justice work taking place among UCC people around the Conference. Here is a link to the pdf version: 2018 Annual Report (PDF)
The 21st Century Congregations Fund supports many of the initiatives described in the “Growing Your Church” pages of the website, here. It must be bittersweet, as you go through the process of closing, to consider the possibility of contributing to these ministries. Given the ways the world is changing and the population is declining in many of our communities, some of our churches are closing despite the best efforts of their sibling churches to support to church vitality efforts. But others are fortunate enough to have the capacity to clarify their mission, start new ministries, reach out to new populations, and serve God in new ways. Even where this is possible, discernment and change are not easy, and our churches need help with the process. My colleague Don Remick talks about trying to help each church be “healthy, faithful and effective”. The role of the Conference in this arena includes:
Our Annual Report talks about many of these vitality initiatives, and offer updates on several new ministries.
The Board of Directors approves the creation of the Seeds of Faith Fund. This fund will receive temporarily restricted gifts to promote faith development through the affiliated conferences now known as "Together as One". Contributions to the Seeds of Faith Fund may be used to provide programming, resources and grants to local congregations to support faith, generosity and discipleship formation of children, youth and adults. Contributions may also be used to support programming and/or resources by the Conference for faith development of individuals [e.g. – on-line bible studies, spiritual retreats, etc.]. Allocations from the fund shall be voted annually by the Board of Directors for the enumerated uses.
The new Emerging Communications Technology Fund will help the churches and the Conference setting to embrace new ways of communicating which are so critical to reaching people today.
One effort which took place 15-20 years ago was a capital campaign which included money for communications technologies that enabled the Conference to provide grants for our local churches to purchase computers and internet connections. As a result, when the World Trade Center was attacked on 9/11/01, our Minister and President was able to be in immediate contact with virtually all of our churches and clergy, to offer compassion and inspiration and pastoral presence. By all accounts this was profoundly significant to leaders across the Conference.
Our current efforts in this arena include making better use of video to amplify the training and preaching offered by our staff and others; assisting our churches to understand the ministry potential of social media - and what pitfalls to avoid; and developing interconnected websites for the CT, RI and MA Conferences to facilitate easy sharing of resources and events across the region. More about these efforts can be seen here.
There are other things we would like to do: explore bulk purchasing as a way of helping our churches get access to videoconferencing, email survey and web design tools; training local leaders in technologies like Periscope for easy webcasting; regularly exploring and publishing the pros and cons of various social media platforms; and, of course, other initiatives we can’t yet envision, as the world of communications is evolving so rapidly!