The Christmas Fund (Veterans of the Cross)

For 116 years, the Christmas Fund for the Veterans of the Cross and the Emergency Fund has been a tangible expression of God’s love and light in the world. One of the four Special Mission Offerings of the United Church of Christ, the Christmas Fund provides UCC congregations and members and opportunity to reach out in kindheartedness to those who have faithfully shepherded our Church and who now find themselves facing unexpected financial needs. In 2016, UCC congregations and members generously contributed $1,562,260 to the Offering.

This enabled the United Church Board for Ministerial Assistance, the charitable arm of them Pension Boards, to provide, on behalf of the whole Church, Supplementation of Small Annuities, Retiree Health Premium Supplementation, Emergency Grants, and Christmas “Thank You” Gift Checks to individuals and families in need.

The theme of the 2017 Christmas Fund Offering is Shepherding the Light, and our goal is to raise $1.7 million to help support these ministries of light and love. The recipients of these gifts have faithfully served the church and now, in their time of need, we can be the church to them. We invite and encourage you to shepherd God’s light and support this year’s appeal. We are pleased to provide the resources in this Offering Guide to assist and inspire you in promoting the Christmas Fund in your congregation. These and other resources are also available online at www.christmasfund.org 

On behalf of the hundreds of clergy and lay employees and their families whose lives were touched by your support of last year’s Christmas Fund Offering, we offer our sincere thanks for your generosity!

Click Here to View the Offering Guide

Advent Resources

FaithWorks

Dear Clergy friends,
As you finish the planning of your Thanksgiving menu, all of us here at the Center for Progressive Renewal know that you are also knee-deep in finalizing your plans for the Christmas season and Advent. As we share the joy and hope that arrive with the birth of the Christ child, we are excited to offer you an early holiday gift to help you in this season.
We are sharing with you these discernment-centered and theme-based resources for your Bible study, small groups and worship planning. These resources support those of you who use the revised common lectionary and non-lectionary approaches in your worship. You’ll also find narrative lectionary and preaching supplements as a part of this gift.
We know that planning for Christmas is one of the most meaningful parts of ministry. But we also know that the holidays can overwhelm and isolate clergy and other leaders. CPR and Faith Works are here to help ensure that none of us feel that we have to carry it all on our backs alone.
Blessing on your work,
Your friends at The Center for Progressive Renewal and Faith Works

Click HERE to Download your free Advent Resources

An Advent of Gratitude

Most Advent Calendars present us with a gift each day leading up to Christmas. The purpose of this Advent of Gratitude is to remind us of the gifts we already have, what we often take for granted, what we can and should be grateful for. Each daily reminder includes a suggestion for payment, a small monetary gift that in 24 days will grow into a donation, payable to a charity of your choice. At the end of this challenge, please donate to a charity, preferably somewhere local, that serves those less fortunate than you.

CLICK HERE FOR THE CHALLENGE

Advent Resources

Advent is an exciting, busy time in the life of the church. Although many of you may have made plans long ago, others may be looking for inspiration for your Bible studies, soup suppers, worship, Blue Christmas service or personal reflection.

We are inspired by the wealth of amazing Advent resources out there.

If you want to integrate video into worship or faith formation, we have several, inexpensive favorites:

Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving!!!

Every day is a day to give thanks and praise the Lord !

We are thankful for all 39 of our churches in this association and all 105 clergy. As an association we wish to be available and useful to all. In this time of renewal and transition we strive to learn about the strengths, gifts, challenges and histories of all our family. Please share your story today.

I challenge each clergy to write a personal brag page about what they and their place of ministry are doing to live out the faith they proclaim.  I also challenge each congregation to write a short story about who they are, what they are about, what their goals are and what they hold up proudly for all to see.

We can and must share our stories. Victories are fun, but times we have faltered and times we hurt need to be shared too.    We have congregations who need inspiration and encouragement. We have congregations that need to be applauded and some who need challenged. We have communities in need of resources including volunteer hours. There is something for us all to do.

As we give thanks, let’s put our words into actions that encourage others to give thanks too.

Send your stories, thoughts, pictures and challenges to debras@ocucc.org. They will be shared in the weekly Newsletter between now and Christmas.

 

ELDERS

Our Covenant Elders are a helpful resource to congregations in their search and call process, in trying something new doing the upcoming holy days, in self-evaluation to assist in 2018 goal setting and budget planning. Utilize them.

 

Pastoral Practice

Our groups continue to meet and we are working on starting new groups. Any authorized clergy are welcome. Please prayerfully consider devoting monthly time to excellence in your called vocation.

 

Thank You

Rev. Linda Meredith

Speaking of Faith… Spiritual but Not Religious, Hinduism, Christianity, Islam

Over the next several months Rev. Dr. Tim Ahrens will be facilitating this program.

We will learn WITH people who practice their faith in each of the above beliefs.

Monday, December 4 -7-9pm – Spiritual But Not Religious – location to be announced.

Monday, January 8 – 7-9pm –  Hinduism – location to be announced.

Monday, February 5 – 7-9pm – Christianity – location to be announced.

Monday, March 5 -7-9pm – Islam – Noor Cultural Islamic Center, 5001 Wilcox Road, Dublin, Ohio 43016

Bring friends, family, neighbors, co-workers. All are welcome. We need to have folks sign-up so we can plan for food and seating.

Contact Rev. Dr. Tim Ahrens for more information

Imagining a Different Conference

You are invited to help the Conference Vision Team!

Recently, a team of 15 representatives from Associations and Conference forwarded a report to the Board of Directors. That report imagined different ways to shape the Ohio Conference and its Associations.

The Vision Team declared to the Board of Directors that we need to become “one nimble and responsible judicatory that is faithful in mission and responsible in stewardship.”

The Board agreed. And that’s where you come in.

Read More

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