Conference Calls First Minister for Environmental and Economic Justice
The Southern New England Conference has called its first Minister for Environmental and Economic Justice: Ms. Emma Brewer-Wallin, a member of the UCC Board in the national setting and a previous environmental intern for the historic Massachusetts Conference.
“I feel called to this work because I believe in the power of people of faith joining together to respond to the climate and economic crises we are living in. I am especially excited about the possibilities of connection and collaboration in the Southern New England Conference — I see its founding values of greater relationship and creativity leavening our work of justice. And I am a delighted latecomer to sourdough baking — watching the dough rise never ceases to amaze me!” she said.
Brewer-Wallin will become a member of the Conference’s justice team, which is led by the Rev. James Ross II, Minister of Diversity, Inclusion, and Equity.
“I am excited to hear about the intersectional framing for the Minister of Environmental and Economic Justice role,” she said. “I see this role pulling in two central pieces of my calling: covenantal commitments among the wider church and enacting justice through relational organizing and advocacy.”
“My heart for the wider church was fostered in part through my experience of interning with the (historic) Massachusetts Conference, which introduced me to a hope for more fully manifesting God’s love and justice when we come together. Since then, I have seen that value further embodied as the three Conferences became one, and I would hope to learn from these covenantal connections across the diversity of Southern New England,” she said.
Brewer-Wallin grew up in UCC churches in Oregon, and has lived in the Boston area since 2014, attending Wellesley College and Harvard Divinity School. Most recently, she has served as Student Minister at First Congregational Church of Milton, MA.
Brewer-Wallin will begin her ministry with the Conference on June 1st.
Karen Ziel to Transition to New Role with New Transformational Leadership Initiative
Karen Ziel, a Commissioned Minister who has worked in Conference ministry since 2008, will transition to a new role on June 1: Assistant Director of the Center for Transformational Leadership.
The Center for Transformational Leadership is a new initiative aimed at assisting churches with making adaptive and innovative changes, in part by creating resources for assessment, discernment, visioning and leadership training.
“I’m energized and eager for this new initiative in our Conference. It is essential for these times. A focus on Transformational Leadership will enable our SNE Conference to provide intentional accompaniment, support, tools, and resources for leadership development that will vitalize our leaders, congregations and communities for 21st Century ministry and mission,” she said.
Ziel, who currently serves as Minister for Faith Formation and Leadership, was recently recognized for her years of work by the Association of United Church Educators, which presented her with their Founders’ Award in recognition of her lifelong advocacy in the area of faith formation.
“As Assistant Director and a member of this team, I believe my work will enable me to use my gifts and experience to support, guide, and resource our leaders for ministry and mission in this liminal time. As a career-long resource curator, networker, and adult formation leader, this work and the work of the team are a good match for my experience and gifts. I’m grateful that God’s call often times comes in surprising ways and that the SNEC leadership has extended this invitation to serve in a new way,” she said.
This change takes effect June 1.
Rev. Rhonda Myers to serve as Bridge Area Conference Minister for the South Central Region
A familiar face will be returning to Connecticut: effective immediately, the Rev. Rhonda Myers has agreed to serve as Bridge Area Conference Minister for the South Central Region. Rev. Myers served as Sabbatical Regional Minister in the Historic Connecticut Conference in 2018, and has also served on the Committee on Church and Ministry of the Litchfield North Association and in several Conference Leadership positions.
"In speaking with Rev. Myers about returning as Bridge Conference Minister for the South Central region, I was touched by her gentle spirit and willingness to serve during this liminal season. It is a blessing to have a seasoned minister and experienced ACM to serve the South Central region,” said Dr. Price.
Rev. Myers has served as the Pastor of United Congregational Church in Torrington, CT, since 2009. Rev. Myers will serve as Bridge ACM until a new, settled ACM is able to begin serving on the Conference Staff. The previous Area Conference Minister, the Rev. Tamara Moreland, accepted a call to serve as pastor of the First Congregational Church of Norwalk, CT, earlier this year.
The Rev. Myers can be reached at MyersR@sneucc.org. The South Central Region includes churches in the following associations: Central Connecticut, Farmington Valley, Hartford, Hartford East, Middlesex, New London and?Tolland.
Part-Time Program Support Associate Serving Together We Thrive Program
Martha Whyte joined the SNEUCC on Jan. 18th as one of the part time Program Support Associates for Together We Thrive, working with Program Director Rev. Heather Ramsey-Mabrouk. Whyte also works for the New England Synod of the ECLA, Lutherans, one of the partner organizations in the Together We Thrive initiative, as the Assistant to the Bishop for Communications and Generosity. Her portfolio at the Synod includes managing communications, the Synod's annual appeal, coordinating the annual assembly and supporting the work of the Forward Leadership team.
Whyte began her career working in international education for two decades at the Arthur D. Little Management Education Institute. She held a variety of positions in admissions/recruiting, student/career services, alumni relations and human resources/general administration. After leaving ADL, White began working in church administration and faith formation at the parish level. She holds a BA in Cultural Anthropology & African Studies and an MEd in Educational Administration.
In her role at SNEUCC, Whyte works across all 5 programs within Together We Thrive, managing the overall calendar of programs, publishing a quarterly newsletter and coordinating communication with all three ecumenical partners. She will also be specifically managing registrations and applications for the Tending the Fire program, Affinity Groups and Coach Training.
Whyte serves as a unique bridge with our partners at ELCA, bringing insights, resources and connections from her work there.
“With a background in higher education, Together We Thrive's professional development and peer community opportunities for clergy appealed to me as I know the importance of life-long learning,” she said. “I applied for the position with TWT as it afforded me the opportunity to explore ecumenical work across the three judicatories involved in the grant that provides these opportunities.”
New Administrative Support Associate Hired
On May 3, Leslie Martinez began work as an Administrative Support Associate within Human Resources. Martinez has over 10 years of experience providing support to leadership in both an academic and healthcare setting. Throughout her career she has held various administrative roles, with her most recent role as a Senior Executive Assistant at Yale University.
Tiffany Vail is the Director of Media & Communications for the Southern New England Conference.