The following letter was sent to members and friends of the Massachusetts Conference on April 11, 2019:
Members and friends of the Massachusetts Conference, UCC:
Grace and peace to you in this Lenten season as we prepare for and anticipate Easter resurrection and what it means for us personally and together as the Church!
I write to share exciting news about the Strengthen the Church Offering, one of four special offerings of the United Church of Christ alongside One Great Hour of Sharing, Neighbors in Need, and the Christmas Fund. In the past, the Strengthen the Church Offering has been split equally between National UCC and the Conferences where the funds are received. Its purpose is to help build the future of the UCC which, in the past, has meant supporting youth ministries, leaders for churches in places lacking a strong UCC presence, and the new initiatives of existing churches.
In covenant with National UCC, and in solidarity with our Together, As One partners in Rhode Island and Connecticut who have made a similar determination, your Conference Board of Directors has approved a change in how this offering will be used within the Massachusetts Conference for 2019:
- Strengthen the Church funds that remain in the Massachusetts Conference will be designated specifically for ministries with children and youth. This is in keeping with the high value of these ministries by all of the Together, As One partners, as well as our Conference’s reaffirmed commitment to a core area of mission that is faithful to Jesus’ call and essential to our future.
- 50% of income from the offering up to $15,000 will be shared with National UCC. Above this amount, there will be a 10% National–90% Conference split. This will ensure that National UCC receives funding at historic levels while additional Conference funding may be received.
The offering will be used to enhance such Conference ministries as training adult leaders through our CE Certification and Education for Effective Youth Ministry (EEYM) programs, Super Saturday presentations, and church cluster meetings; responding to and resourcing churches in their faith formation ministries; and guiding us all in the challenging work of rethinking what faith formation means in the 21st century.
The Strengthen the Church offering will be received on Pentecost Sunday, June 9th, 2019, an appropriate time to look to our ministries with children and youth as we celebrate the birth of the Church. The Massachusetts Conference will have materials to help your congregation promote the offering that will be made available in the coming weeks and posted to this web page soon. If you have any questions about this new approach to the offering, please contact Jonathan New, Associate Conference Minister for Stewardship & Financial Development, at email@example.com or 508-875-5233 ext. 231.
Thanks in advance for your consideration of this new direction in the Strengthen the Church offering as we seek to better serve local congregations that are making disciples of Jesus, and making God’s love and justice real in their communities and beyond.
The Rev. Don Remick, Transitional Interim Conference Minister