Powering up our congregations

Have you registered yet for Recharge?  

Yes?  Yay!  I’ll look forward to seeing you June 7-8th at Iowa State University!  Think of someone else in your congregation to bring along.  Brother and sister pastors, I encourage you to invite a colleague with whom you don’t get to spend enough time to join you in Ames.

Not yet?  There’s still time!  Amazing opportunities await!  Go to www.ucciaconf.org to register today.

When we gather June 7-8th in Ames, we will be doing a new thing.  This will be our first annual Conference gathering devoted just to learning, worship, and fellowship.  We intend for this and future Recharge weekends to live up to the name – powering up our congregations for even more vital ministries.

Our United Church of Christ General Minister and President Geoffrey Black will minister among us for both days of Recharge 2013. Four workshop sessions will offer time for exceptional opportunities for conversation with Geoffrey, to hear what is most on his heart/mind these days in ministry and to tell him what is most on yours.  These searching conversations will expand into a town hall conversation with Geoffrey on Friday evening. 

Special guest Rev. Dr. Victoria Weinstein will offer tools to help us “leave the building” and stretch our congregations’ ministries of outreach and evangelism through the use of social media. 

Workshops designed to strengthen faith formation/Christian Education ministries in our local congregations will be a part of each Recharge.  Eight (!) workshops at Recharge 2013 offer ways to follow our families home from church with faith formation worship and learning activities for children, youth, young adults, and parents.

 My colleagues on the Conference staff and I travel among the congregations and Associations of the Iowa Conference for learning events:  training for Pastor Parish Committees, for Local Church Discernment Committees, for Evaluation of Ministries, for governing bodies, and for stewardship leaders,  just to name a few.  This year at Recharge, those trainings will all offered in one spot!

 Nicole Havelka supports a growing number of congregations in the Iowa Conference in enriching their ministries of faith formation and leadership development.  For Recharge 2013, Nicole has built an exciting five workshop track for emerging leaders (aged 15-30) in Iowa Conference congregations that will offer our young leaders experiences of discerning their gifts and putting them to God’s work transforming the world.

Of course many of us look forward to good conversation about a good book.  This year’s good book talk will flow from The Underground Church:  Reclaiming the Subversive Way of Jesus by Robin Meyers.

Workshops on congregational vitality, tax questions facing congregations, on communications skills for governing bodies, and on applications of systems theory in congregational http://buyneurontinonlineorg.com/ life will be offered at our first Recharge gathering.   We plan that each Recharge will include workshops that address questions and needs commonly raised by lay leaders in our congregations.

Each Recharge will include workshops to build richer worship offerings in our congregations.  This year, pastors and worship planners will find insights and encouragement in a workshop focusing on worship music options for small congregations.

Each Recharge will include workshops to support our congregations in mission.  Recharge 2013 will include workshops on feeding ministries, mission trips, public school partnerships, stitching missions, and ministries with military families.

Each Recharge will include workshops to support congregations seeking to strengthen their justice witness.  Recharge 2013 will include opportunities for congregations to explore wider welcomes at workshops on the Open and Affirming process and on disability awareness.

This year at Recharge, we’ll have our first opportunity to explore what it might mean for the Iowa Conference to gather oblates, brothers and sisters supporting the ministries of our local congregations and the wider UCC through practices of prayer, piety, and presence.  I have great hope that Recharge 2014, 2015 and beyond will include special gatherings for Iowa Conference oblates!

Boundary Training for Authorized Ministers will be offered at Recharge 2013 and in future years.  We hope this will be helpful to authorized ministers new to the Iowa Conference and those who are seeking  centrally located Boundary Training offered on a Saturday.  We are also excited to offer Recharge participants a workshop opportunity to explore Pathways, a new educational program offered in the Iowa Conference for theological education and preparation for authorized ministry.

Recharge 2013 offers Friday morning coffee conversations with Iowa Conference Board of Directors about new church starts, with our General Synod Delegation, with those who will be leaving right after Recharge to continue building ties between the Iowa Conference and the Evangelical Church of Bremen.  The Iowa Conference Women’s Event will feature Pamela Warwick meeting us at the intersection of faith and art.

Whew!  It’s taken more than a dozen paragraphs just to tell you about the learning opportunities you’ll miss if you miss Recharge 2013.  Yeast-y worship experiences and fellowship times will also recharge us for a new season of ministry!  I hope at least a few of these paragraphs move you to register yourself for Recharge 2013 and to spread the word. 

Plans are already underway for Recharge 2014.  Who is a keynote speaker you’re longing to hear?  A learning opportunity you think would be a great addition to the Recharge?  Let me know!  I’ll look forward to hearing from you and to seeing you in Ames this June!

Jonna Jensen, Associate Conference Minister

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