This is what excites me right now.
Art of Non-Combative Communication
Allan Rohlfs, our upcoming workshop presenter, prefers to say he “passes along” what he has learned, rather than describing himself as a teacher or counselor. He has worked more than 40 years with Marshall Rosenberg, founder of the Center for NonViolent Communication. In preparation for our all-Conference workshop on the Art of Non Combative Communication, I’ve been reading Rosenberg’s book Speak Peace in a World of Conflict. In a chapter titled “Dealing with Conflict and Confrontation” he writes that we are often up against people who are opposed to what we believe or what we want to achieve, but they don’t know how to express their feelings and needs clearly and helpfully. “We need to know,” says Rosenberg, “how to hear people’s feelings and needs, no matter how they’re communicating.”
You and I have a chance to learn how to do that August 30-31. Register by Aug. 10 for the workshop. We already have enthusiastic persons signed up. I hope you will join us.
Templed Hills Reopening Efforts
A hard–working team of 34 volunteers from Westerville Community UCC, supervised by Dail Brown, made incredible progress at Templed Hills Camp last week! This intergenerational team (half of them were youth) rebuilt a director’s cabin after another crew leveled it down to the flooring; painted pool shower rooms; cleaned and primed steel members at Skipper Lodge; sodablasted other areas and cleaned maintenance areas. Jim Ditzler, chair of Templed Hills Operations Team, calls them a “gold star group” who collaborated beautifully with Site Director Jeff Thompson and Templed Hills Construction Staff John Mead to awaken Templed Hills from its “vacation.” Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!
Professional contractors are also at work at Templed Hills, but Jim Ditzler has identified tasks that could be accomplished by volunteer groups immediately. Read more about these volunteer opportunities and then contact Ditzler at firstname.lastname@example.org who will coordinate your availability with site staff.
The all-Conference Vision Team, after hours of discussion and contemplation, is zeroing in on a “concept” to present throughout the conference. The team will ask churches if they support a general outline of ways that the Conference and Associations can more efficiently and effectively support congregations, clergy, and the mission, vision, purpose and values of the United Church of Christ. The concept will suggest a reduction in the judicatory levels now being supported by Conference congregations. Once the will of our churches is affirmed, the Vision Team will concentrate on steps to take toward implementing the concept. Flood this important team with your prayers, please, as the group looks ahead to Annual Gathering!
Annual Gathering: Inspired Listening
We are hosting our Annual Gathering on September 15-16 at Westerville Community UCC. Already folks are signaling conversations to have during our “Unconference,” or UNCO, on Friday. UNCO allows YOU to bring the topics which you want to discuss and learn with other participants. Already some people are planning to talk about such things as environmental justice, the UCC’s Three Great Loves campaign, our Conference vision process, changes in Our Church’s Wider Mission (OCWM), Ohio’s opiod epidemic, how to be a vital congregation in a times of decline, UCC General Synod actions, and so it goes. Saturday’s session will include some business items, and several listening groups. Bonus: no long speech from the Conference Minister, but a stimulating worship time led by our preacher Courtney Clayton Jenkins, senior pastor at South Euclid UCC.
Make A Different Grants
Newer members of the Conference may not be aware that a multi-million dollar campaign in the late 1990s created an endowment for Make A Difference grants. We are re-activating the grants of up to $2,500 to help fund your congregations’ dreams for new projects and initiatives that make a difference in your community and reflect the UCC’s emphasis on 3 Great Loves — of neighbor, of children and of creation. More publicity will appear in other articles, but start dreaming now about how you could use $2,500 to help your congregation to reach out to your community or assist a community service organization with which you partner. Proposals will be due in November, grant awards will be announced in December.
Rev. John Gantt
Interim Conference Minister