Having trouble viewing this email? Click here June 5, 2019

Conference Call

Rev. John VertiganWhat do you call the announcement before the official announcement? I don't know, but this e-cel piece serves that function. I've just come from a meeting of the Florida Conference team that is hard at work planning our 2019 Annual Gathering. The official call to the meeting was published some time ago, and collaborative work on this event has been in motion for several months, at least.

We have a venue, Wyndham Orlando Resort International Drive, just a hop, skip and a jump from the Universal Studios attractions.

We have a theme, "What Wondrous Love" and based on scriptures found at Acts 2:42-43 in which wonders and awe play a central role. During our time together we'll be devoting ourselves to fellowship, prayer, teaching and breaking bread even as the earliest church did in this biblical account.

We have a logo, but I'm not going to share it here. Watch for the official announcement that will be sent to churches on June 13. We like it. We've also decided not to offer a T-shirt this year as our closets are becoming full of clothing that either fades or otherwise ceases to be useful to our ever-changing body types (I think you know what I mean.). We are researching other possibilities for a meaningful keepsake that will memorialize the logo for times to come. Thank you, Carolyn Woodard, for another wonderful design.

We have a worship team. We've lined up musicians, preachers, artists and altar builders who will make the space amenable to our desire to encounter the divine in a hotel ballroom. And for the first time in some years, we will have a conference choir for this event! Start tuning your vocal chords now and be prepared to raise song under the leadership of a remarkably gifted musician.

We have workshops. Nine of the 12 leaders asked to provide workshops have responded affirmatively, and the rest will fall into place shortly. Be ready to choose from among sessions geared to a wide variety of passions, tastes and needs. I think you won't be disappointed.

Under the current draft of the event, we will begin our time together in worship with communion and end our time together with an anointing for service in the world. I am excited about both of these services that will feature preaching from Florida Conference authorized ministers who have powerful gifts to share. I'm excited, too, for all the events in between these special moments, and I hope this "announcement before the official announcement" will give you pause to mark your calendars now for October 10-12 here in Orlando for a gathering of the Church I think you won't want to miss.

I hope to see you then. I hope to see you before then. But until we do have the opportunity to be together,

Be at peace, and be in touch, won't you. …

Rev. John Vertigan
Conference Minister



Webinar tomorrow to cover 5 Synod resolutions related to environment

The UCC's Council for Climate Justice is sponsoring a webinar in which lead authors and advocates for five environment-related resolutions will present on their respective resolutions. The webinar is for anyone in the UCC regardless of whether or not you are attending General Synod. It is important for members throughout the life of our denomination to be engaged in the process of considering vital matters of faith. The five resolutions pertain to the Green New Deal, forced migration, carbon dividend legislation, nuclear war prevention, and the use of Styrofoam. The webinar will take place tomorrow, June 6, at 2 p.m. Eastern. Even if you can't attend, a recording will be sent out to all who register. So -> Register today! ->



'Resolution Center' to offer online updates from General Synod

Resolution CenterIf you want to familiarize yourself with 2019 United Church of Christ General Synod resolutions, or follow them through the review and voting process June 21-25, a new online Resolution Center will help you do that. You can see all pending resolutions -> here ->. You will also be able to see them updated in real time by tapping "Resolutions" on a General Synod app, available soon for smart phones and tablets.

The Center will track resolutions through three stages: as originally submitted, as delegate committees amend them and recommend how the Synod should vote, and as they are finally amended and voted on the Synod floor at the Wisconsin Center in Milwaukee.

"I hope it lets delegates and others see easily what's new and changed, and makes information more accessible," said David Anderson, administrator of University Congregational United Church of Christ in Seattle. He staffs the Synod's Committee on Disposition and the on-site -> process -> in which committees of delegates review most resolutions. -> Read more! ->



Professional ethics education offerings

All active authorized ministers who held standing in the Florida Conference in 2016 are required to have completed three units of professional ethics education by the end of 2019. Retired clergy should have completed one unit or requested a waiver from the Committee on Church and Ministry. If you have questions, please email lmccaffrey@uccfla.org.

Following are professional ethics education opportunities through the end of 2019 that can be used to meet these requirements in the Florida Conference:

Online Boundary Training through the Center for Progressive Renewal — Learn from denominational experts and the team at the Center for Progressive Renewal (CPR) about the need for and management of excellent boundaries. Each unit will contain specific learning objectives, reflections based on theological foundations, case studies, best practices and video interactions. Participants will write 250-word reflections after each unit and a 600- to 1,000-word reflection at the conclusion of the course. Upon review by the CPR staff, participants will receive a certificate in Boundary Training for Clergy as well as a packet containing their reflections that can be turned in to their conference or denominational offices to verify their completion of the course. This counts as three units of professional ethics education in the Florida Conference. Cost is normally $199, but, for a limited time, if you add the coupon code BOUNDARY, you can take this training for $99. -> Register now! ->

June 6, 1-4 p.m. — Social Media Ethics for Clergy (online) with Neal Watkins and Rev. Leigh McCaffrey. Cost is $25. Worth one unit of professional ethics education (boundary training). Live via ZOOM videoconference. After you register, you will be sent directions for using ZOOM videoconferencing, which you can join from your computer, tablet or smartphone. At the conclusion of the workshop, you will be asked to submit a one-page reflection paper to the Committee on Church and Ministry. This workshop covers basic ethical concerns in using social media and also best practices for authorized ministers. Limit 10 participants. -> Register now! ->

June 13, 1-4 p.m. — Roles & Responsibilities (online) with Rev. Leigh McCaffrey. Cost is $25. Worth one unit of professional ethics education (boundary training). Live via ZOOM videoconference. After you register, you will be sent directions for using ZOOM videoconferencing, which you can join from your computer, tablet or smartphone. At the conclusion of the workshop, you will be asked to submit a one-page reflection paper to the Committee on Church and Ministry. This workshop will explore power and vulnerability, dual relationships, the pulpit, and personal needs and self-care. Limit 12 participants. -> Register now! ->

Sept. 9, 6-9 p.m. — Roles & Responsibilities (online) with Rev. Leigh McCaffrey. Cost is $25. Worth one unit of professional ethics education (boundary training). Live via ZOOM videoconference. After you register, you will be sent directions for using ZOOM videoconferencing, which you can join from your computer, tablet or smartphone. At the conclusion of the workshop, you will be asked to submit a one-page reflection paper to the Committee on Church and Ministry. This workshop will explore power and vulnerability, dual relationships, the pulpit, and personal needs and self-care. Limit 12 participants. -> Register now! ->

Oct. 10, 1-4 p.m. — Roles & Responsibilities (part of Local Church University at the 2019 Annual Gathering of the Florida Conference in Orlando) with Rev. Leigh McCaffrey. Cost is $25. Worth one unit of professional ethics education (boundary training). This in-person workshop requires pre-registration. Register by emailing lmccaffrey@uccfla.org. Discussion will occur in small groups. Participants should have read Boundaries Updated and Expanded Edition: When to Say Yes, How to Say No To Take Control of Your Life by Henry Cloud and John Townsend [ISBN-10: 0310351804 or ISBN-13: 978-0310351801 (available through Amazon and other retailers in paperback and ebooks)] and have proof of purchase. This workshop will explore power and vulnerability, dual relationships, the pulpit, and personal needs and self-care.

Online webinars through the -> Insurance Board "Safe Conduct Workbench" ->. Note: You will need to fill out an administrator form before taking the webinars.

The following courses together would constitute one unit of professional ethics education:

Hello I'm Sam: Learn the types of molesters, their methods and how they use them to manipulate their co-workers, parents and children — all to meet their own needs. Also, how to spot potentially dangerous interactions between adults and children.

Navigate the Murky Waters of Sexual Harassment: Learn how to prevent, detect and report sexual harassment.

Abuse Prevention Refresher: Build on knowledge and learn new information about how sexual abuse occurs, using red flags, preventing false allegations, preventing sexual activity, and apply what you know. Available in Spanish and French.

Now You're a Supervisor: (Supervisors only) Learn what constitutes workplace discrimination, harassment and retaliation, plus legal requirements and concepts.

Duty to Report, Mandated Reporter: Learn why reporting abuse and neglect is critical, legal responsibilities, what types of conduct must be reported, and how to report it.

If you participate in boundary/ethics education or training in another work setting, please send receipts or certificates to lmccaffrey@uccfla.org for credit.



Prayers for churches and ministers

We invite you to join us in praying for the churches of your Conference. Each issue of e-Celebrate will contain the names of the churches we hope you will pray for personally and as a congregation. Meditate on them, pray for them, and sense your oneness together as the Body of Christ that is the United Church of Christ in Florida. This issue's churches:

  • Windermere Union Church
    Rev. Barton Buchanan, pastor
    Rev. Sarah LaTrell Harrison, associate pastor
    Mr. Marcelino Rivera, licensed minister
  • First Congregational Church, Winter Park
    Rev. Shawn Garvey, pastor
    Rev. Dr. Sherie Lindamood, associate pastor
    Ms. Liz "Elizabeth" Kitchens, commissioned minister
  • New Vision Congregational Church, Yulee
    Rev. Kathy Burton, pastor

We also remember those in specialized ministry settings outside the local church whose presence provides spiritual care and support to many who are in need:

  • Rev. Marilyn Lewis, chaplain, Terra Siesta Mobile Home Park, Ellenton


Save the date

Oct. 10-12: 2019 Annual Gathering of the Florida Conference, Wyndham Orlando Resort International Drive, 8001 International Drive, Orlando, FL 32819. Stay tuned for details and registration.

Oct. 18-20: UCC Southern Region Women's Retreat, Blowing Rock Conference Center, Blowing Rock, NC. For more information, -> click here ->.

e-Celebrate archive

UCC in Florida website

UCC national site

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