Let’s Talk: Something’s Coming

I am a liturgical nerd. For a time in my life, well before I was ordained, I would coordinate my shirt on Sunday mornings with the appropriate color appointed for the liturgical season. And I have feelings – strong feelings – that blue, not purple, is most appropriate for Advent’s season of preparation. This, however, isn’t a column about that. Instead, the question on my mind is this: How do you prepare for everything you know being on the cusp of change? And I mean big change, no-going-back-now change. Some of you might be thinking, “great, just another pandemic reflection.”…
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Let’s Talk: About a Bigger Covenant

During the month of November, a variety of voices from around our Conference will be sharing the weekly Let's Talk column around a thematic focus of gratitude. This week's columnist is the Rev. Kathryn M. Schreiber, pastor & teacher of Berkeley Chinese Community Church. “We Covenant with the Lord and one with another; and doe bynd our selves in the presence of God, to walke together in all his waies, according as he is pleased to reveale himselfe unto us in his Blessed word of truth.” Salem Covenant 1629 In the 1990’s First Congregational Church of Memphis recited this pledge…
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Let’s Talk: About Where We’ve Been

During the month of November, a variety of voices from around our Conference will be sharing the weekly Let's Talk column around a thematic focus of gratitude. This week's columnist is the Rev. Dan Wysong, pastor & teacher of St. John's United Church of Christ in Woodland. There are few things I love more than getting out into the wilderness. Whether hiking beside a stream or climbing up the side of a mountain, being surrounded by beauty, moving my body - hearing, seeing, smelling, touching the earth makes me feel like I am part of all of it.  These are…
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Vote on a New Name for our Newsletter

In October, members and friends of the Northern California Nevada Conference were invited to submit possible new names for our weekly newsletter. Thank you to the 10 people who submitted proposed names for our weekly newsletter, as well as another six individuals who submitted their thoughts and reflections without a specific name. Submissions were reviewed against the following criteria: The name must be unique among Conferences in the UCC. The name must also be unique among the Local Churches and Associations in NCNC-UCC. The name must be accessible to all people, including those who use adaptive devices for vision or…
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Let’s Talk: Let’s Listen

During the month of November, a variety of voices from around our Conference will be sharing the weekly Let's Talk column around a thematic focus of gratitude. This week's columnist is the Rev. Penny Phillips, Committee on Ministry, Section B co-chairperson. Be still, (and be quiet and listen) and know that I am God. Who knew that listening would be such an exhausting task and take so much energy, both physical and mental? And might I add, spiritual? Who knew? If any of us had known this, we might have taken a very different life path. In my participation with…
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2022 Fair & Just Compensation Updates

Conference Council has approved the 2022 revision to Fair & Just Compensation for Church Workers. It is now commended to the Local Churches and Authorized Ministers for their review and guidance in negotiating terms of employment. Changes from 2021 to 2022 include: A $2 hourly (or $4,160 annualized) raise in base salary, in alignment with requirements of California minimum wage law. Revisions to the Fair & Just Compensation foundational document to make future annual updates less demanding on Conference staff and leadership. Since it was introduced in 2017 as a newer, more comprehensive "Conference guidelines," Fair & Just Compensation has grounded annual increases…
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I Didn’t Know That! Vincent Wu

Frank McCourt (1930-2009) was an Irish-American teacher and Pulitzer Prize writer.  He is attributed with the quote “Everyone has a story to share.  You just have to write it.”  Many of us would say that we lead a fairly mundane life.   Nothing really to share.  But that’s just your perspective. How many others do we know that have stories to share?  How many others within our conference that have stories to share that would make us say “I didn’t know that?” This begins a series of interviews by Dick Hom (San Francisco, Chinese Congregational Church UCC) on people in our…
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Let’s Talk: About Unexpected Blessings

During the month of November, a variety of voices from around our Conference will be sharing the weekly Let's Talk column around a thematic focus of gratitude. This week's columnist is the Rev. Karen Thisthlethwaite, associate pastor at Ladera Community Church, UCC, in Portola Valley. When COVID first hit in March 2020 my life was filled with unexpected blessings. I was serving at a church I loved, pushed to be more creative, and was connect with my colleagues in new ways. Remarkably our son Colin’s preschool stayed open and then welcomed our daughter Siena when her school shut down. My…
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Let’s Talk: About You, Me, and We

I don't remember the exact year, but I remember going to a retreat with my middle school youth group to our church's camp next to a lake on the flat plains of western Minnesota. My church geekiness set in quite early; I had always been fond of church and I was turning to the age where the simple, pat answers to my religious questions of childhood were no longer suitable as my mind and reason was expanding. I had just started to read the Bible as sacred text on my own, not simply as isolated chunks of stories (pericopes) but…
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Let’s Talk: About Mask Season

October is a month filled with many things. It is the beginning of fall; therefore, the leaves on trees begin to change colors. It is a time of year that all children at heart look forward to dressing up as their favorite character or person. Visiting the pumpkin patch to hang out, ride ponies, jump around in jump houses, eat delicious pumpkin pies, cotton candy, and hot pretzels -- oh and pick out a pumpkin to carve or paint. Some kids are trick or treating and others are attending their school fall dances. And then there are the beautiful, fun-filled…
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