- A time of worship
- A time to remember black sisters and brothers whose lives were brutally taken
- A time for hopeful lament as together we express or own grief over our nation’s history of racism
- An opportunity to become educated about white privilege and its consequences
- Your commitment to become active participants in efforts to name our communities’ racial sins and address them in meaningful ways.
- Lawn Chair
- Water, Mask, Hand Sanitizer
- Signs: Black Lives Matter, Whoever You Are, Wherever You are, You Are Welcome Here ... see the sign on the right
- Your personal lament, written in the style of a Lament Psalm (optional)
- Nonperishable food items or cash gifts for the Highland Area Community Services Food Pantry.
Greetings from the Gatherings Team of the UCC Illinois South Conference:
As we all try to plan for future events, we are faced with many questions and considerations as to how we will function as a church for Sunday worship, Christian education programs, special events like funerals and weddings, and for our particular team, how to plan for our Conference annual meeting.
By this time in years past, your church would have received a pre-annual meeting mailing (90 days prior to the annual meeting, as per our by-laws) with a specific agenda of activities and registration information, as well as a reminder to send the names of your conference delegates to the ISC office. As much as the Gatherings Team would like to abide by the by-laws, we are just not able to provide a lot of specific information at this point.
The Covid-19 pandemic certainly threw a monkey wrench into the plans that we had been making since last November. By April we realized that a large, in-person annual meeting was not the best idea. For the safety of our church leaders and pastors, we recommended to the Conference Council that a virtual meeting be considered. The Conference Council determined in May that we would hold a “virtual annual meeting.”
After five months of planning, we had to “throw out the book” and reconfigure a meeting in a way we have never done before. We still have a theme, a guest speaker, and a guest musician. We will still have a business meeting and worship service, but how this is all going to happen is still a work in progress.
At this point, we would like to ask for your support in two specific ways:
- We ask for your patience as we put together a safe yet effective annual meeting. It will be held on October 24 with additional opportunities for continuing education and gathering during that weekend. There are still too many “unknowns.” Therefore, we hesitate to share specifics which may change a week later. Please know we will work to keep you updated with our plans. We will send out information as we have more clarity.
- If you are still in the process of determining your delegates for annual meeting, we would ask you to consider approaching church members who have a computer (with video capability) and email to serve in this capacity. You may also consider having an annual meeting “watch party” at your church where your delegates can come together to experience annual meeting in a smaller, safer venue and without the travel.
We are deeply grateful for your support of us as we will work to make this annual meeting a meaningful experience for all. Thank you for your patience and understanding.
The Illinois South Conference Gatherings Team
Walt Hart, Chair Carol Harms
Eileen Hoag Rev. Shana Johnson
Chilang Lawless Mimi Llamas
Christy Pursell Pastor Jon Tinge
Rev. Michelle Torigian Rev. Andy Wilson
Click here for a pdf to share with your church delegates.
If you know of stories that show people being the church, please send it to ISCspirit@iscucc.org. Share the stories that are warming your heart. #ISCspirit.
To see all of the #iscspirit stories, click here.
Faithfully Phasing Forward click here
Guidelines for Worship & Religious Services, click here.
UCC As Congregations Consider Re-opening Their Buildings for Worship
Click here for worship resources shared by the Pastors of Illinois South Conference and more.
UCC offers information about Social Media and Digital Downloads. Click here to download.
Many churches move to live broadcasts and shared videos of their worship services. Now that you’ve worked out the process, you need to give some thought to what kinds of licensing you need to share these works. There was an initial window where licensing requirements were suspended, but that has passed.
Fortunately, Members of Faith INFO, The Pilgrim Press, and UCC Legal Counsel have your back. They have created a video to address your questions about copyright, legal implications, licensing, streaming, and more. Check it out on YouTube.
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Find out what is happening within the 77 churches within Illinois South Conference.
Starting Wednesday, July 22 at 6:30 pm, the Justice and Mission Committee will be sponsoring an evening biweekly book study on White Fragility: Why It's so Hard for White People to Talk About Racism by Robin DiAngelo. In this best-selling book, author Robin DiAngelo, an antiracist educator, illuminates the phenomenon of white fragility and challenges the reader to understand racism "as a practice not restricted to 'bad people.'"
This four-session study can be a meaningful first step for well-intentioned white people to engage in the Christ centered work of dismantling racism and seeking equity and justice for black and brown people.
Through this book study, we hope participants will become aware of the attitudes that have maintained the status quo of systems, structures, policies, and practices of oppression. We will examine together white fragility, how it develops, how it protects racial inequity, and what we can do to engage more constructively.
Our Conference Minister, Rev. Shana Johnson, will lead the online experience open to all members of the Conference.
In order to participate, please purchase the book and read the corresponding chapters before attending and participating in a session. The book can be purchased at a local bookstore, through an online distributor (such as Barnes and Noble or Amazon), and it might be available through your local library. The book is also available in digital form for a Nook or Kindle or audio form. Please make sure you buy the book and not the workbook.
Below is the schedule. Please email Rev. Shana Johnson to register for the Zoom Gatherings and to receive preparation materials.
Wednesday, July 22, 6:30 pm on Zoom
Session 1: Facing White Supremacy (focusing on chapters 1-3)
Wednesday, August 5, 6:30 pm on Zoom
Session 2: How Does Race Shape the Lives of White People? (focusing on chapters 4-6)
Wednesday, August 19, 6:30 pm on Zoom
Session 3: Understanding White Fragility in Action (focusing on chapters 7-11)
Wednesday, September 2, 6:30 pm on Zoom
Session 4: Where Do We Go From Here? (focusing on chapter 12)
Here is a bulletin and a worship service video developed by Illinois South Conference for your use. The hope is to provide your pastor with a week of respite from planning worship. You may use it this Sunday, June 28 or any other Sunday of your choosing. Each church may choose the date and time to share with your congregation. Click here for the bulletin to accompany the above service.
Information through the UCC denomination
Daily COVID-19 Briefing from UCC - Facts, Not Fear
If you would like to receive a Daily Briefing from UCC Disaster Ministries on COVID-19 which separates facts from falsehoods and fear, send an email by this link. It is prepared Monday through Friday by Barbara T. Baylor, MPH.
The UCC website has a page dedicated to the COVID-19 situation which is being regularly updated.
How to Do Electronic GIVING at Your Church
Websites to monitor
The Center for Disease Control (CDC) has particular guidance for community and faith-based organizations you might review.
CDC Summary of the Situation
The Illinois Department of Health