Church News You Can Use

Apr 02, 2024

Michigan Conference UCC Board of Directors

Rev. Liz Larrivee, M.B.A., M.Div. President

Our board-staff partnership provides structure for leading the ministry of the Michigan Conference UCC. The BOD’s function of governance and the staff’s function of management complement and support each other. On March 22 and 23, BOD and staff kicked-off a joint Strategic Planning Initiative by attending a retreat facilitated by Quanita Roberson of Nzuzu Consulting Retreat goals included (1.) Building relationships and trust, (2.) Deep listening for the movement of the Holy Spirit, (3.) Discovering “Who We Are,” (4.) Discerning “What We Need to Do,” and (5.) Co-creating a draft mission statement for the Conference. We will continue to build on the foundation we began during the retreat as we engage the next steps in our strategic planning process.


In addition to crafting a Conference strategic plan that includes mission, vision, and values statements to guide our work together, a key BOD governance responsibility is to strengthen Conference ministry programs by ensuring adequate financial resources. After careful and detailed analysis–including dialogue with staff—the BOD made two significant financial decisions in alignment with our strategic plan. First, we have reduced our Conference OCWM pass-through giving to the UCC National Ministries from 30% to 10% to be on par with the contribution rates of other UCC Conferences. Second, we have listed the East Lansing Conference property (office, house, and land) for sale with Lisa Kost, Director Coldwell Banker Commercial. Staffing shifts to remote work locations, a frequently empty building, an aging facility with significant deferred maintenance, and increasing operational costs combined to make this a wise fiduciary decision. These board-staff partnership actions demonstrate our ongoing commitment to supporting the transformational ministry of equipping, empowering, encouraging, and connecting Michigan churches and clergy to serve God and neighbor.

Dec 18, 2023

Church Yearbook Instructions 2024


This year the National Setting is offering several incentives for churches that submit both their annual Yearbook report and answer
the supplemental research questions.  (Supplemental research questions can be found on  pages 9-16 of the 2024 Church Yearbook Instructions)


Every church that responds to both will be entered into a random drawing for
several prizes.


If your church is selected we will send an email to the email address noted in the Data Hub.

Please be sure to respond to us if you receive an email.

The following prizes will be awarded:
• $100 UCC Resources Gift Card – 5 gift cards will be awarded
• One year free subscription to Access UCC (online Yearbook and Directory) – 10 subscriptions will be
• 2023 Yearbook and Directory – 10 books will be awarded
• Statistical Profile – 15 will be awarded






Sep 28, 2023

Working with Conference Minister Rev. Dr. Lillian Daniel, the Search Advisory Team consisted of Board Members Judith Booker, Abbie Goerg, Rev. Liz Larrivee, and Rev. Sal Sapienza. The team was seeking a unique individual to facilitate the Michigan Conference search and call process between congregations and pastors, provide spiritual care and practical guidance to congregations at key points of transition, including legacy, revitalization, new church starts and opportunities for shared and cooperative ministries. Full-time Associate Conference Minister Rev. Cheryl Burke will now be able to work throughout the Michigan Conference, focusing her ministry on encouraging and equipping our excellent clergy, along with working with all our committees on ministry and members in discernment.

We are excited to share that Rev. Lawrence T. Richardson will join our Conference Staff starting January 1, 2024.

He looks forward to being introduced in person at the Michigan Conference Annual Meeting on October 28


Sep 15, 2023

Michigan Conference Annual Meeting

October 28, 2023

9:00am – 3:00pm

Plymouth UCC,

4010 Kalamazoo Ave SE
Grand Rapids, MI 49508

We are so excited to join together for our 2023 Annual Meeting in-person!

Looking forward to seeing you as we come together for worship with Conference Minister Rev. Dr. Lillian Daniel, fellowship over fantastic food, and our keynote speaker Rev. Dr. Claire Bamberg, who will be sharing her insights on how vitality is linked to the life of our congregations.

For more details about content and overnight accommodations READ MORE

Jun 29, 2023

June 29, 2023

Greetings beloved colleagues,

I am writing to announce that our Annual Meeting of the Michigan Conference United Church of Christ will be held on Saturday, October 28the 2023 at Plymouth United Church of Christ in Grand Rapids, Michigan. It will be a perfect venue for us to connect in person and celebrate the covenant that makes us stronger together.

A block of rooms will be available at the Drury Inn nearby. If you are planning on arriving Friday and staying over at the Drury, a casual mixer will be held there Friday evening. It will be an enjoyable way to reconnect with other colleagues before the conference.

We’re confident that this year’s conference will be inspiring to you, especially as we continue to emerge from the tiring and often lingering effects of Covid. Many of us are still trying to gain our bearings as to where God is leading us in these challenging times of change.

To assist us in refining our direction, our keynote speaker Claire Bamberg will be sharing her insights on how vitality is linked to the life of our congregations. Claire is an ordained minister, licensed mental health professional, certified mediator, professional certified coach, a systems and developmental theory expert, and an engaging speaker.    READ MORE

I hope you will join us!
In God’s enlivening love,

Rev. Dr. Diane Baker

Moderator, Michigan Conference UCC

Senior Pastor, Bethel UCC, Waterford

Feb 14, 2023

After the Shooting at Michigan State University

This Valentines Day, I do not send our 140 Michigan churches the sugary sentiments of a heart shaped box of chocolates but the prayers from my broken human heart after last night’s shooting at Michigan State University. We had church members who could see the scene from where they were locked down in homes and churches. Last night, as I checked in on our local pastors, I knew they were checking in on their churches, communities, families, workers, students, first responders and the weary world around them.

For, as every pastor knows, when tragedy hits, our churches grow much larger than the membership rolls. Churches become centers of care for the whole community, in buildings at busy intersections, in online gatherings, or on prayer chains. When violence locks us down or sends us into the streets, the church has the chance to blast past its walls, when preachers realize that their most important sermon may be the one that is offered to the stranger at the grocery store who recognizes them and says, “Pastor, just answer me this. How can God let this happen?”

I’ve heard that question a lot lately, from people horrified by whatever picture of the world they receive in the news of their own choosing, but it’s a question that we in the church have an ancient answer to. God does not let this happen. People do. It is people who let these things happen.

We saw it in the video of Tyre Nichols, killed by the brutality of human violence and the more devastating brutality of human indifference. We see it in the horror of the war in Ukraine, where, as in all wars, the poor pay the greatest price, while far away leaders philosophize to monetize their own safety. We see it in ourselves as a country, when the news of one school shooting after another becomes routine, in a culture drooling for violence as entertainment, but hardened to it in real life. We see it in ourselves as a nation of immature impulses and short attention spans, more interested in shooting balloons out of the sky than taking guns out of the hands of its own people. God does not allow that to happen. People do.

Yet somehow, despite the stakes, God, the great creator of all things, chose to create us with free will and mortal bodies. We could have been made to live forever as coddled infants, with our needs met, our decisions constrained and our capacity to harm the rest of creation minimized. Instead, we were created in the image of God, which means we have souls and bodies that were literally built for growth and change. Created with a limited time on earth, we were given the ability to choose between right and wrong, love or death, God or stuff, the care of all creation or the tedious worship of the self, all on a short journey through life whose purpose is to draw us closer to the one who gave us life to begin with.

As for the shooting in East Lansing, God does not let this happen. People do. It is God’s people who let the worst things happen to ourselves and to one another, from the violent act of taking lives, to the violent inaction of cynical indifference. But it is also God’s people who allow the most beautiful things to happen, from the courageous saving of lives, to the loving healing of broken spirits, to the humble repairing of the world from our own mistakes. This is what it means to follow Jesus, human and divine. Today, our Michigan pastors and churches are at the beating heart of it all.

Peace and Blessings,
The Rev. Dr. Lillian Daniel

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