The official call to our RI Conference Annual Meeting has gone out via email to as many as possible this week here in Rhode Island. If you are reading this post I hope you will feel personally invited to come to this historic meeting! Not only will this be the Annual Meeting of the Rhode Island Conference of the United Church of Christ, it will also be an historic gathering of the three UCC Conferences in southern New England. We will come together not only to have our three separate Annual Meetings; this event has been carefully planned for us to share in collaborative time together as we all make a decision about our shared future. We will meet at the Convention Center in Hartford, CT on Friday, June 16 as well as on Saturday, June 17, 2017. Yes, you read that right – we gather in Hartford, CT! Full details and registration are here.
Here’s a quick preview of some of the events planned:
For Authorized Ministers’ there is a luncheon on Friday, June 16, 2017 from 12 PM to 3 PM at the Marriott Hotel Downtown Hartford, 200 Columbus Avenue. The Rev. Dr. John C. Dorhauer will be the keynote speaker at this luncheon. More information is here.
On Friday afternoon, June 16th there will be hearings as well as conversation time about the Together, As One proposal as well as an orientation for anyone who is a new delegate to an Annual Meeting. The Friday evening plenary will be a special time of worship with all three conferences coming together as one body in Christ. The Rev. Dr. Maritza de Gonzalez, Co-Pastor of Manantial de Gracia of West Hartford, CT will preach. A worship team (comprised of members of all three Conferences) has been collaborating to make this a spirit-filled beginning to this historic meeting.
Our shared time on Saturday begins at 8:30 AM and will include an opportunity to review and discuss together the proposal by the Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island Conference Boards of Directors to join together to form a new conference. This Tri-Conference gathering time on Saturday morning will offer a further chance to become informed about this proposal. (In addition, please note that there will be five online forums for discussion about the proposal. See details and registration.)
Our Keynote speaker for the shared Annual Meeting on Saturday morning will be The Rev. Dr. John C. Dorhauer, General Minister and President of the United Church of Christ, who will reflect with us about the changing nature of the church and our need to be adaptive and flexible in these times in which we live.
On Saturday afternoon each of the three southern New England Conferences will meet in separate spaces to do their Annual Meeting business. In each of these meetings a vote will be taken on the proposal by the three separate Conference bodies. We will then gather as one to hear the results of those three votes.
I cannot emphasize enough how significant an event this June 16 & 17th meeting will be. Your presence is vital!
IMPORTANT UPDATE: We recognize that such an historic meeting and traveling to Hartford, CT involves extra time and expense. A special fund has been set up to help offset expenses for those in need. Please contact the Conference office and speak with me if you need financial assistance to attend this meeting. We want you to come to this meeting! Let me know if assistance would be helpful. Please do not have finances keep you away.
Yours in Christ,
Interim Conference Minister, Barbara Libby
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