What Impact Do Pastoral Sabbaticals Have?

In the latter part of the 20th century, United Church of Christ congregations began offering paid sabbatical leave to pastors as part of their benefits package. Some pastors choose to do a little research while they’re away, but unlike academic sabbaticals, researching and publishing are not the goals. Often scheduled for three months after 4-6…

The World Needs To Hear Your Story

“We convert, if we do at all, by being something irresistible, not by demanding something impossible.” — May Sarton, The House by the Sea One of the challenges we in the United Church of Christ face is about how to understand and leverage our unique assets to live into the ministries that God has placed…

What Role Do Outdoor Ministries Play In The UCC Today?

In the nearly 20 years I’ve been in and around the United Church of Christ, no topic I’ve heard discussed has elicited more passion, argument, dissent, delight, and anguish than Outdoor Ministries, especially our camps and conference centers. The discussions I’ve heard have made even the most controversial votes at General Synod feel tame by…

To Whom Does a Pastor’s Body Belong?

Martin Luther King, Jr. was many things to many people, but in his own mind, he was first and foremost a pastor. And although he was born 39 years before he was assassinated, his body implied a different story. An autopsy on King revealed that despite his youth, he had the heart of a 60-year-old-man. My understanding…

“Where are the Monks and Nuns in the UCC?”

I heard it, but I couldn’t believe it. “Where are the monks and nuns in the UCC?” The question struck me to my core. This question came up in April of this year, as the national leadership of the United Church of Christ hosted a theological formation summit in Cleveland. Entitled “From the Ground Up,”…

What Difference Does the UCC Make?

This article is dedicated to Kristina Lizardy-Hajbi, in gratitude for her faithful service to the UCC’s Center for Analytics, Research, and Data. As a pastor in the United Church of Christ, I believe that the UCC makes a real difference in the world. But what difference, exactly, is that? And how do I (or any…