"Be the Church" Roundtables

Social Media "Ask Me Anything"
Friday, June 30 – 12:30 – 1:00 p.m.
Marchae Grair
Exhibit Hall – Booth #128
Chat with the national setting's Digital Content Manager about what's next for social media trends and how you can take your church's social media to the next level. Ask her how she makes decisions about UCC social media and find out how you can get more involved in writing for the UCC blog, New Sacred. This roundtable is also the place for digital communicators who want to discuss how to keep their spaces intersectional, interesting, and evolving. Need to vent and brainstorm with other church communicators? This is the space for you. People with all social media abilities are welcome!

Living into the Blessing of "Being the Church" in this Political Climate
Friday, June 30 – 1:30 – 2:00 p.m.
Elizabeth Griswold
Exhibit Hall – Booth #128
This discussion will focus on opportunities that congregations have to be beacons of light and spaces of sanctuary in this political day and age. We would look at a case study of my own congregation (Parkside UCC in Sacramento) as an example of a church that is thriving and finding deeper purpose and growth by speaking up boldly and compassionately through our faith.

Embodying Christ & Saving Lives: Responding to Suicidality
Friday, June 30 – 5:15 – 5:45 p.m.
Rachael Keefe
Exhibit Hall – Booth #128
Suicide is the last taboo of the church. We need to break the silence and end the stigma and save lives. This will be an introduction to ending false information around suicide prevention and intervention. It will also include the concept of safe messaging and strengthening protective factors in postvention. If there is time, we will talk about the confusion of theology around suicide and how that impacts those who live with suicidality.

Changing Hearts
Saturday, July 1 – 12:00 – 12:30 p.m.
Sharon Solt Harfman
Exhibit Hall – Booth #128
The search committee almost rejected my resume because I support gay marriage. After being their pastor for 15 years, they welcomed the local MCC (LGBTQ) congregation to share our building. Struggles ensued, but hearts changed.

Safety First: HIV Prevention, Covenant, and Communication
Saturday, July 1 – 1:00 – 1:30 p.m.
Amy Johnson
Exhibit Hall – Booth #128
Through an interactive Jeopardy like game, a small group activity regarding conversation, and a demonstration of barrier methods used in to prevent the transmission of HIV and other STIs, this roundtable will educate, engage, and empower people to embrace their values and stay safer.

What Does Hip Hop have in Common with the Church?
Sunday, July 2 – 9:30 – 10:00 a.m.
Franshonn Salter
Exhibit Hall – Booth #128
Using scriptural texts, the purpose of this discussion is to show the commonalities between the hip hop culture and the church and how the church can use these commonalities to draw young people.

Your Gender is Complicated: An Introduction to Gender Spectrums
Sunday, July 2 – 10:30 – 11:00 a.m.
Grant Helbley
Exhibit Hall – Booth #128
Participants will be given an opportunity to consider how culture shapes our perspective of what is masculine and feminine. Participants will be given the opportunity to chart their own conformation to gender norms and discuss how gender norms have impacted them. This conversation is intended primarily for cis-gender identified individuals who want a more nuanced understanding of their own gender identity. We will not talk about transgender people but the exercise will lay a theoretical framework for having deeper and more productive conversations with transgender individuals.

New Ways of Measuring Congregational Vitality and Impact (Without Using Numbers)
Sunday, July 2 – 11:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
Kristina Lizardy-Hajbi
Exhibit Hall – Booth #128
How does a congregation measure its vitality in ways that don't involve counting dollars in the bank or people in the pews? Based on the popular "Be the Church" banner, a new tool has been developed to assist leaders in measuring their church's impact both within and beyond the congregation. This Roundtable will introduce this easy-to-use tool and facilitate discussion around what it means to be a vital congregation in today's world.

How Can We Be "United" When We're Sooooooo Different?
Sunday, July 2 – 12:30 – 1:00 p.m.
Mary Susan Gast
Exhibit Hall – Booth #128
We are a united church where unity will never mean unanimity. We are diverse in our backgrounds and our beliefs, in our politics and our commitments. How can we—and how do we—appreciate and welcome those differences, not just tolerate them? In this Roundtable we’ll talk about divisions in our church that trouble us—whether in our local congregations or the wider church. And we’ll look at a vision of unity that is stronger for its embrace of us all.

Church 3.0 - A How To Practicum
Sunday, July 2 – 5:00 – 5:30 p.m.
Rev. Jason Hubbard
Exhibit Hall – Booth #128
We started an alternative worship gathering using Church 3.0 principles that has gone from 12 to 300 on the mailing list in 2 years. That's 300 new people engaged with our church in 2 years. 100 of them show up to a very nontraditional second worship service on Sundays. Most of them pledge to the larger church. If you are inspired to create something like this for your community and want to talk with someone who has done it successfully, join us! We'll cover what we can in 30 minutes and create a way to stay in conversation after Synod.

Creating an LGBTQ Youth Support Group: Discerning & Enacting Sustainable Signature Ministries
Sunday, July 2 – 6:00 – 6:30 p.m.
Ellen Sims
Exhibit Hall – Booth #128
This roundtable will introduce a process of discernment-based congregational decision-making and its resulting social justice project. Presenters will describe why and how a small, new church chose as their focal community ministry the creation of a weekly support group for LGBTQ teens. Participants will discuss advantages and disadvantages of group discernment rather than congregational vote to reach a major decision, share their own successes and failures in creating community ministries, and consider a model for youth ministry in which the church ministers to youth in the community context, not within the ministries of the church: new ways of being church.

Considering the Decriminalization of Consensual Sex Work as a Social Justice Issue
Monday, July 3 – 12:00 – 12:30 p.m.
Ellen Willert
Exhibit Hall – Booth #128
This roundtable will engage church participants in discussion around the issues of marginalization and exclusion from community faced by those adults who choose to engage in consensual sex work, and the role that traditional ideas of Judeo-Christian morality has played in the laws criminalizing consensual sex work.

Invisible Disabilities: What We Can't See Keeps Parishioners from Being "the Church"
Monday, July 3 – 1:00 – 1:30 p.m.
Nadyne Guzman
Exhibit Hall – Booth #128
This roundtable will provide information about hidden disabilities and how they can prevent parishioners from full participation in church worship and other activities. Participants will learn about some common invisible disabilities, what they have in common, how the present challenges for those who have them, and what the church can do to support these individuals.

Future Worship: How are we experimenting with new forms of worship?
Monday, July 3 – 2:00 – 2:30 p.m.
Juliana Holm
Exhibit Hall – Booth #128
The standard worship formulas that most mainline denominations use date to the 50s and don't really serve new generations. How are churches experimenting with worship - changing and reinventing it, and how is that going? What is working, what is not? How are inter-generational models, like Messy Church working? Dinner Churches? Online Churches? What else? What is absolutely necessary to worship and what is not?

Our Educational Mission: What Should Collegiate Ministry Be?
Monday, July 3 – 5:00 – 5:30 p.m.
Andrew Patty
Exhibit Hall – Booth #128
Rev. Dr. Roger L. Shinn when talking about our educational mission as a church spoke often that our response should be to the whole life of the church. For him, our mission to students should be where “life is studied, broadened beyond its immediate interests, deepened from its shallow activities, interpreted from a Christian perspective, and action directed toward a Christian purpose.” Since making this statement in the 1960s, how have we encountered that mission? What should college ministry look like for the 21st century UCC?

Single in the Sanctuary: Being the Church to Unmarried Christians
Monday, July 3 – 6:00 – 6:30 p.m.
Michelle Torigian
Exhibit Hall – Booth #128
Single in the Sanctuary: Being the Church to Unmarried Christians is a forum focusing on the current needs of single, divorced, separated, widowed, and cohabitating people in our congregations as well as naming ways to include them in each part of church life. We will lift up concerns that unmarried Christians may face in ways that are grace-filled and unconditionally accepting of who they are during this point of their lives. God continues to speak to and for all in our pews – no matter the marital status – reminding us that we are all loved just as we are.