The latest news from the Montana-Northern Wyoming UCC Conference of the UCC
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I was reared to be constantly conscious of the “privilege” and “social responsibility” I had in life.  The mantra went: “remember where you came from and what you do.”  Back then, a “privilege” was said to be earned, and “social responsibility” was taught to be obligatory.  The Jesus saying offered to reinforce this sense of “privilege” was: wise ones build their house upon a rock.  The Jesus saying impressed upon my sense of “social responsibility” was: do unto others as you would have others do unto you.
This righteous ethic does not protect others from our acting out in privilege.  It does not lift the weight upon their lives of those worldly insinuations designed to protect our privileges in socially irresponsible ways.   “Privilege” too often takes a front seat to “social responsibility.”  My conscience has been piqued as I have learned more about my “privileged white male world.”  I know my need to admit that I am a “recovering” racist and a “recovering” misogynist. 
I share this confession publicly, again, in lament of the killings at Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, SC.  I have heard the assurance of forgiveness offered by the Church to even the man who wrought this evil.  The righteousness of those who can be so touched by what is sacred is beyond compare for most of us. 
If you, too, were reared with the “while privilege” sense of “privilege” and “social responsibility,” perhaps you will recognize our fault.  The voices of faith taking on racism, economic disparity, sexism, and the powers of the world seem to find a different ethic and righteousness in the Gospel narrative.  “Privilege” is not earned: rather, all people of faith are obligated to the privilege they have and all people have as children of God.  “Social responsibility” is not obliged: rather, people in faithful practice earn the trust to engage with others.
I suspect there is a strong sense of our “earned place” in the Montana-N.Wyoming Association and Conference.  We tend to protect what we have built up for ourselves, even in church.  On the other hand, I know there is a strong engagement in “social responsibility” among our churches.  Our outreach is most often a result of the trust earned by the faithful to be involved in the wider community.   Hearing “yes” to the hymn “won’t you let me be your neighbor?” is the truest privilege ever.
June 25-30, UCC General Synod, Cleveland, OH

July 2, Camp Mimanagish free-will Movie (The Goonies) Night fundraiser, Mayflower UCC Billings, 8 PM and on

Aug 21st - 23rd, Conference Annual Meeting, Billings

A Summer Intern in Helena

Adam Bradley calls the Bay Area in Northern California home, with his wife Michele and children Ethan (4) and Emma (2). Adam is a lifelong member of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and has just finished his first year of a Masters of Divinity degree program at the Pacific School of Religion in Berkeley CA.. Adam's area of focus is Preaching and he looks
 to enter congregational ministry upon completion of his degree. Adam worked for 12 years prior to starting his Masters coursework in the food and beverage industry, managing most recently for Starbucks Coffee Co. Ministry has been a lifelong calling for Adam as he had served as Lay Pastor prior to seminary at the First Christian Church of San Lorenzo, CA. Adam is thrilled for the opportunity to serve Plymouth Congregational Church in Helena this summer and would welcome any visitors that might find themselves in Helena.

General Synod

General Synod is currently taking place in Cleveland and six Conference members are attending.  Elaine Black, Lacey Spencer, and Rick Thompson are our official Synod  delegates.  Carol Shipley is a delegate as a national UCC Board Member.  Marc Stewart will be an associate delegate.  Our Conference Moderator, Trudi Downer, will be attending conference moderator sessions.  Watch the links below for regular updates.

Call to Prayer

We extend our deepest condolences to our brothers and sisters of Mother Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina in the loss of their Pastor Clementa Pinckney and eight of their church family.  As the body of Christ, we weep in pain and prayer with you in the aftermath of this horrible act of violence.  Our thoughts are with the families of those who lost their lives and those who were injured.  Each loss is close to us; we just learned that the beloved cousin of one of our UCC national staff persons was one of the victims.
Mass killings such as these are heart-rending under any circumstances.  They are made even more tragic when they happen within the walls and safety of sacred space.  The heart of our nation must break wide open to feel the pain of our divisions.  The body of our nation must turn itself inside out to expose the sickness of our collective culture.  The soul of our nation must cry out in agony and lamentation at this time.  We appeal to the United Church of Christ family and the entire nation to pray without ceasing for justice and peace to prevail.
We rely on God’s abiding love, the presence of Jesus Christ, and the power of the Holy Spirit as we know that God wraps the entire AME family in a blessed embrace.   When one part of the body is injured, the whole body suffers. 
Dear God of many Names, we come to you in our time of grief.  Help us dear God to understand how such tragedy occurs in the midst of your beloved family.  Because you have made us One Body, help us dear God to reach across the lines which divide us.  At this time, we ask for special prayers for our beloved family in Charleston, South Carolina and all who connect to them in life and spirit.  Keep them close to your heart dear One and protect them with power of your Holy Spirit.  We pray all this in the blessed name of Jesus the Christ, our Rock and our Redeemer.   

To read a letter from Reverend 
Waltrina Middleton regarding this tragedy, click here.

The MT-NWy Conference Annual Meeting has a wonderful theme: Get Found in Montana & N.Wyoming: You are Standing on Holy Ground.  Look for registration materials in the Registration Tab of the Conference Web site:
Register on or before July 21st and receive a discounted registration cost of $75 ($90 after July 22nd).  

Communications Task Force

The Board of Directors asks your assistance in providing names of church members who can help with our Conference Communications Task Force.  This is a short term task force that has been charged with:
    1. Producing a new conference directory
    2. Writing a Communications Policy Handbook
    3. Providing creative input in the design of our Web communications
    4. Providing creative input in the design of a new MNWC logo.
Please email vice-moderator, Gus Byrom,  by July 8 with the contact information of your recommendations:

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