South Dakota Conference - United Church of Christ



MARCH 9, 2018



                                               Training Workshop

Date:                May 10, 2018

 Check-in   9:30am 
 Class        10:00am - 3:30pm

First Congregational UCC
                          1102 W Norfolk Ave 
                          Norfolk, NE  68701
Cost:                 $35.00/person includes materials/lunch


Trainer:            Rev. Gordon Rankin. 

Deadline for registration:   May 1, 2018

This Training will meet the authorization requirements of any of the committees on ministry in the Iowa, Nebraska, and South Dakota Conferences. The event is open to Authorized Ministers from other conferences or denominations as well.

Reminder: Ministers who have taken boundary training need to provide a certificate or proof of attendance. Send electronically to at the Conference office.  The date of completion and document are forwarded to your COM to complete the requirement for good standing.


This Lent we're remembering the ministry of the Rev. Fred McFeely Rogers, known to generations of children and parents as Mr. Rogers, as we mark the 50th anniversary of the first broadcast of Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood.
I became one of Pastor Rogers' neighbors as an adult. I remember the day clearly. I've written about it before. A day in my parish ministry hadn't been a beautiful day in the neighborhood. (Maybe this happens from time to time in your parish, too.) I don't remember what had happened that day to make it bad. I only remember that I came home early, plopped onto my bed, and turned on the television, which had last been set on our PBS channel. There was Pastor Rogers. I reached for the remote, but he caught me.
He was in the bathroom. He was telling children new to bathrooms, and reminding others of us old hands at bathrooms, that we are safe using the potty and the bathtub because it is not possible for us to go down the drain. Then Pastor Rogers, who held a degree in music composition, sang his sweet gospel song, "You Can Never Go Down the Drain." As we often do on bad, bad days when the gospel pours in to embrace us, comfort us, and raise us up, I used up a box of tissues. And got off the bed. From that day on, the Rev. Fred McFeely Rogers was a gospel bearer in my life.
The first time Fred Rogers saw television, he was horrified by the mean and foolish content. Then, he dedicated his life to making it better. We find much that is hateful and hurtful in the communication tools of our day. From simple posts to political action, we absolutely can make these tools more radiant vessels of gospel.
He wondered. He wondered how crayons and tubas were made. He wondered how to breakdance. Asking questions is holy work. Let's ask more!
He was a brilliant steward of imagination. Those trolley car trips to make believe were important enough to be daily! They still are, for children and for white haired old ladies like me.
He reached out warmly to strangers. He had a very gospelly habit of thanking people. When our daily paths include warm greetings for strangers and gospel-rich words of gratitude for every single person who serves or helps us, we, too, are deep vessels of gospel.
He made mistakes in plain view. To teach children how it's done. And he laughed at himself. To teach children how that's done. Oh, grace. Oh, mercy. Oh, the sweet company of forgiven and forgiving sinners. May we be that company and be it even more fully.
He put children first. We are followers of Jesus, who rescued children from his shushing and rebuking disciples. And insisted that it is the way of children that leads to the realm of God. These Lenten days are good days for measuring how our congregations lean. Toward the children or away from them? How many are sharing in ministry to children in our communities? The same faithful few or nearly everyone? What portion of our budgets is used to serve children? Are children given beautiful spaces for learning and play? I'm thinking about Pastor Rogers' piano. Might your congregation welcome children to learn to play on yours? Without cost? Are we engaged in public advocacy on behalf of the children of our communities and our world? With school boards and state legislatures and our federal government?
The Rev. Fred McFeely Rogers washed Francois Clemmons' beautiful brown feet in his wading pool and dried them with a towel. When there were no other persons with African ancestors on children's television programs. We are the followers of God-with-us who welcomed those whom others banished. We are the followers of God-with-us, who put on a towel and knelt and washed the feet of his twelve. And told them to keep washing feet. There is room in our congregations for wider welcomes. And more towels.
Jonna Jensen
Associate Conference Minister
Iowa-Nebraska-South Dakota Conferences of the UCC
Celebrate with ONA church...
First Congregational United Church of Christ in Cedar Rapids, Iowa declared itself to be an Open and Affirming (ONA) congregation.  They joined 21 other ONA churches within the Iowa Conference, 4 others within the Nebraska Conference, and 5 others within the South Dakota Conference. 
First Congregational UCC became #1507 in the position of chronological order of all ONA churches listed since 1985 at the national setting.


Outdoor Ministry -


Iowa Conference of the UCC is sponsoring a RAGBRAI team for 2018, and you are invited to join! 



Goal of the team - enjoy the week together, connect with UCC congregations across the state, practice hospitality along the way.  Registering with the UCC team means the team organizers find housing for each night (usually in UCC folk's homes or in churches); we coordinate support vehicles for luggage transport and riders during the week; and find partner churches to provide snacks and drinks when we arrive in overnight towns.  It's quite the event!  The IA UCC Team fees will be around $155, paid after the even when we've divided up the actual expenses.


How to register for the team:

Go to and register fro the week (or individual days).

During your registration, select the United Church of Christ Iowa Conference team.


You must register with the UCC team at by March 30!!!  If you aren't a rider, but interesting in driving a support vehicle, contact Jo Ordway at






June 19-22, 2018



Grinnell College


Learn more:

by going to



Questions:  contact Samantha Houser by clicking here.

what's up in our Conferences...
...Mar 16-17 = NE Kamp Kaleo on the River BOD Meeting.
...Mar 18 = NE Heartland Association Spring Meeting.
...Mar 30 = Good Friday - offices closed.
...Apr 1 = Happy Easter!
...Apr 8 = SD Prairie Lakes Association Spring Meeting.
...Apr 14 = IA Ecclesiastical Council for Brittany Hanlin.
...Apr 15 = IA Northeast Association Spring Meeting.
...Apr 15 = IA Ordination of Caroline Saxton.
...Apr 15 = SD Ecclesiastical Council for Tom Emanuel.
...Apr 20 - 21 = IA-NE-SD Com/CCAM/BOD Training.
...Apr 21 = IA-NE-SD BOD Meetings.
...Apr 22 = SD Black Hills Association Spring Meeting.
...Apr 28 = IA Central Association Spring Meeting.

Camps info = NE Kamp Kaleo = click here!  SD Placerville Camp = click here!

Prairie Lakes Association in South Dakota offers a rural ministry internship during the summer.  Interested or know someone who would like to explore rural ministry - click here.

Please notice that we are placing event details on the web calendar when info is shared with our offices.  If you have details, please send an email to  View the web calendar at any time at  Listed on the above calendar are the events by names - go to the web calendar to get details.
what's up in wider UCC...
Palm Sunday Procession for Peace:
March 25, 2018 starting at 3pm.  Click here to gather more info about "Walking with our Neighbors".
A Pastoral Letter on Sexual Misconduct:
from The National Officers of the United Church of Christ
The Rev. Dr. John C. Dorhauer, General Minister and President
The Rev. Traci Blackmon, Executive Minister, Justice and Witness Ministries
The Rev. James Moos, Executive Minister, Wider Church Ministries
The Council of Conference Ministers of the United Church of Christ
National Council of Churches (National Council of the Churches of Christ in the USA):
is calling the nation to heal from the wounds of racism at the April 3,4,5 launch of Mall in Washington.  Let's pray for those planning the event who wish this to become a mighty current of healing and wholeness, justice and peace.  Keep watching - more details about this event are coming.  From now till April 5 (at least!) let's agree to pray for the ACT Now: Unite to End Racism challenge every Thursday morning at 7AMyour local time. It will be a rolling wave of prayer as 7AM dawns from time zone to time zone across the country and around the world.

Next Generation Leadership Initiative (NGLI):
is a leadership development  initiative that equips, energizes, and employers younger UCC local church pastors to build vibrant congregations that change lives and further God's mission in the world.
Learn more about qualifications and details here!  ??? from FAQ are here!

Ames UCC:
is seeking a Youth Director who will report to the Minister to Children and Families.  Find more details by clicking here.


                Des Moines Office:                                        Sioux Falls Office:
                5609 Douglas Ave                                           3500 S Phillips Ave, Ste100
                Des Moines, IA 50310                                     Sioux Falls, SD 57105
                515.277.6369                                                   605.338.8738
Tri-Conference Ministries UCC Staff:
 Brigit Stevens, Executive Conference Minister
Jonna Jensen, Associate Conference Minister
Gordon Rankin, Transitional Associate Conference Minister
Diane Leggett, Support
Jo Ordway, Support
Karen Peters, Support
Maps showing the Iowa - Nebraska - South Dakota UCC Conferences - click here!