Simon’s Says ~ from Alan

It’s January, and for those of us in southern New England, one of the things that means is that we belong to a brand new conference of the United Church of Christ:  we are The Southern New England Conference, or for short, the only somewhat pronounceable SNEUCC. (Gesundheit.)

The SNEUCC is, as you likely know, the union of the former Connecticut, Massachusetts and Rhode Island Conferences.  I had a few spare minutes on my hands the other day, and decided to dive into the new Conference website, www.sneucc.orgNot surprisingly, I was greeted by a number of familiar faces, and I’ll lift up just two.

The Rev. Heather Ramsey Mabrouk is the newly called Coordinator for the Together We Thrive initiative, funded by a five year grant from the Lilly Foundation.  The initiative is an outgrowth of the Pastoral Excellence Program, and Heather’s responsibilities include creating and strengthening programs to help local church pastors build relationships with experienced clergy in order to provide support as they negotiate the blessings and challenges of local church ministry.  Many years ago I served as a mentor to new clergy in the earliest iteration of the Pastoral Excellence Program, so this remains a project near and dear to my heart.  It also helps that Heather is a close colleague and friend; I helped guide her through the ordination process while she was the Associate Minister in my former church, I preached at her installation when she took her first solo pastorate, and served as a reference when she applied for her current position.  She is the right person in the right position at the right time.

The same holds true for someone you all may know.  If you go to the staff page of the SNEUCC, you will find the smiling face of Deborah Ringen, who has just been called to serve as the new conference Transitional Minister of Health and Wellness.  Deb worked among us with the VNA of the Lower Valley, and two years ago she and I led a two day workshop at our United Church of Chester around end of life issues and conversations.  Somehow I missed the UCC press release about her being called to the position, and so was delightfully surprised when I saw her profile on the Conference website; you can read more about Deb and her work here:

Like Heather, Deb is the right person in the right position at the right time, and I’m grateful that, as a denomination, we have two such gifted and grace-filled individuals caring for the health and wellness of our clergy and congregations alike.




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