Annual Gathering Workshops


Using Social Media to Promote Your Church With The Rev. Kimberly Hodges

Most visitors find your church through a Google search - so let's make it effective!  Your congregation's online presence can be speak volumes about the church's mission, purpose, and people.  This will be a crash course in using social media to your church's advantage...Facebook livestreaming, search engine optimization (SEO), online event promotion, and more!

Preparing For & Surviving a PR Crisis With The Rev. Cheri Lovell

Thurs, Session I mini-workshop

A good public relations (PR) plan is like insurance — you hope you’ll never need it, but you’re happy to have it when you do. In less that 15 minutes, you’ll gather the essentials for a PR plan: what to have ready to go at any time, who should do what, how to engage the media, how to share an appropriate amount of information, and where you can get more help.

Why We Give? with Belinda Sledge

As a member of the Southern Conference United Church of Christ have you ever wondered why it is important to support the “Mission and Vision” of the Conference through giving as a local church? Have you wondered where does the money go after it leaves your local church? This interactive workshop will answer these questions and more through role planning and interaction from the participants. Come see how you as a clergy or lay person can return to your local church excited about spreading the “good news” on why the Conference needs your support and how it is used! See you there!!

A Faithful Response to Sexual Violence in the #MeToo Era With The Rev. Sharon Ellis Davis

Issues of sexual violence against women and children have historically been a taboo subject within the public square as well as the church. Accusations of sexual violence/sexual ad sexual harassment have resulted in negative responses ranging from victim blaming and shaming to accusations that negate the event(s) never occurred.  This has historically contributed to the silencing of victim/survivors, isolation and trauma for the victim with little to no accountability for the perpetrator. Yet, in this“#MeToo” era, we are experiencing women becoming more embolden to speak out and speak up, thus rejecting the silencing, shaming and blaming culture. In this era women are demanding to be heard and that perpetrators be held accountable. The faith community, in this “#MeToo”era, will be challenged and charged more than ever before to provide a faithful response that is ethically, morally, practically, and theologically grounded. This seminar will seek to begin a conversation and the exploration/visioning of what a faithful response to sexual violence/harassment could be.

Best Practices for Church Finances With Joni Yoder

What are internal controls and what do they have to do with church finances?  Join the hour discussion to learn some basic church finance so you can understand those reports, know what a restricted fund is as well as take home some simple steps to keep your church in a healthy financial place.

Serving a Full- Time Church AS A Part -Time Pastor with The Rev. William Vanderburg

In this workshop we will explore what it means to serve as a part-time pastor and maintain a secular job. We will discuss why many churches are opting to employ part-time pastors and weigh the benefits and expectations of the pastor’s role and ones commitment to the church. Bi-Vocational is and will become a trend for the future.

Is Your Youth Ministry All Fun and Games? With The Rev. Sharon Wheeler

In this workshop we will look at what shapes the Youth Ministries in our churches. How does our program, finances, and leadership shape our youth ministry? How do we prepare our youth for the world of tomorrow? What are some effective ways you are doing youth ministry in your church?  This will be an interactive workshop were we will engage with each other and discover ways to engage the youth of our church for their work for Christ in our world. 

Three Great Loves - Love of Children: Education and Its’ Related Issues & Challenges with The Rev. Sandra Hooper

Each 5th Sunday at Shinnsville United Church of Christ in Troutman, NC, our youth participate in leadership throughout the morning worship service. Rev. Dr. Betty Graves, Pastor, opens the worship service with the Call to Worship and our Youth Advisors guide the youth in leadership with every aspect of the service until the Preached Word is brought forth. Today, included within Rev. Hooper’s 30-minute presentation, our youth will lead in praise and worship as though it is a 5thSunday morning worship service at SUCC. We believe that our entire congregation is impacted with our shared mission and vision to prepare our youth with church leadership skills. We are not only transforming our local community but the world in which our children go out into on a daily basis. This is just one of many ways in which our church embodies love of children. 

Understanding & Advocating for Racial Equity With The Rev. Nancy Ellett Allison & The Rev. Dian Jackson Davis

What keeps us in our boxes? Unconscious bias reflects our human nature, our socialization and exists deep within. Developing an understanding of the power of implicit bias enables us to develop practices to minimize the impact of our unconscious tendencies to categorize, generalize, stereotype and discriminate. We are more likely to do harm when we deny our racial biases.  With a clear understanding of how institutions and systems are producing unjust and inequitable outcomes, participants can begin to work toward social transformation and racial justice.

Let Me Tell You ‘Bout the Birds and The Bees With The Rev. Terry Yasuko Ogawa and The Rev. Karen Richardson Dunn 

Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Creation Care, Greening Your Church, and Environmental Justice We are here to help connect you to resources about food justice, environmental racism, energy audits and saving money, landscaping, legislative witness on issues like coal ash, Biblical basis for stewardship of creation, place identity, and more! Between us we have over fifteen years of expertise in working in faith-based care and advocacy for God’s earth and *all* of its beings. Bring your questions, and we will start “In the Beginning!”

Constructively Addressing Church Conflict With The Rev. Elizabeth Kennett

An interactive workshop designed to help congregational members and leaders in knowing how best to address and manage conflict within the congregation.  Participants will explore tools for understanding conflict and tools for working through conflict.  Participants are invited to share challenges of which they are aware in congregational life and the group will work collaboratively to develop creative ideas to appropriately address the situation.  

Use a SWOT Analysis to Help Envision Your Future With The Rev. Cheri Lovell

Thurs, Session II mini-workshop

A simple, four-part matrix can help guide your ministry to a more strategic and sustainable future. In less than 15 minutes, you'll learn how to identify your organization's strengths, weaknesses, opportunities & threats — and analyze your results to begin drafting a vision for your next steps into the future.

Ensure Your Church is Safe for Everyone With Ann Kwasnick

Take time to listen in on this valuable mini-workshop with the Conference’s own designated agent from the Insurance Board. Topics include lowering insurance costs, providing a safe and loving environment, becoming an informed insurance consumer,  and using available, free resources from the Insurance Board.  Often referred to as the “best kept secret” in the Conference, Ann is there for all our churches.

Love Thy Neighbor with The Rev. Cameron Barr

This workshop will present case examples of how the grace of God has summoned us to embrace the LGBTQ community, extend sanctuary to immigrants in our midst, and hold healing conversations on the living legacy of white supremacy in our nation. Expect structured conversation among participants about how God may be leading their congregations to reconsider the question, “Who is my neighbor?”