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The Disciples Together Express

December 2020-January 2021  News from the Christian Church in the Upper Midwest (Disciples of Christ)                                                                                         


Rev. Joshua Patty

Regional Minister and President

of the Christian Church

in the Upper Midwest

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We wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!  The words of this familiar song imagine holiday celebrations and also point to the hopes we have.  We encourage wishes at this time of year, especially with Christmas lists and New Year’s resolutions.

Some wishes, through the generosity of others and our own hard work and commitment, become realized.  That is easiest to see when a child opens a gift that they really want -- their joyful reaction embodies a fulfilled wish.  

Our resolutions usually do not yield opportunities for such immediate gratification.  Instead, they require determination, often in the face of setbacks, to bring pieces of those wishes into reality.  Our wishes for 2021 may be harder to achieve than in years past.  I am confident that God will faithfully -- and more important, patiently -- be with us.  Even more, I am hopeful that some of God’s wishes for our lives will become real in this new year.

Our entire regional staff wishes you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

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Minister’s Institute 2021


The last year has been challenging for our clergy as they have had to learn new skills and seek out new ways to help our communities maintain connection to one another and to God.  The 2020 Minister’s Institute is focused on rest and renewal.  Clergy have multiple options to engage this “do-it-yourself” retreat. 

From Your Regional Staff...

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Thank you, once again, for being Disciples Together with us.  Wishing you a joyous Christmas and blessings in the new year!     

Summer Camp 2021

Don't forget that tentative summer camp dates for 2021 are available on our website.  Registration opens February 1!


Summer Camp 2021 

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Regional Prayer Calendar

Prayer builds up Christ's church, connecting us together through the Holy Spirit.  You are invited to pray for Upper Midwest congregations and ministers and other Disciples ministries each week of 2021. 

COVID-19 Economic Injury Disaster Loan Considerations


A goal of Disciples Church Extension Fund is to keep congregations aware of available financial relief options. During the coronavirus pandemic, one such resource is the Economic Injury Disaster Loan.

This federal lending program can benefit churches that have exhausted their working capital or anticipate doing so due to the challenges of COVID-19.

The application deadline is December 21 and is done on the Small Business Association website. Needed documents include your federal identification number, 2019 financial statements, and an employee count as of December 31, 2019.  Many applications will be approved and funded by Automated Clearing House within five business days.

Before applying, congregational leadership should consider their church’s current finances, operating cash on-hand, potential impacts on giving through another shut down, and operational funds needed through June, 2021. All options, including loan terms and conditions, should be considered.

For additional information, visit our coronavirus resources page or contact

Upper Midwest Youth Council Update

Because of the Covid-19 pandemic, the Upper Midwest Youth Council (UMwYC) has had to adjust its timeline and goals for the 2020-2021 school year. 


UMwYC has shortened the time frame of meetings and will be altering their leadership training to meet totally online.  We hope to meet once a month from December through June. 


All current juniors and seniors who are interested can join.  Participation in at least 85% of the sessions makes youth eligible for substantial scholarships at participating Disciples of Christ universities. 


Please email Tiff Williams at if you have a current junior or senior in high school who is interested in serving on the council.  Emails indicating interest should be sent to Tiff by December 31st, 2020.  Our first online session will be held over the winter break.

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Upper Midwest School of Ministry

Upcoming Class:

Church History for the Contemporary Church II

Instructor: Dr. Tim Diebel

Dates: Jan. 11-Mar. 22, Monday evenings at 7 p.m.

Where: Online

TextThe Story of Christianity, vol. 2: The Reformation to the Present Day, by Justo L. Gonzalez. 2nd Edition, 2010


All are welcome!

Regional Operations Council


A run-off election was held for two of the lay leaders seats on the Operations Council.  Please join us in welcoming Justin Carlson, representing the Minnesota Area and Diana Collins, representing the Des Moines Area.


At a combined Nov-Dec meeting, the Operations Council elected Dan Mineck to serve as Treasurer.  Sabbatical dates of Oct. 5, 2021 to Jan. 3, 2022 were approved for Rev. Tiff Williams.  A Reconciliation grant was made to the region’s anti-racism/pro-reconciliation leadership team for materials to strengthen their efforts in the coming year.

2020-2021 Regional Calendar

 Things We Do Together

Below, @CCC = held at the Christian Conference Center

Dec. 24-Jan 3  Regional Office and Christian Conference                                       Center Closed for Holidays

Dec. 27        All-Region Worship Service

Jan. 8-10     Minister’s Institute Session 1

Jan. 11-13   Minister’s Institute Session 2

Jan. 18-20   Minister’s Institute Session 3

Jan. 28         Regional Operations Council

Feb. 1 2021 Camp Registration Opens

Feb. 8-10     Minister’s Institute Session 4

Feb. 12-13   Regional Committee on Ministry


Oct. 2 2021 All Congregational Gathering


It’s time to prepare and submit your congregation’s annual Year Book information.  This year, all submissions will be made through the new Disciples database, ALEX.  You can begin submitting this information on January 1.  To be included in the yearbook, it must be submitted by March 15. 


Do you have questions about ALEX?  Learn more here. You’ll find a short video introduction, FAQs, and more.  Also, a recent 1 hour video introduction was held for congregational leaders in preparation for yearbook reporting.

If your congregation has not submitted the name and email for your primary ALEX user, please do so immediately at:

Annual Year Book Reporting

What do people mean when they say “Black Lives Matter”?

All laity and clergy are invited to participate in a discussion about this important question.  The group will meet by zoom on Sunday, January 20, 2020, at 7:00 p.m.


Registration in advance is required as the number of participants is limited.  There will be articles to read and videos to watch in preparation for the discussion.  These will be sent to you in January. 


Register today for this important conversation!

December Reminders


Christmas Special Offering

Please support the Christmas Special Offering.  All of the money given helps to fund ministries in our Upper Midwest region.  View the video message or access graphics and other resources:

Promote Your Christmas Eve Service

The Regional Office would love to share your congregation’s Christmas Eve online (livestream or recorded) worship service information on facebook.  Please send the time your service will be available and the URL to the regional office by Dec. 20. 


All-Region Worship Service

The All-Region Worship service will be held Sunday, Dec. 27.  Join us for worship at 10 am on our You Tube channel where Rev. Patty will livechat or in the regional Facebook group.


Congregations and clergy will be emailed when downloadable materials are available by Dec. 18.

Young adults (21 years or older) are invited to become one of the 2021 Peace Interns.  Disciples Peace Fellowship sponsors a 12-week paid internship encouraging thee participants to immerse themselves in peace and justice work by working with youth camps and conferences, partnering with Disciples Justice ministries, and gaining exposure to ecumenical and interfaith peace movements.

All applications and references must be submitted by Jan. 31, 2021.

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You’re invited to “Let Love Flow” in the 2021 Week of Compassion Special Offering.  This annual campaign, collected on Feb. 21 and Feb. 28 this year, supports the relief, refugee, and development ministry of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). 


Special Offering

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Clergy Standing Forms Available

The 2021 Ministerial Standing Form is now available. All clergy who desire standing need to complete this application (including active and inactive retired clergy).


Standing applications are due by January 25, 2021



Please contact the regional office if you have any questions about the form or about your eligibility for standing.

Online Worship Advice


In December, the Office of General Minister and President hosted a webinar to help congregations through some of the technical challenges of online video worship (streaming and prerecorded).  Topics addressed include: worship music, sermon prep, copyright issues, internet speed and connections, equipment, and more.  

We want your news!

Does your church have an article, story or event for the Disciples Together Express?  The Region wants to know!

Please email your editor Lori Krase-Cayton

or call the Regional Office at 515-255-3168

or mail an article to CCUMW,

5064  Lincoln Street, Newton, IA 50208. for more information. 

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