Past Years Info

General Information

Renew your spirit * Share your faith * Enrich your life
Be challenged * Respond * Go forth renewed

Celebration Packet
Available when you register at the Holiday Inn by the Bay with all the information you will need – and more! Enjoy our complimentary Celebration tote bag, too!

Celebration Colors
The colors for Celebration IX are red, white, and black.

A quiet space for reflection and meditation will be available.
Chaplains will be available 4 pm Friday, March 28 – 10 am Sunday, March 30

Forums will be held during workshop times. (see the workshop listing)
  • Taize worship – Saturday am
  • Celebration Choir – Saturday am
  • Daughters of Abraham – Saturday pm
  • International Partnerships / Missions – Saturday pm
Friday Special Opportunities
  • Basket Weaving ($20 preregistration required) 
  • Celebration music preview
  • Fiber arts (a time & place to knit, crochet, and share ideas) 
  • Portland Art Museum
  • Mission Madness – share your best mission project / program
Grace Street Ministries
You’re invited to bring new mittens, hats and scarves or white socks to be shared with the local homeless.

Hospitality Room
A place in Casco Bay Hall at the Holiday Inn for refreshments. It is also where the Marketplace may be found.

Many exhibitors including artisans; church‐related missions; the Longfellow Bookstore; SERRV; Nonprofit and advocacy organizations; and our Hospitality area. Visit often and stay awhile.

With limited seating, meals are offered throughout the weekend for an additional fee. (see registration form for prices and menus). Our meal speakers were specifically chosen to enhance your experience. There are countless local eateries, too.

Pihcintu Multinational Children’s Chorus
Our Saturday evening entertainment. Check their website  There will be a ‘free’ will offering following the concert to be presented to the choir.

Sunday Morning Worship Offering will be directed to OGHS (One Great Hour of Sharing).

Connections is the intergenerational, participatory workshop for youth -ages 14 and up, which will be held in the Williston Immanuel United Church. Two separate sessions offering music, art, dance and a variety of faith building experiences will be offered during workshop time. We hope to offer an informal gathering for the youth on Friday, March 28 evening, too.

Friday afternoon options 
Basket weaving (for an additional fee) plus several activities will be available for those who arrive early. A complete list of options will be available on line at and also at registration desk upon arrival.

Mission focuses - intentional opportunities to assist others.
  1. Participants are invited to bring hats, scarves, mittens, gloves or new white socks which will be given to Grace Street Ministries for their work with the homeless.
  2. Sign up to go with Global Health Ministries to package medical supplies. This will be part of the Saturday afternoon workshop and run into ‘free time’, since it’s an off-site opportunity.
  3. You’re invited to bring a sample along with instructions for your best mission project to share during Friday afternoon option time (1 – 4 pm). Please contact the Celebration team at if you have any questions.
Special needs
Please indicate on the registration form whether you would like a hearing signer (available only at Plenary and Worship) or a large print program.  

Childcare is available for ages 5 and under during the Saturday morning and afternoon workshops.  Pre-registration is required.  $5 per family.  

Hotel & Shuttle Accommodations

NOTE: Hotel Reservations are NOT part of the Registration cost.
When making your reservations to get the special room rate you MUST request “UCC Celebration IX”

Holiday Inn By the Bay 
88 Spring Street 
Portland, Maine 04101 

Westin Portland Harborview Hotel
157 High Street
Portland, Maine 04101
Request "United Church of Christ" to get the group rate

Shuttle Accommodations
  • Buses will run between the Holiday Inn and the Westin beginning from the Westin at 3 p.m. on Friday. The last shuttle will leave the Westin at 9:30 a.m. on Sunday. A complete schedule will be available at registration desk. 
  • Buses will be wheelchair accessible.
  • Note: There will be some activities in the Williston Immanuel United Church, which is located directly across the street from the Westin.

Tentative Schedule

Friday, March 28  
noon - 9:00pm    Registration at Holiday Inn by the Bay
Marketplace open (Casco Bay Room, Holiday Inn)
1:00 - 4:00pm  Optional Activities
5:00 - 6:3pm Buffet Supper (Holiday Inn)
7:00pm Opening Worship - Rev. Maren C. Tirabassi, Worship Coordinator
Plenary - Rev. DaVita McAllister - "That They All May Be ONE"
9:00pm State Gatherings (Holiday Inn) & Connections social (Westin)
A time to meet new folks or connect with old friends
Saturday, March 29  
7:00am - 9:00pm Registration & Marketplace open
7:30 - 8:45am     Speaker Breakfast (Holiday Inn) - Rev. Jennifer Monroe-Nathan - "You Just Gotta Laugh" 
Speaker Breakfast (Westin) - Rev. Holly MillerShank - "Core Values of the U.C.C."
9:00am  Bible Study - Marjory Zoet Bankson 
10:3am - noon  Workshops & Forums 
12:30 - 2:00pm  Speaker Lunch (Holiday Inn) - Rev. Kate Braestrup - "You're What Kind of Chaplain?" 
Speaker Lunch (Westin) - Melina Rudman - "When Sleeping Women Wake, Mountains Move"
* Please note that the locations are different from what was printed in the brochure.
2:30 - 4:00pm     Workshops & Forums 
4:30 - 5:30pm  Free time 
6:00 - 7:30pm  Speaker Dinner (Holiday Inn) - Rev. Dr. Mary Luti - "All Together We Can: A Reflection on the Communion of Saints" 
7:30pm      Gathering music - Valerie Peterson, Music Coordinator 
8:00pm  Pihcintu Multinational Children's Chorus 
9:00pm  Vespers - Val Tutson, Storyteller 
Sunday, March 30  
7:30 - 8:45am  Speaker Breakfast (Westin) - Marjory Zoet Bankson - "Seekers Church: An Intentional Body Empowering Others" 
9:00 - 10:00am  Celebration Choir rehearsal or free time 
10:00am  Worship with Holy Communion - Rev. Dr. Nancy Taylor
Celebration Choir - Valerie Peterson, Music Coordinator
12:00pm Pick up box lunches (Holiday Inn)


  • Workshop selections can be made on the registration form.

Morning Workshops 10:30 a.m. - noon

 1 The Vision Workshop Help define and design your dream and learn to make it your life. Darlene Varian
 2 Global Health Initiative Obtaining supplies for developing countries and work in brothels, poor villages and rural hospitals which help improve women’s health status and aids economic and social climate of a community. Elizabeth McLellan
 3 Walking in the Realm of Miracles Grace Street ministries outreach to the homeless of Portland. Rev. Mair Honan
 4 Twilight, Twitter and Taylor Swift: Pop Culture and Spirituality This workshop will focus on the intersection between our faith lives and popular culture and will teach several ancient prayer practices that have been updated for use with movie clips, modern music, and the Internet. We will also discuss ways that social networking sites and various apps can help deepen our spiritual lives. Great for all ages!
** Updated workshop description
Rev. Marie Lucca
 5 The Art of Resistance in Palestine I share my experience on the Fellowship Reconciliation’s Artist Delegation to the Middle East. Betsy Kelly
 6 Doomsday Pollyanna How to believe when life gets hard. Is it a scary, fragile world or a resilient, miraculous one?  Rev. Molly Baskette
 7 Health Ministry Caring for body, mind and spirit. Ways to create a ministry of the whole for the health of the congregation.  Peggy Matteson, PhD, RN, FCN
 8 Saving the Earth: Environment and Faith Religious environmentalism is a growing trend. What does faith have to offer the environmental movement? Barbara Darling
 9 Art for the Soul: Prayer beads and Sacred Movement Engage your spirit with sacred movement and learn the meaning of color prayer beads and create a prayer chain. Kristin Putney
 10 LOGOS Youth Ministry A safe place to build a lasting relationship with God and each other. Gail Brown
Sheila Campbell
 11 BLESS The church teaches us we are made to bless. Rev. Dr. Nancy Taylor
 12 Ministry at 35,000 Feet Bird’s eye view of trends in church and society. Rev. Holly MillerShank
 13 Prayer: Revving up our Prayer Life This workshop will help us to navigate the road for finding space, time and drive to energize and revive our prayer life and connect with God and one another. Rev. Cleo Graham
 14 Celebration Choir Rehearsal for Sunday worship. If you choose to sing in the Celebration choir you MUST attend this rehearsal! Valerie Peterson
 15 Taize Worship [FORUM] Discuss and experience the contemplative and mystical practice of Taize Worship. Susan Izard
 16 Connections ‐an Inter‐generational, participatory workshop for women ages 14 and up The group will create expressions of the journey as sisters of spirit. Experience together art, music, dance, faith and fun. This workshop is repeated in the afternoon worship sessions to allow our youth to choose other workshop options. Valerie Tutson, Storyteller
Whendi Cook, singer‐songwriter‐musician and visual artist

Afternoon Workshops 2:30 – 4:00 p.m.

 17 From Generation to Generation: Honoring Tradition and Embracing Change in our Congregations Designed for women of all ages, this workshop will discuss generational differences in faith highlighting the historical events that have impacted the beliefs and practices of each generation. We’ll explore outlooks, worship preferences, and communication styles, and offer suggestions on how our congregations can be more welcoming to younger demographics.

** Updated workshop description
Rev. Marie J. Lucca
 18 Global Health Initiative Field trip to their warehouse.  This is your opportunity to be a part of this mission by sorting and packaging medical supplies.   
** Updated workshop description

Elizabeth McLellan, RN, MSN, and MPH
 19 Human Rights for Palestinians and Non‐violent Resistance: Observations and pictures from visits to Israel / Palestine A first‐hand look at the agony of 64 years of deprivation, destruction, erosion of rights, and continuous confiscation of Palestinian land. Together we can do more to bring Palestinians and Israelis together.  Janet Simmon
 20 Art and Photography to Empower the Homeless Listen and learn how art and photography can give hope to the homeless, invisible members of society. Results of their works available for purchase. Elaine Morrison
Richard Smith 
 21 GOT LUNCH! ‐ Laconia, a summer healthy lunch program This workshop will help you bring a summer lunch program to your community. We can “feed the hungry.”  Rev. Paula Gile
 22 Rethinking Retirement: Does God have a purpose for you NOW? Come and explore the spiral of call. Marjory Zoet Bankson 
 23 Faith in Action: Empowering Tweens through Service Engage and inspire middle school youth with hands on programs of service. More about Giv².  Debby Kirk
 24 Holy Humor: How laughter leads to grace Explore the power of humor in your life and your faith. Rev. Jennifer Munroe‐Nathans
 25 Introducing Godly Play to Adults Come hear the story of the 10 BEST WAYS TO LIVE. “Wonder” aloud about God’s presentation to Moses and make your own “Ark of the Covenant” to take home.  Betsey Bennett 
 26 Art for the Soul: Prayer Beads and Sacred Movement Engage your spirit with sacred movement and learn the meaning of colored prayer beads and create a prayer chain.  Kristin Putney
 27 Mission Trip Do’s and Don’ts of Planning Mission Trips ‐ Youth and/or Adults; in the USA and out of the country.  Rev. Carra McFadden
 28 From Charity to Development: Supporting International Efforts, Equitably In this workshop, participants will explore trends in international development and be encouraged to evaluate how their attitudes and actions can influence impact, and examine Safe Passage as an example of an organization trying to shift toward more equitable, participatory development. Michelle Smith, Asst. Dir. Of Safe Passage
 29 Biblical Drumming for Worship and Prayer Today Be introduced to the frame drum and its history and how to play it. Examples for transforming your worship services, pastoral care ministry and personal spiritual journey will be shared.  Rev. Deborah Tate Breault 
 30 New England’s Partnerships and Missions with Global Churches [FORUM] Hear from five states on how the partnerships work and stay alive in their conferences. Together we can learn and grow as partners in Christ in our various cultures. Zimbabwe, Honduras, Chili, Haiti and Korea are the countries represented and we will have visitors from two countries with us.  
 31 Daughters of Abraham [FORUM] An opportunity to learn about the history of these book groups composed of Jewish, Christian, and Muslim women, their mission and how groups function, how to start one, what attracts women, and why they stay!  Rev. Mary Luti, PhD
Rev. Ann Minton, PhD
 32 Connections‐ an Inter‐generational, participatory workshop for women ages 14 and up The group will create expressions of the journey as sisters of spirit. Experience together art, music, dance, faith and fun. This workshop is repeated in the afternoon worship sessions to allow our youth to choose other workshop options. Valerie Tutson, Storyteller
Whendi Cook, singer‐songwriter‐musician and visual artist


Marjory Zoet Bankson
is an artist, spiritual guide and author of five books, including Creative 
Aging, the focus of her workshop. Former president of Faith At Work and editor of Faith@Work magazine for over twenty years, she now teaches on spiritual companionship at Washington National Cathedral and Seekers, a Church of the Savior community. She and her husband, Peter, lead a yearly Seekers work-pilgrimage to Guatemala. They are also summertime co-pastors of a church on Matinicus Island, ME.
The Rev. Kate Braestrup was ordained in 2004 as a Unitarian Universalist Minister and now serves as the chaplain with the Maine Warden Service. She is an accomplished author of NY Times bestseller memoir, Here If you Need Me, as well as Marriage and Other Acts of Charity and Beginner’s Grace: Bringing Prayer to Life.
The Rev. Dr. Mary Luti was called in 2000 as Senior Minister of First Church in Cambridge, UCC, (first woman pastor in 375 years) In 2008, Mary returned to Andover Newton, where she was appointed the first Director of the Wilson Chapel and Visiting Professor of Worship and Preaching. Mary is also one of the founding members of The Daughters of Abraham, a growing network of interfaith women’s book groups whose mission is to provide a simple, replicable
grassroots platform for greater understanding, respect, and reconciliation among women of the Abrahamic faiths.
The Rev. DaVita D McAllister is a mother, ordained minister, entrepreneur, philanthropist, 
writer and advocate for youth and young adults. She currently serves as the Associate Conference Minister for Youth and Young Adults in the Connecticut Conference of the United Church of Christ.
The Rev. Holly MillerShank is Team Leader Ministerial Excellence, Support and Authorization (LCM, UCC) and has served as Global Ministries Volunteer in India, an intern /consultant with UCC Office of Public Life and Social Policy in Washington, DC, a member of LCM Board of Directors and as part of Ministry Issues Implementation Committee. In her present role, she works in partnership with others to support authorized Ministers and Committees on Ministry in the UCC.
The Rev. Jennifer Monroe Nathans was raised in New England and received her MDiv at Andover Newton where she received the Koinonia Preaching Award. Jen is the Senior Pastor of the Church of Christ, Congregational, United Church of Christ in Millis, MA. and a comedian! Jennifer says “There is a freedom that comes with laughter. Laughter unites people, inspires people and connects them in ways that are unexpected. When a group of diverse people laugh together they form a community around the humor.”
Valerie Peterson is the Music Director at Tabernacle Congregational Church, UCC, in Massachusetts, where she’s also a member. Valerie is an Elementary Music Teacher and the music director for the women's chorus CALLA LILY. This is Valerie’s second Celebration as the Music Coordinator.
Melina Rudman is the Executive Director of the Spiritual Life Center in West Hartford, CT. She is a Spiritual Director, writer, retreat leader and "backyard farmer" who lives in Central Connecticut.
The Rev. Dr. Nancy Taylor has served since 2005 as the 20th senior minister (and first 
woman) of Old South Church in Boston. She also served for several years as the Minister and President of the Massachusetts Conference of the UCC. (2001-2005). Beyond the doors of Old South Church, Nancy is a recognized preacher and speaker, teacher and workshop leader.
The Rev. Maren C. Tirabassi is the author of eighteen books, most recently Gifts in Open 
Hands – More Resources for the Global Community and the newly updated title Touch Holiness Resources for Worship. Forthcoming is From the Psalms to the Cloud. Maren is the pastor of Union United Church of Christ in Madbury NH, and travels throughout the country leading writing workshops on creative worship, memoir and poetry.

Meal Options

  • Meals can be selected on the registration form. 
  • There is limited seating.
  • Prices include tax & tip.

Friday Buffet,
serving from 5:00‐6:30pm
$20.00 Holiday Inn - Soup, salad & chicken marsala
Saturday Breakfast, 7:30am $18.50 Holiday Inn - Veg. egg scramble, fruit, pastry - Speaker: Rev. Jennifer Monroe Nathan
Westin - Veg. scramble, bacon, pastry - Speaker: Rev. Holly MillerShank
Saturday Lunch, 12:30pm $19.75 Holiday Inn -  Soup & Mediterranean salad - Speaker: Rev. Kate Braestrup
Westin - Chicken cobb salad & mixed greens - Speaker: Melina Rudman
Saturday Dinner, 6:00pm $32.00  Holiday Inn - Baked haddock OR Spinach ravioli - Speaker: Rev. Dr. Mary Luti
Sunday Breakfast, 7:30am  $18.50 Westin - Veg. frittata, pork sausage, and pastry - Speaker: Marjory Zoet Bankson
Sunday Box Lunch,
pick up from Holiday Inn 12:00pm 
$14.00  Turkey, roast beef, or veggie wraps.  
All box lunches include wrap, pasta salad, fresh fruit, cookie, chips & beverage.  

Map of Celebration IX Locations

The map shows the locations of the Holiday Inn and the Westin hotels ... as well as Williston-Immanual United Church.  Click right on the map for more info and to zoom in, etc.