On September 7, 2014, Mike Solberg, the Sr. Pastor at the Union Church of Hinsdale, is going to an Ironman triathlon: swim 2.4 miles, bike 112 miles, and run 26.2 miles. (The good Lord willing!) It is a huge challenge, of course, but Mike says that with proper preparation, huge challenges can be accomplished.  He believes that our church partners in Angola prove that on a daily basis.

With the support of our Illinois Conference – Angola Partnership Team, Mike is using this Ironman as a fundraiser, and we would love for you to contribute.   The Illinois Conference of the UCC is raising money for the building of additional housing for the seminary of our partner denomination in Angola, the Evangelical Congregational Church in Angola, or IECA (pronounced YAY-ka).

Keep reading or Click here to make an on-line donation nowNote: Put your donation in the box next to OTHER and write Angola Seminary in the box to the right.            

Attempting the long, hard road of an Ironman triathlon gives Mike a chance to high-light what a long, hard road my brothers and sisters face as they train to become pastors in Angola. Here are some amazing realities about church life in Angola:

- There are about 3000 congregations, but fewer than 300 pastors.
- Pastors often serve more than 10 congregations.  Some serve as many as 17!
- While the church needs MANY more pastors, they can only properly train a few because of limitations in seminary housing and other facilities.
- For just $60,000, the seminary can build two new multi-student housing units, and that is the overall fundraising goal of the Illinois Conference for this special mission project.

Members of the Angola Partnership Team know from first-hand experience that our partner denomination in Angola, IECA, is amazing. In the midst of difficult circumstances, they give hope and support to over a million members. They are very actively involved in bringing people to Christian faith and in "social mission" (education, health care, nutrition).  With more pastoral leadership, made possible by increased seminary housing, the church can truly be a key for millions as they grow as Christians and build a healthy, peaceful future.

As Mike takes on the challenge of an Ironman triathlon, we ask you to respond to the challenges of our partners in Angola, and make a generous contribution to this seminary housing project.  Your donations will help inspire Mike to complete his Ironman, and help bring hope to our brothers and sisters in Christ in Angola.

You can contribute on-line by simply clicking HERE.  Note: Put your donation in the box next to OTHER and write Angola Seminary in the box to the right.            

Or you can send a check made out to the Union Church of Hinsdale with "Angola Seminary" in the memo line.   The address is Union Church of Hinsdale, 137 S. Garfield Ave, Hinsdale, IL, 60521.  Mike will be happy to answer any questions, including questions about large donations (the IECA seminary can make wonderful use of funds!). Just ask! Email, msolberg at, or phone, 630.323.4303.

The Illinois Conference Angola Partnership Team

In the summer of 2004, the Illinois Conference of the United Church of Christ initiated a partnership with the Evangelical Congregational Church in Angola with the encouragement and assistance of Global Ministries Team of the United Church of Christ and Christian Church (Disciples of Christ).   This team is responsible to continue working on developing that partnership.

Angola Partnership Team

Ms. Angela Arnold

Mr. Zuberi Badili

Rev. Rebecca Clancy

Ms. Donna Dudley

Ms. Merlyn Lawrence

Mr. Oliver Lawrence

Ms. Marla Melms

Ms. Thora Nurse

Ms. Beverly Porzelt

Mr. Matthew Reed

Ms. Nancy T. Reed

Ms. Sandra Rutter

Rev. Mike Solberg

Ms. Shirley Watson

Mr. Ernie Wright

Convener, Ms. Nancy T. Reed

Conference Staff Consultant, Rev. Tom Norwalk

The current project of the Angola Partnership Team is a fundraising campaign to assist our Angolan brothers and sisters in building a home for married students at the Church's Emanuel Seminary near Dondi, Angola.  We are working to raise $60,000 for the project.