The Gift of God’s Presence During the
Covid-19 Pandemic
I don’t know about you, but years from now when we are finally all vaccinated and the Covid-19 pandemic is a memory within our collective conscience, there are some aspects that I will gladly forget because of the pain they caused. And there are other aspects that I will give thanks to God for sustaining us through those painful moments. I am so grateful that in the hardest times, generosity nourished us for the barrenness we experienced through the pandemic. Generosity inspired retired healthcare workers to return to hospitals, neighbors to check on vulnerable neighbors, New Yorkers to come together every night at 7 pm and to give loud sounds of thanks to the weary essential workers, and patrons to contribute extra dollars to their favorite service providers during the shutdown.
 
And the UCC embodied that generosity as well. Our churches learned how to worship virtually while our pastors generously provided pastoral care in new and substantive ways. Our Conference staff gave guidelines and webinars while also creating space to care for the clergy’s bodies, minds, and souls. Every organization within the United Church of Christ banded together to share resources, support, prayer, and love. And as much as we gave, we also received that love as precious gifts from God. Our generosity given and received told us that God would never leave us in the toughest moments of the pandemic.
 
When the pandemic first started and churches had to close their buildings and move solely to online worship, I worried that financial giving would decrease as well. I was joyfully surprised when clergy shared that financial giving was stable and, in some places, actually increased. Upon reflection, it makes perfect sense to me that our generous spirits would include our financial support of our church. Our gifts became a sign to ourselves, each other, and to God that we will get through this pandemic because God is with us!
 
And isn’t that the core message of the sacred scriptures? God is with us in the scariest moments of our lives. Do not worry about tomorrow because God will be with you through every breath of your life. Therefore, love, give, and receive the fullness of God’s love from others. Gifts that God calls us to give through the hardest moments of life.
 
I invite you to engage in your own reflection on the lessons of Covid-19. Consider using the “Renewal Conversations for Congregations: From Scarcity to Abundanceresource as part of the Strengthen the Church Offering Materials. Together, we can imagine the Beloved Community God calls us to form, now and forevermore.
 
Yours in Faith,
Rev. Ginny Brown Daniels
Missouri Mid-South Conference Minister
Strengthen the Church Offering
The Strengthen the Church (STC) offering is typically taken on Pentecost (May 23, 2021). STC supports a wide range of conference and national initiatives for congregations. In Wisconsin it helps to fund our conference youth ministry and leadership development programs. Nationally it funds grants to new or renewing congregations. Please promote this offering in your local congregation using the materials available on UCCresources.com. Your support of this offering benefits congregations, leaders, and youth throughout the United Church of Christ.
Conference Annual Meeting – Powered by Generosity
Virtual meeting May 11-16
Make plans now to attend the 2021 Conference Annual Meeting – Powered by Generosity. This year’s speakers will invite participants to recognize the abundance of spiritual, relational and material blessings evident in the Church even in a time when we gravitate all too naturally to scarcity thinking. Along with gifted speakers, the program will also allow for small group conversation. Here are some meeting highlights:
  • Inspirational opening session on Generosity by Rev. William Lamar
  • Guidance from Melissa Spas of the Lake Institute as we move our congregations from a “mindset of scarcity” to a “mindset of abundance”
  • Practical workshops on a variety of generosity initiatives you can implement in your congregation
  • A Sunday worship service lifting up generosity as a spirit practice with Rev. Andrew Warner preaching

Check out the Annual Meeting Agenda for all the details.
Cultivating Generous Congregations Seminar
The Cultivating Generous Congregations Seminar for pastors and lay leaders offers an opportunity to explore faithful, practical, and tested ways to promoting generosity in our congregations. The seminar draws on current research, seeks guidance from the wisdom of scripture, and discusses the best practices in church-based fundraising. Class sessions held May 19, May 26, June 2, June 9, June 16, and June 23, 2021 from 5:30 – 7:00pm CDT. Between class sessions, the instructors provide materials to help you analyze the culture of your own congregation and learn how to create change. Register today: The CGC Seminar is $150 per participant. Register here by April 30, 2021..
Generosity Forward Print Newsletter - another resource for your generosity practices

Did you receive the Generosity Forward Print Newsletter in your mailbox recently? This 8-page quarterly publication provides unique content that highlights the impact of our giving, lifts up ways people can make gifts, and reflects on the practice of giving in our faith. Sharing our stories of giving helps us feel hope as we see the difference we make together. Stories help us feel connected, and give us a deeper understanding of how and why to give. You're sure to find these insights helpful in your own generosity practices. Download the Generosity Forward Print Newsletter HERE.

Want to make sure you get this newsletter mailed to you each quarter? Send your name and mailing address to resourcecenter@wcucc.org and we'll include you in future mailings.
Help Others - Donate Now
The General Fund of the Wisconsin Conference helps us connect, support, and resource pastors, leaders, and congregations. Your gift allows the Conference to provide relevant and timely help during the current pandemic and beyond. Donate to the General Fund.

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Wisconsin Conference UCC | wcucc.org