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Volume 2, Issue 3
June, 2021
This Issue in Kairos Call to Action:

Kairos: “Speaking about God’s deeds of power”  
  • Creation Care Team Action Update
  • Congregational Focus: Kairos Call to Action Step 1
  • Earth Care Advocacy
  • Moment of Awe
  • Sustainability Tip
  • Climate Good News
  • Solar Powered
  • Recommended Resources
Resources for You
The Creation Care Team works to provide congregations and leaders with resources that will assist you in engaging in the Kairos Call to Action and mobilizing for climate justice. In addition to this newsletter, many resources are available through the Conference Kairos Call to Action website at wcucc.org/kairos, and this resource page.
Creation Care Team Action Update
Just what does the conference-wide Creation Care Team (CCT) do? And why is that important for you and your congregation? View this 2 minute video by John Helt, co-chair of the CCT, for answers to these questions. 

Want to get involved on the team? Contact John or Bob Ullman. Also check out the conference Kairos Call to Action website.

And keep reading to learn what congregations around Wisconsin are doing, plus discover new ideas, information and opportunities for your Kairos creation care journey!
Steps Along the Journey:
The Kairos Call to Action at First Congregational UCC in LaCrosse
In recognition of the urgent need to address the intertwined crises of climate and inequality, the UCC Council for Climate Justice has defined the next ten years as a kairos window of divine opportunity in which people of faith are called to an all-out mobilization of their gifts and resources. The UCC has delineated ten steps that churches can take to mobilize their efforts. Step 1 is Enter a period of study and immersion. Through visits, immersive experiences, readings, educational forums and reflection, allow these learning experiences to form the foundation of your work moving forward.
As its congregation transitions back to a more “normal” summer schedule, staff and lay leadership at First Congregational UCC in La Crosse are thinking creatively about how to make Creation Care and the Kairos Covenant central to the life of the community.

"We have created YouTube videos of our Faith Formation events on creation care so that more of the congregation might participate," said Rev. Laura Wright, Minister of Faith Formation and Congregational Life at First Congregational UCC in La Crosse. Also, according to Rev. Wright, “We're doing bags on the porch of every kid in the congregation every two weeks. Recently, the activity was Holy Hikes with the Psalms."

Read the full story to learn more about First Congregational UCC’s Holy Hikes with the Psalms and Creation Care team events, and to access links to download their activity sheets and view their how-to videos and testimonials.
Advocacy: A Vital Leg of the Kairos Call to Action

By John Helt
The conference-wide Creation Care Team recently did some internal organizing, establishing three working groups for
All three areas of work are interrelated, a kind of ecological trinity, but we thought that some discrete focus around these three legs would help the stool to stand better.
From the beginning, our Creation Care Team saw our mission as helping congregations of the conference to connect with and resource one another around stewardship of the Earth. To that end, we have developed liturgical and educational resources, including webinars on a variety of creation care topics. We also have reached out through the conference website, Conference Life newsletter, and now the bi-monthly Kairos newsletter, to make stronger connections among us, with creation care as the common bond.
Our advocating work began three years ago, urging the installation of solar panels on the roof of the Trost Center, dedicated two years ago this summer. A year and a half ago, it was the Kairos Call to Action that drove us to win the support of the Conference Board and the delegates of the 2020 Annual Meeting. Now the Kairos Call to Action drives our advocacy agenda, as we urge more and more congregations to study it and begin a conversation about it, within and beyond themselves.
We urge you to become a "Kairos Mobilization Hub" as one of the ten Kairos Calls to Action has it. Become active in your local community to do what you can. For example, concern yourself not only with the carbon footprint of your church's physical plant, but also for that of your public schools, library and city hall. Engage your local public officials to make sure that creation care is on their agenda, too. Maybe you have church members with some political clout in your town, village, city or county. Or maybe God is calling new individuals from your congregation to get involved in civic affairs, with a special heart for caring for God's earth.
Whatever you do, let us know about it, so we can publish your accomplishments and encourage others. We all need more Good News! Send your story to resourcecenter@wcucc.org.
Moments of Awe
Cosmic Eye is a short film developed by astrophysicist Danail Obreschkow. It shows the largest and smallest well known scales of the universe by gradually zooming out from and then back into the face of a young lady called "Louise".
Radical Amazement 
from Judy Cannato, Radical Amazement, 65
“The water in your body contains primordial hydrogen formed in the first seconds of the Big Bang. The carbon atoms that formed you came together after the explosion of a supernova. The concentration of salt in your body matches the concentration of salt in the ancient seas. Your cells are direct descendants of unicellular organisms that developed billions of years ago. You see because chlorophyll molecules mutated, so that like plant leaves, your eyes can capture the light from the sun. And in your mother’s womb your tiny body repeated the whole process of multi-cellular life on earth, beginning with a single cell, and then developing greater and greater complexity. Our bodies express all the history of life on this planet. That history is also the history of every mountain, every river, every ocean, event pond and every millimeter of rock and soil...” Read on for the full article including Judy Cannato's prayer for the earth.

Take a moment to experience the beauty of creation. And share a photo or video for us to include in a future newsletter by emailing to resourcecenter@wcucc.org.
Sustainability Tip
Changing the Way We Care for Our Lawns
By Sarajane Snyder, First Congregational UCC, Nekoosa

It’s spring and young people’s fancies turn to love while landowners thoughts turn to lawn care. Well, some do. So if we’re going to try to save the planet in ten years or less, it’s time to change the way we care for our lawns. Where do we start? Read on to learn how to employ more environmentally friendly lawn care practices such as:
- using non-chemical fertilizers
- creating lawns that require less watering and mowing
- designing biodiverse lawns

Send your sustainability tips to resourcecenter@wcucc.org
Climate Good News
At the annual Exxon shareholder meeting in May, an activist investor that owns about 0.02% of the oil giant’s stock secured at least two seats on the oil giant’s board of directors...

"In a dramatic boardroom battle on Wednesday, a tiny hedge fund fought with the energy giant ExxonMobil over the future of the oil and gas industry — and won." Read the story on npr.org.
Solar Powered!
First Congregational UCC in Port Washington commissioned the installation of their solar array in September 2010. At 84 panels, it generates an impressive amount of energy -
  • Estimated energy harvested: 24,000 kilowatt hours/year.
  • Estimated annual carbon reduction: 61,276 pounds in first year of harvest
What does that mean? 
  • It’s roughly the same energy used to power 983 homes for 1 day
  • Or the energy used to power 237 computers for 1 year
  • Or enough energy to power a TV for 214,220 hours!

Please send us a photo of your solar array so we can feature it in a future Kairos Newsletter!
Recommended Resources
Film Review: The Man Who Planted Trees
By Rev. David Huber, Plymouth UCC, Eau Claire

"The Man Who Planted Trees" is many kinds of stories, which makes it the kind of story that is easily revisited time and again. But since this is an environmentally themed newsletter, one of the stories is the power of one person to literally change the landscape, if one thinks and acts with a long-term vision and performs daily acts of generosity. 
This beautifully animated short was directed by Frédéric Back, based on the 1953 short story of the same name by Jean Giono, of a man who turns a barren part of the Alps into a thriving ecosystem by planting trees every day for decades. It won the Best Animated Short Film Academy Award in 1988. The first time I saw it was in 1988 as part of a traveling animation festival. It spoke deeply to my growing environmental awareness as an early 20s idealist, and imprinted itself on my heart, inspiring my thinking and praxis since seeing it. 
Told through the point of view of the narrator, the story begins the year before World War I as the narrator hikes up into the Alps above Provence, to a region where the trees have been cut down over the years so that the locals could make charcoal to fuel France's economy.
He meets a shepherd who invites him to stay in his cabin. The next morning, they take out the sheep and the narrator watches the shepherd plant 100 acorns, and learns that by that time he had planted 100,000 acorns. Read on for the complete review, and view this inspiring and hope-giving film here.  
Exciting Creation Care Opportunities Coming This Fall
  • The Creation Care Team is co-sponsoring a presentation by Robin Wall Kimmerer, author of Braiding Sweetgrass. This virtual event is scheduled for Saturday, October 9th. Mark your calendar and watch for more information later this summer!
  • A conference-wide Big Read of Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge and the Teachings of Plants is being planned by the Creation Care Team. More details will be available later this summer, but start planning to make this a part of your congregation’s fall program!

  • Your Creation Care Team also is endorsing an event coming up October 7-10, 2021, at Pilgrim Center. "Restoring Relationship with Mother Earth: A Four-Day Immersion Event on Ho Chunk Ancestral Lands” will offer a Native American perspective on nature and ideas of creation care. Event co-sponsors are the Alliance for Justice, Inc.; United Church Camps; and Hocak UCC in Black River Falls. The keynote talk (via webcast) by the author of Braiding Sweetgrass, Robin Wall Kimmerer will be available to anyone in the Conference. This event will be a great way to connect with people from other UCC congregations from throughout Wisconsin, learn about justice and reconciliation efforts being made with Native peoples of Wisconsin, and deepen your understanding of the importance of indigenous wisdom to addressing the environmental crisis we find ourselves in. For more information and register see the event page on the UCCI website.
Learning Opportunity: Connect With UCC "Green" Leaders Nationwide at General Synod!

One of the great benefits of a virtual 2021 General Synod is the opportunity to connect with counterparts throughout the country. General Synod (July 11-18) will include meetings and workshops on topics of interest to the entire Kairos Covenant community, including:
  • The Fierce Urgency of Now: Climate Justice and the UCC (Mon, July 12)
  • Rooted & Rising: Voices of Courage in a Time of Climate Crisis (Tues, July 13) 
  • Farming & Faith: Helping to Build Regenerative Farms & Healthy Congregations (Tues, July 13) 
Full list of General Synod activities. Registration available by day or for the full event. 
You can find additional Kairos Call to Action resources at wcucc.org/kairos and this resource page. If you would like to share resources with the team, or tell us about a need you have, please email Rev. Dr. Timothy R. Perkins.

Do you have a film or book that you would like to recommend to other members of our Kairos community? Please contact Rev. David Huber on our Resources team.

View Franz Rigert's video Announcing the Wisconsin Conference UCC Kairos Call To Action and share with your congregation!

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Wisconsin Conference UCC | wcucc.org