Exploring the Meanings of the Psalms
Orchard Ridge UCC, Madison, is highlighting the rich meanings of the Psalms in their Christian education and worship during September and October. They will be exploring them in a variety of ways, including (of course) singing them, and creating their own psalms.
Rev. Winton Boyd points out that theologian and Psalms expert Walter Bruggemann has outlined a three-fold movement in the Psalms that matches the movement of our lives, exploring seasons of orientation, disorientation and reorientation.
Psalm 46, for instance, can be timely in a season which has seen one devastating hurricane after another ("...though the earth should change...though the waters roar and foam"). Instead of thinking of calm scenes in nature when we hear the words, "Be still, and know that I am God," we can image stillness with God in the midst of wildness and catastrophe.
Our Churches Are Responding
to the Hurricanes
and Being Enriched by Books
Plymouth UCC, Dodgeville, joined with Grace Lutheran Church and the United Methodist Church in Dodgeville to raise almost $2600 through a silent auction to provide hurricane relief.
1st Congregational UCC, Madison
assembled Clean-Up (Flood) Buckets and Hygiene Kits during their September 17 worship, dedicated them, and then took them to the Church World Service depot in Elgin, IL, to be transported to the flood-ravaged communities in the South.
Windsor UCC is donating the proceeds from its fall festival, usually allocated toward its budget, to hurricane relief. Other UCC churches are encouraging members to make monetary contributions.
Swiss UCC, Monroe,
Book Sale by at least 16 Wisconsin authors selling over 42 titles as a way to raise funds for their El Salvador Mission Group.
The Tuesday Night Fellowship of
Middleton Community UCC
will be helping its members understand their Christian faith better by reading and discussing
To Begin at the Beginning
In addition, their Coffee and Cafe will be reading
Hillbilly Elegy, by J.D. Vance, a memoir and sociological analysis of the current "politics of rebellion."
Fellowship of Hope UCC
(part of Madison Christian Community) has begun a five-week study of
Trouble I've Seen: Changing the Way the Church Views Racism
, by Drew G.I. Hart, the featured speaker at last March's Winter Forum of the Wisconsin Council of Churches. Hart offers concrete practices for churches that seek solidarity with the oppressed and are committed to racial justice..
Fellowship of Hope UCC (and its partner in the, Madison Christian Community, Advent Lutheran Church) hosted paintings of
DarRen Morris on September 17 an an outreach for the Madison Jail Ministry. DarRen paints from within the walls of Wisconsin prisons. His artwork has appeared in Madison high schools, the Overture Center and many Madison churches.
Looking ahead to the 500th anniversary of the Reformation in October, Salem UCC, Verona, has begun a four-week Sunday morning class on women of the Protestant Reformation.
In addition, Salem UCC, Verona, has had a series of education sessions on the "uneasy tension between Church and State," for instance, considering the sovereignty of God and civil government in biblical perspective.
On Rally Day, 1st Congregational UCC, Baraboo, kicked off its adult discussion group with a presentation of what Jesus meant when he said, "Blessed are the peacemakers"--a part of their exploration on what it means to be a Just Peace Church.
In addition, they are inviting their members to join a Rapid Response Vigil Team of the Sauk County Peace Initiative, a response to the domestic terrorism in Charlottesville.
The Madison-area Urban Ministry led a Returning Prisoner Simulation for members of Memorial UCC, Fitchburg, so they could understand the many barriers that persons face when they return to the community after a period of incarceration.
has expanded the days it is open to include both the 2nd Tuesday and 4th Saturday of each month. Their Literacy Project has a table at the Saturday Pantry to share books with children and families.
1st Congregational UCC, Lake Mills, celebrated its 170 anniversary on August 27. Washington Reformation UCC, Monticello, celebrated the 50th anniversary of their church building on September 24. Their original church had burned to the ground.
1st UCC, Sauk City, had an interactive program on peer pressure for their youth.
1st UCC, Sauk City, is also starting a GriefShare support group on the 1st and 3rd Tuesday evenings of each month.
1st Congregational UCC, Madison, will begin a once-a-month, eight-session Spiritual Formation Academy on October 1 and 3 (Sunday 8:30 a.m. or Tuesday 6:30 p.m.). It will explore both traditional and non-traditional spiritual practices in stand-alone sessions.
Orchard Ridge UCC, Madison, has a Weekly Meditation Group on Thursday mornings, 8:30-9:30. It will include reflections of participants's spiritual journeys.
Devil's Lake State Park saw
Middleton Community UCC Paddlers enjoying the lake and a picnic on a lovely day (none of the thunderstorms of their previously-scheduled date).
Fellowship of Hope UCC (part of Madison Christian Community) had a Blessing of the Animals on September 30, while 1st Congregational UCC, Madison, is having a similar blessing of pets on October 1.
McFarland UCC implements its ministry and mission through ministry teams (similar to the
Middleton Community UCC mentioned in the March 2017
Shalom). When two or three (or more) gather around an idea, they are encouraged by the leadership to develop a team that spans different age groups and skill sets. Recent ministry team have included Care Packages for Soldiers, Community Garden and Backpack Buddies.
This past summer singers and instrumentalists of the
Windsor UCC have provided music for patients at the University of Wisconsin hospitals.
Lussier Community Education Center visited the community garden of
Madison Christian Community (of which
Fellowship of Hope UCC
is a part), learning about compost, harvesting and weighing produce...and eating berries by the handfuls
Middleton Community UCC will host a Can't Stop the Serenity Charity Screening and Auction on October 1. This is a global fan-led event to raise funds for Equality Now, which works to promote the rights off women around the world.
On the 25th anniversary of becoming Open & Affirming,
1st Congregational UCC, Madison
, will be recognized by the Outreach Community Center in a banquet at Monona Terrace on October 6.
Writers Retreat at Green Lake
Is writing one of your loves...one of your dormant dreams...or a part of your ongoing faith journey?
Then check out the Come-Down-to-the-Lakeshore Writers Retreat at Pilgrim Center, on Green Lake, October 13-15.
In a relaxed and Spirit-filled setting, you will find encouragement to write your own preference, whether it be a Christmas letter, short story, poem, devotion, newsletter, novel, journal, blog, or...
Calvin and the "Culture Wars":
an Invitation from 1st Congregational UCC
Carl Rasmussen will explain highlights from a recent book, Monstrous Fictions, about Reformer John Calvin at 1st Congregational UCC, Madison, at lunch (12:00-1:00) on five consecutive Fridays, September 15-October 13.
A member of the church, Carl argues that Calvin's Reformation theology of the cross provides no support for an initiative of Evangelicals and Catholics Together (ECT) that has influenced American politics. The ECT's claim that Calvin's theology opposes abortion has contributed the "culture wars."
Carl also appeals for a spiritual ecumenism to heal the divisions of the culture wars. Please let the church office know if you plan to attend (office @firstcongmadison.org, 608-233-9751). The church is at 1609 University Ave.
Celebrating the 500h Anniversary
of the Reformation in DeForest
Save the date of Saturday, October 28
Two noted Reformation scholars--Margaret Bendroth, of the Congregational Library in Boston, and UW-Madison professor Lee Palmer Wandel--will speak at the Trost Center in DeForest.
After lunch participants will hear from our own Conference pilgrims who will have recently returned from Martin Luther's Germany.
Church Rally Was Confronted by Supremacists
We've heard about the violent confrontation in Charlottesville, but have we heard about non-violent religious actions?
On August 11, Rev. Traci Blackmon, Executive Minister of Justice and Witness of the UCC, was one of those who participated in an interfaith prayer service in anticipation of a "United the Right" rally the next day.
As the prayer service was wrapping up, hundreds of alt-right members holding torches converged on the church, marching through the University of Virginia grounds.
Again on Saturday morning, tension followed another prayer service, as clergy linked arms outside an entrance to Emancipation Park in the face of militia members with automatic weapons.
Wisconsin Music and Performing Arts Camp in Nearby Watertown
Our UCC neighbors in the Southeast Association invite us to a special event at
1st Congregational UCC, Watertown--a Wisconsin Music and Performing Arts Camp
, on Saturday and Sunday, October 14-15.
Learn How Your Congregation
Could Get Involved in the
The Southwest Association's partnership with Bethlehem Christmas Lutheran Church has cheered the steady expansion of Bethlehem's outreach ministries. These have included an elementary school, high school, college and adult education programs for the community.
Now a Conference-wide working group is inviting pastors and church leaders to go to the Trost Center on Wednesday, November 15, 10:00-2:00, and learn more about how their congregation could get involved in this Partnership.
The Bethlehem Partnership has two major goals:
+Increase awareness of the work of the Christian community in Bethlehem despite the occupation
+Raise money for student scholarships.
Please RSVP by November 1 to Susan Taylor at the Conference office either by email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or by phone (608-846-7880) so materials and lunch can be planned.
Invitation to Pollinate and Bee the Church
The next 30 days are a Season of Pollination in the UCC! Yes, that's right! This is your chance to
the church! How might you do that? By encouraging your friends, colleagues, and church members to subscribe to a fabulous UCC e-newsletter called... The Pollinator.
This newsletter has as its purpose the sharing of ideas and inspiration in caring for God's creation. To learn more about how you can help pollinate via clipboard evangelism at church, social media, and other ways,
Out of Office Hours
of Joanne Thomson
Wednesday, October 11, 10:30-12:00, at Mocha Moment, 1121 Center Ave., Janesville.
Tuesday, November 7, 10:00-11:30, at Fat Cat Coffee Works, 606 Railroad St., New Glarus.
Come by to say hi! And enjoy two of the finest coffee houses in southern Wisconsin!
The Southwest Association,
United Church of Christ,
to the Ordination of
Kristin Lynne Gorton
into Christian Ministry
Sunday, October 1, 2:00 p.m.
McFarland United Church of Christ
5710 Anthony St, McFarland
Clergy are invited to robe
Reception will follow.
In a unanimous vote on September 10, Kristin Gorton was called as the pastor of
Memorial UCC, Fitchburg, effective October 8. Her Service of Ordination will be October 1, at McFarland UCC (5710 Anthony St.), with Rev. John Thomas, former General Minister of the UCC, preaching. (See the invitation above.) Her installation will be November 5.
A farewell and appreciation event was held at
Lake Edge UCC, Madison, where Kris has been Director of Faith Formation, on September 17.
Rev. Zayna Thompson, pastor of
1st Congregational and Mount Zion UCC
, and Matt Motley were married on September 16, becoming Matt and Zayna Thomley (a merging of Thompson and Motley). Rev. Joanne Thomson officiated at a Service of Blessing and Sending on September 12. The congregations in Potosi, Cornelia and Platteville came together in a wonderful celebration.
Rev. Rich McLeer will be installed as the part-time pastor of Congregational UCC, Mineral Point, on October 29. Rich is the part-time pastor of Hope Lutheran Church in Mineral Point. He has been granted Dual Standing by the Division of Church and Ministry.
Rev. Michael Bausch has been called to serve as interim pastor of McFarland UCC.
* * *
Correction: The minister at 1st UCC, Belleville is Rev. Ken Schaub, not
Community CROP Walks
The annual CROP Walks of Church World Service will take place in October--for instance, in Baraboo (promoted by
1st Congregational UCC) on October 1 and in Whitewater (promoted by
Congregational UCC) and Madison on October 15.
The Madison walk will begin and end at
1st Congregational UCC, with the option to walk either the one- or three-mile routes. Jugglers, face painting and a bouncy house will liven up the walkers Last year's walk raised nearly $30,000 to fight hunger and poverty around the globe, with 25% staying in Dane County to support local hunger-fighting organizations, such as the Second Harvest Food Bank.
Other congregations joining in the Madison Walk include
Lake Edge UCC and
Memorial UCC, Fitchburg.
Books for Jail Ministry Chaplain's Library
The Madison Area Jail Ministry is seeking the following texts for the library of Jail Ministry Chaplain Christa Fisher. Pllease contact her if you have book donations (email@example.com).
+Books on African-American history, including biographies and autobiographies
+Anything by Pema Chodron or Jack Kornfield
+Days of Healing, Days of Joy: Meditations for Adult Children, by Erinie Larsen & Carol Larsen Hegarty (A Hazelden book)--in English and Spanish.
Click here to learn more about this ministry and read their current newsletter.
New Division on Congregational Life
The Southwest Association established a new division, the Division on Clergy and Congregational Support, at its 2016 annual meeting in Fort Atkinson. We began to fill the new division with members at our 2017 annual meeting in Monroe. Those members are now at work.
The beginning task of the Division on Clergy and Congregational Support, as defined by the Executive Committee, is to connect with congregations. Roger Brooks, editing Shalom, does an excellent job sharing with the Association what is happening in local congregations. Our new division will carry the support of the Association to local congregations in conjunction with what is happening in the life of our congregations. The division may, for example, wish a congregation well on an upcoming dinner or thank them for a successful mission program. The division will not problem-solve, but simply "drop in" now and then in a kind of good-natured pastoral call.
Each member of the new division will be responsible for a small cluster of congregations. They will connect with congregations in whatever style fits them best, whether by phone, electronically, or the mail service. The division itself will not meet often.
Kay Hallanger, Kendall Nordstrom, and Alan Timm are the charter members of the new division. They will not be able to cover the whole Association by themselves, so we are hoping others will volunteer to join them in serving the Association in this way of nurturing our covenantal relationship. To volunteer, please contact Mark Yurs at
Rev. Mark Yurs, Moderator
The office of Association Secretary is vacant. Interested volunteers are encouraged to contact Mark Yurs at
. The Secretary is one of the officers of the Association along with the Moderator, Vice Moderator, and Treasurer. The primary work of the Secretary is to record minutes at the annual meeting of the Association and at the meetings of the Executive Committee.
Next Annual Meeting
April 14 at V
Next spring's meeting of the Southwest Association will be Saturday, April 14, at Salem UCC in Verona.
At the Executive Committee meeting on September 7, Rev. Lance Smith and Rev. Zayna
Thomley (formerly Zayna Thompson) were appointed to the Division on Church and Ministry for 3-year terms ending in 2021. They will go to the Association meeting next spring for formal election.
A Conference Catalyst Grant
Can Help Launch Your
Innovative Idea for Ministry
Catalyst is the re-envisioned Church Development and Renewal team of the Conference. Its mission is to encourage vital and
innovative ministries that transform lives.
An example of a project funded was the UCC Ministry Co-op of Southwest Wisconsin--a partnership between 1st Congregational UCC, Platteville; Mt. Zion UCC in Cornelia; and Davies Memorial UCC in Potosi
Help Wanted Ad: Organist
The Congregational UCC. Edgerton is seeking a year- around organist/pianist for the 10:30 am Sunday service beginning November 5. The position is five hours a week and requires playing music for a Prelude, Postlude, Communion, Offertory, hymns and accompanying the choir or special music. The church has a 1932 Kimball Pipe Organ that was restored in 2015, and an upright piano. To learn more about our church please visit www.edgertonucc.org. For more information about the position please contact Rev. Lora Whitten at 608-884-6514 or
The Healthy Congregations Workshop of the Wisconsin Conference, announced for September, has been postponed. it will be re-scheduled and a new date announced soon.
The group will meet on Thursday, October 26, 1:00 p.m., at Windsor UCC to finish discussing
Exile and Pride, by Eli Clare.
The group will next meet on Tuesday, October 17, 2:00 p.m., at Plymouth UCC, Madison, discussing The Genius of Judaism (part II, "The Temptation of Nineveh," pp. 113-178), by Bernard-Henri Levy.
Other Coming Events
Thursday, October 5, 6:00 p.m., at Middleton Community UCC
Are You Receiving and Reading Shalom?
I undertook the task of producing the monthly Association newsletter,
Shalom, as a means of encouraging church leaders and members to
feel connected to the Association and its churches.
If you are a lay leader/pastor/ member, I would like for you to check to see (1) if your church is receiving and reading
Shalom (I send it to every church); and (2) to let me know of anyone
you know who is not currently receiving Shalom, and would like to.
For such persons to add, please email me at swacommunications.com, providing the email address, church affiliation and town. Thank you.
Pulpit Supply List
The current Pulpit Supply List can be accessed through our Southwest Association
. Click on Information for Pastors.