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September 2016

Our Churches in Their Summer
Service: Cooperating  and Parading
1st Congregational UCC, Fort Atkinson, joins with eight other community churches in delivering Meals on Wheels to their elderly neighbors who are homebound or who find it difficult to prepare meals.

At 1st Congregational, Janesville, ECHO means Everyone Cooperating to Help Others, as their members donate food on their Grocery Bag Sundays.

Supplementing the church's significant financial contribution, Madison Area Urban Ministry has received a $50,000 grant from Wheat Ridge Ministries to help 1st Congregational UCC, Madison, turn their house at 303 Lathrop St. into Healing House. The one-time United Student Fellowship campus ministry house will become a 24/7 recuperative respite for families who are homeless and have a child or parent in need of such care after discharge from the hospital.  It will be the first such facility in Wisconsin.

Members of Plymouth UCC, Dodgeville, joined in the community parade that celebrated Farmers Appreciation Day in July.

To demonstrate to the greater community their extravagant welcome for all, 1st Congregational UCC, Madison, had a strong presence in the annual Madison Pride Parade on August 21. Member Jeanne Marshall was interviewed for an article in the August 22 issue of the Wisconsin State Journal.

1st UCC, Sauk City , featured a country/bluegrass group, "The Three Wives' Men," in their August 28 worship.

A number of our churches had summer picnics. We are aware of these: 1st Congregational UCC, Baraboo; Olivet UCC, Columbus; Plymouth UCC, Dodgeville; and (for their LGBTQ community, allies and friends) 1st Congregational UCC, Madison.

Olivet UCC,.Columbus, highlighted Bible stories in their Messy Summer events on Wednesday evenings.

Plymouth UCC, Dodgeville, will be starting Wacky Wednesdays, an after-school program for young people who have nowhere to go after school.  Nearly a year in the planning, it will provide safe space for youth to do homework and participate in fun and meaningful activities.

Community of Hope UCC (and the whole Madison Christian Community) invited
members of 1st Congregational UCC, Madison, to walk their outdoor prayer labyrinth on August 22.

Several churches are having, or will be having, book discussions.   Orchard Ridge UCC, Madison, will explore UW's Big Read for 2016-17, Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City, by Matthew Desmond.  It focuses primarily on Milwaukee's poorest neighborhoods.

The Friday morning group of Memorial UCC, Fitchburg, is discussing Waking Up White, by Debby Irving, on the tensions around race in our nation.

Coffee and Conversation of Middleton Community UCC will discuss Reviving Old Scratch: Demons and the Devil for Doubters and the Disenfranchised, by Richard Beck, in September.

The adult Sunday School class of Salem UCC, Verona, will center on living in harmony with the natural world and sharing in the joy of this living, following a study guide prepared by UW professor Dr. Calvin DeWitt, Earthwise: A Guide to Hopeful Creation Care..

Rev. Phil Haslanger, pastor of Memorial UCC, Fitchburg, was interviewed for an article in the Fitchburg Star.  In it he talked about journalism, faith, the community and the future. You can read it here.

Correction: McFarland UCC's Sundaes on Thursdays has been operating for 30+ years, originally to support a McFarland friend who was a medical missionary in Haiti, later to support the local food pantry and the AIDS bike ride.  It raised over $4000 in 2015.

Addressing Racial Disparities:
A Study-Action Guide for
Wisconsin Congregations
"On Behalf of Our Children: Wisconsin's Racial Disparities and the Call of the Gospel" is a study-action guide produced by the Wisconsin Council of Churches.

Wisconsin ranks last among the states in the well-being of African American children, according to a nationwide study by the Annie E. Casey Foundation.

How can congregations play a constructive role in addressing these disparities at the local level?  You can get more information here, or download the Facilitator's Guide here.

"Dealing with Difficult People":
A September 21 Workshop

The Wisconsin Council of Churches alerts us to a workshop on September 21, 9:00-3:00, that will help us understand and deal with difficult people in our congregations. It will be at Our Savior's Lutheran Church, 550 Lincoln Drive, Sun Prairie.

How can we best deal with members who are off-putting, angry, socially inappropriate, and/or emotionally immature.in ways that encourage healthy participation while maintaining clear boundaries?  Stafff of hte Samaritan Counseling Center will lead the workshop.

Download a registration form..

Solitary Confinement in America:
A September 23 Event

Rick Raemisch, Executive Director of the Colorado Dept. of Corrections, will speak at 
1st Congregational UCC, Madison , on Friday, September 23, 7:00 p.m. Following his experience of voluntarily spending a night in solitary confinement, Raemisch has become the leading advocate for its reform.

Raemisch began his career in law enforcement as a deputy sheriff in Dane County, and then was elected to four terms as the Republican Sheriff of Dane County. Gov. Jim Doyle subsequently appointed him to be the Secretary of the Wisconsin Dept. of Corrections.

The HBO documentary "Solitary" will also be presented. The event is part of a celebration of the 10 Anniversary of The Prison Ministry Project (PMP).  The evening is free, but donations of $20 to the PMP will be gratefully accepted.

Here is a poster with more information. It can be downloaded, printed and posted in your church.

Madison Jail Ministry
Looking for Volunteers

The Jail Ministry Project is seeking volunteers to help those incarcerated in the Madison County Jail to improve their literacy and other skills.  Tutor training sessions will be held on three Saturday mornings in October at Grace Episcopal Church on the square.

For more information call (608) 571-7323, go to DaneJailTutors.org., or email danejailtutors@gmail.com.

Go Solar!

MadiSUN makes it easy to install solar panels on your home--to lower your energy costs and to care for God's creation at the same time!

Peter Bakken, staff of the Wisconsin Council of Churches, has been a part of this initiative of Wisconsin Interfaith Power and Light.

Dozens of local families will be part of a group installation process, working with a pre-qualified installer that has been thoroughly vetted and can guarantee a competitive price. Learn more and sign up at www.madisunsolar.com.

Prepare for Mutton Lectures by Dr. Calvin B. DeWitt

The 2016 Robert D. Mutton Lectures will be presented by Dr. Calvin B. DeWitt on Friday, November 11, 7:00-9:00, and Saturday, November  12, 8:30 a.m.-12:00, at Covenant Presbyterian Church, 326 S. Segoe Rd., Madison.

Dr. DeWitt will show that being made in the image of God includes the vocation of imaging God's love and care for the world.

A study guide, Earthwise: A Guide to Hopeful Creation Care, can be used by congregations and individuals to prepare for the lectures.  Find more information here.

An Offer of a Guest Sermon Related to Hospitality and the Israel/Palestine Issue

Rev. Jerry Hancock and Rev. Bonnie Van Overbeke have received such a warm response to a sermon they have given at two of our Madison-area churches, that they are offering to give it to other churches.

Their sermon, "Geography Matters/Matters of Geography," relates the story of Abraham and Sara welcoming the stranger (Gen. 18:1-14) to the work of The Parent Circle Family Forum, families who have lost loved ones in the conflict between Abraham's descendants in Israel/Palestine as an example of a ministry of hospitality and reconciliation.

You may contact Bonnie at bonnievano@aol.com about giving it at your church..

Reminder: Invitation to Go on a "Sacred Journey to Israel/Palestine"

In case you missed this: The partnership of the Southwest Association and the Wisconsin Conference with Christmas Lutheran Church in Bethlehem, will be making the ninth "sacred journey" to Israel/Palestine April 20-30, 2017.

For more information or to sign up, contact Bonnie Van Overbeke at bonnievano@aol.com or (608) 274-1859.

Israeli and Palestinian Parents Grieve, Work Together
for Justice

On October 23, Madison will host two families from the Parent Circle Family Forum, a joint Palestinian-Israeli organization of over 600 families, all of whom havelost a close family member as a result of the prolonged conflict between their two naations.

These families come together to promote healing and reconciliation, not only between each other but between their two nations.  The Parent Circle utilizes education, public meetings and the media to build understanding and change the culture of suspicion, hatred and violence.

For the sake of Christine Saadeh and Smadar Elhanan and their parents, PCFF works to make the Land of Promise a promising place for all the children who live there.  Our guests will share their stories and hopes for the future.   The time and place of their presentation will be announced in next month's Shalom.

Leadership and Anxiety
in the Church:
A September 28 Seminar

This seminar of the Lombard Peace Center, at Orchard Ridge UCC, Madison, on Wednesday, September 28, will explain how the family systems perspective of Dr. Edwin Friedman can help church leaders deal with rising levels of anxiety being experienced in churches today.

"Into the Woods: Henry David Thoreau as Spiritual Guide"

This Kettlewood Retreat at Cedar Cedar Valley near West Bend will be on Friday, September 30, 9:30-3:00.

During a two-year period, Retreat leader Rev. Howard Bowman, a retired UCC pastor, spent two hours every week at Retzer Nature Center in Waukesha County reading and reflecting on the life and works of Henry David Thoreau's and his beloved Nature.  He will share some of his insights.

To register send a check for $50 to Rev. Holly Whitcomb, 2095 Elm Tree Ct., Elm Grove, WI 53122.  The deadline for registering is September 24.

New Compensation Guidelines for Clergy Recommended

The Church and Ministry Commission of the Wisconsin Conference has created recommended authorized ministry compensation guidelines, including for those serving in interim ministries.

They are offered to assist churches and authorized ministers in negotiating compansation packages for new and continuing church pastors.

Women Authors
Reading Group

The group will meet on Wednesday, August 31, 1:00 p.m., at Windsor UCC.  They will begin discussion of White Rage: The Unspoken Truth of Our Racial Divide, by Carol Anderson

Contemporary Theology
Book Group

The group will next meet on Tuesday, September 20, 2:00 p.m., at Plymouth UCC, Madison, discussing The Givenness of Things, by Marilynne Robinson, thru page 286.

Not Receiving Shalom?

If you, or someone you know, is not currently receiving Shalom, and would like to, please email Roger Brooks at swacommunications.com.. Please provide the email address, church affiliation and town.

Check Out Our New
Association Website!

The involved process of changing our Conference and Association websites to make them consistent and user friendly has been completed!   Check out ours and use it frequently!

 Southwest Association
Pulpit Supply List

The current Pulpit Supply List can be accessed through our Southwest Association website. Click on Information for Pastors.


Associate Conference Minister  
608-630-2992 (cell)
608-846-7880 (conference office)



Rev. Mark Yurs 



Petra Streiff





Rev. Jim Iliff


Division on Church & Ministry: 

Rev. Heide Hackman, Chair


Social Concerns Committee

Rev. Lois Rosko, Chair

Shalom Editor:

Roger Brooks


Southwest Association | swacommunications@gmail.com
4459 Gray Road | PO Box 435 | DeForest, WI  53532 | 608-846-7780