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September 2017

Our Churches Stand with Vulnerable Persons...and Enjoy Summer
Plymouth UCC Madison, has moved into high gear as they implement their commitment to being an Immigrant Welcoming Church. They are collecting a wide variety of items for local refugee families, including bedding. Members are also educating themselves on government policies that impact immigrants and refugees, listening to stories of such persons, and offering to help when urgent situations arise.  Here is a more complete description of their efforts.

Fellowship of Hope UCC (part of the Madison Christian Community) is following up on their commitment to be a sanctuary church. They are preparing a space in the event they are called on to provide sanctuary. explaining to their members how to access building spaces, and training staff on how to respond if ICE agents come to their door.

Several of our Madison churches participated in the annual Madison Gay Pride March on August 20-- Fellowship of Hope, Plymouth, Lake Edge, and 1st Congregational.

Plymouth UCC, Dodgeville, had a benefit concert to feed orphans on August 6.

Plymouth UCC, Dodgeville, also joined in Lanterns for Peace Sunday at Twin Valley Lake in Governor Dodge State Park, co-sponsored by Iowa County Citizens for Peace and Justice and  Sustain Iowa County.   Lanterns were made and song were sung by Chicago singer and guitarist Willie Sterba.

1st Congregational UCC, Fort Atkinson, has offered a nine-week Christian life story writing workshop, beginning August 1.  The weekly two-hour sessions are under the guidance of a personal historian.

1st Congregational UCC, Janesville, had a table at the Janesville Police Department's National Night Out event in August.

Fellowship of Hope UCC, Madison, has had a Season of Creation theme in their worship services during the summer, asking, for instance, "How do we meet God in the wilderness, ass the Israelites and Jesus did?  The series wraps up on September 3 with the theme, "River."

The Congregational UCC, Barneveld, hosted an Ice Cream Social as part of the Barneveld Area Community Band Concert.

The Congregational UCC, Edgerton, had a church outing and picnic to the Henry Vilas Zoo in Madison.

Hook, Line and Sinker: Members of 1st Congregational UCC, Baraboo, were provided with fishing equipment for their outing at Devil's Lake State Park

Meanwhile, members of St. John's UCC, Monroe, participated in a Men's Ministry Golf Outing at Decatur Golf Course in Brodhead.

* * *
St. John's UCC, Monroe, is having a Hospitality Sunday on September 24 to encourage members to introduce a friend, relative, neighbor or colleague to their church and its hospitality.  They will have a Pie Social after worship, recalling the "spectacular" feedback they received from the pies they served at the Southwest Association Meeting this past May.

We are aware of these churches-- Congregational UCC, Whitewater; Congregational UCC, Evansville; and 1st Congregational UCC, Madison,--inviting their members to provide school supplies needed for students in their communities.

The Our Whole Lives (O.W.L.) program is coming to 1st Congregational UCC, Janesville , this fall. It will provide healthy, 
age-appropriate sexuality education to children, from kindergarten through 7th grade.

Memorial UCC, Fitchburg, is "building a rainbow" of colorful laundry detergent to donate to the Good Neighbors Personal Essentials Pantry.

An Evening with Playwright,
Actor and Storyteller Kevin Kling

1st Congregational UCC, Madison
(1609 University Ave.), invites us to an evening with Kevin Kling on Saturday,September 23, 7:00 p.m.
Kevin is a regular contributor to NPR's "All Things Considered" and the focus of the recent PBS documentary, "Kevin Kling: Lost and Found."  He will share his inspirational and humorous personal life story of overcoming barriers.  A free will donation will be received.

Here is a link to Kevin's web site.

An Offer to Borrow Their Doors:
"God's Doors Are Open to All"

Some colorful doors gifted to the Delavan UCC by Rev. Laura McLeod are being offered to loan to any interested congregations in our Conference.

They were created to remind us to boldly stand in solidarity with the LGBTQ & Orlando, Florida, communities after the Pulse Nightclub tragedy. to visibly represent our open and affirming congregations, and to encourage us all to let love be stronger than hate.

Find more information here.  To borrow the doors email webmaster@delavanucc.org or call (262) 728-2212.

The Madison Area Jail Ministry 
Celebrates 50 Years and Needs You!

The Madison Area Jail Ministry  has been providing spiritual care to incarcerated men and women for fifty years. With more than 800 men and 100 women incarcerated in the Dane County Jail each day, the chaplains are very busy. The ministry serves all people, regardless of where they are on their faith journeys. 

Our Congregational Liaisons play a pivotal role in the ministry. Liaisons provide a link from the chaplains and board to the people of their congregations. They encourage prayers, provide information, schedule education, and organize fundraising activities. 

The Madison Area Jail Ministry is hoping to have a liaison from each Dane County congregation join them for their Annual Liaison Meeting being held on Saturday, September 9, at 9:00 a.m. at Lake Edge Lutheran Church, 4032 Monona Drive, Monona.

Please email Tina Hogle at tina1@tds.com  or call (608) 827-3048  if you plan to attend or have questions. We look forward to seeing someone from your congregation in September!

Writers Retreat at Green Lake
October 13-15

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...

Visit www.comedowntothelakeshore.com for more information and registration.
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.

Hear an Update on
Our Palestinian Partnership

Our Palestinian partnership with BrightStar has been questioned by some.  Therefore, we are invited to 1st Congregational UCC, Madison, (1609 University Ave.) for their 55 Alive program, Sacred Journey to Bethlehem.  Eight members of the church will report on their recent trip under the leadership of Rev. Bonnie Van Overbeke at the group's lunch meeting on Wednesday, September 6, 11:30-0:00.

Donations to the $10 cost of the catered lunch are welcomed.  Please make a reservation by Sunday, September 3 through the church office (office@firstcongmadison.com, 608-233-9751.

This program will be repeated on Friday, September 8, 6:00 p.m., with a pizza supper in the dining room.   Here is more information about the program.

Little-Known  Charlottesville Fact?
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.

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.

Retired Clergy
Will Gather in September

The Retired Clergy of the Southwest Association will gather in September for their fall meeting.  Watch your mail for an announcement of the details.

Out of Office Hours
of Joanne Thomson

Thursday, September 7, 3:30-5:30, at Barriques, 8410 Old Sauk Rd., Middleton.  This immediately precedes the Association Executive Committee meeting at the nearby Community UCC in Middleton.

Wednesday, October 11, 10:30-12:00, at Mocha Moment, 1121 Center St., Janesville.
Pastoral and Other Transitions

Rev. Sara Rabe has been called as the senior pastor of Covenant Evangelical Lutheran Church (ELCA) in Stoughton.  We rejoice in Sara's new call, made possible through the ecumenical Formula of Agreement. Sara is a long time resident of Stoughton and member of the school board there. her final Sunday at Zwingli UCC, Paoli, will be October 15.   Read more here.

Rev. Rich McLeer has been called as part-time pastor of Congregational UCC, Mineral Point.  He will also continue to serve Hope ELCA in Mineral Point on a part-time basis.

Rev. Jen Johnson has been accepted into candidacy with the South Central Synod of Wisconsin of the ELCA for transfer of her ordained ministerial standing to the ELCA. She will serve Bristol Lutheran Church  as their interim pastor.

Rev. Kerri Parker has been called as the new Executive Director of the Wisconsin Council of Churches! Her final Sunday at McFarland UCC will be October 15. (See the August Shalom for more details.)

With the call of its new pastor, Rev. Luke Bocher concludes his interim ministry at Congregational UCC, Mineral Point and enters retirement. Congratulations to Luke on his transition to the next phase of his call and life!  He will continue to serve as a part-time chaplain at Fairhaven.

Rev. Kendell Nordstrom will be the interim pastor of Washington Reformation UCC, Monticello, following the retirement of Mary Gafner.

The mother of Rev. Sonja Ingebritsen, pastor of Fellowship of Hope UCC, Madison, died in Spokane, WA, on July 15.

Jane Morse Cushman Deyo, mother of Janet Pugh, the Annual Meeting Coordinator for the Conference, and a member of 1st Congregational UCC, Madison, died July 26.

Three Great Loves Initiative
Launched at General Synod

To follow God's call to build a just world for all as a united church, United Church of Christ General Minister and President John C. 
Dorhauer is calling the denomination to pull together under a new, shared mission--the Three Great Loves initiative.

Launched at General Synod 31 and continuing until the 2019 gathering in Milwaukee, the initiative seeks to build on the work that UCC churches are already dosing in their communities to care for children, reach out in welcome to their neighbors, and act as good stewards of the God's creation.

During the next two years, the national setting will be collecting stories from churches on their efforts in these areas.

See a more extensive explanation written by Connie Larkman, a member of the Congregational UCC, Evansville.

Healing Ourselves:
Pathways to Renewal--
A Kettlewood Retreat

The next Kettlewood Retreat sponsored by Director Rev. Holly W. Whitcomb will be Friday, October 6, 9:30-3:00, at Cedar Valley

"Healing Ourselves: Pathways to Emotional Well-Being and Spiritual Renewal" will be the theme. Retreat leader Philip Chard is a widely-traveled speaker, psychotherapist and the author of "Out of My Mind," a weekly column in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

"We are all wounded in this life, whether by loss, betrayal, trauma, tragedy, poor choices, or other misfortunes," Holly explains. "Drawing from practices, both ancient and modern, this interactive retreat will focus on identifying healing pathways that nurture our renewal." .

To register write a check for $50 to Rev. Holly Whitcomb and send it to 2095 Elm Tree Ct., Elm Grove, WI 53122.  As this retreat is expected to fill quickly, it is advised that one register as soon as possible.  A map to Cedar Valley will be sent on registration.

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.

Get all the jazzy details here!

A Resource for Our Congregations:
The Aging and Disability Resource Center

As did the Congregational UCC, Barneveld, your church can take advantage of the Southwest Aging and Disability Resource Center (ADRC) to provide a program relating to older adults and those with disabilities.

In their case, they hosted an event for clergy and church leaders on ministering to persons with Alzheimer's disease and other forms of dementia.

Other possible programs which can be provided by this government agency include helping people stay as independent as possible as long as possible, diabetes maintenance, caregiver support and good nutrition.

Tisha Brown, Associate Conference Minister for Leadership Development and Faith Formation, provides more information here.  Also check the Conference website for a link.

Grant Approved
for Prison Ministry

The Division on Social Concerns approved a grant of $3000 to the Prison Ministry of 1st Congregational UCC, Madison.

The grant is for the continued support of this ministry of the Southwest Association that has been funded for the past ten years.  It is a ministry of presence to men and women inside prison walls in Wisconsin, their families and their victims. It is also a ministry of advocacy for prison reform.

At their August 21 meeting, Carolyn Kennedy was named Chairman of the Division, and Rev. Lois Rosko;, the former chairman, replaces Liz Michaels as its Secretary.

Healthy Congregations
Workshop Postponed

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.

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 19, 2:00 p.m., at Plymouth UCC, Madison, discussing Hallelujah Anyway--Rediscovering Mercy, by Anne Lamont, in its entirety.

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. Beth Voigt



Rev. Jim Iliff


Division on Church & Ministry: 

Rev. Phil Haslanger


Social Concerns Committee

Carolyn Kennedy, Chair

Shalom Editor:

Roger Brooks


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