Rev. Mark Yurs of Salem UCC, Verona, shared some pertinent reflections recently. "I have been reading Erik Larson's The Splendid and the Vile..., (which) follows Winston Churchill in his first year as Prime Minister of England.

"One passage in the book stood right out at descriptive of what people...are feeling right now...Sleep was at a premium because of the sirens, the sound of the bombs whistling their descent, and the subsequent explosions...

I suppose something like that is our great threat now (as we try) to live, work and maintain family life and friendships (in this time). The work before hard and we are tempted to give up, fatigued by the weariness of having to do it day after day after day..."

Mark then reflects on how the apostle Paul longed for the day he could be together with his Roman church friends... "But remember this. Though you may feel as though you are in your bunker alone, you are not alone. The whole church is with you and God is with you. May our presence and God's presence be a strength to you, an encouragement, a resource to give you the power to face tomorrow with hope and courage."
Congregations Continue
to Address Racial, COVID-19 Issues

Several of our congregations are continuing to respond to the racial crisis in our area and nation. MCC/Community of Hope UCC had a campaign to write letters to local officials, following the design of local organizations, including Dane County Time Bank.
Recognizing that achieving racial justice is a marathon, not a sprint, 1st Congregational UCC, Madison, is posting four suggestions each week from 75 Things White People Can Do for Racial Justice, by Corinnne Shutack, in their newsletter.
Memorial UCC, Fitchburg, continuing its Sacred Conversations on Race by watching a TED Talk video, Racism Has a Cost for Everyone.
Orchard Ridge UCC, Madison, had a discussion of Race and Policing. and took a survey to learn of members' thoughts and feelings on racial issues.
MCC/Community of Hope UCC and 1st Congregational UCC, Madison, have offered yard signs to their members.
Salem UCC, Verona, invited members to a special opportunity to walk their labyrinth on June 28--a 12 hour vigil to pray for racial justice in our land."
MCC/Community of Hope is continuing its exploration of The Doctrine of Discovery during August. They will confront how the Doctrine normalized the toxic exploitation of the earth and its resources even as it inflicted that on indigenous peoples.
In addition to keeping their members up to date on the need to limit most of their worship services to the Zoom process, some of our congregations are having drive-in services-- Zwingli UCC, Monticello; Zwingli UCC, Paoli; Emerald Grove UCC; and St. John's UCC, Monroe.
Many of our congregations are having a Sunday worship service this summer, sometimes including a picnic, outdoors, such as in a local park. They include these: Mineral Point Congregational UCC; St; John's UCC; Monroe; 1st Congregational UCC, Platteville; Mt. Zion UCC, Cornelia; Sauk City UCC; Davies Memorial UCC, Potosi; 1st Congregational UCC, Janesville; Congregational UCC, Broadhead; Zwingli UCC, Monticello; Washington Reformation UCC, Monticello; and Lake Edge UCC, Madison.
At least two our congregations have resumed in-person worship while following strict safety precautions-- Mt.Zion UCC, Cornelia and Trinity UCC, Endeavor.
In addition, MCC/Community of Hope UCC is having weekday evening worship services"
1st Congregational UCC, Platteville, is having outdoor Faith + Fellowship gatherings every other Friday through September. Middleton Community UCC has Parking Lot Fellowship Sunday evenings. Orchard Ridge UCC, Madison, will have an outdoor Friendship Circle on August 4 on their lawn. They are also having summer Bible studies on their church lawn.
St. John's UCC, Monroe, has a Prayer Window outside their church. Members are invited to write their prayer on a colored strip of paper and attach it to the frame.
Swiss UCC, New Glarus, is another congregation that invited its members to post photos of themselves and their activities to be shared in the church newsletter.
Orchard Ridge UCC, Madison hosted a COVID testing site by Dane County Public Health and the Mellowhood Foundation.
Midleton Community UCC is providing members with all-church outdoor fellowship activities--an Indian Lake morning hike; a campfire gathering and a bike ride.
The Milton Congregational UCC is having Theology on Tap events, learning from each other's journeys during this time at home.
The Tuesday Night Fellowship of Middleton Community UCC continued its TED Talks in July with these topics: Religion, evolution and the ecstasy of transcendence; Let's talk about dying; and The power of introverts..
Rev. Zayna Thomley of 1st Congregational UCC, Platteville, is having an 8-week worship series, Unraveled: Seeking God When Our Plans Fall Apart, to relate to the stresses we are facing during this pandemic..
The Congregational UCC, Baraboo, had a Farmer's Market, while honoring the recommended precautions.
In June, the Congregational UCC, Mineral Point relaunched its community meals by curbside and reservation.
During this past school year, Whitewater Congregational Congregational UCC regularly served meals to UW-Whitewater students.
Middleton Community UCC is hiring a Food Security Manager, who will be responsible for operating the church's Food Pantry and other affiliated food programs, as well as operating the Clothing Center.
Orchard Ridge UCC, Madison, had a Tie Dye Party to facilitate the creation of colorful cotton face masks
The Congregational UCC, Brodhead, has a Quilt & Craft Workshop every Wednesday during the summer, with masks and social distancing expected.
Madison Area Urban Ministry,
an organization birthed by 1st Congregational UCC, Madison, and supported by several of our congregations, has changed its name to Just Dane
Though with a different look than in previous years, Salem UCC, Verona, is again having their Vacation Bible School. Middleton Community UCC is also going ahead with their Rocky Railway Vacation Bible School in early August.
1st Congregational UCC, Madison again held a Summer Mural Camp for kids who've finished grades 1-6. Portraits of Justice was the theme.
The Women's Group of Orchard Ridge UCC, Madison, will discuss the novel Night of Miracles, by Elizabeth Berg at their August meeting, and The Overstory, by Richard Powers, at their September meeting.
For the psst three years, the Prison Ministry of 1st Congregational UCC, Madison, has been offering a humanities program called Odyssey Beyond Bars inside the walls of Wisconsin prisons.
Orchard Ridge UCC, Madison, has provided a final update on the Aguilera family for which they provided lodging for several months beginning this past fall. With the help of 132 volunteers from 12 congregations in the Dane Sanctuary Coalition, the family made significant progress toward stabilization. The mother found employment as a support person to an elderly woman in the church's neighborhood. The father underwent major thyroid surgery, and the kids settled into a regular school routine. Because of changes and the upheaval of the COVID pandemic, the family moved to South Carolina. Here is a complete report.
Rev. Lance Smith, the pastor of Zwingli UCC, Monticello, invites us to Pastor Lance & Friends for a time of live music and fun on Friday, August 28, 4:00-6:00, at the dead end of Washington Street in Monticello.
Pastoral Transitions

Orchard Ridge UCC, Madison, has called Rev. Dr.Julia Burkey as their settled pastor, effective October 1. She comes to us from the Connecticut Conference.

Windsor UCC has called Rev. Craig Jan-McMahon as senior pastor

MCC/Community of Hope UCC welcomed Lisa Lee as their Luther Seminary intern.
Ecclesiastical Council
for Hannah Campbell Gustafson

The Division on Church and Ministry has approved an Ecclesiastical Council for the purpose of examining Hannah Campbell Gustafson, who seeks ordination in the United Church of Christ.
Sunday, August 2, 2:00 p.m.
via Zoom .
Join Zoom Meeting
A copy of Hannah's ordination paper is included  here . We ask all clergy in the Southwest Association to forward a copy to the congregation's lay delegates and other interested parties.  
An Ecclesiastical Council is an important event in the discernment process leading to the ordination of a candidate. The Ecclesiastical Council presents the opportunity for all participating churches within the Southwest Association to affirm and authorize a particular candidate for ordination.
Please support Hannah Campbell Gustafson and the church with your participation in this Ecclesiastical Council. 
Southwest Association Annual Meeting

The meeting will be Saturday, October 17, 9:00-11:30, via Zoom.

Something timely and special is being planned for the program! During our meeting we will also approve the 2021 Budget and vote on changes to the Southwest Association Constitution.
Registration has begun and you are encouraged to register as ministers, lay delegates and visitors here. Copies of the proposed constitutional changes will be mailed to churches and ministers in September. More information to come!
Out of Office Hours
of Our Association Minis ter

Clergy Support and Check-In
       August 13, 10:00 – 11:00
       August 27, 10:00 – 11:00
Join Zoom Meeting
To schedule a phone call, meeting, or preaching engagement, click here:
Racial Justice Webinar Series

The Minnesota Conference invites us to participate in their webinar series, Justice Talk to Justice Walk: Building Awareness, Strengthening Our Resolve, with Rev. Tracy Blackmon, Associate General Minister of the United Church of Christ. Registration is required. Check the Conference website or current newsletter for the current webinar.
Bright Stars of Bethlehem
Offers Virtual Summer Series

In a virtual summer series begun June 29 Palestine During Double Lockdown, Rev. Dr. Raheb explains how our friends there are unlocking hope during this time and how we can partner with them. The series continues as follows:

July 27
Pandemic and the Creative Response:
How can art pave the way for justice?
Students and faculty of Dar al-Kalima share how art provides a social justice lens for both reflecting on current reality and imagining the future. Join here.

August 24
Gaza and the Creative Response:
How is the program in Gaza empowering students?
We'll hear from Ghada Araj, the Gaza program director, and students who participated in this spring's pilot program. Gahad holds a Master's Degree in Public Health from the University of Arizona.

The sessions are held at 11:00 a.m. CDT. Though free, limited space is available, so. registration is required Join here.,
Catalyst Grants Support
Racial Justice Efforts

The Wisconsin Conference reminds us that we are invited to apply for Catalyst grants that can provide congregations with resources for their efforts on behalf of racial justice.

Southwest Association examples of what such grants have provided are MCC/Community of Hope's Big Read project, and the sanctuary renovation that helped Lake Edge UCC, Madison, partner with Christ the Solid Rock Baptist Church.

The next grant deadline is October 5. Contact Tisha Brown for more information.
Religious Leaders Ask Legislature
to Act on COVID-19

On July 7, the Wisconsin Council of Churches announced a letter to the Wisconsin State Legislature to act promptly on providing an effective statewide response to the corona virus pandemic. Signers included our Wisconsin Conference staff members, including our Association Minister, Rev. Lorraine Cineceros.

Women Authors Reading Group

The group has no plans to meet at this time.
Contemporary Theology Book Group

The Contemporary Theology Book Group will next meet online by Zoom on Tuesday, August 18, 2:00 p.m., to discuss White Fragility, by Robin Diangelo, to page 107.
Associate Conference Minister  
608-630-2992 (cell)
608-846-7880 (conference office)
  (calendar scheduling)
Vice-Moderator :
Secretary :
Treasurer :
Division on Church & Ministry
Social Concerns Committee

Shalom Editor :
Roger Brooks
Southwest Association |
4459 Gray Road | DeForest, WI 53532 | 608-846-7880