Wisconsin Conference Life Newsletter
Dec. 9, 2015
Tisha Brown image Shift! From Maintenance to Mission
by Rev. Tisha Brown
See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? (Isaiah 43:19)
As the season of Advent unfolds, our anticipation of the new thing God is always doing in Jesus Christ grows. How will the birth of Christ, the incarnation of the Holy One, the breaking in of Emmanuel manifest itself in our world today? How might we prepare ourselves to receive the new thing God is doing? How are we remaining watchful and vigilant so that we do not miss the coming of Christ or fail to perceive the new thing to which God invites us?
These are the questions I would invite all of us to ask not only during Advent but throughout the coming year, for God is indeed doing a new thing among us. God is coming into our lives and our world in surprising and unexpected ways and we, God's people, are called to be watchful, vigilant and always ready to perceive and participate in the new thing God is doing in our midst.
In the 18 months that I have been serving on Conference staff I have met incredible people and heard amazing stories of the new things God is doing throughout the Wisconsin Conference. Our ability to perceive God's new things and join with them in dynamic and vibrant ministry leads me to the unshakeable conviction that the best days of the United Church of Christ in Wisconsin are ahead of us. Because of this conviction, I am extremely excited to introduce you to Shift! From Maintenance to Mission, a strategic initiative that we hope every congregation will engage throughout 2016 and beyond.
Over the next few months you will be hearing a lot about this initiative, which we hope will do three things:
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Community Engagement and the Rural Church
by Allen T. Stanton

In declining rural communities, churches are some of the few viable institutions. They can use this position to help strengthen the wider community, writes the rural church fellow at the Institute for Emerging Issues.
money_sack.jpg The Moral Dilemmas of Money in Politics
by Ruth Ann Berkholtz

A national grassroots movement is calling for a Constitutional Amendment that would clarify what its authors really meant: The rights protected by the constitution are those of natural persons only and money is not free speech. Therefore, political contributions and expenditures can be limited and public disclosure required. Nationwide, 16 state legislatures have called for such an amendment (see www.movetoamend.org). And here in Wisconsin, 60 communities have passed similar resolutions since 2011 (see www.wiuta.org). Eight more Wisconsin communities will have resolutions on either the spring or fall 2016 ballots.
But what about the moral imperatives that are being violated by large multinational corporations, as they exercise these so-called rights, assigned to them by the courts that have been purchased by the wealthy?
IFCGM 2016 award winners image Wisconsin UCC Members Honored

Jeanne Mantsch and Jane Audette were recently honored at the Interfaith Conference of Greater Milwaukee's Annual Luncheon. Jeanne received the Frank Zeidler Award. Jeanne is a member of First Congregational UCC in Port Washington. Jane, a member of Plymouth UCC in Milwaukee, received the Mark Rohlfing Memorial Award.
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Jesus Core High School Retreat apple core image
January 8-10, 2015
Pilgrim Center
Find your way to the core! Jesus Core is a retreat for high school students, individually or with their church groups, designed to help teens gain a sense of the direction God is leading them. In the Jesus Core community, teens with experience worship, music, prayer, rest and inspiration. Details can be found at wcucc.org/youth.
Wisconsin Gospellers Workshop

Come and join the Wisconsin Gospellers choir for a day of joyous gospel singing at the second floor lounge of Cedar Ridge in West Bend.The workshop will be from 10 am to 4:30 pm on Saturday, January 9. The cost of the workshop will be $35, with a deadline to register of Monday, January 4. A lunch will be provided and participants will be part of a concert at the end of the afternoon. All are welcome!  Please contact Sue Loomer via email or phone 920-748-6002 to register or to answer any questions.
2015 OCWM and Special Gifts

Please note: all OCWM and Special Gifts checks for 2015 need to be in the Conference office by Friday, January 15, 2016. Indicate "2015" in the memo area of the check. Please contact Vicki Graff or Tracy Hauge with the amount of your gifts if you are not able to send a check so it arrives by January 15th. Thank you!
Sr. Simone Campbell image 2016 Wisconsin Council of Churches Winter Forum

20/20 Vision to Mend the Gaps: A Pastoral & Political Challenge with Sister Simone Campbell
Sr. Simone will bring a hopeful, visionary message to the 2016 Winter Forum as she addresses what it means to be a prophetic witness to the Gospel in today's political environment, both for individual Christians and for congregations.
Conference Transitions

Searching Churches
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New Calls
  • Donald F. Quigley has been called as pastor Congregational UCC in Mellen and First Congregational Church in Park Falls, effective December 14.
Installations and Ordinations
  • Rev. Theresa Ann (Tracy) Nolan was ordained at First Congregational UCC in Madison on November 22, 2015.
  • Rev. Julie Goranson was ordained at Grace UCC in Wausau on December 6, 2015.
  • Rev. Leslie Schenk was installed at Plymouth Congregational UCC in Madison on December 6, 2015.
Good Tidings
  • Susan Shands and Brittnay Crawford were married on Nov. 20, 2015. Susan serves Agrace Hospice Care in Madison as chaplain.
  • Rev. Beth Abbott and her husband Rich welcomed new daughter Maya Marie on Nov. 25. Beth is pastor at St. Luke's UCC in South Milwaukee.

The Conference Transitions feature appears monthly in the Wisconsin Conference Life. Please share your transition information, including church anniversaries, with the newsletter editor by emailing Nola.
This newsletter is made possible by contributions to Our Church's Wider Mission Basic Support.

The Wisconsin Conference UCC is an Open and Affirming Conference.

Wisconsin Conference United Church of Christ
4459 Gray Road | PO Box 435 | DeForest, WI  53532

In This Issue
Community Engagement and the Rural Church
Moral Dilemmas of Money in Politics
Wisconsin UCC members honored
Gospel singing workshop
Jesus Core Retreat
2015 OCWM deadline
Sr. Simone Campbell at Winter Forum
Conference Transitions
Church Spotlight

Congregational UCC Conrath image
 Congregational UCC - Conrath
This Northwest Association church may be very small, but its heart is large: it is one of the highest givers to missions (OCWM and special missions) in the state, in terms of percentage of total budget. Rev. Wendy Jaine Summers is the church's interim pastor.
The Parish Paper
This month's Parish Paper is "This Conversation - Again? Improving Church Communication." Access this issue and archived issues here!

Is your church considering an Open and Affirming Process? The Wisconsin Conference has a committee to help!  Please feel free to use us as resources for your discussions and preparations. Contact Micah Schlobohm or Rich Fluechtling of the Wisconsin Conference UCC Committee on Ministry with LGBTQ Persons.
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Wisconsin Conference Life, email Nola at the Wisconsin Conference.