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Wisconsin Conference Life Newsletter
Nov. 6, 2019 
A Thanksgiving Reflection
by Rev. Franz Rigert

One of my fondest Thanksgiving memories takes me back to my childhood days growing up in a parsonage. I was just learning to read - back then a tedious chore for me more than an enjoyable pastime. But on this Thanksgiving morning I sat mesmerized on the couch, snuggled up in a blanket, smelling the turkey roasting and imagining the life of those early pioneers who landed at Plymouth Rock in 1620. Unbeknownst to me, this children's story about Pilgrims and Natives was told through the lens of 17th century colonialism. I read about turkeys and deer, corn and cabbage, and about the earliest harvest festivals shared with the Wampanoag Native Americans. The relationship between the Mayflower people and the Original people of this land was characterized largely as mutually supportive, though the story did lift up vivid depictions of battles with jabbing spears and flying arrows.
Our history lessons characterized the concept of the Doctrine of Discovery as adventurous explorations of a wild, vast westward frontier. I never thought of it as a taking of land and a conquering of people. When history books told the early war stories, so often they painted pictures of savage natives attacking pioneer villages rather than the other way around. They failed altogether to teach us about the often brutal subjugation and displacement of Native Americans and about the subsequent relegation of First Nation people to less desirable reservation lands.
Next year marks the 400 anniversary of those Separatists (soon to be Congregationalists) who came from Plymouth, England, on the Mayflower. As part of our spiritual heritage, the United Church of Christ has an opportunity and a responsibility to help reframe the understanding of our history. It feels especially right to approach Thanksgiving with a spirit of gratitude AND a spirit of confession.
Time-Sensitive Opportunity for Church Members to Make a Gift to Your Congregation
Pastors and church leaders: IRA Charitable Rollovers (or Qualified Charitable Distributions) enable people 70½ or older with a traditional IRA to give up to $100,000 per year tax-free to charitable organizations. Please share the attached handout on making an IRA Charitable Rollover with people in your congregation, before December 31st.
You may want to include the name of your congregation, the address, and EIN when reprinting this handout in your church bulletin, next print newsletter, or email communication. The Wisconsin Conference produced this resource to help strengthen stewardship in our congregations. Please contact Rev. Andrew Warner, Director of Development, with questions or to learn more about other planned giving opportunities for your congregation.

NEW! Stewardship Resources in Your Inbox

The Wisconsin Conference has created Generosity Forward, an e-newsletter to inform pastors and leaders about new ideas, best practices, and training opportunities around congregational fundraising. This resource is part of a new initiative by the Wisconsin Conference in its mission to support and resource congregations and leaders for vibrant and effective ministry. If you are interested in new practices and tools to enhance your pledge or annual campaign, or perhaps learn how to initiate a legacy giving effort in your congregation, click subscribe and select Generosity Forward to sign up for this newsletter. Please also share this with others who are involved in congregational stewardship. If you have topics you'd like us to include in future newsletters, or stories and resources you'd like to share, please contact Andrew Warner.
Soul Shop training poster Soul Shop Suicide Prevention Training Offered
Friday, December 13
8:00am - 5:00pm
Gesthemane Lutheran Church, Baldwin, Wis.

Too often when people don't know how to talk about something, they simply say nothing. For those who are experiencing suicidal desperation, silence amplifies their sense of isolation and hopelessness.

Soul Shop equips people to minister to those impacted
by suicidal desperation including:
  • Adults and youth who are considering suicide.
  • Family members and friends who are anxious about a person who may be considering suicide.
  • Persons who have lost a loved one to suicide.
  • Second Day people - those who have been suicidal in the past but have found a way out of suicidal thinking.
For more info  see the bottom half of this flyer. To register for the training, click here.

Your Congregation can host this important training, too! Contact Megan Frye, member at Roberts Congregational UCC, for more information, and see the Soul Shop movement website.
The Christmas Fund for the Veterans of the Cross and the Emergency Fund is a Special Mission Offering, that congregations have been supporting for over 100 years. The offering is administered through the United Church Board for Ministerial Assistance, the charitable arm of the Pension Boards. Funds provide direct financial support to those who serve the church and are facing financial difficulties. Active and retired clergy, lay employees, and their surviving spouses may be eligible for the Supplementation of Small Annuities, Supplementation of Health Premiums, Emergency Grants, and/or Christmas "Thank You" Gift Checks. Approximately $90,000 a year comes to Wisconsin for distribution! This year's offering is slated for December 22, 2019.  
Click here to download a bulletin insert about the Christmas FundCreated and shared by the Wisconsin Conference Northwest Association. 
Knock Knock Middle School Retreat
November 22-24, 2019 at Pilgrim Center
Register by November 15!
Come to Knock Knock with your youth group. Start a new group or fire up the one you've got, like your confirmation group. Don't come alone! Bring all the interested Middle Schoolers in your church, plus one adult leader for every five kids. The leaders go through the workshops with the youth. Your group will feel the impact for a long time!   
Rev.  Bev Dale image Join First Congregational UCC in Baraboo for their Guest, Rev. Beverly Dale
Sunday, November 17, 2019

First Congregational UCC in Baraboo invites you to their event featuring Rev. Dr. Beverly Dale on Sunday, November 17. The event is free but RSVPs are requested. See the flyer for more information
  • 9:00 am: Adult study hour, "Finding a Pleasure-Centered Faith"
  • 10:15 am - worship with Rev. Dale preaching
  • 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm: "Christianity: The Problem and the Solution for Sexual Dis-Ease"
New Northwest Association Scholarship
The Northwest Association's Division of the Mission of the Church in the World has a new scholarship for NWA church-sponsored mission projects or programs (in-house or community) that focus on social, environmental, or justice issues.
Bread for the Journey: Nourishing Ourselves, Nourishing Others
An Advent Retreat
Friday, December 13, 2019
9:30am - 3:00pm
Cedar Valley

Jesus says, "I am the bread of life." Poet Mary Oliver writes, "Eat bread and understand comfort." In this Advent retreat we will ask: How is Jesus our bread? What does genuine nourishment look like? How do we give and receive comfort? Come join us as we explore the powerful metaphor of bread and thoughtfully prepare for a spiritually satisfying Advent.
Kettlewood Retreats invites you to this Advent retreat at Cedar Valley. Come join us in the countryside of the Kettle Moraine on 100 spectacular acres near West Bend. The noon meal is included.
More information 
cool congregations challenge image
Is your congregation leading the way to a more just and sustainable future? You could win $1000!
Interfaith Power & Light's Cool Congregations Challenge is an annual national contest to recognize "Cool Congregations" that are becoming energy efficient and sustainable role models within their communities.

Your congregation can enter if it has finished an energy efficiency, renewable energy, or grounds and water conservation project this year, or mobilized your community in response to climate change. There is a planning category for those who have recently finished their energy audit and developed plans for improvements. Projects can take place inside the worship space or other buildings, on the grounds, in congregants' homes, or in the community.

You could win $1000, so don't wait! Deadline for entries is December 15, 2019 -- enter the Challenge or download your entry guide today! 
Conference Transitions

Searching Churches
No churches began searches since the last issue of this newsletter. To see all searching churches, click here.

Wider Church Searches
  • The United Church of Christ has several openings. Details
New Calls
  • Rev. Bryan Simon has been called as pastor at First Congregational UCC in Tomah, effective October 21, 2019
  • Rev. Jennifer Czarnota has been called as pastor at First Congregational UCC in Redgranite and as pastor at Zion UCC in Dale, effective November 1, 2019
  • Rev. James McKenzie has been called as interim pastor at First Congregational UCC in Port Washington, effective November 1, 2019
Installations and Ordinations
  • Rev. Jane Courtright was installed at First Congregational UCC in Eagle River on October 20, 2019
  • Rev. Beth Abbott was installed at First Congregational UCC in South Milwaukee on November 3, 2019
  • Trinity UCC in Brookfield celebrated their 125th anniversary on November 3, 2019. Congrats!
In Memoriam
  • Rev. Mark Schowalter passed away on October 29, 2019. Obituary
  • Rev. Dr. Jon Schultz passed away on October 31, 2019. Obituary 
  • In the October 23, 2019, issue of Wisconsin Conference Life, the retirement date for Rev. Jim Iliff was listed incorrectly. The correct date is October 12, 2020. Our apologies for the mistake.

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, and an Immigrant Welcoming Conference.

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

In This Issue
IRA Charitable Rollovers
Sewardship resources newsletter
Suicide Prevention Training
Christmas Fund offering
Knock Knock retreat
Faith and Sexuality event
NWA scholarship
Advent retreat
Cool Congregations Challenge
Conference Transitions
Church Spotlight

In 2017, St. John's UCC and First Reformed UCC, both of Manitowoc, together with First Presbyterian Church, formed the Manitowoc Cooperative Ministry. The churches are served by co-pastors Rev. Judine Duerwaechter and Rev. Matt Sauer. "We believe that working together is more fruitful than preserving the historic denominational lines that divided us. We believe that when we work together we can best share the peace and justice of God's beloved community in all the world."  
Check the Conference calendar for upcoming events.
The Parish Paper
This month's Parish Paper is " Learning to Love Variety in Worship Song Selection." Access this issue and archived issues here!
Quick Links

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 Laura McLeod of the Wisconsin Conference UCC Committee on Ministry with LGBTQ Persons.

Also: check out the Facebook page for ONA churches
Got News?
Let us know! If you have something you'd like considered for publication in
Wisconsin Conference Life, email Nola at the Wisconsin Conference.