Wisconsin Conference Life Newsletter
April 11, 2019 
Annual Meeting Highlights
by Franz Rigert

Representatives from UCC congregations all across the Conference gathered at the Wilderness Resort in the Wisconsin Dells on April 5-6 for an inspirational and energy-filled 24-hour Annual Meeting entitled "Living the Light!"
On Friday evening during the opening plenary we honored the Rev. Joanne Thomson, who has served as an Associate Conference Minister for 18 year s and will retire this summer. We also offered gratitude to Janet Pugh, who- after 12 years - is stepping down from her role as Annual Meeting Coordinator. Following the plenary the crowd enjoyed social time and stirring music from the band Copper Box!
On Saturday morning Conference Minister Franz Rigert gave presentations about our Current Connections and Future Horizons.
Continue reading 
Help Provide an Extravagant Welcome at General Synod

Can you help? We still need volunteers!  
Want info? Start here: wcucc.org/synodvolunteer
Ready to sign up? Go to: bit.ly/2CtiHVV-synodvolunteer
What a great opportunity to experience General Synod, when it's right in our own back yard! Please consider volunteering, and spread the word in your congregation. Read the full article to learn about
  • Affordable housing for volunteers
  • Resources to help spread the word in your congregation
  • Volunteer areas of need
  • Volunteer opportunities if you're not attending General Synod
  • Synod Volunteering FAQ
Reflections from Two Damascus Project Sojourners

The Damascus Project has conducted two experimental learning opportunities over the last 9 months. Thirty-three people from Minnesota and Wisconsin participated in one or both of these courses. Here are two testimonials from course participants that we hope will help you get a feeling for this new endeavor:
This fall we will launch four additional courses, including "The Crux: Engaging the Wisdom of the Wilderness for Today's Changing Church." Stay tuned for additional information as we finalize details and begin promotions!
Love Your Mother: Give Her Flowers
May 2, 2019 - 7:00pm - 8:30pm

The second webinar in this series will begin with prayer and conversation about how we have fallen in love with creation. We will continue the discussion by hearing about Redeemer UCC in Sussex's prairie restoration garden from Rick and Nancy Vollbrecht. Rick and Nancy will tell the story of how the prairie got started on the congregation's property and will share some tips on exploring a prairie garden on your church grounds.
The webinar will continue by highlighting the steps your church can take to help pollinators thrive and protect your local water quality. Erik Bunk from Beeleaf Naturals in Chilton is an expert in native habitat installation and native seed sales along with beekeeping services and wildflower honey production. He will highlight the importance and the process of making your grounds more sustainable, wholesome and less work to maintain.
More information and registration
Music Notes Children's Choir Members Sought for General Synod

Sunday afternoon, June 25, at 2:30 pm is the community worship celebration at General Synod 32, which is open to all in the Wisconsin Conference. A children's mass choir is going to be a part of that service. Children singers in 4th thru 8th grades are being sought in the Wisconsin Conference for this choir. There is a specific song national worship leaders want the children to sing.
Sheet music, an audio of the song and other details will be sent to churches who have committed to having children sing as a part of this choir. A general rehearsal will be held earlier on that Sunday. (Time to be determined). Mr. Tom Scott, music director for General Synod, will be directing this choir. The service will be streamed online, so media releases will be required for participating children.
If you would like children singers in grades 4 thru 8 in your congregation to be a part of this choir, please contact Tom Scott by May 1!
Spirit & Wisdom in Small Churches
Friday, May 10 from 10:00am - 2:00pm
Trost Center, DeForest

The Small Church Story Project was created by Rev. Susan Craig, retired Associate Conference Minister, Maine Conference, and Rev. Douglas Dunlap retired pastor, Maine Conference. They have interviewed folk from ten small, thriving churches in Maine to hear about the gifts of their ministry and life. At the Spirit & Wisdom in Small Churches event, Suzy and Doug will tell inspiring stories they have heard and reflect on what can be learned from them. Our conversation will be an opportunity to hear, talk and recognize the gifts of being a small church. We will conclude with suggestions for ongoing support and resourcing for small church leaders. Deadline to register: May 5. Cost: $15.
Register here
Advocacy That Works! An Online Course for Faith-Based & Grass-Roots Advocates
Hosted by the Wisconsin Council of Churches
Four online sessions in April and May at 12:00pm
Faith-based communities and grassroots organizations can and should express their values in the public square. We have a responsibility to speak truth to power in strategic ways. Whether you're dealing with local community needs, statewide or national issues, an effective advocacy strategy depends on credibility and consistency. Join us for four online sessions at noontime on Thursdays in April and May to make yourself a more effective faith-based advocate. $25 for all four classes. This event is supported in part by a UCC Neighbors in Need Grant   
Zip Equip and InnoJazz
May 14 at 4:30pm and May 21 at 4:30pm

The Connecticut Conference UCC invites us to their Zip Equip and InnoJazz webinar sessions.

Zip Equip is designed to support church leaders by providing some of the best thinking from the organizational development and change management world. Each conversation will feature a ten minute presentation and then 30 minute open discussion. Participants will have the opportunity to explore the concepts, develop questions, and create possible next steps within their own ministry setting. Where appropriate, short articles will be available on the subject beforehand.

InnoJazz is a 40 minute innovation session that will foster creative thinking. Each session will begin with a thought prompt. Participants will be guided through a process using improv rules to discover what new possibilities creative thinking can open up their ministries.
More information and sign up link
The times stated in the link are Eastern Daylight Time.
Last call to register! Deadline: April 18.
Increase your understanding of the systemic violence that is racism in our society, our communities, and our churches by attending this workshop and retreat. As the church, it is our duty to not just be not racist, but to be anti-racist. This means we need to identify and work against racism. This workshop will help us to identify the insidious ways we perpetuate racism without even thinking about it. Whether this is your first step or a continuation of your journey, this workshop will meet you where you are to help you get closer to being an anti-racist, pro-reconciling leader for your church and community. 
Contact Lisa Hart about scholarships of $50 (lay persons) and $100 (clergy, from the Continuing Education fund) are available. Contact Phoebe Spier about possible scholarships from Moon Beach Camp.
DARE to be with God
Day Retreat
May 4, 2019, 9:00am - 3:00pm
Fairchild, Wis.

Exploring the book Braving the Wilderness by Brene Brown: What it means to "Belong." Come enjoy a Spring day in the country. Take time to learn, share, walk the trails, pray, create. DARE to Be with God: Discover - Ask - Reflect - Experience. Led by Julie Garber, Spiritual Director & Retreat Facilitator, G.I.F.T. Retreat Center, Growing In Faithfulness Together. Cost: $20-(no need to buy the book)
New York Times Bestselling Author Featured in Webinar
April 30 at Noon

The featured guest for this month's Creation Justice Webinar recently entered into the New York Times bestseller list. Author adrienne maree brown will focus on the strategies and practices needed to build a vision-based, systemic-change-oriented movement. Brown will draw upon insights gained from years of working within organizations dedicated to environmental justice and black liberation. Sign-up now for the webinar on April 30th
UCC Survey: Church Environmental Practices

On an annual basis, the UCC Environmental Justice Ministry will be conducting a survey of all the churches in the denomination in order to gather data on what churches are doing to care for God's creation. We want to be able to measure and assess our denomination's activity and growth in these areas. Please take a few minutes to provide us with information about your church
We Help You Build Your Church...

Not just through loans, but through all kinds of services to enhance your congregation's mission and ministry.

Revisioning, Repurposing, Stewardship, Capital Campaigns - and more!

Check out all that we have to offer by clicking HERE.
Conference Transitions

Ministry Searches
  • The Wisconsin Conference UCC search for an Associate Conference Minister closes on April 14. Details 
  • Cedar Community in West Bend is searching for a chaplain. Details 
  • The national United Church of Christ has several open positions. Details 
  • First Congregational UCC in Wisconsin Rapids is searching for a Youth Director. Details
  • First Congregational UCC in Appleton is searching for a Director for Youth Ministries. Details
  • First Congregational UCC in La Crosse is searching for a Faith Formation and Congregational Life Coordinator. Details
To see all searching churches, click here.

Installations and Ordinations
  • Rev. Patrick Schultz was installed as pastor and teacher at St. Marks UCC and St. James UCC in Cleveland on March 31, 2019
Good Tidings
  • Sandy Berndt volunteered at the Conference office on March 28. She was a great help, doing many pre-Annual Meeting tasks. Thank you, Sandy!
In Memoriam
  • Charlene Burbury, mother of Rev. Catherine Burbury, passed away on February 26, 2019. Obituary 
  • Blanche Rigert, wife of Rev. Max Rigert and mother of Rev. Franz Rigert, passed away on March 28, 2019. Obituary 

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
General Synod Volunteering
Damascus Project Reflections
Creation Care Team Webinar
Children's Choir members sought
Spirit & Wisdom in Small Churches
Advocacy that Works! Online course
Zip Equip and InnoJazz
DARE to be with God retreat
Strategies for Environmental Justice Webinar
UCC Environmental Practices Survey
Church Building & Loan Fund
Conference Transitions
Church Spotlight

This Northwest Association church is led by pastor Kyle Carnes and associate pastor Lucas Williams. The church runs a medical equipment ministry, where anyone can check out medical equipment free of charge.  

Check the Conference calendar for upcoming events.
The Parish Paper
This month's Parish Paper is " Building Your Community Ties with a Block Party." 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
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Let us know! If you have something you'd like considered for publication in
Wisconsin Conference Life, email Nola at the Wisconsin Conference.