Wisconsin Conference Life Newsletter
April 26, 2019 
Rev. Rob MacDougall image A Worship Planning Strategy
by Rev. Rob MacDougall

One of the most meaningful aspects of the annual meeting of our Wisconsin Conference for me is the chance to connect with so many church members and clergy. It is like an old home weekend, getting caught up on the joys and struggles of people's lives and churches. I got to hold two babies at the meeting this year; they were both within a couple months of my new granddaughter's birthday. Thanks to Erin and McKenzie for sharing your kids with me and the whole gathering.
One of our newer clergy to the Wisconsin Conference regaled me with his tales of trying to coordinate Sunday worship services. Choosing scripture, getting readers, choosing music, working with keyboard folk, choirs, special musicians, special services, liturgical season plans, liturgies, etc.; it made me tired just listening. His struggle is one that other ministers have described to me, and it is something that kept me hopping most of my thirty years serving local churches.
Beautiful chalices and patens
How It's Made
Learn the story behind the General Synod communion chalices and patens

When a large project is attempted, it's always helpful to make it a group effort!  


Tim Perkins of the local arrangements committee for General Synod 2019 contacted potter/pastor Colleen Kwong to create the chalice and paten that will be used in serving communion during Sunday's worship service.


Colleen invited the participation of many others as she prepared for creating the beautiful communion sets that will be used at General Synod.Do you know what "bats" are in a potter's world? Read the entire story to learn who and what was involved in the creation of the 2019 General Synod communion ware.
Also see more of Colleen's beautiful work at spirit-of-creation.com 
New Resource on the Incarceration of Palestinian Children
by Bonnie Van Overbeke, chair of the Bethlehem Partnership

Amid the many dimensions of the conflicts in Israel and Palestine, one of the most outrageous is the incarceration of Palestinian children by the Israeli military. The United Church of Christ at its 2017 General Synod issued a powerful statement condemning the way these children are treated and urging members of the United Church of Christ to advocate for the rights of children living under Israeli Military Occupation. Other faith groups have focused on this as well. Now there is a great resource developed by the UCC Palestine Israel Network for congregations to use in exploring this issue in adult study times, with social justice committees or in other forums.
The resource, a film called "How Are the Children" ( view the trailer here ), comes along with study materials. The film is in two sections, so it can be watched over two sessions along with time for discussion. Here is the website that has more material on this issue. If you prefer a "hard copy" one is available; email Bonnie at bonnievano@aol.com.
This resource fits well with the goals of our Wisconsin Conference Bethlehem Partnership as the incarceration of children has surfaced as a concern of the Palestinian Christians with whom we have a relationship. We ask congregations to consider studying this issue. Resource people are available if your congregation would like more information. Email Bonnie for more information. 
The Practice of Finding: How Gratitude Leads the Way to Enough
An Eastertide retreat from Kettlewood Retreats
May 3, 2019; 9:30am - 3:00pm
Seeking is in vogue these days. Many of us are continually striving and seeking - for one thing or another. This retreat presents the spiritual practice of finding as the antidote to chronic seeking, the awareness of having received enough. Based on Holly Whitcomb's latest book, The Practice of Finding, this retreat is a guide to that surprising journey of discovery. Holly writes in the introduction to her book: "The practice of finding has been saving my life for a long time. It is an old friend that has stayed by my side during times of lavish joy and exuberance as well as in times of debilitating grief and loss." Ponder the words: practice, finding, enough. You will marvel at what you have already found and what you readily possess. (Holly's new book will be for sale at this retreat.) Deadline for registering is April 27.
More information 
Love Your Mother - Give Her Flowers
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. Chelsea Adams and Erik Bunk from Beeleaf Naturals in Chilton are experts in native habitat installation and native seed sales along with beekeeping services and wildflower honey production. They will highlight the importance and the process of making your grounds more sustainable, wholesome and less work to maintain.
Children for a Children's Choir and Buskers are Needed at General Synod!

Children in grades 4-8 are needed for the General Synod Children's Choir, and musical groups are needed to busk at General Synod!
Spirit & Wisdom in Small Churches
Friday, May 10 from 10:00am to 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

Domestic Mission Opportunity at Camp AweSum

Looking for a domestic mission opportunity? Look no further than Camp AweSum, located at Moon Beach Camp, in St. Germain, Wisconsin! Camp AweSum offers an affordable and multi-generational domestic mission experience that allows members of your congregation to interact with and serve youth on the autism spectrum and their families.
Autism Training Experience Opportunity at Camp AweSum
Various summer dates

Attention Camp Directors, Pastors, and Faith Formation Folks! Every camp and church across the country will have someone with autism or neurodiversity come to their site in 2019. Are you ready? There is now an opportunity to send your employee to engage in a hands-on training experience! Camp AweSum, established in 2005, is specifically designed to serve and accommodate youth on the autism spectrum and their families. When employees are trained at Camp AweSum, it will help better include those with differences and increase successful camp and church experiences for all!
Earth care festival image Earth Care Festival
Saturday, May 11, 9:00am - 1:00pm
Sponsored by Grace Congregational in Two Rivers
Location: UWGB Manitowoc Campus, 705 Viebahn Street, Manitowoc 
The Earth Care Festival is held with the intent of raising awareness of the need to learn about and care for God's creation. The festival will feature 35 displays and exhibits that will inspire us to take care of our lakes, inform us of the value of wind and solar energy, the importance of honey bees, the importance of buying and growing organic, and many more. In addition, the children's activities are designed to give teaching moments to kids about their environment and how they need to care for this God-given gift. The festival includes free snacks and activities and prizes for kids. Admission is free. The speaker this year is Dr. Titus Seilheimer of Wisconsin Sea Grant. He will speak in the theater from 10:30 - 11:30.  
i am jane doe event image Human Trafficking Education Event
Sponsored by Parkside Community UCC
166 Dekora St, Saukville
May 7, 2019, at 6:00pm
Join us for a viewing of the movie, " I AM JANE DOE, " a documentary chronicling the legal battle that several American mothers are waging on behalf of their middle-school daughters, who were trafficked for commercial sex on Backpage.com. Following the movie there will be a question and answer period led by Rev. Michelle Freeman of Parkside Community UCC and local advocate, Mary Knetter. Ms. Knetter is the Sexual Violence Services Director of Advocates of Ozaukee County , a local organization that works to end domestic and sexual violence through education, prevention, and intervention services.
Mental Health Sunday
May 19, 2019
The UCC Mental Health Network has a new 2019 worship resource for you to use. It includes a call to worship, invocation, confession, sermon starter, litanies, prayer of dedication, and benediction. This year's new resource focuses on May 19, but you can use it any time you celebrate Mental Health Sunday. It's part of a large collection of Mental Health Sunday resources on the UCC Mental Health Network website. You can head straight to the Mental Health Sunday page here.
Strengthen the Church Special Offering
Suggested date: June 9, 2019

The Strengthen the Church offering supports the expansion of ministry and growth of UCC local congregations. Your support of this offering will help the UCC fulfill on its commitment to creating a just world for all by investing in new ministries and practices that meet the emerging needs of local communities.

As God calls our congregations to be the church in new ways, your generosity will plant new churches, awaken new ideas in existing churches and develop the spiritual life in our youth and young adults. Most congregations will receive the STC offering on Pentecost Sunday, June 9th, 2019.
More information
missioninsite logo MissionInsite Update
MissionInsite is a resource available to churches through the Wisconsin Conference UCC, paid for through your contributions to OCWM. A new update, the Mission Impact Guide v3.0, has recently been released. MissionInsite can help you empower your congregation with the tools to answer today's most difficult strategic challenges. Find out more at MissionInsite.com.

To sign up for a MissionInsite account, view these instructions.
National ONA Gathering
Living Our Covenants: Into Life!
June 18-20, 2019

National ONA Gathering is the biennial family reunion of the Open and Affirming movement in the United Church of Christ! Members of any church--ONA or not yet ONA--are welcome to attend. Expect a celebration with exuberant music, inspiring preaching, and workshops that will feed your mind and soul. Especially this year, when the religious right and their allies in federal and state governments are renewing their attack on the basic civil liberties of LGBTQ Americans, our growing community of churches needs to respond with confidence, commitment and faith. Much of this National Gathering will focus on how ONA churches can act faithfully in this crisis. We'll learn best practices from vital and growing ONA churches. And, as is always true at our Gatherings, we'll explore the intersections of our movement with other movements for social, racial, economic and environmental justice.
Money and Ministry workshop
Saturday, May 8
First Congregational Church of Lockport UCC
Lockport, Illinois

How we steward our money is a critical aspect of resourcing our congregations for effective ministry. Leaders from the various financial entities associated with the United Church of Christ are joining us to discuss best practices for all things at the intersection of money and ministry: ie. stewardship campaigns, investments, giving policies, fiscal management, and planned giving.
Sponsored by the Stewardship Ministry of the Illinois Conference UCC
Conference Transitions

Searching Churches
  • Our Shepherd UCC in Howards Grove is searching for a full time pastor. Details
To see all searching churches, click here.

In Memoriam
  • Rev. John "Jack" Hicks passed away on March 27, 2019. Obituary
  • Rev. James A. Deckert passed away on April 20, 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
Synod Communion Ware
Bethlehem Partnership - new resource
The Practice of Finding retreat
Creation Care Team webinar
Music at Synod
Spirit & Wisdom in Small Churches
Domestic mission opportunity
Autism training experience
Earth care fesitval
Human Trafficking education event
Mental Health Sunday
Strengthen the Church
MissionInsite update
National ONA gathering
Money and Ministry workshop
Conference Transitions
Church Spotlight

Christ Church UCC, Milwaukee 
This Southeast Association church was formed in 1985 and is now led by pastor Dan Stark. The church's first minister was Rev. Henry Niefer, who served the church for 42 years as his first and only call, serving fresh out of seminary until his death in 1937. 

Check the Conference calendar for upcoming events.
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.