Wisconsin Conference Life Newsletter
April 7, 2016
Embrace the Tough Stuff
by Lisa Hart

We have made it through the cold and somewhat dark days of winter. The days are getting longer, the temperature (on most days) is warmer, and all around us there are signs of renewal and new life. The transition from winter to spring coincides with our journey through Lent to the celebration of Easter. I find that the signs of new life around us add to the joy felt while celebrating the Resurrection and the hope that new life brings. We are filled with a sense of renewal and restoration.
As I reflect on this transition, I'm aware that many of us struggle through winter. Even those who love winter, myself included, are ready to rush into spring as soon as the first signs of the new season appear. It is much the same with Lent and Easter. We find it difficult to allow ourselves to sit in the darkness and solitude of Lent. Too often, we rush toward the joy of Easter, sometimes refusing to observe Lent. We forget the importance of Lent.
Read more 
SHIFT Space: The Path--an innovative approach to Faith Formation for all ages
Over the next few months we will be lifting up stories from all over the conference to highlight the many different ways congregations throughout Wisconsin are finding to approach Shift in their particular context. In this post, I share a story about Shift as it relates to Faith Formation from Rev. RaeAnn Beebe and St. Paul's UCC in Oshkosh.

RaeAnn writes: "We do not have that many children in our congregation. For many years we had the traditional style of Sunday School with classes based on age or grade in school and of course it was held on Sunday mornings-sometimes before worship and sometimes at the same time as worship. Our attendance was sporadic for a number of years and at times there was only one child in a class. This just wasn't working for us. We decided we didn't want to eliminate an intentional form of faith formation for children as some churches have done. We needed to come up with a plan that would work for us.

Continue reading to find out how St. Paul's has SHIFTed
BTSS logo Break the Silence Sunday
The Wisconsin Conference invites congregations to focus on sexual assault awareness and supporting survivors of sexual assault on Sunday, April 24, 2016. April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month and we have designated the fourth Sunday as "Break the Silence Sunday." Rev. Moira Finley, pastor of St. Johns UCC in Cecil and Trinity UCC in Shiocton, led an effort to develop resources for congregations to respond to this issue, inviting several colleagues to share creative writings, music, stories and statistics, worship tips, sermon suggestions, and state/county contact information. This has been compiled into a wonderful resource, including liturgical materials for "Break the Silence" Sunday.
Read more

Interim Ministry Workshop
Beyond Being "Nice"
May 19 in DeForest or May 24 in Wausau

Interested in interim ministry? Join Linda Kuhn and Dave King of Sand Bur Consulting for Beyond Being "Nice", a workshop for those interested in serving churches during interim and transitional times. The same workshop is offered in two locations -- the Wisconsin Conference office in DeForest or at Grace UCC in Wausau.
Register for the DeForest workshop
Register for the Wausau workshop
You're Invited to Attend Rev. John Dorhauer's Installation
The Rev. John C. Dorhauer will be formally installed as the United Church of Christ's ninth general minister and president during a   three-city worship service  in mid-April. The three events, scheduled on April 15 in New York City, April 16 in Chicago and April 17 in Seattle, will include a trio of UCC pastors and leaders who have been invited to offer three brief "vision statements" at each worship location.

But as organizers point out, these three services are not just about the installation of one person; rather they are planned as a pivotal moment for the future and mission of the denomination. That's why everyone in the wider church is welcome to attend any of the three events or watch the proceedings online.
More information
Oral History Workshop
Saturday, April 16
Trost Center, DeForest

Don't lose those stories forever! Whether it's your church's history, or the stories of cherished family members that you want to save, learn how to capture them for posterity. Attend the Oral History Workshop at the Wisconsin Conference UCC office in DeForest. Three experts from the Wisconsin Historical Society and University of Wisconsin will present this workshop in easy-to-understand, step-by-step terms.
Oral history   is the collection and study of historical information about individuals, organizations or events using recordings or transcriptions of planned interviews. This workshop will provide specifics on conducting oral interviews and managing your project from initial idea through finished product. The Historical Committee of the Wisconsin Conference is sponsoring this workshop.
$25 includes lunch.
More information and registration
Exploring Digital Ministry
Featuring national experts on digital ministry
April 28, 2016 | 9:00am - 3:00pm
| Trost Center, DeForest 

Facebook. Twitter. Instagram. Pintrest. Snapchat. The list keeps growing. The world around us keeps expanding the ways people can connect with one another and these connections offer us new opportunities and new challenges in ministry. Social media can help you extend your reach beyond the church walls, and increase your ability to share the Gospel.

We invite you to join in a day of considering how we can think theologically and connect digitally as we do ministry in 2016 and beyond. The day will open with a panel of ministers giving case studies on the impact of digital media on their ministry. Then we'll explore the theological dimension of digital ministry, consider how to make choices about where to invest your time and look at the boundary issues that come along with this developing form of ministry. At the end, we'll see in what ways participants would like to stay connected through what we are calling the Wisconsin Digital Ministry Project.

Joining us for the day will be:
Rev. Elizabeth Dilley, Minister for Ministers in Local Church, UCC National Office          
Rev. Nicole Havelka, Minister for Resourcing, Networking & Creativity, Ohio Conference UCC
Nick Buck, Associate Director of the New Media Project, Christian Theological Seminary in Indianapolis.
$25 includes lunch. More information and registration 

Grace UCC image Grace UCC, Milwaukee, to Celebrate 10 Year Anniversary
Saturday, April 9 and Sunday, April 10
Grace UCC, Milwaukee

Grace UCC will celebrate their 10-year anniversary on April 9 and 10. Festivities will begin with a celebratory dinner on Saturday, April 9, at 4:00pm. The Celebration Worship Service will be held Sunday, April 10, at 9:30am, with fellowship and refreshments to follow the service. All of Grace's Pastors who delivered the word throughout their 10-year history will be honored. Sunday's sermon will be delivered by the Founding Pastor Rev. Wanda Washington. Also in attendance will be Interim Pastor Rev. Mark Smith, and Senior Pastor Dr. Rev. Reno Wright. All are invited to join Grace in worship and fellowship to celebrate 10 years of ministry. C ontact LaTrisa Billings, latrisa.haynes@gmail.com or 414-578-7230, with questions or to RSVP.

Upcoming Events
Digital Ministry Workshop
April 28
Trost Center, DeForest
More information

Temptations of Jesus: Perspectives from Honduras, Germany and Wisconsin  
May 3-6
Pilgrim Center 
More Information
Online registration

Pre-Retirement Workshop
May 10
Memorial UCC, Fitchburg
More information 

Annual Meeting 
SHIFT: A Hope-filled Future
June 10-12
Green Lake Conference Center
More information

Pre-Meeting Thursday Workshop
Leading Adaptive Change with Your Congregation
June 9
Green Lake Conference Center
More information

Boundary Training
June 9-10
Green Lake Conference Center
More information

Lay Academy

Faith Foundations Year 1 & Lay Leadership Skills
More information

Lay Academy Alumni Event 
July 22-23
Trost Center, DeForest
More information

National Youth Event 
July 26-30
Walt Disney World
Register by May 27!
More information
Conference Transitions

Searching Churches
Churches that recently started searching for a new pastor:
  • Redeemer UCC, Sussex
  • First Congregational UCC, Menomonie
To see all searching churches, click here.

New Calls
  • Rev. Dan Yeazel has been called as interim pastor at Zwingli UCC in Monticello, effective March 29, 2016.
Installations and Ordinations
  • Rev. Susan Shands was ordained on March 19 at First Congregational UCC in Madison.
Grace UCC in Milwaukee is celebrating their 10th Anniversary. Congratulations!

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
Break the Silence Sunday
Interim Ministry Workshop
Installation of the General Minister and President
Oral History Workshop
Exploring Digital Ministry
Grace Milwaukee Anniversary
Upcoming events
Conference Transitions
Church Spotlight

 Mt. Zion UCC

This church in the Southwest Association is yoked with First Congregational UCC in Platteville. Their pastor is Zayna Thompson. The church started life as The Congregational
Church (of Christ). The name was later changed to Mt. Zion because it stands on the highest ground in the community, after Mt. Zion, the crowning hill in Jerusalem. Though it is a small church, they are proud of running the Platteville Food Pantry one week a month. 
The Parish Paper
This month's Parish Paper is " How to Deal with Church Conflict." Access this issue and archived issues here!

First Congregational UCC, Appleton is in the process of hiring a ¾ time Director of Middle School Ministries and a ¾ time Director of High School Ministries. For more information, contact Carolyn Frederick via email or at 920-733-7393.

Emanuel Church, Hales Corners, United Church of Christ is searching for a part-time Director of Intergenerational Ministries. This person will serve as a vital link among the members of Emanuel Church, Park's Edge Preschool, and the community. Deadline: April 25.
More information
Church website 

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.
Quick Links


Check the Conference calendar for upcoming events.
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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.