Wisconsin Conference Life Newsletter
Aug.  9, 2016
Tisha Brown image Exciting Changes to Lay Academy
by Tisha Brown

In my two years as Lay Academy Director, I have had an inside look at the many ways Lay Academy supports faith growth and leadership development throughout our conference and beyond. It is a privilege to witness people being turned on by faith and having a positive impact on their congregations and communities. The passion, enthusiasm, and faithfulness of Lay Academy participants is an inspiration and a beautiful outcome of the Wisconsin Conference Mission to "equip leaders and congregations to transform lives through innovative ministry for the 21st century."
Because I have seen what is possible through Lay Academy and because I know that there are many people and congregations who might benefit from this program but who are unable to commit the time and resources to a full year of courses we are experimenting this year with offering an à la carte option for Year 3 of Lay Academy - Lay Leadership Skills.
Read more about opportunity, as well as opportunities for Lay Academy Alumni
Wisconsin Church Named UCC "Church of the Month"
The national UCC is holding a 9-month "Be the Church of the Month" contest, and the Ebenezer UCC in Sheboygan was selected as the winner for the "Caring for the Poor" theme for its "Laundry Love" program. Congratulations!
Read more

Does your church meet the contest criteria for the next Church of the Month? The theme for August is "Forgive Often" and entries are due by August 22.
UCC Youth Enjoy Week of Faith and Fun in Florida


National Youth Event was held in Lake Buena Vista at the end of July. There were over 100 youth who attended from Wisconsin!
Read more
View pictures from NYE
Boundary Training

Thursday, October 20, 2016, 9:00am - 4:00pm
Grace UCC, Wausau


Do you need to update your Boundary Training? Join this training hosted by the Northwest Association in Wausau on October 20.
Register here
Interim Ministry Training
October, 2016, through May, 2017

The Interim Ministry Training Institute (IMTI) is an intensive training program that is offered inter-denominationally at a location in Wisconsin. The rigorous program spans an eight-month period with monthly full-day sessions, reading and practicum assignments, and personal coaching. IMTI is designed for pastors considering or currently serving as interims, as well as settled pastors who wish to build skills and confidence in leading a congregation through an intentional time of change and challenge.
Save the Dates for Youth Events!

Youth Faith Formation Retreats for grades 6-12
November 11-13, 2016, at Moon Beach
February 24-26, 2017, at Pilgrim Center
March 3-5, 2017, at Pilgrim Center

Knock Knock Middle School Retreat for grades 6-8
November 18-20, 2016, at Pilgrim Center

Jesus Core High School Retreat for grades 9-12
January 6-8, 2017 at Pilgrim Center

Registration coming soon for these events. For questions, contact Lisa Hart at 608-846-7880.
Suicide Prevention Training
The Congregational Church in Mineral Point is holding a QPR Training, which is suicide prevention training. "QPR" stands for "Question, Persuade, Refer." QPR is three steps anyone can learn
to help prevent suicide. Participants will learn warning signs of suicide, how to offer hope, and how to seek help to save a life. The training will be held on Wednesday, August 17, at 6pm at the Congregational Church in Mineral Point, 300 Maiden Street.
bwca image
Renewal in the Wilderness
Trip to The Boundary Waters - September 3-9, 2016
Registration Now Open, with Scholarship Opportunities for UCC Clergy
Need some renewal time? There's no better place than the Boundary Waters Canoe Area in northern Minnesota. Clergy from all denominations are invited to register--and through the generosity of the Brown Endowment and the United Church of Christ, scholarships are available for UCC clergy. 
The trip will be led by John Lionberger, who is an ordained UCC minister and author of   Renewal in the Wilderness: A Spiritual Guide to Connecting With God in the Natural World . Please contact Aram Mitchell via email or phone: 207-200-3494.
More information
Take a Fall Trip with Your UCC Friends

St. Paul's UCC in Wausau is organizing a "Leaves, Lobster & Lighthouse" bus tour, September 27-October 9.
More information

Building Bridges: Linking Our Muslim and Christian Communities

The United Church of Christ national leaders and the Pacific Northwest Conference are inviting the wider church to get involved in building bridges between Christians and Muslims in our local communities around the country. Building on the Conference's Ramadan initiative, 'Honoring Sacred Time,' which posted visible signs of welcome, solidarity and support for Muslim Americans in dozens of churches around Washington state, this is a one-church effort to extend the extravagant welcome of the United Church of Christ to all.
More information

Update Your Address Books


The Conference address now no longer includes a PO Box. Mail to the Conference should be addressed to:

Wisconsin Conference UCC
4459 Gray Road
DeForest, WI  53532 

Conference Transitions

Searching Churches
No churches recently started searching for a new pastor. To see all searching churches, click here.

New Calls
  • Rev. Ashley Nolte has been called as pastor at Pilgrim UCC in Grafton, effective August 1, 2016. 
  • Rev. Lance Smith has been called as pastor at Zwingli UCC in Monticello, effective August 1, 2016.
Installations and Ordinations
  • Rev. Melanie Werner was ordained on July 24, 2016, at St. Johns UCC in New Holstein.
  • Rev. Deborah Bartelt was installed as pastor and teacher at Bethany UCC in Oshkosh on August 7, 2016.
In Memoriam
  • Rev. Dr. Marwood Rettig passed away on July 18, 2016. Obituary
Good Tidings
  • Pastor Mark Schwinn would like to thank everyone in his faith family who shared kind words, gifts and prayers on the passing of his father, Charlie, last month.
  • Lois Buchholz is serving as supply pastor at First Congregational UCC in East Troy.

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.

Photo credits:
Our Saviour's UCC, Ripon, photo from the church's Facebook page.
Church of the month article photo from the UCC article.
Renewal in the Wilderness image (c) Nola Risse-Connolly. All rights reserved/used with permission.

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

In This Issue
Ebenezer in Sheboygan: UCC church of the month
NYE recap
Boundary Training
Interim Ministry Training
Upcoming youth events
Suicide prevention training
Renewal in the Wilderness
Leaves, Lobster & Lighthouse tour
Building Bridges interfaith initiative
Address change
Conference Transitions
Shift blog 
Check out the
SHIFT BLOG for inspiration! 
Read about & share congregational shift stories.
Church Spotlight


This church, led by pastor Kevin Mundell, is in the Northeast Association. Our Saviour's engages in several unique ministries, including a Puppet Troop, and the Sunday service has been broadcast on the radio for over 50 years. 

Check the Conference calendar for upcoming events.
The Parish Paper
This month's Parish Paper is "Multiple Roads to a Multicultural Church." Access this issue and archived issues here!
Revd Up logo
Follow Franz Rigert's Rev'd Up Blog for thought provoking ideas. Join the conversation!

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 Micah Schlobohm of the Wisconsin Conference UCC Committee on Ministry with LGBTQ Persons.
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.