Wisconsin Conference Life Newsletter
Sept. 12, 2018  
Be The Small Church
by Rev. Rob MacDougall
The UCC "Be The Church" identity material is deeply engaging for many of us. It is one of those unabashed proclamations about who we are as God's people in the UCC. It has a mindfulness quality to it, not stressing the past nor hoping for the future, but living/serving/being in the now.
Each church, each pastor, each congregation member can affirm the many listed elements of what it means to be the church--ah, but living them out in each particular life and context, that's where the church begins looking more and more like a patchwork quilt. Each church, pastor, member discovers and embraces what being the church means to them and there is no place where this is more true than in small churches. Small, faithful churches are ones that let go of trying to be things they are not and embrace who they are. While each church has its particular life, if I were to make a bumper sticker that began with "Be The Small Church" the list of proclamations might include the following:
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Wild Rice: Gift of Our Creator
by Kathy Bartilson for the Creation Care Committee

Seated in a canoe, all I can see is vivid sunshine and blue sky above, tall green rice stalks on my right and left, and my ricing partner poling us along. I use my ricing sticks to guide a handful of stalks over the canoe and give the top of the plants a tap. A burst of rice kernels shower into the canoe and into the river. It's wild ricing season in northern Wisconsin, and the harvest has been spectacular at our favorite spot.
A few years ago I recall hearing the Parable of the Sower told again during our church service. I've always considered this such a marvelous and simple object lesson. But when I heard it this time, my mind went from the familiar scenes of the seed falling on the path, on the rocks, among the thorns, and in the good soil, to the question "What about the seed that falls on water?"
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"Sacred Conversations" with Rev. Velda Love

The Rev. Dr. Velda Love, UCC Minister for Racial Justice, will hold an afternoon workshop titled "For God So Loved the World . . ." at Plymouth UCC in Milwaukee on September 22. This engaging and interactive workshop is an opportunity to join together with people of faith in "sacred conversations to end racism."
More information and registration
Disaster Ministries Update

In the wake of flood and tornado damage throughout Wisconsin, and in anticipation of hurricane Florence's landfall on the southeast coast, we extend prayers to all affected. Chris Schoenwetter serves as the Wisconsin Conference disaster information coordinator, offering updates and keeping us connected to the relief support offered through our national UCC. Thus far, a few of our churches have suffered minor damage, though several families within our congregations have endured significant damage. As always, we welcome your gifts to "disaster relief."
3 great loves logo 3 Great Loves

3 Great Loves is a multi-year national UCC initiative to lift up the stories of local churches and affiliates surrounding the Love of Creation, Love of Neighbor, and Love of Children. You can learn more about the 3 Great Loves at the UCC 3 Great Loves website, and share your own 3 Great Loves story! The UCC is sharing 3 Great Loves stories in their KYP (Keeping You Posted) newsletter, which you can find here.
Bethlehem Partnership News

In July the local Bright Stars of Bethlehem chapter brought our partner Rev. Dr. Mitri Raheb to Madison where he spoke at several venues around the city. At First Unitarian Society, Mitri talked about hope in the shadow of the barrier wall that surrounds Bethlehem making the "little town" even littler. And throughout the West Bank there is a network of Israeli settlements and a system of Israeli-only roads that connect these settlements to Israel proper, taking land and precious resources away from the Palestinians. This matrix of settlements and roads cuts farmers off from their fields and Palestinians from their family and friends in "neighboring" towns. One could easily feel hopeless living in these isolated enclaves but the work of our partners in Bethlehem give hope not only to the Palestinian but to those of us who have the opportunity to hear and see what God is doing today in the land where our savior was born.
Jerusalem image Travel to the Holy Land

Join the Bethlehem Partnership in 2019 for their "Come and See" tour, September 30 - October 12, 2019. Highlights of the trip include visits to the Dead Sea, Petra, Mt. Nebo, Bethlehem, Jerusalem, Hebron, Nazareth, and the Sea of Galilee.
Tour flyer

Upcoming Youth Events

Gather up your youth groups! Plan to attend one (or more) of these youth camps this program year.
  • Youth Faith Formation Retreats at Pilgrim Center
    • November 9-11, 2018
    • February 22-24, 2019
    • March 1-3, 2019
  • Knock Knock Middle School Retreat at Pilgrim Center
    • November 16-18, 2018
  • Jesus Core Retreat at Pilgrim Center
    • January 11-13, 2019
Youth events flyer
Great Lakes Association of United Church Educators (GLAUCE) Conference
October 9-11, 2018
Techny Towers, Northbrook, Illinois

The GLAUCE Conference is just around the corner...don't miss out!
GLAUCE is an excellent opportunity for clergy and lay leaders who are invested in faith formation to network and be resourced. This year's theme is Standing Together: A Sacred Conversation on Race. Our keynote speaker will be the Rev. Traci Blackmon, Executive Minister for Justice and Local Church Ministries for the United Church of Christ. The event will also be a great opportunity to connect with people from around the Great Lakes Region of the United Church of Christ.
If you have questions, please contact Becky Johnston 
Interim Ministry Training Institute
October 2018 - May 2019

Attention Pastors!
Change is a fact of life in our world, and our churches are facing transitions of many kinds. Is God calling you to help churches manage these transitions?
The Interim Ministry Training Institute is will provide the tools and techniques needed for addressing transitions. Whether you are interested in Interim or Transitional work as a special ministry or want to work within your settled position, this program is designed for you as a working pastor. The class is limited in size to encourage interaction and each of the sessions has advance readings, lecture style presentations, discussion, case studies, and an assignment intended to integrate the day's learning. Most participants find something that they can apply after each monthly session. The class is planned for the 2nd Thursday of each month from October through May in Baraboo. We meet from 9:30 until 3:30 and lunch and breaks are included.  
Contact Rev. Marlea Gilbert, Ph.D. at Streams of Wisdom LLC, mgilbert.iim@gmail.com or (608) 514-3290 for more information  Apply by September 17. Class begins October 11, 2018.
Compassion Fatigue: Healing the Wounded Healer
October 5, 2018, 9:00am - 3:00pm
Cedar Valley near West Bend

Sometimes called secondary traumatic stress, compassion fatigue is prevalent among those serving the needs of others. Compassion fatigue is particularly common among highly sensitive persons, a significant percentage of caregivers. This retreat will focus on the wounded healer's self-care and protection: early warning signs and strategies for sustaining a healthy mind and spirit.
More information about the retreat
Conference Transitions

Searching Churches
  • The Port Washington/Saukville Ecumenical Youth Ministry is seeking a half-time youth minister. More information
  • To see all searching churches, click here.
New Calls
  • Rev. Ernest Huntzinger has been called as interim pastor at St. Mark's and St. James in Cleveland, effective July 1, 2018.
  •  Rev. Ruth Bradshaw has been called as pastor at Olivet Congregational UCC in Columbus, effective September 1, 2018  
  • Rev. Moira Finley has been called as pastor at St. John's UCC in Black Creek, effective September 1, 2018. She will continue to serve as pastor at Trinity UCC in Shiocton and St. John's UCC in Cecil as well.  
  • Rev. Thomas Schroeder has been called as interim pastor at Bethel UCC in Elkhart Lake, effective September 1, 2018. 
  • Rev. Susan Stull Carr has been called as interim pastor at Trinity UCC in Brookfield, effective September 1, 2018.
  • Rev. William Rishel has been called as interim pastor at St. Paul's UCC in Malone, effective September 1, 2018.  
  • Rev. Stephen Davidson has been called as interim pastor at St. Paul's UCC in Oshkosh, effective September 3, 2018.  
  • Rev. Kathryn Rust has been called as interim pastor at Williams Bay Congregational in Williams Bay, effective September 4, 2018.
Installations and Ordinations
  • Rev. Topher Mehlhoff was installed at First Congregational UCC in Rhinelander on September 8, 2018.
  • Redeemer UCC in Sussex marked their 50th Anniversary on September 9, 2019. Congratulations!
  • Rev. Deborah Tyler serves Community UCC in Elkhart Lake; a different pastor was incorrectly listed at this church in the last Wisconsin Conference Life. We regret the error.

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
Creation care: wild rice
Rev. Velda Love workshop
Disaster Ministry update
3 Great Loves
Bethlehem Partnership news
Holy Land trip
Youth events
GLAUCE conference
Interim Ministry Training Institute
Compassion Fatigue event
Conference Transitions

At our Annual meeting in June, a motion passed to study the issue of the repudiation of the Doctrine of Discovery and to vote on a witness resolution at our 2019 annual meeting. Click on the link above to access study resources for this important issue.
Church Spotlight

The Native American word "Nekoosa" means "the place of the rapidly running waters," which in this case is referring to the Wisconsin River. The church and the town both have their roots in the paper mill industry; the church was started with a donation from a prominent paper manufacturer, Azel Patten. This Northwest Association church's pastor is Rev. Timothy Miller. 

Check the Conference calendar for upcoming events.
The Parish Paper
This month's Parish Paper is " Checking up on Clergy Health." 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.