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Wisconsin Conference Life Newsletter
Feb. 6, 2020
Be the Church
by Lisa Hart

Protect the environment.
Care for the poor.
Forgive often.
Reject racism.
Fight for the powerless.
Share earthly and spiritual resources.
Embrace diversity.
Love God.
Enjoy this life.
Several years ago, the United Church of Christ rolled out its " Be The Church" campaign. This catchy slogan went on everything, including large banners, t-shirts, bumper stickers, coffee mugs and tote bags. I know people from other denominations who purchased some of these items because they liked the message. One told me, "I just wish our denomination had thought of this first!" The message seems so simple. It's a list of instructions based on the teachings of our faith. Yet, it isn't always as easy to live out as it seems... especially if we are to do it as the church, and not just as individuals. It takes patience, cooperation, understanding, and commitment.
On the first Sunday of January, I was blessed to worship and work with our congregation in Genoa City. Prior to worship, as I toured the church, I noticed a Be The Church banner hanging on a wall. Their pastor, Jennie Swanson, explained that they were using the Be The Church message to guide who they are as a congregation. I was there to consult with the adults working with their Sunday School. They were recognizing a variety of needs in the youth and children in their Sunday School and were exploring how to best meet the needs of these young people. As I reflected on my reason for being there, I recognized that they were embracing diversity, while sharing their earthly and spiritual resources to share their love for God with the young people in their congregation. They already serve these young people well, but they were striving to do better.
To truly Be The Church, we have to reach beyond our walls. Little did I know, within an hour, I would witness this congregation jump into action to reach beyond their walls. Continue reading
UCC Kairos Call to Action - Church Mobilization on Climate and Inequality

On January 1, the UCC Council for Climate Justice announced the Kairos Call to Action to the entire United Church of Christ. In recognition of the need for our government to undertake an all-out mobilization to address climate and inequality over the next ten years, the Council is calling for churches to embody and model what is so desperately needed by developing 10-year mobilization plans to address these crises.
To generate thought and conversation in the discernment process, beginning in January and February the Council is offering ten ways churches and institutions can mobilize. Here is the suggested action for Week 6: Divest from fossil fuels and move church money out of "dirty" banks.
To learn more about the Kairos Call to Action, and to find out what the suggested actions are for Weeks 1-5 begin here 
Sign up for The Pollinator newsletter to get the remaining suggested actions over the next 4 weeks.
Annual Meeting 2020: Healing Our Earthly Home 

All Creation is Groaning...but listen and the Earth will teach you -- Romans 8:18-25 and Job 12:7-9
June 5-7, 2020 - Green Lake Conference Center
Love of Creation: it's one of the UCC's 3 Great Loves. And it's more important now than ever before. Grounded in our Judeo-Christian faith and seeking to honor the wisdom of the First Nations, we are called to love, revere and care for God's whole creation. Annual meeting will inspire you and provide you with information and connections to resources to help you and your congregation become involved and take action on this critical challenge of our time. Join us at Green Lake Conference Center, June 5-7, 2020, for this year's annual meeting: Healing Our Earthly Home. 
Tia Nelson, an internationally-recognized champion for environmental stewardship and climate change education, will be this year's keynote speaker. Tia will also present a workshop on Saturday. Speaking of workshops: in addition to a wide variety of workshops on Creation Care, there will also be offerings about generosity and mission, the needs of small churches, current gender issues, advocacy, interim ministry, and more. 
Sunday morning there will be experiential opportunities surrounding Creation Care, as well as the option to experience the Blanket Exercise. Participation in this exercise helps us to live into our commitment from last year's annual meeting surrounding the repudiation of the Doctrine of Discovery.   
More detailed information about Annual Meeting is forthcoming, including information on a pre-meeting all-day Creation Care workshop on Thursday led by Rev. Jim Antal, long time climate activist and former Massachusetts Conference Minister, a boundary training opportunity on Friday morning, exhibiting, and ways to volunteer at annual meeting. For the eager among us, the registration link is already live. Find more information about annual meeting at the annual meeting webpages:  
Best Practices In Board Leadership Webinars Available

Check out recordings of these recent webinars, which introduce new congregational leaders to their leadership roles. The first addresses the role of treasurers and financial secretaries, while the second looks at the work of a Stewardship chair and team. Both webinars begin by considering the spiritual roots of these church roles. Then the conversation shifts to the practical responsibilities. The webinars end with a look at ways to strengthen the leadership role by focusing on generative, strategic, and fiduciary questions. Each webinar includes information on creating dashboards to track financial and campaign performance. You can find links to these recorded webinars and related handouts on the Conference website at, or click on the links below.  
Webinar 1--Treasurers and Financial Secretaries: Presented by Andrew Warner, Wisconsin Conference Development Director, with a guest appearance by Kandy Keuler, our Conference Insurance Board agent. View video and handouts
Webinar 2--Stewardship Chair and Team: Presented by Andrew Warner, Wisconsin Conference Development Director. View video and handouts  
Save the Date: Sharing Our Sacred Stories
Saturday, Nov. 4, 2020
Lakeland University

Sharing our sacred stories: A dialogue on how to extend understanding to one another.

Speakers from the three Abrahamic faiths will participate in a panel presentation and Q&A sessions to help provide an understanding of how our faiths are different, yet similar. Sponsored by the Wisconsin Conference UCC Christian Education/Faith Formation Commission and Lakeland University. More details to come at Spring Association Annual Meetings and Conference Annual Meeting.  
Clergywoman's Leadership Event
The Clergywomen's* Leadership Event is coming up May 12-14, 2020, at Civana Resort in Carefree, Arizona. This is our third biennial gathering where we come to hear our 2019 Antoinette Brown Awardees share their wisdom on the theme "Bold Vision: Leadership in Challenging Contexts." This year's Awardees include: the Rev. Liddy Barlow, the Rev. Eileen Norrington, the Rev. Marty Baumer, and WomanPreach, Inc!
Join us in this amazing setting for:
  • a time of renewal and sustenance 
  • a place for connection, learning, leadership development
  • a balance of worship, conversation, reflection, play
Where we empower women, name the intersectionalities, and provide a space to be intentional and strategic about leadership development in the UCC. *Please know that this invitation is expansive and inclusive of those who identify beyond gender binaries. 
The costs for the event are being shared by donations to the Antoinette Brown Society, a Brown grant, and participant fees of $350. Included in registration are two nights private room, four meals, and access to health and spa amenities at Civana. In addition, childcare will be provided onsite during meeting times.
Limited scholarships are available. Contact Tara Barber with your questions. Registration for the Clergywomen's Leadership can be found at this link .
Yearbook Reporting

Please update your church's yearbook information!
The National UCC Office's Data Hub is now open for your yearbook data entry. What is this information used for? Here's  eleven reasons why reporting your church's annual data is important. If you have any problems or questions, please email Susan Taylor, or call her at 608-846-7880. Please do not contact the National Office. Deadline for reporting: March 4, 2020
New this year! The church officer data form can now be filled out online. Access this new link here!
Youth Faith Formation Retreats
February 28-March 1, 2020 or
March 6-8, 2020
Pilgrim Center

Bring your confirmation class or other interested participants and join us for a weekend of faith and team building. We will explore what it means to be the church and how that commitment continues to evolve. Our focus this year will be on our faith journeys, both personal and as part of a greater faith community. Participants will explore the journey stories within our scriptures and identify the parallels in our world today. Check-in begins at 7pm on Friday. The retreat ends after worship on Sunday, between 11:00 and 11:30am. Contact Nathan for registration instructions.
Register for the February retreat by Feb. 21, 2020
Register for the March retreat by Feb. 28, 2020
Webinar: Preaching Generosity - The Season of Lent: A Changed Life
February 25, 2020 - 2:00 pm
It can be hard to talk about money. And yet Jesus talked about it often, second only to the Kingdom of God. Join Rev. Andrew Warner in an exploration of how to preach and teach about generosity and the use of our financial resources. Each webinar will focus on a specific liturgical season and a set of readings. We will plan out at least one preaching opportunity for teaching generosity as a spiritual practice.
Using the story of Nicodemus, we'll see how increasing generosity created change in his life. We'll look beyond the lectionary reading to consider the other two appearances of Nicodemus. The story will focus attention on what it means to experience change in our lives.
Register here

Webinar: Driving $mart in God's Garden
March 12, 2020 - 7:00 to 8:30 pm
Let's do some math on Driving $mart in God's Garden! Based on current national averages, you drive 15,000 miles a year in an 11-year-old vehicle that gets 22 mpg and buy 682 gallons of gas (2.50) per year for $1705, but your vehicle also emits 13,620 pounds of CO2 annually into God's Garden. Driving is definitely a privilege with many benefits but also many environmental consequences.

As a Christian, you want to be a better steward of God's garden but since your vehicle costs are the 2nd/3rd highest expense in your budget, right now you can't afford to buy an electric vehicle to help the environment. You may think that you'll just continue to negatively impact the climate and have no options...but you'd be wrong.

Learn to Drive $mart and save up to $340 per year and lower your CO2 emissions by 2,725 pounds in your current vehicle (based on 20% improvement). Join us on March 12th at 7pm for the webinar, "Driving $mart in God's Garden."
Catalyst Grants Support Innovation in the Wisconsin Conference
A new pool of Catalyst grant funds is available for 2020 to support innovation in your congregation and community. What is innovation, you ask? Catalyst defines innovation as anything that stretches your congregation out of its comfort zone, opens you to new community partnerships, engages your ministry resources in a different way or enlarges your impact in your community.
New this year, every successful grant recipient receives funding for their project and is also matched with a coach who checks in with them quarterly to provide support, encouragement and a relational connection between the projects funded and the Catalyst Team. Our desire is to help you succeed in your efforts and harvest what we all can learn from the times when we fall short. The Catalyst Team and Wisconsin Conference coaches look forward to partnering with you as you explore new ideas in ministry. Contact Tisha Brown today to start a conversation about your innovation ideas and whether or not your project would be eligible for Catalyst funds. Proposals received by March 30, 2020, will be considered for funding in May. Proposals received by September 28 will be considered in November.
Conference Transitions

Searching Churches
  • St. Paul's UCC in Oshkosh is searching for pastor. Details
To see all searching churches, click here.

Wider Church Searches
  • The national office of the United Church of Christ has several openings. Details 
New Calls
  • Dianne Droster has been called as interim pastor at Our Shepherd's UCC in Howard's Grove, effective January 2, 2020
  • Rev. Kendell Nordstrom has been called as interim pastor at Williams Bay Congregational UCC in Williams Bay, effective January 5, 2020
  • Rev. Lewis "Lew" Worthington has been called as pastor at Peace UCC in Shawano, effective February 1, 2020
In Memoriam
  • Keane Foster passed away on December 16, 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
UCC Kairos Call to Action
Annual Meeting 2020
Board Leadership Webinars
Sharing Our Sacred Stories
Clergywoman's Leadership Event
Yearbook Reporting
Youth Faith Formation Retreats
Preaching Generosity Webinar
Creation Care Webinar
Catalyst Grants
Conference Transitions
Subscribe to the
Generosity Forward e-newsletter
to learn about new ideas, best practices, and training opportunities around
congregational fundraising .
Check the Conference calendar for upcoming events.
The Parish Paper
This month's Parish Paper is " Get to Know the Community Through Mapping." Access this issue and archived issues here!
Quick Links

Join the Conference-wide Creation Care Team!   
Are you passionate about Creation Care? Want to connect with others who are taking action to care for the earth? The Creation Care Team's primary focus is to encourage, support and provide resources to congregations in the Wisconsin Conference as they do what they can to care for creation. If you would like to be a part of this team, or for more information on the Creation Care Team, contact John Helt. You can also go to to learn more.     

UCC Songbooks Available  
UCC Songbooks free to a good home!
Immanuel UCC in Greenwood, in the Northwest Association, has UCC Songbooks to give away. Contact Roger Schwarze at 715-267-6029 for more information.
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.