Wisconsin Conference Life Newsletter
Nov. 1, 2016 
Downtown Milwaukee image General Synod is Coming to Milwaukee June 21-25, 2019!
by Franz Rigert

You may have seen the announcement on Facebook after the Rev. Kerri Parker (our Board Chair) and I presented an official invitation to the UCC Board of Directors on October 20.

We showed an awesome "Welcome to Milwaukee" video and explained that our Conference is prepared to offer generous hospitality, that we are strong and full of energy and enthusiasm, and that - frankly - it's our turn to host! The Wisconsin Conference is a leader in the United Church of Christ in terms of our membership (approximately 46,000) and our gifts to the national Church (approximately $390,000 annually), and the number of lives we touch each day.

Milwaukee has the infrastructure of hotels and a conference center ideal for the needs of General Synod. Milwaukee also presents us with issues of economic disparity and racial divide, beyond most major cities in the United States. Kerri and I acknowledged this in our invitation because we believe the only way to host General Synod 2019 with integrity is to first pledge our efforts in understanding and addressing the many issues that plague Milwaukee: high unemployment, incarceration rates, poverty, gun violence, drugs and prostitution, disparity in education. The inequities inherent in Milwaukee are vividly described in Matthew Desmond's new book, "Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City." I highly recommend it to you

Over the next few years, we will prepare to host our sisters and brothers from all 38 conferences. We have already begun summoning leaders and soliciting the support of Milwaukee area clergy and congregations. We are also planning to take a few key leaders to Baltimore next summer (General Synod 31) in order to "shadow" the Baltimore hospitality crew. We'll need 200-250 volunteers to greet and direct delegates. Rest assured the National Church handles all the other details!! We simply provide warm hospitality, directions and - hopefully - an example of what it means to care deeply about the fragile lives caught in the chasms of hardship and hopelessness.

Next June, at our Annual Meeting, General Minister and President Rev. John Dorhauer will offer a glimpse of a vision for the future of the United Church of Christ. Central to that vision is a just and generous world, where all God's people have a fair chance at a full life. During that meeting we will lay out a two year logistical and spiritual approach to our hosting of General Synod 32.


River Falls UCC Church Resettles a Guatemalan Family


Immigration is currently a big issue. While the Conference is considering a resolution on becoming an Immigrant Welcoming Conference (more information and resources can be found here), First Congregational Church in River Falls has worked to resettle a Guatemalan family that sought asylum in the United States.
UCC vision statement image National UCC Updates Purpose, Mission and Vision

UCC Board members overwhelmingly affirmed the refreshed Purpose, Mission and Vision statements during their recent fall business meeting. To craft these statements, the national setting sought input broadly - bringing together dialogue partners from the UCC board, national staff, the UCC Historical Council, the Council of Conference Ministers, and youth representatives over the last year, and included survey results from thousands of voices across the life of the denomination. What emerged was a clear focus on the love of God and love of neighbors. Read the full article for details.

Stewardship Resources

Have you heard of The Ecumenical Stewardship Center (ESC)? The ESC connects, inspires, and equips Christian steward leaders to transform faith communities. The ESC serves congregations and denominations by providing publications, events, stewardship materials and professional growth opportunities focusing on the many aspects of Christian stewardship. You may want to check them out at stewardshipresources.org.
Revised and Updated: Guide for Becoming  Accessible to All

The UCC Disabilities Ministries Board of Directors announced the release of an updated publication "Any Body, Every Body, Christ's Body: A Guide for Congregations, Associations, and Conferences for Becoming Accessible to All." Becoming A2A is a response to the growing need for churches to become accessible for all aspects of church life including worship, fellowship, and leadership. The new publication provides information and resources that will guide congregations as they answer this call. Click here to view the new guide. Questions can be sent to chair@uccdm.org or secretary@uccdm.org
Calvin DeWitt image 2016 Mutton Lectureship Features Dr. Calvin B. DeWitt

Dr. DeWitt, professor in the Nelson Institute, University of Wisconsin-Madison, will present two lectures, one on Friday, November 11, and the other on Saturday, November 12. The topic of the first is Seek to Know God's Works: Discovering God's Care for the World as Our Joyful Task. The topic of the second is Be on Vocation for God: Discovering Our Calling of Imaging God's Care for the World. Under these two topics DeWitt will show that being made in the image of God includes the vocation of imaging God's love and care for the world.
Register for the Friday, November 11, event
Register for the Saturday, November 12, event
Youth events image Upcoming Youth Events

Youth Faith Formation Retreat

November 11-13, 2016
Moon Beach Camp
Hurry! Registration deadline November 3, 2016
More information

Knock Knock Middle School Retreat
November 18-20, 2016
Pilgrim Center
Hurry! Registration ends November 10, 2016
More information

Jesus Core High School Retreat
January 6-8, 2017
Pilgrim Center
More information 
Conference Transitions

Searching Churches
For more information and to see all searching churches, click here.
  • Congregational UCC, Mineral Point, seeks a settled pastor.
New Calls
  • Gary Wilner has been called as interim pastor at First Congregational Church in Rhinelander, effective October 24, 2016
Installations and Ordinations
  • Rev. Ashley Nolte was installed as pastor and teacher at Pilgrim UCC in Grafton on October 23, 2016.
In Memoriam
  • Rev. Gary Miller died on October 23, 2016. 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.

Image credits:
Milwaukee image from VISIT Milwaukee, visitmilwaukee.org

The Wisconsin Conference UCC is an Open and Affirming Conference.

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

In This Issue
Guatemalan family resettled
Updated UCC purpose, mission, vision
Stewardship resources
Accessible to All guide revised
2016 Mutton Lectureship
Youth events
Conference Transitions
Shift blog 
Check out the
SHIFT BLOG for inspiration! 
Read about & share congregational shift stories.
Church Spotlight

First Cong. River Falls image
First Congregational Church in River Falls, in the Northwest Association, has been serving the St. Croix valley for over 150 years. Their pastor is Rev. Christopher Myers. This church has developed a faith formation resource called the Biblical Pictorial Timeline; you can find out more information in the Wisconsin Conference UCC Resource Center or on the First Congregational Church River Falls website.

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 Micah Schlobohm of the Wisconsin Conference UCC Committee on Ministry with LGBTQ Persons.
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Wisconsin Conference Life, email Nola at the Wisconsin Conference.