Newsletter header image
Wisconsin Conference Life Newsletter
Dec. 10, 2019 
Rob MacDougall image Gleanings and Gifts
by Rev. Rob MacDougall
It's nearly Christmas and I have to say there are lots of things stirring my spirit and rambling around in my mind. I imagine many of you have all kinds of thoughts and delights keeping you occupied also. Waiting, preparing, hoping, serving, and the all-important matter of presents keep dancing in my thoughts. I have been thinking about presents I could offer all of our churches and pastors. I really want to have something to give to all of you, but I had to eliminate monetary gifts after I looked at my bank account (sorry). I know my simple words of gratitude for who you are, what you offer the world and how you receive the Christ Child would be more than enough, but I have wanted to give you something else. Then it came to me!
Ho-Chunk UCC's Blanket Exercise Illustrates the Impact of Colonization on Indigenous People
Exercise emphasizes sharing, not shaming, to repair the relationship between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people

The Blanket Exercise is a two- to three-hour participatory activity that helps participants understand how colonization of the land we now know as the United States of America has impacted the people who lived here long before Columbus and other settlers arrived.

The exercise begins with blankets arranged on the floor to represent the United States before the arrival of Europeans. Participants are invited to step onto the blankets as Indigenous people, the original inhabitants.
Stewardship Skill Building Webinars for Congregations   
The Wisconsin Conference continues to offer new learning opportunities around stewardship. Designed and presented by the Rev. Andrew Warner, several upcoming webinars will help strengthen your stewardship and fundraising initiatives. Two tracks of webinars are scheduled for early 2020. The first track explores how to preach and teach about generosity in the seasons of Epiphany, Lent and Easter. The second track provides an orientation for new lay leaders in your church - or current folks - who'd like to learn or review best practices related to lay leadership roles. See the schedule below, and go to our  Stewardship Learning Opportunities web page  for complete information and links to register.
Preaching Generosity
It can be hard to talk about money. And yet Jesus talked about it often, second only to the Kingdom of God. Explore 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.
Jan. 14, 2:00 pm: The Season of Epiphany - Disciples and Generosity
Feb. 25, 2:00 pm: The Season of Lent: A Changed Life
April 21, 2:00 pm: The Season of Easter: Beloved Community - The stories of Good Shepherd Sunday
Orientation for New Congregational Leaders
Take time at the beginning of the year to learn/review best practices related to your lay leadership role through an upcoming webinar:
Jan. 28, 6:30 pm: For Treasurers and Financial Secretaries
Jan. 30,6:30pm: For Stewardship Chair and Team
Feb. 3, 6:30pm: For Mission, Outreach, Justice, or Stewardship Teams
Go to the Conference website at to get full details and links to register for these webinars.
St. Stephen's UCC in Merrill Starts a "Green Team"
Gordon Bertagnoli is a member of our Wisconsin Conference Creation Care Team. Read what he has written about his congregation's recent moves toward more sustainable practices in Merrill. Interested in starting a green team at your church? Send Creation Care Team Co-Chair John Helt a message at Check out our resources on the Conference website, too!
Read Gordon's article

Jesus Core Retreat
January 10-12, 2020
Pilgrim Center
"Love from the center of who you are; don't fake it." Romans 12:9 from The Message

Experience faith in community, meaningful worship and great music, silence and time for prayer, getting to know new people and hanging out with friends.

Rest from the stress of school, listen to God's word, connect with yourself and others, and find satisfaction in silence and in fun activities.

Be inspired by the songs of musician Andra Moran (, by the beauty of God's Creation on Green Lake, and by workshops and discussions with adult leaders and your peers.

Retreat is open to youth in grades 9-12 and young adults ages 18-22.
Conference-Wide Trip to Germany
Since 1981, the Wisconsin Conference has had a partnership with the Evangelical Church of Berlin, Brandenburg, and Silesian Upper Lusatia (EKBO). Over the years our partnership has been enhanced by cultural exchanges and intentional theological discussions. A trip is currently coming together to visit our brothers and sisters in the EKBO to explore how our sister churches in Germany identify their mission fields and how they make faithful responses to them. The dates of the trip are November 5-16, 2020. The majority of the trip will be spent in and around Berlin. If you would like more information, please contact David Gaeth at . He will send you a thumbnail sketch of what is in place so far, as well as answer any preliminary questions you might have.  It is anticipated that the cost of the trip will be in the $1200-1400 range.
Chalices and Patens Still Available from Synod 2019
The Conference has a few remaining communion sets used at General Synod 2019. These gorgeous chalices and patens, created by Rev. Colleen Kwong, are available for $125. Please contact Tracy Hauge  at the Conference office if you are interested in purchasing a set.
Conference Transitions

Searching Churches
  • First Congregational UCC in Appleton is seeking an Interim Pastor for Congregational Care and Missions. Details
To see all searching churches, click here.

New Calls
  • Rev. Kelsey Beebe has been called as interim pastor at Union Grove Congregational UCC in Union Grove and at Raymond Community UCC in Franksville, effective November 25, 2019. Kelsey is new to the Conference. Welcome!
Installations and Ordinations
  • A Welcoming Service was held at Peace UCC in Marinette for Rev. Jennifer Barber-Rupp on December 8, 2019. Jennifer serves as chaplain at Heartland Home Care and Hospice in DePere.
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
Blanket Exercise
Stewardship webinars
Green Team started
Jesus Core Retreat
Trip to Germany
Synod chalices
Conference Transitions
Church Spotlight

Redeemer UCC, Sussex, is in the Southeast Association. The pastor is Rev. Julie Eklund. The church strives to be spiritually alive and growing, inclusive of all God's people and engaged in their communities. 
Check the Conference calendar for upcoming events.
Free to a good home! 
Lake Edge UCC in Madison has an oak name tag holder sign to give away.  Details:
Solid oak name tag display
Hand made
Two sided
On wheels
82" tall, 73" long
25" bottom and 6" top of width
12 rows on each side

Pick up at Lake Edge UCC. Questions? Email Ann Schoenemann or call 608-839-8045.
The Parish Paper
This month's Parish Paper is " Writing as a Tool for Community Engagement." 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.