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Wisconsin Conference Life Newsletter
Sept. 13, 2019 
Rev. Lorraine Cenisceros Gracious Welcoming
by Rev. Lorraine Ceniceros

As most of you have heard, or will hear, on August 1st I began serving as the newly called Associate Conference Minister . When I applied for this ACM position I knew Wisconsin was the place I was called to serve and was happy and grateful when the Conference search committee affirmed that call. As many of us have experienced, even as we recognize what or where we are called, it often takes a community of others who are listening to th e still small voice of the Holy to move that call into action.  
My call was moved into action and my 26 year old daughter and I packed up our home in Southern California, shipping everything we needed, plus lots of stuff we discovered we didn't need, to begin our new life in Wisconsin . We drove two cars with six animals across five states in four days. Driving with animals in the middle of summer meant we had to arrive as soon as possible. What we were able to see of the states we passed through came by way of our car windows as we flew by.
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Throughout the Wisconsin Conference, congregations are alive with energy and inspiration for new and existing ministries. Engaged teams and individuals throughout the Conference are creating and sharing valuable opportunities and resources. This newsletter holds a wealth of these learning and resource opportunities. Please review this list and click on events that capture your interest, or scroll through the newsletter to learn more about all of these opportunities.

Justice Events
Innovation Opportunities for Congregations
Learning for Church Leaders
Youth Events
CreationCareEnvision - Demonstrate - Inspire
by the Wisconsin Conference UCC Creation Care Team

The mission of the Wisconsin Conference Creation Care Team is to help UCC congregations and their members who are passionate about caring for God's wondrous creation find resources and connect with networks of other committed citizens who are called to take action in the face of growing concerns about climate change and its impact on the whole creation.
Read more about the solar array and how you can help the Creation Care Team with their next mission
Youthclimatestrike2 Global Climate Strike Interfaith Gatherings
Four simultaneous interfaith gatherings are being planned to begin at 10:30 am, on the first day of the Climate Strike (September 20th).
The interfaith gatherings will take place at churches that were selected due to their close proximity to the Capitol. The locations are:
Bethel Lutheran, 312 Wisconsin Ave
Grace Episcopal, 116 W. Washington Ave
First United Methodist, 203 Wisconsin Ave
St. John's Lutheran, 322 E. Washington Ave

Global Climate Strike events are taking place around Wisconsin. Find one near you at this link
CatalystInnovate, Experiment, Reach Out to Your Neighbors with a Catalyst Grant
In the three years we've been providing small grants for innovative ministries in the Wisconsin conference we have observed how one small but passionately communicated idea can transform a community. With the help of Catalyst funds children with disabilities have a baking buddy, seniors with dementia have a safe community of support, congregations are reaching out into their communities to engage important issues like white privilege and racial justice, and unique partnerships among congregations are being explored. In every case, the reach of the gospel is expanded and people's lives are touched and transformed.
Maybe you have an idea you'd like to explore - a passionate conviction that there is a place in God's world that would be healed, strengthened or transformed by your congregation's care and attention. Maybe you see a need in your community and you know there is something you could do to meet that need if only you had a little support. Maybe there's something you've been doing for a while that you'd like to expand or deepen. If this sounds like you, contact Tisha Brown to start a conversation about your innovation ideas and whether or not your ministry idea would be eligible for Catalyst funds. Proposals received by September 30 will be considered for funding in November. Find out more about the Catalyst Grant process here 
You Innovation are invited to the "Love Your Neighbor" Social Innovation Challenge
Saturday, October 19 (9am-5pm)
First Congregational UCC, Janesville 

The Catalyst Team is experimenting with a new idea for congregational and local community development and vitality - a Social Innovation Challenge. This experimental opportunity has been brought to us by the Edge Network of the United Church of Canada
which has been successfully leading Social Innovation Challenges throughout Canada in communities large and small. What they are discovering is that these one-day events are transforming the relationship between UC-Canada congregations and their wider communities by engaging populations of people that generally are not found within existing congregations but which are deeply concerned about impacting their communities for the better.
Social Innovation Challenges bring together change makers, mentors, community members and funders in a collaborative competition designed to encourage ideas that are financially sustainable, spiritually grounded and which demonstrate a love of neighbor in a local community. Innovators enter for the chance to win a small start-up grant ranging in value from $1,500 to $500. A total of $6000 will be awarded to the 5 ideas that rise to the top in the minds of our judges and the gathered community.  
All who are curious to learn more about Social Innovation Challenges and what it might look like to host one in your community are invited to attend this inaugural event. Everyone present will participate together in honing and shaping creative ideas aimed at social change and in voting for the ideas that will receive the start-up funding grants.
Register here to attend this free event and to explore whether or not this idea might bring new life and hopeful possibilities to your local community. If you live in the Janesville area and have an idea to share that will make your community more loving towards its neighbors, we hope you will bring that idea to this event. The Love Your Neighbor Social Innovation Challenge is brought to you by generous funding from the Catalyst Team of the Wisconsin Conference and First Congregational, UCC in Janesville.
For questions, please contact Tisha Brown.
Flavors of the Old Testament - A Damascus Project Course
October 2 - November 13, 2019

Engage your faith, uncover hidden meaning in ancient stories, and develop tools for reading and making sense out of the Old Testament in this 6-week online course. Join a community of curious learners from both Minnesota and Wisconsin to dive into our story as the people of God. Joan Mitchell is your flavorful guide through this Old Testament study. Joan has an M.A. in Old Testament from Luther Seminary and loves the study of Hebrew.   
In describing her plan for this course, Joan said: "This course is a sample buffet of the Old Testament. It will cover some of "the who, the what, the where, the when and the why" of the Old Testament. Some of what you learn will be like salt and pepper. You are familiar with some of these flavors and may have tasted them before.  Some morsels you will taste for the first time. We will study the Torah (the Pentateuch, the first 5 books), the Nevi'im (the Prophets) and the Ketuvim (the Writings-the poetry, the wisdom, and the history). We will taste the savories in Genesis, the bitterness of Naomi and the sweetness of Ruth, the smack of the wilderness, the sourness of the prophets, and the honey of the Psalms. Come and find a new flavor in the Old Testament."
Register Now through September 23. This six week course begins on Wednesday October 2 and ends on Wednesday November 13. It will meet entirely online using an online learning platform called Moodle.
Sustainable SolarWebinar Faith Practices Webinar
October 10, 2019 - 7pm to 9pm
Hosted by the Creation Care Team

Join our conversation about making your home and your church greener. Learn how you can save money on energy and reduce your carbon footprint at your residence and at your house of worship.

Our conversation will be hosted by people who have done it: reduced energy bills with insulation, more efficient heating, cooling and lighting, and other cost-saving measures; and put photovoltaic solar arrays to work to cut monthly bills by as much as 70%. Members of the Wisconsin Conference Creation Care Team and representatives of RENEW Wisconsin and Focus on Energy will visit with us about basic energy-saving how-tos. This webinar will also include information about the new solar array on the roof at the DeForest Trost Center. We look forward to having you join the conversation!
Register here
Small Church Pastors Gathering
Pastors of small churches are invited to gather at the Trost Center on Wed., Sept. 25, 10am-1pm (lunch provided) for the Small Church Group meeting. The focus of this meeting will be on small church constitution and bylaws, and what pastors are finding helpful regarding the organizational life of your churches. You are requested to bring your constitution and bylaws with you and other materials you have found helpful. This group is largely a collegial sharing group without a specific presenter. Please let Rob MacDougall  know by Sept. 18 if you plan to attend.
Youth YouthEvents Events!
The Wisconsin Conference UCC and United Church Camps, Inc., are pleased to present the following youth events for 2019-2020!
Knock Knock Middle School Retreat
November 22-24, 2019
Pilgrim Center
Jesus Core High School Retreat
January 9-12, 2020
Pilgrim Center
Registration available in November
Youth Faith Formation Retreats
November 8-10, 2019
February 28-March 1, 2020
March 6-8, 2020
Pilgrim Center
Boundary BoundaryTraining Training
November 12, 2019
Community UCC, Middleton
We ask that all authorized ministers - members in discernment, active pastors, chaplains, licensed and commissioned ministers, retired ministers still performing ministerial functions - attend a boundary training session every four years to stay current on the latest thinking and laws that affect our work as faith leaders in our denomination.
Register here

image of a hurricane Congregational CongConflict Conflict Workshop
Congregational conflict and what we can do about it - a workshop for pastors and church leaders
At this workshop, you will learn:
  • how to get ahead of the storm
  • how not to get sucked into the vortex
  • how to slow down the spin
  • what to do when in the storm's "eye"
  • how to find shelter in the midst of it all
  • and how to build an ark, rather than constructing a dam, for rising water
The same workshop will be held in two locations:
Thursday, November 7, 2019, from 10am to 3pm
Grace UCC, Wausau
Register for Wausau workshop

Thursday, November 14, 2019, from 10am to 3pm
First Congregational UCC, Watertown

Neighbors In Need Special Mission Offering
October 6, 2019

Neighbors in Need (NIN) is a special mission offering of the United Church of Christ that supports ministries of justice and compassion throughout the United States. One-third of NIN funds support the Council for American Indian Ministry (CAIM). Two-thirds of this offering is used by the UCC's Justice and Witness Ministries (JWM) to support a variety of justice initiatives, advocacy efforts, and direct service projects through grants. Neighbors in Need grants are awarded to UCC churches and organizations doing justice work in their communities. These grants fund projects whose work ranges from direct service to community organizing and advocacy to address systemic injustice. This year, special consideration will be given to projects focusing on serving our immigrant neighbors and communities.
Young YouthExGermany Ambassadors Youth Exchange
June 23-July 14, 2020 in Germany
July 7-28, 2021 in Wisconsin
Cost: $1650

We are looking for Wisconsin Conference UCC youth and young adults aged 15-22 to participate in this two-year exchange with our church partners from the Moers Church District in Germany. This is a wonderful opportunity for travel abroad, expanding your horizons and learning about Christians from Germany - their culture, faith, and customs. The Moers Church District is located in the North Rhine-Westphalia region one hour north of Dusseldorf. Based on previous exchanges, quality time will be spent with your host family, you will participate in an engaging group program, and often the group will visit Berlin for some days of touring. It is expected that participants will commit to both ends of the exchange, as you will be hosting the person in 2021 who hosts you in Germany.
If you are interested in participating in this opportunity you can email Lisa Hart at the Wisconsin Conference Office by October 31. 
FaithFaithInNumbers In Numbers Event
October 22, 2019

Financial accountability is important to all places of worship and other religious organizations. Stay informed of how accounting and other financial related issues affect your church or religious organization. Join Wegner CPAs for a full day of education guiding churches and religious organizations on a path to financial accountability.
More information and registration
UCCI logo
Fall CampPresby Camp with a Twist
October 25-27, 2019
Pilgrim Center
United Church of Christ is invited to attend the Winnebago Presbytery Fall Camp! This is an intergenerational retreat for folks of all ages to explore and express their faith through the idea of Play. Jason Santos will be the keynote speaker this year and intends to explore the ways PLAY can help strengthen and expand our faith and our understanding of faith. This event will be filled with fun camp-wide games, break out sessions exploring topic such as Fine Arts, Construction, and Faith Development/Game Development. We hope to see people of many ages explore the love for games and PLAY and experience its effects on our spiritual journey. We are extremely excited to be able to host such an awesome event and we hope to see you all there.
Register here

image of Shane Claiborne Beating Lakeland Guns: Hope for People who are Weary of Violence
Lakeland University Mission House Lecture
Tuesday, October 8, 2019
11:00am - 12:00pm
Lecture is free and no reservations are required
Presenter: Shane Claiborne

Shane is a prominent speaker, activist and best-selling author who worked with Mother Teresa in Calcutta, founded The Simple Way in Philadelphia and together with his friend Tony Campolo, heads up Red Letter Christians, a movement of folks who are committed to living "as if Jesus meant the things he said." Shane's latest book, Beating Guns: Hope for People Who are Weary of Violence, provides a provocative look at gun violence in America and shows why Christians should be concerned about gun violence and how they can be part of the solution.
Luncheon Conversation with Shane Claiborne, immediately following the lecture in the Laun Center, Room 209. Luncheon cost is $10 per person; reservations are required by Tuesday, Oct. 1.
Please register online for the luncheon at or contact Linda Bosman via email or at 920-565-1023 ext. 2151.
Intrinsic Kettlewood Hope: Living Courageously in Troubled Times
Friday, October 4, 2019 - 9:30am - 3:00pm

Expanding social inequality. Unprecedented climate disruption. Powerlessness, grief, despair. We are living in a time of uncertainty in which we fear for our children and grandchildren and for the future of humankind and for our planet. Now more than ever, maintaining hope is an emotional and spiritual necessity. This retreat will focus on the insights of Kate Davies, author of the book Intrinsic Hope, offering practical tools for discovering and cultivating an abiding hope in troubled times. Together, let's explore those insights and hopeful habits. (Registration deadline is Sept. 28.)
Our retreat leader: We welcome back Rev. Bob Ullman, retired United Church of Christ pastor, popular retreat leader, and co-chair of the Wisconsin Conference UCC Creation Care Team.
Toward MovieSeries Racial Justice Movie Series
Wednesdays, 6:30pm-8:30pm
September 25 - October 30
Madison Christian Community

The Madison Christian Community is holding a Racial Justice movie series from September 25 to October 30:
  • Mirrors of Privilege: Making Whiteness Visible
  • The Way Home: Women Talk about Race in America
  • Light in the Shadows: Staying at the Table When the Conversation About Race Gets Hard
  • The Color of Fear
  • Cracking the Codes
  • Healing Justice
Attend all 6 weeks to experience the full scope of the series, or come to as many as you're able.
Interim IMTI Ministry Training Institute
October 2019 - May 2020

This program prepares pastors in a wide range of situations to address the many transitions of contemporary churches, whether a change in pastors, a change in size of congregation, the challenges of a new direction in ministry, or other types of movements happening today. Students in the Interim Ministry Training Institute  have included settled pastors, pastors looking for a career in Intentional Interim Ministry, and pastors exploring a succession model. The program is ecumenical and will address the specific needs of each person's polity and position.The class meets monthly for about 6 hours, with readings and assignments designed to generate discussion and learning depth.  
Conference Transitions

Searching Churches
  • St. John's UCC in Monroe is searching for an Associate Pastor. Details
  • St. Paul's UCC in Menomonee Falls is searching for a pastor. Details
  • Church of Peace in Fond du Lac is searching for a pastor. Details
  • Peace UCC in Shawano is searching for a pastor. Details
  • Redeemer UCC in Menomonee Falls is searching for a part-time Director of Music. Details
To see all searching churches, click here.

New Calls
  • Rev. James McKenzie has been called as interim pastor at Zion UCC in Milwaukee, effective August 1, 2019. Jim is new to the Conference. Welcome!
  • Rev. Mary Carlin has been called as interim pastor at St. John UCC in Germantown, effective September 2, 2019.
  • Rev. Joel Zimmerman has been called as pastor at Namekagon Congregational UCC in Earl, effective September 2, 2019. Joel is new to the Conference. Welcome!
  • Rev. Kathleen Rinear retired from St. John's UCC in Monroe, effective August 31, 2019
  • Rev. Blair Hull retired from Whitewater UCC in Whitewater, effective August 31, 2019
  • Rev. Richard Feyen retired from Hope UCC in Sturgeon Bay, effective August 31, 2019
In Memoriam
  • Alvin Gaeth, father of Rev. David Gaeth, passed away on August 29, 2019. Obituary
  • Brandon Roethel passed away on September 2, 2019. Brandon was enrolled in the Faith Foundations 2 course of Lay Academy and served as the Director of Faith Formation at St. John's UCC in Sheboygan. Obituary 
  • Paul Zimmerman, father of Rev. Colleen Kwong, passed away last week at the age of 93.
  • Agostinho (Gus) de Souza, husband of Rev. Barbara de Souza, passed away on September 5, 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
Creation Care update
Climate Strike Interfaith Gatherings
Catalyst Grants
Social Innovation Challenge
Flavors of the Old Testament
Sustainable Faith Practices webinar
Small Church Pastors gathering
Youth Events
Boundary Training
Congregational Conflict Workshop
Neighbors in Need offering
Young Ambassadors Youth Exchange
Faith in Numbers
Intergenerational Camp
Mission House Lecture
Intrinsic Hope retreat
Racial Justice movie series
Interim Ministry Training Institute
Conference Transitions
Check the Conference calendar for upcoming events.
Hurricane/Disaster Relief Donations  
Disaster relieve donations are always welcome! You can submit your gifts through the Conference Office (just put "Dorian Relief" in the memo line) or use the UCC Disaster relief webpage.     
Black Robe and Stoles available 
Gary Wilner has an S-9 John Wesley black robe (like new) and two stoles with the four colors of the church calendar available. The robe was ordered for a 6'3", 235# person. If interested, email Gary.  
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.