Wisconsin Conference Life Newsletter
Jan. 4, 2018 
One Step Leads to a New Path for this Small Church
by Alan Timm, Grace United Church, Fort Atkinson

Grace United Church was formed in 2010 with the merger between Friedens United Church of Christ and Shalom Presbyterian Church in Fort Atkinson. The almost seven-year history of Grace can be divided into two unequal parts. At the beginning, financial issues consumed us and kept us from looking outward. Eventually these were resolved but we needed something to change our direction. We were still inward-focused.
The change came when one of our members needed a liver transplant. To assist with the financial burden, Grace organized a spaghetti dinner and auction fundraiser. Involvement went beyond Grace to the whole community getting involved. The net result was approximately $10,000 raised. This was a small amount compared to the medical bills involved, but the effect on Grace was profound and far beyond the amount of money raised. Suddenly we had an attitude of we can do anything and were looking at ministries outside of our walls.
Continue article >  
18 Questions for 2018
by the Parish Paper

Tim Shapiro, from the Indianapolis Center for Congregations, believes that vibrant congregations exhibit a commitment to increasing congregational capacity. As
demands on congregations grow, clergy and laity struggle to "maintain agency over their problems rather than the problems having hold on them."  Through the learning process, congregations can discover how to
solve a challenge that once outran them. Based on his
congregational theory of development, he explains that
the first step is defining the challenge. The following
exercise helps members identify their goals: what they
already know, what they still need to learn, and how
their plan fits into the church's overall mission.
Continue reading >
Yearbook Data Entry
The National Office's Data Hub is now open for your yearbook data entry! The yearbook data entry forms and instructions were mailed out December 27, 2017; if you did not receive your packet, please email Susan Taylor. The National Office has also provided us with video tutorials to assist you in using the Data Hub. 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.
Clergy/Spouse Retirement Retreat
February 19, Cedar Valley Retreat Center, West Bend, 9am-3pm
March 17, Grace UCC, Wausau, 9am-3pm

Starting to think about retirement? Or recently retired?
Do you have questions about how to best navigate this transition?
Attend this event to learn how to plan for healthy and transformational steps in your retirement journey. Through a combination of presentations, access to resources and dialogue, you will have an opportunity to ask your pressing questions and share concerns and possibilities with other participants. Clergy and their spouses/partners who are beginning to think about, nearing and/or recently retired are encouraged to attend.
Five Practices Kick-off Event
February 3, 2018
Trost Center, DeForest

Are you looking to jump-start a new initiative in your congregation?
Do you want to expand your ministry, but you're not sure where to start?
The Five Practices program is a catalyst for implementing the change you want for your congregation. You will learn a process that can help you identify and achieve your ministry vision. Applicable to small or large projects, short-term or long-term change, the Five Practices process sparks ideas, as well as energy.
This facilitated program helps you stay on track, and ensures that there is follow through to achieving your vision for change. You will have guidance from a trained facilitator over six at-home sessions as you move through the process.
Gather your team and sign up for Five Practices now!
Learn more
Youth Faith Formation Retreats
February 23-25, 2018 or March 2-4, 2018
Pilgrim Center
Bring your confirmation class and join us for a weekend of faith and team building. We'll spend time with the bible, our identity as Christians and members of the UCC denomination specifically, and our personal faith journey. More specific information to come. Check-in begins at 7pm on Friday. The retreat ends after worship on Sunday, between 11:00 and 11:30am.
The Faith Formation Retreats are a partnership of the Wisconsin Conference UCC and United Church Camps, Inc. Program planning and leadership is offered by a team representing the four Associations of the Wisconsin Conference UCC. Partial scholarships available.
For registration instructions, please contact Laura Pine
Ecumenical Peace Working Group:
Lindsay Koshgarian to Speak
Saturday, February 10, 2018, 10:00am-11:30am
Madison Christian Community

Lindsay Koshgarian, Research Director of the National Priorities Project (NPP) will speak at the Madison Christian Community on February 10, 2018. She will address the steadily increasing US military budget and the resultant decrease in funding for education, health care, job training, environmental protection and poverty programs.

There is no registration for the event; just show up! Also, there is no fee (free-will donation accepted onsite if you wish).

The mission of the National Priorities Project is to inspire individuals and movements to take action so our federal resources prioritize peace, shared prosperity, and economic security for all.

This event is organized by the Ecumenical Peace Working Group of Wisconsin (Bonnie Block, Sister Maureen McDonnell, Sister Reg McKillip, Father Jim Murphy, Bob Mutton, Paula Rogge, Fred Trost, and Jerry Folk)
Bi-Vocational Ministry Incubator
April - November, 2018

Increasingly, congregations can no longer afford a full-time, fully-supported pastor.  And pastors are needing to wrestle with tough questions about how to sustain themselves while being faithful to their sense of call. The Bi-vocational Ministry Incubator provides a safe space where pastors can dig deeper into these questions, hone skills for doing ministry in a different way, develop tools to guide a congregation into making a transition into a more shared model of ministry, and find the courage to explore options.

Monthly day-long gatherings over the course of 8 months will offer skill-building, peer support and coaching/mentoring. The program is offered inter-denominationally and designed for both ordained and licensed/commissioned pastors, for those who want to explore this option, and for those who have already made the transition and want additional support and tools, for those who seek additional income and for those who seek part-time arrangements in order to juggle home and care-giving responsibilities. Offered by Sand Bur Consulting, LLC.  For more information, contact Linda Kuhn of Sand Bur Consulting Registration is limited and deadline is March 23, 2018.
Informational brochure

Dear White Christians: A Path toward Racial Justice
Featuring Dr. Jennifer Harvey
Madison, February 9, 2018, 7 pm to 9 pm
Wauwatosa, February 10, 2018, 10 am to 12 pm

Dr. Jennifer Harvey, author of Dear White Christians: For Those Still Longing for Racial Reconciliation, will be in Wisconsin to speak and share conversation on the subject of the church and racial justice.

Dr. Harvey has spoken and led workshops for faith communities and academic audiences around the nation. She is also a regular contributor to the Huffington Post and keeps her own blog:  
Wauwatosa event registration
church.jpg Rural Ministry Conference
March 4-6, 2018
Dubuque, Iowa
Wartburg Theological Seminary

This ecumenical conference is designed for pastors and lay leaders in rural and small town congregations. The topic for this year is Co-operating Congregations in Mission. We will explore a variety of newer ministry models for smaller congregations. Our keynote speaker, Pastor Marcia Kifer, is a dynamic speaker with many years of experience in a variety of ministry models.  Our breakouts include worship for smaller congregations, and evangelism in rural areas. 
More information 
2017 Year-End Churches' Gifts Notice

Churches' 2017 Year-end gifts must reach the Wisconsin Conference office no later than January 15th, 2018. Please clearly mark that your gift is intended for 2017 by including a 2017 remittance form or clearly identifying what you are remitting for 2017. If you have any questions please contact the Wisconsin Conference finances office at 608-846-7880.


Thank you for your continued support of Our Church's Wider Mission! 


Please send payments to: Wisconsin Conference UCC, 4459 Gray Road, DeForest, WI 53532.  
Conference Transitions

Searching Churches
No churches have recently started searching for a pastor. To see all searching churches, click here.

New Calls
  • Dale Miller has been called as pastor at Salem Plankroad in Plymouth. Dale also serves Salem UCC in Plymouth.
In Memoriam
  • Marna L. Rettig, mother of pastor Bill Rettig, died November 15, 2017. 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.

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

In This Issue
18 questions for 2018
Yearbook data entry
Retirement Retreat
Five Practices event
Youth Faith Formation retreats
Ecumenical Peace Working Group
Bi-Vocational Ministry Incubator
Dear White Christians event
Rural Ministry Conference
Year-end gifts
Conference Transitions
Church Spotlight

St. Paul_s oshkosh image  
This Northwest Association Church has served its community since 1896 and is currently led by pastor RaeAnn Beebe. This church is home to perhaps the Wisconsin Conference's longest-serving pastor, Rev. Theodore Irion, who began serving in 1901 and didn't stop for 53 years!  

Check the Conference calendar for upcoming events.
Quick Links

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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.