Wisconsin Conference Life Newsletter
Jan. 26, 2017 
Marchae Grair image 5 Ways to Use Social Media During Worship
by Marchae Grair, UCC Social Media Associate
Admit it. There's been a moment when you snuck a peek at your smartphone during worship. 

Many people can't get through an entire workday, school day--or yes, even worship service--without checking their timeline to see who got engaged, who voted for whom, or which surprise song Beyoncé dropped.

As smartphones become more integrated into our everyday lives, it's worth adding social media components to your worship experience. I understand this isn't for every congregation or leader, but it wouldn't be a social media email for churches if I didn't suggest how to use social media during church.

Here are five ways to consider using social media during worship. Read more 
Charitable Care by UCC-Related Health Providers Jumps 18% in 2016, Exceeds $857 Million
by J. Bennett Guess, January 6, 2017

The United Church of Christ's nearly 400 health and human service ministries (CHHSM) provided more than $857 million in uncompensated, charitable care in 2016, an increase of nearly 18 percent in one year.

"These ministries are at the very center of what it means to be church, to be the hands and feet of Christ," said Michael J. Readinger, CHHSM's President and CEO. "UCC ministries provide services large and small in scale, and everywhere in between, but the important point is that, collectively, the health and human service ministries of the United Church of Christ have an enormous impact in their communities and on the nation as a whole."

UCC-related  Cedar Community , a continuum-of-care residential provider based in West Bend, Wis., offered just under $14 million in charitable care last year, representing 29 percent of its $49 million operating budget.
floral image Discernment Workshop
Friday, March 3
10:00am - 3:00pm
Wisconsin Conference Trost Center, Deforest

The journey of Christian discernment can be as joyful and fulfilling as it is frustrating and confusing. How do we know what God intends for our lives? How do we hear God's voice among the many voices speaking? What does it mean to be "called"?
What does the UCC mean by "ministry of all" and "ministry of some"? What does this mean for me? What's next for my walk of faith? Join Dr. Marti Baumer for day of exploration and discussion.
More information

Youth Faith Formation Retreats
February 24-26, 2107  
March 3-5, 2017
Pilgrim Center 

Take your pick of two weekends of faith formation for grades 6-12!

We often compare being a person of faith with being on a journey. In fact, confirmation is viewed as the next step of the faith journey. In this year's Youth Faith Formation retreats, we will focus on many aspects of the faith journey. We'll explore different biblical journeys, talk about the journey of the UCC, and tell the stories of our own journeys. Activities may include orienteering with compasses, creative storytelling opportunities, song writing, map or maze making. Bring your confirmation class or youth group to travel together with us through this confirmation odyssey.
More information and link to registration
lab beaker image Interim Ministry Workshop
Bring your skills and experience to "the lab" to examine various selected case studies about churches in transition.
  • explore "best practices" as interim pastors
  • hone your skills in analysis
  • understand congregations as systems
  • develop leadership skills
  • identify and utilize reachable and teachable moments
The same workshop will be held in two locations:
Tuesday, February 21 at First Congregational UCC, Eau Claire and Thursday, February 23 at the Wisconsin Conference Trost Center in DeForest. Cost: $25 for ministers with standing in the Wisconsin Conference; $60 for others. Led by Linda Kuhn and Dave King of Sand Bur Consulting, LLC.
Register for the Eau Claire workshop
Register for the DeForest workshop
Dr. Hart image 2017 Wisconsin Council of Churches Winter Forum

Trouble I've Seen: Changing the Way the Church Views Racism with Dr. Drew G. I. Hart
The high-profile killings of young black men and women by white police officers, and the protests and violence that ensued have convinced many Christians to reexamine their intuitions when it comes to race and justice.

In this provocative book, theologian and blogger Drew G. I. Hart places police brutality, mass incarceration, anti-black stereotypes, poverty, and everyday acts of racism within the larger framework of white supremacy. Leading readers toward Jesus, Hart offers  concrete practices for  churches that seek solidarity with the oppressed and are commit- ted to racial justice.
What if all Christians listened to the stories of those on the racialized margins? How might the church be changed by the trouble we've seen?
More information
Tracy Nolan image
Being a Pastor for Trans People
by Elizabeth Palmer of The Christian Century

Tracy Nolan, a minister in the United Church of Christ who was ordained a year ago in the Wisconsin Conference Southwest Association, works with trans young people as a pediatric chaplain at Advocate Children's Hospital in Park Ridge, Illinois. She has also served at a drop-in ministry in Chicago for LGBTQ youth.
Read interview 
Travel to Israel with St. John's UCC, Merton
St. John's UCC in Merton will be coordinating a trip to Israel in October 2017 through the Jerusalem Center for Biblical Studies. The dates are October 16 to October 26.  The price is $3,476 (cash price; add 4% for credit) with flights out of Milwaukee. We can take 25 people in total. I have 11 people already talking about going so that leaves lots of room for others to join us.
We will be in Bethlehem for 4 nights, Nazareth for 2 nights, Taybeh and Jerusalem. We will see: Bethlehem, Herodion, Qumran, the Dead Sea, Jericho to Jerusalem, the Sea of Galilee, Capernaum, the Church of the Loaves and the Fishes, Nazareth, Megiddo, Samaria, Yad Vashem, the Mount of Olives and the Garden of Gethsemane.
Throughout the trip we will have the opportunity to meet with students, professors, local residents and religious leaders. The price includes travel and double occupancy rooms, breakfast and dinner as well as entrance fees to various sites along trip. If you are interested in this trip please email Rev. Mary Jane Huber.
Rural Ministry Conference
Crisis and Conflict
March 5-7, 2017
Wartburg Theological Seminary
Dubuque, Iowa

Wartburg Theological Seminary presents this ecumenical conference for ministers and laity in rural and small-member congregations to learn and network with one another. This year's program is Crisis and Conflict with Dr. Val Farmer as the keynote speaker.
More information (PDF)
Emmaus Homes Seeking Quilts for Benefit Auction
Calling all quilters! Emmaus Homes is hosting a quilt auction on May 7, 2017 and are in need of handmade quilt donations. Deadline to donate quilts is April 21, 2017. All proceeds from the Quilt Auction will benefit the more than 300 adults with developmental disabilities Emmaus is blessed to serve. Emmaus is a UCC CHHSM agency.
More information (PDF)
promotional image
Opportunities for Young Adults to Serve
Young adults: February 15 is the deadline to apply for Summer Communities of Services (SCOS) and Young Adult Service Communities (YASC) These opportunities are for youth interns of any faith or no faith backgrounds. Housing, living stipend and health insurance provided.
Read more about SCOS
Read more about YASC
Seminary Sunday
February 26, 2017
You are invited to celebrate and support theological education in your congregation by observing Seminary Sunday.
More information & resources
Conference Transitions

Searching Churches
Churches that started searching for a new pastor in
To see all searching churches, click here.

New Calls
  • Rev. Kenneth Schaub has been called as interim pastor at First UCC in Belleville, effective January 3, 2017
  • Rev. Thomas L. Williams has been called as interim minister at Peace UCC in Brillion, effective January 16, 2017
  • Rev. Nancy Taylor has been called as pastor at First Congregational Church in Oshkosh, effective January 26, 2017
Good Tidings
  • Rev. Missy Holdorf, pastor at First Congregational Church in Wisconsin Rapids, and Rev. Tim Miller, pastor at Nekoosa UCC in Nekoosa, were married on January 13, 2017. Congratulations!
General News
  • Rev. Rob MacDougall, Wisconsin Conference UCC Associate Conference Minister, was elected to the Board of Directors for the Wisconsin Council of Churches on December 6, 2016
In Memoriam
  • Rev. Vernon E. Jaberg died on January 22, 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.

Image credits:
Floral image with dark background from Shutterstock.
Quilt image by Anne Norman (Flickr) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)] via Wikimedia Commons.
Marchae Grair image taken by Nola Risse-Connolly at General Synod 30

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
Charitable care jumps 18%
Discernment workshop
Youth faith formation retreats
Interim ministry workshop
Travel to Israel
Rural Ministry Conference
Quilt auction
Summer young adult opportunities
Seminary Sunday
Shift blog 
Check out the
SHIFT BLOG for inspiration! 
Read about & share congregational shift stories.
Church Spotlight

This Northwest Association church has been serving the Rhinelander area since 1883. The church is proud of their missions, both local and global. 

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.
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.