Wisconsin Conference Life Newsletter
March 8, 2018 
AM18 logo The Dynamic Rev. Traci Blackmon Joins Us for Annual Meeting 2018

Why Are We Afraid? The Winds and Waves of Race and Privilege
June 8-10, 2018
Green Lake Conference Center

Come join friends and colleagues from around the Wisconsin Conference for our 2018 Annual Meeting, Why Are We Afraid? The Winds and Waves of Race and Privilege, June 8-10, 2018, at Green Lake Conference Center. The meeting theme comes from Mark 4: 38-41:

But he was in the stern, asleep on the cushion; and they woke him up and said to him, 'Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?' 39 He woke up and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, 'Peace! Be still!' Then the wind ceased, and there was a dead calm. 40 He said to them, 'Why are you afraid? Have you still no faith?' 41 And they were filled with great awe and said to one another, 'Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?'
The 2018 Annual Meeting of the Wisconsin Conference of the United Church of Christ will explore the winds and waves of race and privilege. We will be joined by Rev. Traci Blackmon as our keynote speaker and Friday evening preacher, with worship and music by Bryan Sirchio and Bryan Johnson from Trinity UCC in Chicago, and a Bible study with Rev. Dr. Karl Kuhn from Lakeland University. We are also featuring another Share Fair, for you to dialogue with congregations that have inspiring stories of ministry to share (see more on the Share Fair below).

As always, Annual Meeting also provides many opportunities to connect with friends old and new, worship together and enjoy the beautiful surroundings at Green Lake Conference Center. You can also add on the Thursday Workshop: White Identity and Christian Faith: Reflection and Practice with Dr. Ben Sanders on June 7, and/or Boundary Training on June 7 and 8.

Find all the information about Annual Meeting, with links to register, at wcucc.org/annualmeeting
share fair logo The Share Fair Returns to Annual Meeting

How is God using your congregation to transform lives and change our world?

How is your congregation shifting from maintenance to mission?

What is your congregation doing that may be an inspiring example to other congregations?
Share your ministry success! Be a Share Fair exhibitor at Annual Meeting. The 2017 Share Fair sparked ideas, established connections, inspired actions and was a great way to connect with congregations around our state. The feedback was so enormously positive that we are doing it again! Attendees were inspired by what they learned from exhibitors, and left with plans to start their own ministries back home.
Apply now to save your spot!
More information and Share Fair application
Congregational UCC in Mellen Dedicates New Church Building

The Congregational Church in Mellen celebrated their new church building at a wonderful service of dedication on February 24, 2018. Their old building couldn't be made handicapped accessible nor remodeled to fit their space needs, so the church was torn down and a new building was erected. The new church was built to serve the congregation as well as the neighboring community.
mellen new building dedication image
Rev. Rob MacDougal joins pastor Don Quigley and other church members at the dedication of their new church building, February 24, 2018

Unite to End Racism Rally: Bus Trip to DC
April 3-5, 2018
From Franz: Join me April 3-5 as we launch an ecumenical movement toward racial justice throughout the state of Wisconsin.  The Wisconsin Conference UCC is co-sponsoring a bus tour to DC to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the assassination of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. by committing to uniting together to end racism.
Buses will depart from four cities to events taking place in Washington, DC, on the 50th anniversary of the assassination of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. On April 4th we will join people from around the nation for an interfaith service of prayer and preparation at the Lincoln Memorial and a rally on the National Mall.
More information
United church camps logo
Upcoming Retreats at Moon Beach Camp

April 2018


Three retreats are planned at Moon Beach Camp for the early spring days of April:
  • Worship for Praise, Resistance, and Hope: How Prayer, Song, Sacraments, and the Arts Inspire us For Challenging Times - Led by John Thomas and Art Clyde, April 4-6
  • Clergy and Kin Retreat, April 6-8, 2018
  • Steps on the Journey of Healing, a sexual abuse survivor retreat, April 20-22

More information 

Bi-Vocational Ministry Incubator
Navigating Ministry with a Changing Church
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 the deadline is March 23, 2018.
Informational brochure

Amazing Grace: How Sweet the Sound!
A retreat for Eastertide
Friday, April 27, 2018
Cedar Valley
9:30am - 3:00pm

The dictionary defines grace as "the freely given, unmerited favor and love of God, the influence or spirit of God operating in humans to regenerate or strengthen them." How do we live by grace? How do we listen for grace? During this season of Eastertide, come explore the possibilities of this mysterious entity called Amazing Grace.
Save Money While Saving the Planet: ENERGY STAR for Congregations
Webinar, March 28, 3pm Central time

Did you know that most congregations can cut energy costs by up to 30% by investing strategically in efficiency? Churches can save money, become Energy Star certified, and care for creation. Learn more in this UCC webinar with the head of the EPA's Energy Star for Congregations program.
Register here
UCC Planning and Evaluation Survey

The UCC's Center for Analytics, Research and Data  (CARD) is conducting a survey to identify potential needs around planning and evaluation within all settings of the United Church of Christ. The goal is to compile the responses and create the most helpful resources for effective planning and evaluation, with special attention to resources for local churches.
The survey will take between 15-20 minutes to complete. Responses are anonymous, although we do ask for the name of your setting to reduce overlap in response. The results of the survey will be shared with various stakeholders across the United Church of Christ.
Please complete the survey by Friday, March 16. Thank you for taking the time to provide your valued feedback!
Take the survey here
Break the Silence Sunday
Suggested date: Sunday, April 22, 2018
Break The Silence Sunday is an effort to open up a conversation within the church about rape and sexual assault. Within the context of our faith communities we hope to:
  • acknowledge the reality of rape and sexual violence in our world;
  • support survivors by creating a place where they can tell their stories, feel loved and supported, and find encouragement on their healing journey;
  • commit ourselves to the work of changing the world, creating a future where rape is a memory.
Conference Transitions

Searching Churches and Wider Church Searches
New Calls
  • Rev. Marlea Gilbert has been called as interim pastor at First Congregational UCC in Tomah, effective March 1, 2018
  • Sandra Schieble has been called as interim pastor at Olivet UCC in Columbus, effective March 1, 2018
Installations and Ordinations
  • Rev. Rebecca Johnston was installed at Bethlehem UCC in Kiel on March 4, 2018
Good Tidings
  • Maggie Lewis, licensed pastor serving the ministry co-op of Platteville/Potosi/Cornelia, has been selected by the World Council of Churches to attend a conference on World Mission and Evangelism, March 2-16. While in Tanzania for the conference, she is blogging about her experience. Read her blog here 
In Memoriam
  • Shannon Hazen, mother of Rev. Eldonna Hazen, passed away on February 9, 2018. Obituary
  • Eugene "Gene" Whelton, father of Rev. Greg Whelton, passed away on February 12, 2018. Obituary 
  • Ann Frey, mother of Rev. David Frey, passed away on February 21, 2018. Obituary
  • William John Kuchler, brother of Rev. Kathryn Rust, passed away on February 22, 2018. 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
Share Fair seeks sharing congregations
New church dedicated
Unite to End Racism Rally
Retreats at Moon Beach Camp
Bi-Vocational Ministry Incubator
Eastertide retreat
Energy Star for Congregations
UCC Planning and Evaluation Survey
Break the Silence Sunday
Conference Transitions
Church Spotlight

This Northeast Association church, led by pastor Andi Wolf, just might be the only Wisconsin Conference church that was started by a group of bartenders seeking a more inclusive community after they were barred from their church's communion table. The congregation prides itself on a history of creative ministries and innovation. 

Check the Conference calendar for upcoming events.
The Parish Paper
This month's Parish Paper is " Finding Significance as a Small Church." 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.