Wisconsin Conference Life Newsletter
July 11, 2019 
synod 32 logo Wisconsin's Lights were Shining Bright: Hosting the 32nd General Synod
by Debbie Payden

The months of planning and the days of providing extravagant hospitality and service to the larger United Church of Christ for General Synod 32 is over. Your participation in providing this ministry was overwhelming!
Thanks to all who gave of their financial and in-kind resources, loaning of space, equipment, and transportation, time, energy, and presence before and during General Synod. In hopes of not slighting anyone, here is how the Wisconsin Conference provided for and hosted the 32nd General Synod in Milwaukee, June 21-25, 2019, in so many, many ways:
  • 3,355 volunteer hours on site for Synod not to mention the work of the LAC prior to Synod
  • 105+ churches participating with volunteers and donated items
  • 3,000 gift bags filled at Brookfield Congregational UCC by 50+ volunteers from various churches in the Southeast Association
  • Close to $60,000 donated for hosting expenses
  • Mission Outreach agencies in Milwaukee and the extra care and time organizing by Tim Perkins
And so much more! Read the ways the UCC people of Wisconsin helped to host General Synod and what people are saying about us. 
Stewardship Skill Building Opportunities for Your Annual Campaign

Several learning opportunities are currently available for those interested in building stronger annual pledge campaigns in your congregations.  
Annual Campaigns 101 Webinar 
August 7, 5:30 - 7:30 pm
Designed for pastors and lay leaders planning an annual pledge campaign, we will explore ways to create an effective campaign using the materials provided by the national setting of the UCC. The webinar will include developing a campaign calendar, key messaging, recruiting advocates, engaging lay leadership in making early pledges, and thanking donors. Invite others in your congregation to join in, too.
From Good to Great Annual Campaigns: A Stewardship Bootcamp
Sunday, August 11, 3:00 - 7:00 pm
First Congregational UCC, Eau Claire
Insights from the best practices of philanthropy can revitalize congregational annual campaigns. This workshop will look at three practical steps: engaging key leaders in developing a "case statement" for the congregation, planning for ways to communicate the case in the lead up to Pledge Sunday and throughout the year afterwards, and the importance of gratitude throughout the process.
Extravagant Generosity as a Spiritual Practice
Webinar Series - 5 Online Sessions
Introductory Session August 6, 10:00 -11:30 am  
Generosity doesn't just touch our wallet but engages our soul. We can more deeply consider the spiritual implications of giving, moving beyond a short blessing in worship or celebrating that "God loves a cheerful giver." How do we think about growth, challenge, crisis, and transformation in our giving? Through a series of four webinars in October, we will discuss the Book of Ruth and John 10 in order to plan an off-lectionary sermon series for a stewardship campaign. Each webinar will help participants plan for a Sunday of the campaign. This sermon series will root the pledge campaign in a broader focus on the spiritual practice of generosity.
Learn more and register here    
Climate Change Morality and the Titanic: Preventing Disaster
By Brooks Berndt, UCC Minister for Environmental Justice

This article poses and suggests some answers to the question "How do we act with the urgency and scale required of us to effectively serve as God's vessels in this moment?" Using "chewing gum in the hope of plugging up the first breach in the hull" is not sufficient. The author and other experts call us to do more. Read the article 
Flooding in Iowa image Disaster Ministry Update

The UCC Disaster Ministries continues to be hard at work here in the States, in Africa and in Puerto Rico:
  • UCC Disaster Ministries has provided $17,000 for food pantries and other disaster response programs in hard-hit Nebraska, Iowa and Kansas, and water filters valued at nearly $5,000 for Oklahoma. 
  • Work sites have been established in Florida, Texas, and Puerto Rico to help aide local recovery efforts and are accepting volunteer workers. 
  • The UCC is also still offering matching grants to congregations for Church World Services (CWS) Clean-Up Kits.
  • The UCC responded to cyclones and typhoons in Africa
  • Often times when disasters strike, our actions are reactionary. Reactionary efforts can be lessened by putting efforts into being prepared. The Disaster Preparedness Manual for congregations has also been updated.
Rev. Moira Finley image
General Synod Worship Liturgy Written by Wisconsin Conference Pastor


Worship on Monday evening at General Synod last month featured liturgy written by Rev. Moira Finley, who is the pastor at three Wisconsin Conference Churches: Trinity UCC in Shiocton, St. Johns UCC in Cecil, and St. Johns UCC in Black Creek. You can check out a video of the worship service by clicking the following link and then skipping ahead in the video to the 2-hour mark.
View the worship video here 

wisconsin conference solar array image A Solar Celebration
Wednesday, August 13 at 1:00pm

Join us live at the Trost Conference Center in DeForest, or live on Facebook through the wonders of technology, for a 30-minute service to commission the solar array that was installed on the Trost Center's roof in February. We hope you can join us either in person or on Facebook for this event! No registration or RSVP is necessary.

Fun Fact: In May the solar array produced $300 worth of electricity (and you know how cloudy it was in May!) That meant the Conference's electric bill was only $24!
Lights for Liberty
Nationwide candlelight vigils to end human concentration camps
Friday, July 12, 2019

Are you concerned about our country's detention of children and families seeking asylum at our southern border? Do you want to do something to make your voice heard?
On Friday July 12th, 2019, "Lights for Liberty: A Vigil to End Human Concentration Camps" will bring thousands of people to locations worldwide, as well as to detention centers across the country. Candlelight vigils will be held in each location as a visible witness in protest of conditions at the detention centers. There are 17 locations throughout Wisconsin where members of the Wisconsin Conference UCC can participate.  
The Wisconsin Conference UCC voted to be an Immigrant Welcoming Conference at our 2017 Annual Meeting, and we have several congregations throughout the Conference that are Immigrant Welcoming Congregations. This opportunity on Friday evening provides one more way for our churches and members to make an impact and lift our collective voice. The national setting of the United Church of Christ is a listed sponsor of the "Lights for Liberty" effort.
If you attend one of the candlelight vigils Friday evening, take photos and post them to social media using hashtags like #EndChildDetention, or #ImmigrantWelcomingUCC. Let us know you're there, wherever you are!
Our Whole Lives (OWL) Trainings
Teaching Educators to Teach Human Sexuality

The Wisconsin Conference is hosting OWL Trainings for grades 7-9 and 10-12 at First Congregational UCC in Watertown on August 9-11, 2019. Please resister and order your materials by August 1.

First Congregational UCC in Madison is hosting OWL Trainings for grades K-1 and 4-6 on August 23-25, 2019. Please register and order your materials by August 1.
More information
Four Damascus Project Courses Start this Fall

The Crux: Engaging the Wisdom of the Wilderness for Today's Changing Church
This course will offer rich opportunities for reflection on the metaphor of the wilderness in scripture and in our lives personally as well as within our congregations. Any church leader (lay and ordained) grappling with the future of their congregation would benefit from this course. Any person of faith grappling with their own future in this rapidly changing world will find something to hold on to in this wilderness time in which we live. Register by August 1!
Exploring God's Call in a Changing World
This is a course in spiritual discernment. Anyone who is wondering about their life's next steps, musing over God's call to them, longing to develop strategies for listening for God's voice or desiring to learn how to guide others in spiritual discernment will gain something from this course. More information 
A Flavor of the Old Testament
This is an introductory scripture course for anyone seeking to develop a deeper connection with scripture or to develop tools for reading. It could also be a fruitful refresher course for Clergy as they engage the text from a fresh perspective. More information
What Does it Mean to Be UCC? Theology, History and Polity
This course is for anyone who is interested in learning more about our unique denomination from someone who has lived the history, theology and polity of the United Church of Christ. Rev. Dr. Clyde Steckel will delight with first person stories and a deep love for our denomination. Deepen your understanding of what it means to be UCC. More information 
UCC Everywhere
Free web design for UCC churches

More than 1,500 of the United Church of Christ's 5,000 congregations do not have websites. Those that have one may not be attracting as much traffic as they could. Now the UCC's national ministries are offering help.
A new service called UCC Everywhere is offering local churches free web design, funded by the offerings they already make to Our Church's Wider Mission (OCWM) and by the denomination's Shaping Our Future Campaign.
Read more 
human trafficking flyer Free Educational Event on Human Trafficking
Tuesday, July 23 at 6pm

Free Educational Event on Human Trafficking, Open to the Public
Deacon Steve Przedpelski of Franciscan Peacemakers is presenting
Event held at Parkside Community United Church of Christ
166 W. Dekora St (Hwy 33 by Grady Park)
Saukville, WI 53080
Phone:  262-284-0588
NYE 2020 logo Save the Date for the 2020 National Youth Event


National Youth Event is back in 2020: UNITE! at Purdue University in Lafayette, Indiana, July 22-25, 2020. Initial information can be found on the NYE website

Conference Transitions

Searching Churches
  • St. John's UCC in Germantown is searching for a part-time pastor. Details
  • Evangelical & Reformed UCC in Waukesha is searching for a part-time pastor. Details
To see all searching churches, click here.

New Calls
  • Rev. Jane Courtright has been called as pastor at First Congregational UCC in Eagle River, effective June 30, 2019. Jane is new to the Conference. Welcome!
  • Rev. Beth Abbott has been called as pastor at First Congregational UCC in South Milwaukee, effective July 1, 2019.
  • Rev. Paul Veldman has been called as interim pastor at the United Church of Christ in Elcho, and as interim pastor at the United Church of Christ in Kempster, both effective July 1, 2019.
In Memoriam
  • Gina Broadbent, mother of Rev. Kerri Parker and mother-in-law of Rev. Shaun Drefahl, passed away on July 4, 2019. Obituary
  • Rev. Don Ellerman passed away on July 9, 2019. No obituary is yet available.

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
Stewardship skill building opportunities
Climate change morality
Disaster Ministry update
WI pastor writes Synod liturgy
Solar celebration
Lights for Liberty vigils
OWL trainings
Damascus Project courses
Free web design
Human Trafficking event
NYE 2020 save the date
Conference Transitions
Church Spotlight

Rev. Thad Winkle is the pastor at this Southeast Association church. Its roots go back to 1911, when the first worship services were held in a local ice cream parlor. How sweet is that?!

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 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.