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Wisconsin Conference Life Newsletter
Jan. 23, 2020 
UCC Kairos Call to Action - Church Mobilization on Climate and Inequality

On January 1, the UCC Council for Climate Justice announced the Kairos Call to Action to the entire United Church of Christ. The following excerpts provide more information about this urgent matter.
Never before has the climate movement faced a more critical moment . . . We cannot wait any longer for a government that will take aggressive action to address the twin crises of climate and inequality. Our faith has a rich theological tradition of understanding such crisis moments as being paradoxically charged with divine possibility. It is a tradition rooted in scripture that has found articulation in the crises of World War I, South African apartheid, Jim Crow in the U.S., and diverse places throughout the world. The UCC Council for Climate Justice has drawn upon this tradition to issue " A Kairos Call to Action." In recognition of the need for our government to undertake an all-out mobilization to address climate and inequality over the next ten years, the Council is calling for churches to embody and model what is so desperately needed by developing 10-year mobilization plans to address these crises.
Churches now have the opportunity to assert that we are fully committed to our first calling as caretakers of God's creation . . . It is the church's vocation to model what a right relationship with Mother Nature looks like.
Before us is a ten-year window of opportunity to demonstrate how we will respond to God's call. To make the most of this moment, the UCC's Council for Climate Justice has issued a call for all of the churches and institutions that comprise the UCC to adopt 10-year mobilization plans in the year 2020. The development of such a plan provides a focused framework for discernment and the setting of goals. Each church and institution will discern how it can best address climate and inequality with the means and opportunities before them.
To generate thought and conversation in the discernment process, we are offering ten ways churches and institutions can mobilize. Starting January 1, for ten weeks, the Pollinator Newsletter is sharing one suggested action each week. Please follow these links to learn more, and start planning.
Read the full "A Kairos Call to Action" 
image of attempted text scam Scammers Impersonating Pastors and Targeting Churches

One Wisconsin Conference church was recently the target of a scam attempt via text messaging, wherein the scammer was impersonating the pastor. Church council members received text messages, apparently from their pastor, asking for help. The text included the name of their pastor, so it seemed real. This type of scam can happen via email or texting, and may fly under your fraud radar because it's so personalized. Let your congregations know you will never be texting or emailing them to ask for personal monetary help!

Here are some resources about fraud and scam attempts:
Creation Care Resources

In recognition of the 50th Anniversary of Earth Day on April 22, 2020, the Creation Care Team is providing a number of resource and program opportunities to assist with your Lenten and Easter to Pentecost worship and education planning.
  • Because We're Forever Earthbound: Stories for Building a Better Planet book by Chuck Tennessen
  • Earth Day Liturgy brought to you by the Creation Care Team
  • All-Church Read: Cathedral on Fire! A Church Handbook for the Climate Crisis by Brooks Berndt, UCC Minister for Environmental Justice

Click here to read more about each of these resources  

Skill Building Webinars for Congregations
Orientation for New Congregational Leaders
The Wisconsin Conference continues to offer new learning opportunities. Designed and presented by the Rev. Andrew Warner, these webinars will help strengthen your financial and stewardship initiatives. Take time at the beginning of the year to learn or review best practices related to your lay leadership role through an upcoming webinar:
  • Jan. 28, 6:30 pm: Orientation for Treasurers and Financial Secretaries
  • Jan. 30,6:30pm: Orientation for Stewardship Chair and Team
  • Feb. 3, 6:30pm: Orientation for Mission, Outreach, Justice, or Stewardship Teams
Go to the Conference website at to get full details and links to register for these webinars.
Annual Meeting: Save the Dates!
This year's Annual Meeting, " Healing Our Earthly Home," will be held June 5-7, 2020, at Green Lake Conference Center. Stay tuned for more information, and get those dates reserved on your calendar.
Upcoming Creation Care Webinars
Each Wisconsin Conference UCC congregation received a copy of Because We're All Forever Earthbound: Stories for Building a Better Planet along with a study guide. Join author Chuck Tennessen in a webinar to discuss the book and how it might be used in our congregations.

February 6, 2020
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Let's do some math on Driving $mart in God's Garden! Based on current national averages, you drive 15,000 miles a year in an 11-year-old vehicle that gets 22 mpg and buy 682 gallons of gas (2.50) per year for $1705, but your vehicle also emits 13,620 pounds of CO2 annually into God's Garden. Driving is definitely a privilege with many benefits but also many environmental consequences.

As a Christian, you want to be a better steward of God's garden but since your vehicle costs are the 2nd/3rd highest expense in your budget, right now you can't afford to buy an electric vehicle to help the environment. You may think that you'll just continue to negatively impact the climate and have no options...but you'd be wrong.

Learn to Drive $mart and save up to $340 per year and lower your CO2 emissions by 2,725 pounds in your current vehicle (based on 20% improvement). Join us on March 12th at 7pm for the webinar, "Driving $mart in God's Garden."
March 12, 2020
7:00 to 8:30 pm
Yearbook Reporting

Please update your church's yearbook information! The National UCC Office's Data Hub is now open for your yearbook data entry. What is this information used for? Here's eleven reasons why reporting your church's annual data is important. 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.
New this year! The church officer data form can now be filled out online. Access this new link here! 
The Damascus Project Seeks Your Input

The Damascus Project, a collaborative leadership and faith development initiative of the Minnesota and Wisconsin Conferences, is committed to creating safe, accessible learning environments where questions are encouraged, wisdom is drawn from real-life contexts and experiences, and people of faith are empowered to develop their spiritual gifts for ministries both traditional and new.  In order to do that, we need an accurate picture of who you are, what you need to know, and how you best learn. 
Would you please take a few moments -- well, approximately 5-10 minutes -- to fill out a survey about you and your faith community's needs and preferences around leadership development and continuing education? 

Thank you!
Tisha Brown & Abigail Henderson, Co-Directors, The Damascus Project
Youth Faith Formation Retreats
February 28-March 1, 2020 or
March 6-8, 2020
Pilgrim Center
Bring your confirmation class or other interested participants and join us for a weekend of faith and team building. We will explore what it means to be the church and how that commitment continues to evolve. Our focus this year will be on our faith journeys, both personal and as part of a greater faith community. Participants will explore the journey stories within our scriptures and identify the parallels in our world today. Check-in begins at 7pm on Friday. The retreat ends after worship on Sunday, between 11:00 and 11:30am. Contact Nathan for registration instructions.
Register for the February retreat by Feb. 21, 2020
Register for the March retreat by Feb. 28, 2020
Conference Transitions

Searching Churches
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New Calls
  • Rev. Steve Davis has been called as interim pastor at Congregational UCC in Sparta, effective Jan 7, 2020
Installations and Ordinations
  • Rev. Jennifer Czarnota was installed at First Congregational UCC in Redgranite on January 12, 2020
In Memoriam
  • Betty Ann Bettin, wife of the late Rev. James Bettin, passed away on November 30, 2019. Obituary 
  • Rev. Robert W. Koller passed away on January 8, 2020. Obituary 
  • Richard L. Schnepf, father of Rev. David Schnepf, passed away on January 10, 2020. Obituary 
  • Emma Starck, mother of Cathy Wille and mother-in-law to Rev. Art Wille, passed away on January 17, 2020. 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
Beware of Scams
Creation Care Resources
Skill Building Webinars
Annual Meeting
Creation Care webinars
Yearbook Reporting
Damascus Project Survey
Conference Transitions
Church Spotlight

This Northwest Association church hails themselves as the "Little Church with a Big Heart." The church is currently led by pastor Sue Vornholt. Sue is a graduate of the Conference's Lay Academy programs. This church has two other Lay Academy alums as past pastors, too: Tim Miller (now an ordained minister serving in Nekoosa), and Patti Steevens.  
Subscribe to the
Generosity Forward e-newsletter
to learn about new ideas, best practices, and training opportunities around
congregational fundraising .

Join the Conference-wide Creation Care Team!  
Are you passionate about Creation Care? Want to connect with others who are taking action to care for the earth? The Creation Care Team's primary focus is to encourage, support and provide resources to congregations in the Wisconsin Conference as they do what they can to care for creation. If you would like to be a part of this team, or for more information on the Creation Care Team, contact John Helt. You can also go to to learn more.  
The Parish Paper
This month's Parish Paper is " Repurpose Worship Space, Don't Rebuild." Access this issue and archived issues here!
Check the Conference calendar for upcoming events.
Quick Links

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.