Wisconsin Conference Life Newsletter
June 20, 2018 

As human beings and people of faith, we join others who are deeply troubled by the separation and caging of children from their parents at our borders. In moments like these we are called to both pray and act. And the United Church of Christ is joining our efforts with others on the frontlines of this protest as we have on immigration concerns for decades. 
This Thursday, 6/21, 3pm CDT, Justice & Local Church Ministries (JLCM) will host a webinar to outline our current actions, alliances, and opportunities for public dissent of our nation's current policies concerning children at the border. This time will also offer an opportunity to share local efforts of which we may not yet be aware. 
Also, the United Church of Christ National Leadership, in a pastoral letter, called on the people of the denomination's almost 5,000 congregations to take action to stop separating children from their parents at U.S. borders.  
The Art of Worship - A Glimpse into Lay Ministry Skills
by Tisha Brown

One of the things I love the most about being the Director of our Lay Academy is watching participants grow throughout their journey. For some that journey is one or two years and for others it lasts for three or even four years. Each year participants gain confidence, develop skills and hone tools for engaging ministry in whatever way their gifts inspire, their communities seek and the Spirit blesses.
Those who participate in year 4 of Lay Academy, which is called "Lay Ministry Skills," focus their efforts on dipping their toes into the waters of five distinct ministry arts: the Art of Faith Formation, the Art of Pastoral Care, the Art of Worship, the Art of Preaching and the Art of Discernment.
This past year Bryan Sirchio was the instructor for the Art of Worship weekend. One of the assignments from that weekend was to: Visit a worshipping community of some kind that is significantly different from your home church in terms of the worshipping style. Was there anything this community did liturgically that taught you something important? If so, what was it, and what did it teach you?
What follows is an edited excerpt from a Lay Ministry Skills participant as she reflects on what she learned on her Good Friday visit to a Catholic church in her community.
Annual Meeting Videos, News and Updates

By all accounts, the 2018 annual meeting was a rousing success! We were inspired by our speakers Rev. Traci Blackmon and Rev. Franz Rigert, and uplifted by the deep and moving spiritual music, words and worship of Rev. Bryan Sirchio, Rev. Bryan Johnson, Rev. Bob Wang, and others. Many interesting workshops and faith formation sessions were also offered, as well as a Share Fair with local congregations sharing their gained wisdom and experience about ministries in their communities.
The meeting was made a success by the efforts of dozens and dozens of volunteers, staff and guests. Thank you all!
Rev. Traci Blackmon To share part of this wonderful experience, we are making available videos from Annual Meeting. Videos of Franz Rigert's and Traci Blackmon's presentations are available through our website on the annual meeting page at wcucc.org/annualmeeting. Per Traci Blackmon's request, her videos are password protected. Wisconsin Conference UCC members are welcome to view them using these case-sensitive passwords:
Friday Sermon - am2018RTBa
Saturday Presentation - am2018RTBb
Race and Privilege Segment - am2018RTBc
Rev. Franz Rigert Several important items of business were also transacted at the meeting. With Franz Rigert's first term as Conference Minister was coming to a close, we voted on a motion to elect Franz to another four-year term. This vote was a resounding affirmative, and was recognized with a standing ovation!
In the spirit of speaking out on racial justice, we also were presented with a motion to undergo a year of study to consider a possible resolution of witness regarding "Repudiation of the Doctrine of Discovery." This motion was also passed with overwhelming support. This means that congregations are asked to study and reflect around issues relating to the Doctrine of Discovery prior to next year's Annual Meeting. If 30% of the congregations in the Wisconsin Conference study this issue in the coming year, a Resolution of Witness regarding the "Repudiation of the Doctrine of Discovery" will be voted on at the 2019 Annual Meeting. Study materials and Information about the proposed resolution, as well as an explanatory video, are available on the Conference website at wcucc.org/doctrineofdiscovery.
As always, elections were held for Conference-level committees, and we reviewed and passed the 2019 budget. Other motions that were passed include 1) ratifying changes in the national UCC governance structure that were passed at the last General Synod, and 2) approving a change in the term length of the Conference Budget and Finance Committee members.
We are already looking forward to the 2019 Annual meeting, scheduled for April 5-6. Because we're hosting General Synod next year, we will hold an abbreviated Annual Meeting jointly with all four Associations' Annual Meetings. It's a new adventure! Stay tuned for more info on General Synod and Annual Meeting in the coming months.
NOTE: If you don't find what you are looking for on our website, please refresh your browser (by holding down the Ctrl and F5 keys simultaneously). Sometimes a refresh is required to see new web additions.
Storm Damage in Houghton, Mich.

Recent heavy rains caused severe flood damage to the homes of several members of Portage Lake UCC in Houghton, Mich. This Upper Peninsula congregation, served by Peter Norland, is a part of Northwest Association of the Wisconsin Conference. It is also shared ministry with the Presbyterian Church. Relief gifts are being sent by our Conference, the Michigan UCC Conference and the regional Presbytery. Fortunately, the church building was spared from damage, but some members incurred significant loss.

We invite gifts of support, payable to the Wisconsin Conference UCC (memo: Houghton flood). Please forward them to the Trost Center: 4459 Gray Rd. DeForest, WI  53532. You can also give online and select Houghton Flood Relief, or text to 73256 with the message WCUCC HOUGHTON $(amount).
Reflective Leadership Grants Available
Apply by August 1
Reflective Leadership Grants from Duke Divinity offer Christian leaders "balcony time" to reflect on accomplishments, broaden perspectives and discern next steps.

Leaders must simultaneously manage immediate needs and look ahead to what is coming next. In today's rapidly changing context, leaders often spend so much time reacting that they don't have the time or space to "get on the balcony," stepping away from daily obligations and focusing on the long view.

The Reflective Leadership Grant program offers lay and ordained Christian leaders up to $15,000 to step away from their current work to reflect on accomplishments, broaden perspectives and discern next steps.
More information
Webinar: Successful Climate Action
June 27, 2018 - 3pm CT

For this month's Creation Justice Webinar, the UCC has teamed up with 350.org and the Unitarian Universalist Ministry for Earth. Masada Disenhouse from 350.org will share about how faith communities can make a difference on climate through local campaigns. She will talk about inspiring past successes as well as current efforts to transition our society away from fossil fuels. Sign-up today for this webinar!
Conference Transitions

Searching Churches
  • First Congregational Church, South Milwaukee, seeks a full time pastor. More information
  • Washington Reformation UCC, Monticello, seeks a full time pastor. More information
To see all searching churches, click here.

Wider Church Searches
  • Minister for Committee on Ministry Development and Leadership with the United Church of Christ. More information
New Calls
  • Karsten Snitker has been licensed to serve the ministry co-op of Platteville/Potosi/Cornelia, effective May 27, 2018.
  • Rev. Jack Kraaz has been called as interim pastor at Church of Peace in Fond du Lac, effective June 1, 2018.
  • Rev. Peter Norland has been called as transitional pastor at Portage Lake United Church, Houghton, MI, effective June 1, 2018.
  • Rev. Lynn Martin has been called as pastor at St. John UCC in Appleton and Immanuel UCC in Kaukauna, effective June 17, 2018.
  • Rev. Topher Mehlhoff has been called as pastor at First Congregational UCC in Rhinelander, effective June 18, 2018
Installations and Ordinations
  • Rev. Michelle Freeman was installed at Parkside Community UCC (formerly St. Peter's) in Saukville, on June 3, 2018.

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
A glimpse into Lay Ministry Skills
Annual Meeting videos, news and updates
Storm damage
Reflective Leadership grants
Climate action webinar
Conference transitions
Church Spotlight

This Northeast Association church, led by pastor Nancy Taylor, has prided itself on being a progressive church ever since they were led by Rev. Edward Smith (1886-1913). His liberal theology paved the way for like-minded pastors to come. 

Check the Conference calendar for upcoming events.
The Parish Paper
This month's Parish Paper, a resource for congregations, is " Making the Nursery a Place of Belonging." 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.