Wisconsin Conference Life Newsletter
Mar. 6, 2019 
Lisa hart image Focusing on Lent
by Lisa Hart

The season of Lent has always been one of my favorite times of the year. The rhythm and rituals have drawn me in and grounded me. As a child, I loved the Wednesday evening worship services. A group of UCC pastors, including my dad, would take on the role of one of Jesus' disciples. Dressed in character, they would visit each other's churches, giving a first-person reflection of that disciple's experiences. I suspect that my dad and his colleagues would tell me that they only did this for a few years, but the experience made such an impression that, in my mind, that was how they always did Wednesday evening Lenten worship. These services, set apart from Sunday worship, had a special way of drawing me in to the stories of our faith.
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Learn More About Native American Culture, Then and Now
by Elizabeth Hazel

As we learn more about the Doctrine of Discovery and how adherence to it resulted in the destruction of Indian culture, livelihood and sacred lands, here are more ways to deepen your experience of Native American traditions and see for ourselves the kind of life Native Americans now live as well as the way of life taken from them. Not only is the Northwest Association learning from and building a relationship with the Hocak community in Black River Falls, but we also are learning from and working with other Indian Nations.

Many work groups from our churches have visited Pine Ridge Lakota Reservation. First Congregational UCC in Eagle River has produced a PowerPoint presentation about their experience and is willing to show it to churches that request it. Contact Kathy Holperin if you would like to talk about setting up a time to have them come to speak (Note: Kathy will be away from her email for the next month).

Eagle River is also planning to go to the George W. Brown Jr. Ojibwe Museum and Cultural Center in Lac du Flambeau. The Ojibwe museum has interactive exhibits, seasonal workshops, and cultural programs featuring the old and new ways of the Ojibwe nation as well as their history, including how introduction of the Dawes Allotment Act--most likely influenced by the Doctrine of Discovery--resulted in the sale of Ojibwe land within the reservation. So if you are studying "The Repudiation of the Doctrine of Discovery," Pine Ridge and the George W. Brown Jr. Ojibwe Museum and Cultural Center are interactive ways to broaden your scope.

Editor's note: At our annual meeting in 2018, the delegates voted to encourage congregations to learn about the Doctrine of Discovery with the goal of bringing a resolution to repudiate the Doctrine of Discovery to the floor for a vote at our 2019 Annual Meeting. In order to reach that goal, at least 65 of our Wisconsin Conference congregations must report that they have done something to learn about the Doctrine of Discovery. If we haven't already heard from your congregation, please return this form to Lisa Hart by March 31, 2019. Thank you!
AM 2019 logo Early registration Ends March 10th for the Combined Annual Meeting!

Annual Meeting is rapidly approaching - in just over 4 weeks, on April 5-6, we'll be gathered in the Dells! Time to register! The early registration deadline is March 10th. After that, the registration fee increases. Save a little money and register now!    
You won't want to miss this chance to be a part of both your Association's annual business meeting and the Conference business meeting all in one weekend! Special business on the Conference agenda is a vote on a resolution to repudiate the Doctrine of Discovery.
Attendees also really enjoy the opportunity to share ideas with people in other congregations around the Conference over meals and at the social gathering. For more involvement, consider volunteering! We especially need volunteers for ushering and hospitality. 
See you on April 5th!
Find all Annual Meeting information at wcucc.org/annualmeeting.
synod 2019 logo New Opportunities Just Posted for General Synod 32 Volunteers!
Wisconsin Center, Milwaukee
June 21-25, 2019
Wisconsin Conference members are registering to volunteer every day. Have you? Plan to join us in providing extravagant hospitality to the United Church of Christ this summer, June 21-25. There are many ways to help!
New opportunities have just been posted including these:
  • Assist in worship services
  • Provide directions and support at Sunday Outdoor Festival
  • Play an important role in the work of resolution committees as Committee Word Processing Support. If you have good communication and word processing skills check out this opportunity when scheduling your volunteer time.
General Synod 32 is an event you don't want to miss! You will be:
  • Inspired by and participate in dynamic worship
  • Informed about crucial issues facing our church, country and world which will determine the future focus of the denomination
  • Connected to several thousand of our UCC members across the nation
  • Witnessing to faith-filled Christian discipleship centered in compassion, mercy and justice in our world
  • Entertained at a Wisconsin summer outdoor festival, with music, food, dance, and more.

UCCMA logo UCC Musicians Association National Conference
June 25-29, 2019

Are you trying to make a difference in how music and the arts are used in the church and community? Please join us for the 13th Biennial National Conference of the United Church of Christ Musicians Association (UCCMA), following General Synod.
This year's conference will be hosted by First Congregational UCC in the vibrant community of Madison, Wisconsin. The conference will explore unique elements of music and art to inspire and uplift attendees. Workshops range from organ, choral and handbells to drumming, liturgical art, liturgical movement, to working with a variety of aged voices, and promoting the arts in a variety of ways. The conference will feature many nationally known leaders in music and worship.
It will be three days well invested to provide resources for re-energizing your church and community!
Go to   uccma.wildapricot.org/Conference-2019 for more info and to register.
UCCI Steps on the Journey of Healing: A Retreat for Sexual Abuse Survivors
April 26-28, 2019
Moon Beach Camp
Plan to join us as "companions on the journey" for a time of sharing, reflecting, growing, and celebrating. This retreat is for women (18 years and older) who have experienced sexual abuse of any kind. Our weekend will include group time, quiet time, crafts, food, music, and of course, time to enjoy the beauty and sacredness of Moon Beach. Gathering together is an important part of the healing process. There is something so comforting about being with those who "get me", even though our stories may be different. Gathering together each year encourages and supports us to do the work needed to continue the steps of healing and wholeness. Our retreat will be facilitated by women who have experienced this abuse and supported by professional counseling staff.
Steps on the Journey brochure
Register here
Lenten Advocacy Calendar
from the Wisconsin Council of Churches

There are many practices that Christians follow during Lent - prayer, fasting, acts of charity, devotional reading, and other forms of spiritual discipline. Any of these can be a way of reorienting oneself in light of Jesus' life, death and resurrection. 

We offer this calendar as one way to observe Lent, by preparing for and practicing advocacy as a part of your Christian identity.  Advocacy is a way of loving our neighbors by helping shape laws and public policies. An advocate is anyone who cares enough about the good of their community and its members to speak up on their behalf.

Whether you follow its suggestions day by day, or occasionally as your hectic schedule allows, we hope this Lenten Advocacy Calendar can be a tool for faithful witness to God's will for a just, peaceful and healthy world.
Link to calendar
Webinar: Green Values and Voting

Those who care about the environment tend to vote less than others by a sizable amount. This has enormous implications for the issues that elected officials choose to address and how they choose to address them. Fortunately, there are proven approaches to increasing voter turnout, and faith communities can play a leading role in encouraging more people to vote their values. This month's Creation Justice Webinar will feature the "voting guru" Nathaniel Stinnett as he educates and equips us for this vital role. Sign-up to join us for this informative webinar!
Catalyst Grants

Reminder! Catalyst Grants are due on March 31. Funding for vital and innovative ministries is available now! Check out the Catalyst Grants webpage and contact Tisha Brown before filling out a grant application.
Break the silence Sunday logo Break the Silence Sunday
Suggested date: April 28, 2019
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.
2019 Break the Silence Sunday liturgy materials (Word)
Racism dehumanizes us all - Dismantling racism heals us all
Increase your understanding of the systemic violence that is racism in our society, our communities, and our churches by attending this workshop and retreat. As the church, it is our duty to not just be not racist, but to be anti-racist. This means we need to identify and work against racism. This workshop will help us to identify the insidious ways we perpetuate racism without even thinking about it. Whether this is your first step or a continuation of your journey, this workshop will meet you where you are to help you get closer to being an anti-racist, pro-reconciling leader for your church and community.

Scholarships of $50 (lay persons) and $100 (clergy, from the Continuing Education fund) are available. Contact Franz Rigert.
More information and registration

Migrant Monthly: Keeping "Others" Out

While many cling to the notion that the U.S. is "a nation of immigrants," history in this regard has been less than noble. Writing of German immigrants during his own era,  Benjamin   Franklin  held that "...they will soon so out number us, that all the advantages we have will not in My Opinion be able to preserve our language, and even our Government will become precarious." In racially-tinged language  Franklin  demeaned Germans as not being of "the principal Body of White People." Distant and jarring echoes of our own times, aimed at Europeans.
Anti-German sentiment rose to fever pitch during the first World War, especially in Milwaukee. ID cards were issued to German males 16 and older, restrictions prohibiting their travel in areas of materiel production for the war were imposed, and the German language was dropped in schools. Prior to this period, the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 imposed an absolute, 10-year moratorium on Chinese labor; later, between 1929 and 1936, the U.S. government forced hundreds of thousands of Mexicans and Mexican-Americans (including U.S. citizens of Mexican descent) to leave the country through "Mexican Repatriation."  
Migrations of peoples across the globe are becoming ever more dangerous, and will continue to grow. Sentiment to keep "others" out builds and all-too frequently erupts. Settlement and community in receiving countries is never guaranteed, even over generations and even by communities of faith. 
A Revolution of Values: The Bible, the Poor, & a Moral Imagination for Faith in Our Common Life
Presenter: Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove
Wisconsin Council of Churches Washington Island Forum
June 24-28, 2019

Are you a lay leader or pastor who seeks to ground your commitment to justice in a deeper spirituality, and connect with the message of the scriptures in a more profound way? Are you looking for an educational opportunity that allows plenty of room to breathe, reflect, and integrate what you've learned? The Washington Island Forum experience is what you're looking for. The Forum is co-sponsored by the Wisconsin Council of Churches and The Christian Century magazine. Enjoy worship, workshops, discussion, and contemplation in an ecumenical retreat setting on Washington Island, just six miles off the tip of Door County Wisconsin.
More information
Bi-Vocational Ministry Incubator 
Monthly, April-November 2019
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. Brochure and application available at sandburconsulting.com. For more info, contact dave@sandburconsulting.com. Registration is limited and deadline is March 22, 2019.
Bi-Vocational Ministry Incubator brochure
Conference Transitions

Searching Churches
  • First Congregational UCC in Ripon is searching for a full time pastor. Details
To see all searching churches, click here.

Wider Church Searches
  • The National and Global Ministries of the United Church of Christ has several current openings. Details
Installations and Ordinations
  • Christine Wilke was ordained at Emanuel UCC in Hales Corners on February 24, 2019
  • Rev. Tim Perkins retired from Bethel-Bethany in Milwaukee after serving there for 34 years. Wow!

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
Native American culture
Annual Meeting
General Synod 32
UCC Musicians Conference
Lenten advocacy calendar
Green values and voting webinar
Catalyst grants
Break the SIlence Sunday
Migrant monthly
Bi-Vocational Ministry Incubator
Featured Article
Congregations studying the Doctrine of Discovery
Can we count you in?

Forms are due March 31! Send them to Lisa Hart
Church Spotlight

This Southwest Association church has been going strong for 179 years, and the signature bell tower has graced Madison since 1930. The church is led by senior minister Rev. Eldonna Hazen and associate minister Rev. Ann Beaty. This summer, the church is hosting the UCC Musician's Association Conference...see article in the left column. 
Pews Available
Lake Edge UCC in Madison is planning to make the switch from pews to chairs sometime this summer. If you are interested in pews, please contact the church at (608) 222-8668 or via email.  

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.