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Wisconsin Conference Life Newsletter
Sept. 25, 2019 
Look to Jesus

We are living in a time when it sometimes feels that we encounter more division than unity. It is at times like this that it is helpful to be reminded who we are and whose we are. As members of the United Church of Christ, we are Christians and we belong to God. This identity is central to who we are, how we act and how we interact with society. The Reverend Laura Yurs, pastor of Immanuel UCC in Plymouth, has written an essay that reminds us what it means to be Christian and how we are to live as Christians. May you find hope, guidance and inspiration in her words.
~Lisa Hart, Associate Conference Minister for Faith Formation and Justice Ministries
Immigration Justice Work Information Needed
by Leslie Schenk, member of the Immigration Working Group

When we passed the resolution at our 2017 Annual Meeting declaring the Wisconsin Conference to be Immigrant-Welcoming, I'm not sure any of us fully anticipated all the challenges we would be facing in the years since in terms of the ever changing landscape of immigration policies, and the unjust and inhumane policies and actions that seem to have, unfortunately and shamefully, become the norm. However, I do think we could have anticipated the church's response, as many congregations in the UCC and other denominations have taken up the call to love their immigrant, refugee, and asylum-seeking neighbors in various ways. 
The Immigration Working Group of our Conference is seeking your help. We would like to update our information on how congregations are involved in immigration justice work, and how we can help our congregations do such work. Has your congregation declared itself to be immigrant-welcoming, sanctuary or sanctuary-supporting, or have you done such work to help our immigrant neighbors? Did you do or are you doing educational events around the issue of immigration? Have folks in your congregation taken a mission trip to the border, or to another country where conditions are such that people are forced to emigrate? What other immigration justice related work is your congregation involved in? Would you like to be more involved in such work, but aren't sure how? Are there barriers you feel you face in your context that prohibit you from doing such ministry?
Please contact Lisa Hart with information about how your congregation is involved in immigration justice work, or how it would like to be, or what barriers you are facing in this area. This information will help the Immigration Working Group to better serve you. Thank you for your help, and for all that you are doing as God's heart and hands in your community and in the world.
Opportunity to Support Asylum-Seekers
Little children, let's not love with words or speech, but with action and truth. 1 John 3:18 (CEB)

First Congregational UCC in Rhinelander has been active in supporting asylum-seekers. They have connected with a Mennonite congregation that is working to bond asylum-seekers out of the Eloy Detention Center in Arizona, so that these individuals can live with their US sponsors and have their asylum case heard by a judge outside of the detention center. Eloy has a high refusal rate for asylum cases, so having a case heard outside of this prison setting increases the chance that asylum will be granted.
This past Spring, members of the First Congregational UCC raised money to help pay the bond to release a female asylum-seeker from the Eloy Detention Center. After her release, she was able to move to the Midwest to live with her sponsor. In June, she traveled to Rhinelander to meet with and thank the congregation for their support. She also had the opportunity to attend the Sunday events at General Synod in Milwaukee.
The congregation continues to support the efforts of Shalom Mennonite Fellowship and invites other Wisconsin Conference UCC congregations to join them. If you are interested in learning how you might support this effort, please email Rev. Topher Mehlhoff at First Congregational UCC in Rhinelander.     
Ministry on Tap: Wisconsin Church Brewing Beer to Help Create Fellowship and Fun


Barley Ministries Brewing is a social club for First Congregational UCC in Elkhorn. Barbara Townsend, mentioned in the article, is currently a student in the Wisconsin Conference Lay Academy.


Neighbors in Need: Who is My Neighbor?
Special mission offering October 6, 2019

The Northwest Association Division of the Mission of the Church in the World has prepared a bulletin insert for your churches to participate in the special offering for Neighbors in Need scheduled for October 6, 2019.   
The UCC Wants YOUR Opinion on Climate
Each year the UCC partners with Blessed Tomorrow to conduct a climate survey. This survey helps us know what our members are thinking, how opinions change from year to year, where future possibilities for collective action reside, and how our denomination compares with the broader population.
Take the 15-minute survey here
Boundary Training
November 12, 2019
Community UCC, Middleton
We ask that all authorized ministers - members in discernment, active pastors, chaplains, licensed and commissioned ministers, retired ministers still performing ministerial functions - attend a boundary training session every four years to stay current on the latest thinking and laws that affect our work as faith leaders in our denomination.
Register here
missioninsite logo
MissionInsite Announces New Maps
Discovering your church's ministry opportunities has never been easier. MissionInsite provides instant access to community information for your church via The MI System. As part of the Wisconsin Conference of the United Church of Christ, you have free, unlimited access to MissionInsite. You'll get desktop, web-based access to demographic data for a variety of geographic levels.

MissionInsite has just completed a major update to their maps. Registered users can attend a webinar to get an introduction to the new maps, tools, and features available.
Register for the Tuesday, October 22 webinar here
Join us for The UCC Mental Health Weekend in Phoenix, November 1-2. Mental Health First Aid is on Nov. 1, and the UCC WISE Conference on Mental Health is on Nov. 2.  Attend both!
More information 
Congregational Conflict Workshop
Congregational conflict and what we can do about it - a workshop for pastors and church leaders

At this workshop, you will learn:
  • how to get ahead of the storm
  • how not to get sucked into the vortex
  • how to slow down the spin
  • what to do when in the storm's "eye"
  • how to find shelter in the midst of it all
  • and how to build an ark, rather than constructing a dam, for rising water
The same workshop will be held in two locations:
Thursday, November 7, 2019, from 10am to 3pm
Grace UCC, Wausau
Register for Wausau workshop
Thursday, November 14, 2019, from 10am to 3pm
First Congregational UCC, Watertown
View event flyer
Register Now for Youth Events
The Wisconsin Conference UCC and United Church Camps, Inc., are pleased to present the following youth events for 2019-2020!
Knock Knock Middle School Retreat
November 22-24, 2019
Pilgrim Center
Jesus Core High School/Young Adult Retreat
January 9-12, 2020
Pilgrim Center
Registration available in November
Youth Faith Formation Retreats
November 8-10, 2019
February 28-March 1, 2020
March 6-8, 2020
Pilgrim Center
Registration for November retreat
Matching Church Property with Ministry & Mission
The Cornerstone Fund is sponsoring a two-part webinar in October and November on Matching Church Property with Ministry & Mission. Link to our "Upcoming Events"
image of communion sets Chalices and Patens from General Synod 2019 Available


The Conference has a few remaining communion sets used at General Synod 2019. These gorgeous chalices and patens, created by Rev. Colleen Kwong, are available for $125. Please contact Tracy Hauge at the Conference office if you are interested in purchasing a set.
disaster ministries WI logo Act Now to be Prepared for a Disaster
The plethora of disasters that we've already experienced in 2019 is yet another wake-up-call for all of us to have a preparedness plan and kit in place. With the effects of climate change the rules have changed and no one is exempt even if they live in a region historically considered 'low risk' for weather related disasters.  
We will always need to respond to disasters but response is not adequate. It's like treating an outbreak of an infectious disease but not investing in the development of new vaccinations or vaccinating when one is available. As a nation, we need to invest even more in preparedness and mitigation efforts if we expect to survive the impacts of climate change. If we don't, as a society, we will continue to chase our tail until we are so dizzy and fatigued that we collapse.  
The church needs to play an increasingly key role in how we respond to disasters and where we invest our resources. This starts at home and in our congregations with a paradigm shift that underscores preparedness and understands the value of this investment along with long-term support after disasters. For more information on preparedness, please visit the UCC Disaster Ministries' website. Should you have questions, please contact Christina Schoenwetter, Wisconsin Conference Disaster Ministries Coordinator
Hurricane Dorian Relief
Hurricane Dorian has left at least 51 dead, 1,300 reported missing and 13,000 homes severely damaged or destroyed on the Bahamas' Abaco and Grand Bahama islands - nearly 40 percent of all homes on the two islands. These numbers only begin to hint at the pain Dorian caused at the beginning of September. People are being evacuated to other islands in the Bahamas and to the U.S. The United Nations reported that as of September 15, indications are that most people's immediate humanitarian needs have been met by the humanitarian community, the private sector and through individual initiatives. The Government of the Bahamas has requested help, including from NGOs and humanitarian organizations, to fill identified relief and recovery gaps.  
UCC Disaster Ministries is appealing for funds to support long-term recovery - beginning with assessment and community planning and is likely to continue for several years.
Read more here
Extravagant Generosity as a Spiritual Practice
Webinar Series - 4 Online Sessions  
October 1, 15, 22 and 29 at 10:00 - 11:30 am
Presented by Rev. Andrew Warner
Create a sermon series for your stewardship campaign
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, 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.

There is no fee for participating in this webinar; however, registration is required so we can send you the link to join the webinar. Register here
Sustainable Faith Practices Webinar
October 10, 2019 - 7pm to 9pm
Hosted by the Creation Care Team
Join our conversation about making your home and your church greener. Learn how you can save money on energy and reduce your carbon footprint at your residence and at your house of worship.
More info and registration
CROP Hunger Walks - Stepping Up to End Hunger since 1969

Celebrating the 50th anniversary of the national CROP Hunger Walk movement, CROP Hunger Walks continue to raise millions of dollars each year to help end hunger and poverty through long-term sustainable approaches to significantly reduce or eliminate hunger. In each CROP Hunger Walk community, 25% of money raised comes back to local agencies. Across the country, over 1600 local agencies receive funds from CROP Hunger Walks
This year some 800 communities nationwide are joining together in interfaith CROP Hunger Walks around the theme "Stepping up to End Hunger Since 1969." The CROP Hunger Walk was started in 1969 by a group of energized young people in Bismarck, North Dakota, who wanted to mobilize their community to fight global hunger. Today, the CROP Hunger Walk is a national movement raising funds for the global hunger-fighting work of Church World Service and local hunger-fighting agencies. Last year, over 800 events raised over $8 million dollars.
For more information or to find a local Walk, click here.
Conference Transitions

Searching Churches
  • First Congregational Church in Port Washington is searching for a pastor. Details 
  • First Congregational UCC in Genoa City is searching for a pastor. Details 
  • Trinity UCC in Brookfield is searching for a pastor. Details 
To see all searching churches, click here.

Wider Church Searches
  • The National Office of the UCC has several open positions. Details 
New Calls
  • Joel Zimmerman has been called as pastor at Namekagon Congregational UCC in Earl, effective September 2, 2019. Joel is new to the Conference. Welcome!
  • First Congregational UCC in Bloomer celebrated their 150th Anniversary on September 23, 2019.
  • Trinity UCC in Brookfield is celebrating their 150th anniversary on November 2 and 3, 2019. You are invited to celebrate with them! Social hour will be from 2:30 PM until 5:00 PM on November 2. There will be a celebration Worship Service on November 3 at 10:00 AM with fellowship time to follow. Questions? Contact Lynne Mielke via email or at  262-547-0109.
In Memoriam
  • Lisa Whelton, wife of Rev. Greg Whelton at St. John's UCC in Sheboygan, passed away on September 17, 2019. 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
UCC History and Polity
Support asylum-seekers
Ministry on Tap
Neighbors In Need
Climate Survey
Boundary Training
UCC Mental Health Weekend
Congregational Conflict workshop
Youth Events
Church Property webinar
General Synod Communion sets
Disaster Preparedness
Hurricane Dorian Relief
Extravagant Generosity webinars
Solar energy workshop
CROP Hunger Walks
Conference Transitions
Church Spotlight

This Northwest Association church has been faithfully serving the Mellen area since 1897, when it was unaffiliated with any denomination and called Union Church. The church is served by pastor Don Quigley. In November 2017, the church started worshipping in a brand new building.
Check the Conference calendar for upcoming events.
The Parish Paper
This month's Parish Paper is " A Team Approach to Worship Design." 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.