Wisconsin Conference Life Newsletter
Jan.  5, 2017 
share your story image Share Your Congregation's Story at the 2017 Wisconsin Conference Annual Meeting

How is God using your congregation to transform lives and change our world?  


How is your congregation shifting from maintenance to mission?


What is your congregation doing that may be an inspiring example to other congregations?

The 2017 Wisconsin Conference Annual Meeting will feature a "Share Fair!" Think of a science fair, only highlighting YOUR congregation's story of ministry.
Our Share Fair will be a large space filled with tables for congregations to set up a display that tells their ministry story, and talk about it with annual meeting attendees. Meeting attendees will visit the Share Fair during the Saturday morning and afternoon breakout times on June 10, 2017.
Learn more and apply here! 
www-abstract-globe.jpg UCC Web Partner Offering Churches Free Website Design

The UCC's web partner, Ministry Designs, is giving away websites to every local church that needs one to kick off the New Year. "It is our goal to help as many UCC churches with their websites as possible," said Tyler Rominger of Ministry Designs. "Our partnership has gone so well over the last couple of months...that we wanted to completely eliminate the start-up cost and remove any barrier for other churches to get started with a great website."

In this free offer, which runs from January 1 through February 15, Ministry Designs is offering to help create a website for local churches using one of four designs created specifically for UCC congregations. That service, when sold to the public, usually costs $1,000. To be clear, churches will still be responsible for a minimal monthly hosting fee of $35, which also includes support, system updates, unlimited storage, unlimited pages, and unlimited emails.
Learn more
View the web design options
31st General Synod image
Call to General Synod 31

John Dorhauer, the UCC's general minister and president, invites you to the 31st General Synod in Baltimore, June 30-July 4, 2017.
5 practices image
Five Practices: Rediscover Your Congregation's Purpose and Passion
Starts January 28, 2017

Hurry! Registration deadline is January 9, 2017!

Five practices is a facilitated process designed to help you re-connect with your congregation's purpose and strengthen the quality of your church's essential ministries.

A team from your congregation kicks off this process by attending a one-day workshop. Then, over the next few months, the team evaluates your current congregational life in five key areas. With guidance from a trained facilitator you will then create and implement plans for change.

Five Practices focuses on hospitality, worship, faith development, mission and service and generosity. These are practices that have been undertaken by churches for generations. But how would your church be renewed by radical hospitality, passionate worship, intentional faith development, risk-taking mission and service, and extravagant generosity? The Wisconsin Conference seeks to help churches renew and grow their congregations by teaching churches the Five Practices of Fruitful Congregations.
Read more
Deadline for 2016 OCWM and Special Offerings

All gifts for 2016 OCWM and special offerings must be in the Conference office by January 20, 2017, in order to be credited to 2016. If checks are not able to be postmarked by January 18th, please email Vicki or call 608-846-7880 with the amount and breakdown on your final check. The financial office will not be able to apply 2016 checks received late and this may affect your "5 for 5" status. Thank you! 
yearbook image It's Yearbook Time!

It is time for the year-end Yearbook forms. The National UCC office is asking all Conference churches to enter their data using the online system in the National Office's Data Hub; all data from the local church report and ministerial support form will be entered online. Instructions for this online data entry are included with the mailing your church received in the mail (Church Yearbook Instructions). After you have entered your data online, using the self-addressed envelope that was sent to your church, please mail these forms to the conference office and mark that your data has been entered online. If you do not have internet access or are uncomfortable inputting data into a computer link, please email Sue Taylor   or call her at 608-846-7880 to work something out together.
More information
Youth Faith Formation Retreats
February 24-26, 2017 or March 3-5, 2017
Pilgrim Center 

We often compare being a person of faith with being on a journey. In fact, confirmation is viewed as the next step of the faith journey. In this year's Youth Faith Formation retreats, we will focus on many aspects of the faith journey. We'll explore different biblical journeys, talk about the journey of the UCC, and tell the stories of our own journeys. Activities may include orienteering with compasses, creative storytelling opportunities, song writing, map or maze making. Bring your confirmation class or youth group to travel together with us through this confirmation odyssey.
More information 
Lay Academy a la carte
January 20-21, 2017

Anyone is welcome to attend any Lay Leadership session of Lay Academy. Join us for January's session: "Family Systems and your Congregation" taught by Cathy Wille. More information

Lay Academy alumni are also welcome to join in for the Faith Foundations classes. January's session is "The Older Testament Part 2," taught by Carolyn Pressler. More information 
ucci logo image Your Help Sought for Work Week at Moon Beach Camp
Come join us for a work week at Moon Beach! We will be working on our rehab projects of Hiawatha and Nakomis cabins. So, plan in joining us for the week of March 5-11! Register at UCCI.org. No building experience necessary -- just the willingness to do what needs to be done, have fun, and meet new people that have the same passion for our camps as you do! For questions, contact Carol Merriman.
wintry scene image
Women's Winter Getaway

Are you feeling worn out from the holidays? Is a day of sabbath rest wishful thinking for you? Do you just enjoy relaxing with other women? Then come to the Cedar Valley Retreat Center on Saturday, January 28, from 9 am to 3 pm for a day of refreshment in body and spirit. Rev. Dr. Lisa Schmatzhagen will lead us in the journey, including Scriptural meditation, creative activities, and time for conversation, rest, and/or exploring the beautiful grounds. The $30 fee includes a nourishing home-cooked meal, beverages and snacks throughout the day, and all materials; pay at the door with cash or check payable to Salem UCC. Please R.S.V.P. by Friday, January 20 to Ruth Hansen and note any dietary restrictions. Invite your family and friends! We look forward to seeing you there. 
Back Bay Mission logo
Back Bay Mission: 2018 Trips  and Social Justice Internship
Back Bay Mission's 2018 mission trip calendar is open! You can reserve your mission trip week by emailing the Mission's volunteer coordinator. The Mission accepts reservation requests only through email. The 2018 calendar is available on the Mission's website.
Back Bay Mission is now accepting applications for the 2017 Shari Prestemon Social Justice Internship!
The Shari Prestemon Social Justice Internship provides people between the ages of 19 and 35 with a unique opportunity to participate in a 10-week summer program tailored to their interests. Drawing on the Mission's long experience in community engagement and advocacy for justice, the internship will nurture participants' passion for social justice and develop their appreciation for the church's role in seeking social justice.
Applications must be submitted by March 1. Notifications will be made by March 31.
You can learn more about the internship, and download an application, on the Mission's website.
CHHSM Sunday
January 29, 2017

Plan now to celebrate Health and Human Service Ministry Sunday in worship on January 29, 2017. We'll send you liturgical resources in early January.
Wisconsin CHHSM agencies would like to partner more fully with Wisconsin UCC congregations. Look for a packet with resources and information about CHHSM agencies coming soon.
We're excited that the National CHHSM Annual Meeting is being held in Milwaukee, March 2-4, 2017, including "Wisconsin Night" on Friday, March 3. More information at http://bit.ly/2hbtB7N.  
Your Wisconsin Council for Health and Human Service Ministries agency members include:
  • Back Bay Mission
  • Cedar Community
  • Crossroad Child and Family Services
  • Emmaus Homes
  • Fairhaven Senior Services
  • New Glarus Home
  • Orion Family Services
  • Park's Edge Preschool
  • And our communities associated with Retirement Housing Foundation (Monona Meadows, Richardson Manor, Round House Manor and Valley View Apartments)
As you consider the importance of community-based ministries remember these CHHSM agencies that transform lives every day! They reflect the hands and heart of Jesus in this world. Please consider celebrating CHHSM Sunday January 29.
Conference Transitions

Searching Churches
  • Two churches recently started searching for a new pastor: Congregational UCC in Evansville and First Congregational UCC in Lake Mills.To see these and all searching churches, click here.
New Calls
  • Rev. Mary Snell Willis has been called as pastor at Ely Memorial UCC in Land O' Lakes and Congregational UCC in Phelps, effective December 15, 2016
  • Rev. Marlea Gilbert has been called as interim pastor at First Congregational UCC in Milton, effective January 1, 2017
  • Rev. Michelle Holdorf has been called as pastor at First Congregational UCC in Wisconsin Rapids, effective January 1, 2017
Installations and Ordinations
  • Rev. Christopher Ross was installed at St. Peters UCC in Kiel on December 18, 2016
  • Rev. William Brown retired on December 25, 2016. He had been serving Union Congregational UCC in Three Lakes.
  • Rev. Herb Saunders retired on December 30, 2016. He had been serving First Congregational UCC in Milton.
In Memoriam
  • Phyllis Pautz, wife of the late Rev. Zane Pautz, died on December 8, 2016. Obituary
  • Danny Hauge, father-in-law of Wisconsin Conference staff member Tracy Hauge, died on December 13, 2016. 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.

Image credits:
Winter scene (c) Can Stock Photo / swisshippo
Share your story image (c) Shutterstock / marekuliasz
Globe image from Constant Contact 

The Wisconsin Conference UCC is an Open and Affirming Conference.

Wisconsin Conference United Church of Christ
4459 Gray Road | DeForest, WI  53532

In This Issue
Free website design for churches
Call to General Synod 31
Five Practices
2016 OCWM deadline
Lay Academy
Moon Beach work week
Women's winter getaway
Back Bay Mission
CHHSM Sunday
Shift blog 
Check out the
SHIFT BLOG for inspiration! 
Read about & share congregational shift stories.
Church Spotlight

Congregational UCC, Redgranite

First Congregational UCC in Redgranite, in the Northeast Association, has twice been struck with disaster: a fire in 1986 and a tornado in 2001. These tragedies, however, were learning experiences for the congregation: "Our history has taught us that the church is more than a building. The church is people who covenant together to celebrate God and listen to God's still speaking voice."  

Check the Conference calendar for upcoming events.
The Parish Paper
This month's Parish Paper is " Conquering the Cutback Syndrome." Access this issue and archived issues here!
Revd Up logo
Follow Franz Rigert's Rev'd Up Blog for thought provoking ideas. Join the conversation!

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 Micah Schlobohm of the Wisconsin Conference UCC Committee on Ministry with LGBTQ Persons.
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.