Wisconsin Conference Life Newsletter
May 22, 2019 
General Synod Workshops Address UCC Mission and Ministries
by Connie Larkman

United Church of Christ General Synod will have dozens of opportunities to learn more about issues and ministries critical to the UCC as a community of faith. On Saturday afternoon, June 22, Synod planners are offering 30 one-hour workshops, addressing topics around worship, spiritual activism, environmental justice, disability theology, global racial equity and immigrant welcoming congregations, just to name a few. 
The workshops were selected from more than 130 applications by a team at the National Setting which was representative of all ministries. They will be presented on Saturday at two different times - 1:30 to 2:30p.m. and 3:00 to 4:00p.m.
Synod planners said workshops were chosen based on the usefulness of material to local congregations, the potential for lasting relationships to be developed as a result of the workshop, and the feasibility of the proposed outcomes.
The group was attentive to curating a selection that represented the wide breadth and depth of the United Church of Christ as a whole.
A complete list of workshops can be found on the General Synod 2019 website
Care for Our Waters
by Kathy Bartilson, Creation Care Team member
Spring has arrived and it's time to get out on our favorite streams, rivers and lakes! My husband Kevin and I had our first vesper paddle down the river last week. It was wonderful to greet all our usual creature friends and welcome them either back up north or back up out of the riverbed. We are blessed to live where there are superlative river and lake paddling opportunities within an hour of home, and beautiful woods and wetlands to explore.
However, we spend part of every trip picking litter and wondering why our shared resources, both land and water, aren't respected, cherished and cared for by everyone gatherin g at, by, on, or in the river. While we are fortunate in Wisconsin that our rivers, lakes, and streams are public waters and in a sense "belong" to all of us, I believe they have their own integrity and worth, separate from their value and utility to humans . We need to behave as gentle guests when recreating, as the waters are home to so many awesome creatures, all dependent on clean water and secure habitat.
What are some ways to be responsible stewards when out boating or even just having a picnic by the water? How can we protect our waters by the practices we use in our homes, communities, businesses, and churches? Find out here
Strengthen the Church Offering Helps Make Miracles Happen
by Rev. Andrew Warner
Do you believe miracles happen? I do.
Miracles like Pentecost can seem impossible: the gusty movement of the Spirit, tongues of fire, and crazy preaching that made sober Peter sound drunk.
And yet I believe in miracles because of my own Pentecost moment back in 2014. Read Rev. Andrew Warner's story
Do you know that half of your gift to Strengthen the Church will support the Wisconsin Conference? It provides the financial resources our conference needs to try new innovative programs like the Damascus Project, to advocate for immigrant justice, and to deepen the leadership gifts of our clergy. The other half of your gift to Strengthen the Church supports projects across the country, especially resources for new congregations and programs for youth and young adults.
Just as the Strengthen the Church Offering helped set the stage for my Pentecost miracle, I know the offering we take on June 9, 2019, will equip the Church to do Jesus' miraculous work.
Links to new Strengthen the Church resources:
Migrant Monthly: Pressure to Restore Access to Driver Licenses Continues
brought to you by the Immigration Working Group

May 1st is a traditional day of action for worker and immigrant rights, and this year was no exception. On May Day, 2019, thousands of immigrants and allies gathered at the Wisconsin Capitol for "A Day Without Latinxs & Immigrants," a day of action organized annually by Voces de la Frontera, a Milwaukee-based, grassroots organization.  
As in past years, the day was a way to show Wisconsinites how dependent we are on the labor of immigrants, especially recent Latinx immigrants, and how integral immigrants continue to be to our communities, urban and rural-people notice when businesses close for a day and workers and students are absent. The 2019 action had an additional focus on supporting the restoration of access to driver licenses for all regardless of immigration status, which Governor Tony Evers included as a provision in his proposed state budget. Voces has collected thousands of signatures on a petition supporting the "Driver Licenses For All" campaign, and the campaign has received widespread support across the state. Plymouth Congregational UCC in Madison has partnered with the local chapter of Voces to collect dozens of signatures.
On May 9, the Joint Finance Committee voted on party lines to remove the driver license provision (along with others they said were also "non-fiscal") from the budget. Undaunted, Voces is committed to working with legislators, business associations, and community members statewide, to introduce and pass standalone legislation to restore driver license access for immigrants. For more information, please visit the Voces de la Frontera website.
Our Whole Lives Training
Training educators to teach human sexuality: Grades 7-9 and 10-12
August 9-11, 2019
First Congregational Church, Watertown
Our Whole Lives is a comprehensive kindergarten through adult sexuality education curriculum series. It provides youth with accurate information on sexual health, human development, sexual behavior, relationships, and personal skills in the supportive setting of their faith community. This workshop trains teachers in how to teach participants about sexuality in age-appropriate ways. The workshop will focus on the curricula for grades 7-9 and grades 10-12.
Wisconsin Interfaith Safety & Security Symposium
June 11, Milwaukee
Faith-based organizations, houses of worship & community groups face a number of threats from across the all-hazards environment. To enhance individual organizations' preparedness, security, and resilience beyond what they can do alone, collaboration is a key to success and effective risk mitigation. This symposium will discuss some of the challenges organizations are facing and some of the ways they can work together to enhance one another's individual and collective security operations. For questions, see the flyer or contact the Interfaith Conference at (414) 276-9050 or via email.
Rev. Joanne Thomson image Rev. Joanne Thomson Retirement Event
July 14, Warner Park, Madison

Retirement for Joanne is just the beginning and not the end, but it is the end of her time serving among us. Please join us for this fun event to celebrate Joanne and her ministry!
Rev. Joanne Thomson, currently the Associate Conference Minister for our Southwest Association, will retire at the end of July. Joanne has served the Wisconsin Conference since 2001. A chance to say farewell to her will be at the Madison Mallards baseball game on July 14. One cannot spend any amount of time with Joanne without learning that she is an avid sports fan, so enjoying a baseball game with her is the perfect send-off after her many years of ministry among us. Discounted Mallards "Duck Blind" tickets through the Wisconsin Conference must be purchased by June 19. 
Communities of Practice for Clergy and for Christian Educators
Register now for groups starting in September

Communities of Practice (COP) clergy groups provide the sustenance that your ministry needs in order to be effective well into the future! COP groups are designed to be peer learning groups, focused both on the practice of ministry and your growth in your role as a pastoral minister. Previous participants need to re-register to continue on in a group.
More information
Register for a clergy COP group
COP groups are available for people who work in Christian Education and Faith Formation (CE/FF), too!  
Register for a CE/FF COP group
Going to Synod? McCormick Theological Seminary Alumni Event
If you are in the Milwaukee area - Please join us for Lunch on Monday, June 24, 2019, from 11:30a.m. - 1:00p.m. at the Miller Time Pub, 509 Wisconsin Avenue, Milwaukee. $25/person. RSVP and pay here
Prayer Shawls for Synod
At this year's General Synod, the UCC Disabilities and Mental Health Justice Ministries is hosting a "Wellness Room." This will be a space for General Synod attendees to get away from the crowds and busyness and find space and time for quiet and rejuvenation. 
We would like to provide welcome and hospitality to individuals who choose to spend some time in this space. We are seeking donations of prayer shawls that could be used by and gifted to people who visit this space. If your congregation has a prayer shawl ministry or if you have individuals in your congregation who enjoy making prayer shawls, and you would be interested in donating some of your prayer shawls to the Wellness Room at General Synod, please contact Lisa Hart via email or at 608-846-7880.
General Synod Children's Choir Canceled
by Rev. Susan Blain, Minister for Worship and Gospel Arts, United Church of Christ
Thanks to all who have expressed interest in helping to form a Children's Choir for the Sunday worship service. It was a great idea and a high hope, but because of the complexities of planning Synod worship and literally feeding the 5000, we have been unable to organize it in a satisfactory fashion, and so must cancel it! I apologize for the disappointment, and offer my thanks to all who worked with me to try to pull this together, especially Debbie Payden. I have learned a lot, and will approach this kind of involvement of children earlier, and in a different way, at future Synods.

We are looking forward to meeting you all in person in a few weeks!
Conference Transitions

Searching Churches
  • Namekagon Congregational Church in Earl is searching for a part time pastor. Details
  • Cedar Community in West Bend is searching for a chaplain. Details
  • To see all searching churches, click here.
Installations and Ordinations
  • Rev. Lucas Williams was installed at St. Stephens UCC in Merrill on May 19, 2019
  • Rev. Thad Winkle was installed at Bethel-Bethany UCC in Milwaukee on May 19, 2019
  • Peace UCC in Marinette will celebrate their 125th anniversary on June 29th and 30th and the congregation welcomes all to celebrate with them. Invitation
Good Tidings
  • Howard Kanetzke is resigning from serving on the Historical Committee. We are thankful for his many, many years of service.
  • Tracy Hauge, Assistant Director of Finance for the Wisconsin Conference, welcomed her first grandchild, Logan John Gundlach, on May 15, 2019.
In Memoriam
  • Rev. Ruben Grosshuesch passed away on May 18, 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
Care for our waters
Strengthen the Church offering
Migrant monthly
Our Whole Lives training
Interfaith safety and security symposium
Rev. Joanne Thomson retirement event
Communities of Practice
McCormick Theological Synod lunch
Prayer shawls for Synod
Children's choir canceled
Conference Transitions
Church Spotlight

This Northeast Association church, led by pastor David Frey, was formally organized in 1851, but its roots go back to 1846, when Rev. O. P. Clinton started preaching in the largest room in town -  the hotel bar! Rev. Clinton said "I can preach as well in a bar room as in a church and the customers can wait for their drinks." Word on the street was that the customers "waited impatiently." The colorful history of this church has formed the base for nearly 170 years of  ministry, community, and service to others. 

Check the Conference calendar for upcoming events.
The Parish Paper
This month's Parish Paper is " Tips for Starting and Managing a Worship Band." 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.