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Wisconsin Conference Life Newsletter
May 22, 2020 
Boundary Training Moves Online
by Rob MacDougall

Boundary Training for authorized ministers and members in discernment in the Wisconsin Conference will be done online this year. We have worked out an arrangement with Convergence, which has a well-developed boundary training program, to offer this at a discount to people in the Wisconsin Conference. We have reviewed their program and think its content meets our needs for boundary training.
There will be no in-person boundary training offered by the Conference until at least June 2021. All those who are due for boundary training in 2020 and 2021 should sign up for this online option. Information on how to sign up is in the email all ministers who are due for training received.
In part, this is a response to the new realities we all face as a result of the current pandemic. But it also reflects work by the Conference Commission on Church and Ministry and its Boundary Training Task Force to develop new ways to offer boundary training, which is required for every authorized minister every four years in order to retain their standing in the UCC.
Beginning in June of 2021 we hope to offer a combination of online boundary training along with one shorter in-person session. We are looking at our arrangement with Convergence this year as a pilot program that will be evaluated during 2021.
Authorized ministers and members in discernment who are due for boundary training this year will receive more details about this course soon. If you know you are due for boundary training and do not get those details, please contact the associate conference minister who serves your association or the chair of your Committee on Ministry.
Moving from Crisis to Hope: Responding to the Kairos Call to Climate Action
Webinar, June 11 at 7pm

The urgency of the climate crisis requires that we act as if our cathedrals and churches are on fire. Indeed, God's creation can be seen as one grand cathedral on fire with burning forests and rising temperatures. Amid this dire situation, Brooks Berndt focuses our attention on the unique and vitally needed gifts that churches can offer in his book Cathedral on Fire!: A Church Handbook for the Climate Crisis.
In this webinar, Berndt will share about why he wrote the book and how the best of our theological traditions are especially relevant today in the face of multiple crises. Berndt will kick-off a conference-wide book-read that will help congregations get started on the Kairos Call to Action.
UN climate reports and the world's leading climate scientists have stressed that we are now in a critical window of time for action to mitigate the climate crisis and steer our planet toward a sustainable future. In response to this crisis situation, at this year's Annual Meeting members of the Wisconsin Conference will be asked to covenant as a Conference, as congregations, as households and as individuals to respond to a Kairos Call to Action by engaging in an all-out mobilization to address climate and inequality over the next ten years.
Read more  
Top 10 Reasons to Attend the 2020 Online Conference Annual Meeting
Healing Our Earthly Home
Saturday, June 6, 8:30 a.m. - Noon

#10 - Be inspired with a keynote address by Tia Nelson, internationally-recognized champion for environmental stewardship, and daughter of Wisconsin's own Gaylord Nelson, founder of Earth Day.

#9 - Be energized by the exciting and crucial Church-wide initiative, Kairos Call to Action, and hear about the opportunities to learn and get involved that will roll out throughout 2020.

#8 - Participate in the business of the Wisconsin Conference - Annual budget, Conference Bylaws revisions, Nominations.

#7 - Hear highlights of Conference life from our Conference Minister, the Rev. Franz Rigert.

#6 - Worship together (virtually), featuring a message from Marlon WhiteEagle, Ho-Chunk Nation President.

#5 - Celebrate the retirement of a very special Wisconsin Conference staff person.

#4 - Visitors are welcome.

#3 - It's free!

#2 - You don't have to travel or dress fancy. Only the presenters will be on screen, so come as you are.

And the #1 reason to attend Annual Meeting . . . No hard chairs to sit on for hours! Enjoy from the comfort of your favorite chair. (We do, however, apologize that there will be no ice cream bar.)

Once you register, we will email the meeting booklet, including materials for the Conference business items to be voted on.
Ministers, delegates and visitors -- please register now for the June 6th meeting! 
For those who had previously registered for the in-person Annual Meeting, please see additional information here 
Cultivating Generous Congregations
Online Workshop, bi-weekly June 24-Sept 2, 5:30-7:30 pm

Can fundraising be ministry? Can stewardship be spiritual? The Cultivating Generous Congregations Seminar for pastors and lay leaders offers an opportunity to explore faithful, practical, and tested ways to promoting generosity in our congregations. We will draw on current research, seek guidance from the wisdom of scripture, and discuss the best practices in church-based fundraising. Pastors and leaders participating in this program will be equipped to lead an effective fall stewardship campaign and, more broadly, help their congregation reclaim generosity as a spiritual practice.
Online Worship Offers Beautiful Opportunities

This will warm your heart. And it's a great example of what can be done in online worship. Julia and Jim Hollister, co-pastors of First Congregational UCC in Sheboygan, graciously shared this Mother's Day video that was shown during the worship service on that day.  
Ann Berchem, First Congregational's Children's Music Coordinator, wrote a "Thankful for Mothers" song, using ideas from the church's Sunday School children and youth. Then she encouraged children to video record themselves singing the song. For those who were not as excited about singing, she encouraged them to make a Mother's Day sign and take a photo which she incorporated into the video. All of this (along with the love that went into creating it) can be seen in this moving video. Enjoy viewing, and be inspired!
Strengthen the Church Special Offering Resources

We serve the Church in interesting times! As pastors and leaders, we guide congregations through uncertain times, learning to do things we'd never imagined we might try, and adapting all the time.
The Strengthen the Church Offering - typically taken on Pentecost - provides just the sort of help we need at this time. The offering supports the work of our conference and the wider United Church of Christ as we equip pastors and leaders, form new congregations and help existing ones find their way through conflict.
Half of your gift to Strengthen the Church directly supports the Wisconsin Conference. It provides the financial resources our conference needs to try new innovative programs like the Damascus Project, to advocate for 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 and renewing congregations and programs for youth and young adults.
The national church provides many resources for the Strengthen the Church Offering at , including worship resources, materials, videos and more.
Your gifts to Strengthen the Church matter. Please consider contributing online today - or through your local congregation when it receives the Strengthen the Church Offering.   
United Church Camps, Inc. Message from Glenn Svetnicka

Mother's Day came on the heels of Easter. That is no coincidence. By remembering all of the important women in our lives...the ones that birthed us, those who loved us unconditionally, who taught us right from wrong, who nursed our wounds, built us up, kept us humble, and always did what was right for us...we get a small glimpse into how much God loves us. Frankly, it's hard to accept and even harder to imagine that which God did for us.
There is MUCH in life that is hard to imagine and accept. Three months ago, who could have imagined so much uncertainty and change? It is in a love response to this uncertainty that UCCI is suspending programming at Pilgrim Center for Summer 2020.
Returning to Church Resources

The Wisconsin Council of Churches has provided an excellent resource called Returning to Church . WCC Executive Director, Rev. Kerri Parker, offered a Webinar on protocols and best practices for the coming weeks and months. Due to a technical glitch, the first part of the webinar did not record, but the main portion of the webinar can be found here.
Join a virtual choir for Pentecost!

Bryan Sirchio, pastor at McFarland UCC and lead designer at the Convergence Music Project, added some new lyrics to a familiar tune. Record yourself singing the same song and upload your video by May 24. It will be added to other voices and shared on May 31, Pentecost Sunday.
More information
Invitation to Share Your Stories

Three years ago, the Wisconsin Conference UCC became an Immigrant Welcoming Conference. Since this vote of the delegates at our Annual Meeting in 2017, many congregations have answered the call to engage in the ministry of being "immigrant welcoming." In the coming year, the Immigration Working Group will be connecting with congregations to learn more about their efforts, to share information about what it might look like to become an Immigrant Welcoming Congregation, and to offer support and help congregations network with each other.

There are many different ways to live out the call to be "immigrant welcoming" and we invite you to share your congregation's story about how you are responding to the call to "love your neighbor" and "welcome the stranger." We plan to share these stories in future Wisconsin Conference Life e-newsletters and post them on the Immigration Justice page of the Wisconsin Conference website. Our hope is that these stories will inspire congregations to engage in this important work.

Please send your stories to Lisa Hart, Associate Conference Minister for Faith Formation and Justice Ministries
Poor People's Campaign March

For those unable to attend the Poor People's Campaign March in Washington, DC, on Saturday, June 20, the program portion of the march will be accessible online. Details will be available in the June issue of Wisconsin Life for this virtual connection. For more information, contact Rev. Steve Davis.
Light in Dark Places: Mental Health and Church Ministry
May 27 at 1pm Central time

Join the Insurance Board for a webcast on May 27th at 1pm Central time as Marriage & Family Therapist, Kevin Brown M.A., L.M.F.T., P.P.S coaches us through finding the light in dark places: managing mental health and church ministry.

This discussion will help churches gain a fresh perspective in identifying mental health concerns. It will also provide tools to assist community members with maintaining their positive outlook, and finding joy and freedom during COVID-19 and beyond.

Learn various tips from how to manage anxiety, to overcoming personal crises, and gaining freedom from self-limiting beliefs. Insurance Board continues to protect your ministry by offering resources to support it; join us for our fifth webcast on trending topics related to COVID-19.

This webcast is free and open to all. Register here

Virtual National Youth Event 2020
The in-person gathering of NYE 2020 has been postponed to 2022, but youth and young adults can still participate in some virtual offerings this summer.  
Help Others - Donate Now
The Emergency Response Fund of the Wisconsin Conference will provide help as congregations deal with critical needs caused by the Coronavirus pandemic. All funds will be awarded to organizations experiencing financial hardship and those meeting crucial needs in their community. Donate to the Emergency Response Fund
The General Fund of the Wisconsin Conference helps us connect, support, and resource pastors, leaders, and congregations.  Your gift allows the Conference to provide relevant and timely help during the pandemic and beyond. Donate to the General Fund 
Conference Transitions

Searching Churches
  • No churches recently began a new search. To see all searching churches, click here.
Wider Church Searches
  • The national UCC is searching for a Director of Philanthropy for the Office of Philanthropy, Technology, Identity and Communication (OPTIC). Details 
Good Tidings
  • Conference staff member Rev. Dr. Tisha Brown received a Doctor of Ministry in Creative Leadership degree from Central Baptist Theological Seminary in Shawnee, Kansas on May 16, 2020. Congratulations, Tisha!

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
Kairos Call webinar
Annual Meeting
Cultivating Generous Congregations
Online worship offers beautiful opportunity
Strengthen the Church
UCCI camp news
Returning to Church Resources
Pentecost virtual choir
Immigrant Welcoming stories sought
Poor People's Campaign March
Mental health and church ministry
Virtual summer NYE
Emergency Response Fund
Conference Transitions
Check the Conference calendar for upcoming events.
The Parish Paper
This month's Parish Paper is " Yes, Congregations Can Learn New Habits - May 2020." Access this issue and archived issues here!
Quick Links

Join the Conference-wide Creation Care Team!
Are you passionate about Creation Care? Want to connect with others who are taking action to care for the earth? The Creation Care Team's primary focus is to encourage, support and provide resources to congregations in the Wisconsin Conference as they do what they can to care for creation. If you would like to be a part of this team, or for more information on the Creation Care Team, contact John Helt. You can also go to to learn more. 
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.