Wisconsin Conference Life Newsletter
Oct. 25, 2019 
Ecumenical Creation Care
by Rebecca Ferguson

Although we at First Congregational, River Falls, had already made some dedicated environmental improvements to our own building and behaviors, we have found that when we began connecting with our neighbor congregations, we together began making some real impacts on our local world.
It started simply in late 2015 when we reached out to St. Bridget Catholic Community Church to share a couple of meals and discussions with just a few folks about Pope Francis' just published encyclical, On Care for Our Common Home: Laudato Si. We made sure to have one meal at our church, one at theirs, and, while we asked everyone to read the text, we organized our discussion around a handout with a few key quotations, coupled with open-ended questions, so that everyone could participate. The conversation was more engaged than we few planners could have imagined, and the energy to continue connecting and acting on these issues moved us all forward together.
Read on to learn how this ecumenical initiative has grown from the first project with 2 congregations - a Lenten Devotional - to currently involving the wider community and six additional congregations! 
Don't Disagree - Deliberate
How to Lead Community Conversations in Your Church
by The Parish Paper

Should church leaders ever discuss issues of public concern and ask community members to join them? If so, how? Read this issue of the Parish Paper, which sheds some light on these issues and offers guidance to churches.
Doctrine of Discovery Study
Response Form Available

The voting body at the 2018 Wisconsin Conference UCC Annual Meeting voted to enter into a time of discussion and study around the Doctrine of Discovery and our faith, with the purpose being to vote on a resolution to repudiate the Doctrine of Discovery at the 2019 annual meeting. The Ho Cak UCC and the Wisconsin Conference Racial Justice Task Force presented this resolution. In order to bring the resolution to the floor for a vote in April 2019, at least 65 congregations in the Wisconsin Conference must engage in discussion or study of this issue and submit this response form prior to March 31, 2019.
Click here for more information and links to resources
The Christmas Fund 2018: The Light is Surely Coming
Christmas Fund
Watch your mailboxes! The National UCC office is sending each church Christmas Fund materials

Each year, the UCC collects a special offering, the Christmas Fund. The date for this year's collection is Sunday, December 23. Last year, this fund provided nearly 1,000 active and retired clergy and lay employees of the United Church of Christ with direct financial assistance, prompting one to write, "That news of help made our day, our month, our year, our life!"
The gifts sent to the Christmas Fund are used in various ways: Grant programs, Christmas checks to 466 retired UCC Clergy and Lay employees - expected to total $230,000 by the end of this year, monthly small annuity supplements to approximately 378 persons - totaling $976,247 as of this past August 22 nd , and emergency grants given to 20 individuals and families, totaling $32,174 as of August 1, 2018.  
Behind these numbers are real people with real needs, and our gifts to the Christmas Fund are a real expression of our ministry to one another, as well as an act of grace of the kind the Apostle Paul wrote of in II Corinthians 8:7: "Now as you excel in everything--in faith, in utterance, in knowledge, in all earnestness, and in your love for us--see that you excel in this gracious work also."
Youth Faith Formation Event and Knock Knock Middle School Event Deadlines

Don't miss out on these two youth events! These are group youth events, and as such there are several deadlines for each event. Click here to read more. The first deadline is October 26, so don't delay!
damascus project image Returning to Sacred Texts and Finding Stories You Can Live In
A Damascus Project course
Feb. 4, 2019 - April 5, 2019

Reading scripture can feel intimidating and complicated and its message is often difficult to comprehend and to relate to in today's world. In light of these challenges, this course will give you the opportunity to:
  • Discover what happens in the act of reading and what the implications are for reading the Bible, so that the Bible can become a source of wonder, wisdom, and inspiration for you;
  • Learn some specific tools to increase your competence and strengthen your confidence in reading and interpreting the Bible;
  • Spark your spiritual imagination so that you might understand and appreciate more deeply the circumstances of your own life by finding your story in the sacred stories of the Bible;
  • Become better equipped to respond to and lead today's changing church by engaging your community's stories with the sacred stories of the Bible.
All are welcome! There are no pre-requisites for this course, though participants must have access to high-speed internet to participate.   Click here to access the online registration. The course fee is $250.
Genreal Synod 2019 logo General Synod 2019
Volunteering 101

The Wisconsin Conference is excited to host the 32nd General Synod of the UCC! While volunteer registration won't open until January, three to four hundred volunteers will be needed throughout the five days of General Synod next June and we will need your help! Here are some FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) to answer What, Who, When, Where, Why, How and more!
Read more...and check back in January!
Conference Transitions

Searching Churches
  • Community UCC in St. Germain is searching for a full time pastor. View details
  • First Congregational UCC in Madison is searching for a full time communications coordinator. View details
  • To see all searching churches, click here.
Wider Church Opportunities
  • The national UCC setting has several current openings: Associate General Manager for the Global Engagement Team; Minister for Economic Justice for the Education and Faith Action Team; Communication Strategist at the Washington DC office, and Client Relationship Manger at the Cornerstone Fund. You can find out more about these opportunities here.
  • Holy Wisdom Monastery is searching for two co-directors for a new center, the Ecumenical Center for Clergy Spiritual Renewal. More information
Installations and Ordinations
  • Rev. Lois Buchholz was ordained at Emanuel UCC in Hales Corners on October 14, 2018
  • Rev. Shaun Drefahl was installed at Congregational UCC in Evansville on October 21, 2018
  • St. John UCC in Random Lake celebrated their 150th anniversary on September 16, 2018
  • United Christian Church, Campbellsport, celebrated their 150th anniversary on October 21, 2018
In Memoriam
  • Belva Ruben, mother of Rev. Doris Ruben, passed away on October 8, 2018. Obituary
  • Joseph Mark Adkins passed away on October 20, 2018. 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
Don't Disagree - Deliberate
Doctrine of Discovery
Christmas Fund
Youth events
Returning to Sacred Texts
Synod Volunteer FAQs
Conference Transitions
Church Spotlight

For 161 years, this Northeast Association church has served the New London community and is currently led by pastor Greg Watling. One interesting part of their history is that the congregation was active in resettling three refugee families in the aftermath of WW2.   

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.