Newsletter header image
Wisconsin Conference Life Newsletter
Oct. 23, 2019   
social innovation challenge winner Love Your Neighbor Social Innovation Challenge Supports Community-minded Wisconsin Entrepreneurs

5 Community Project Proposals Won Grants
There was a terrific turnout at last weekend's "Love Your Neighbor Social Innovation Challenge" hosted by First Congregational UCC in Janesville. Eight community-based project ideas were pitched and five of them received grants of $500 to $1500.
The Challenge was a little like the TV show Shark Tank, but with a UCC Three Great Loves heart, a democratic spirit, and a mission of supporting and mentoring entrepreneurs who are motivated more by community uplift than by profit. It's a collaborative competition designed to encourage ideas that are financially sustainable, spiritually grounded and which demonstrate a love of neighbor in a local community.
For congregations, it's a proactive way to build up their surrounding communities and build relationships with others doing good work. The Challenge's local, Conference and national organizers hope to see this implemented nationwide.
Continue reading to learn about the winning proposals and how you can bring new life and hopeful possibilities to your local community through this model.
If you have questions about the event or would like to explore the possibility of hosting one in your community, contact Rev. Tisha Brown or Rev. Tanya Sadagopan
blanket exercise image
Church Hosts Ho-Chunk UCC Members for "Blanket Exercise"

On October 13 and 14, First Congregational UCC Menomonie  honored Indigenous Peoples Day by hosting members of Ho-Chunk UCC to engage the church in the "Blanket Exercise." This exercise is a telling of North American indigenous peoples' history from the fifteenth century to present day. The exercise is participatory--the blankets show the size and population of indigenous people in North America from the time of European explorers and how and why they diminish over the next 500-600 years.
View photographs from the event
abby henderson image Faith and Learning and The Damascus Project
by Rev. Abby Henderson, Director of Leadership Development, Minnesota Conference UCC
Rev. Abby Henderson is the new Director of Leadership Development in the MN Conference. She began her work on October 7, 2019. 

In Paul's second letter to Timothy, the dying patriarch charges his faithful protégé to "continue in what you have learned and firmly believed, knowing from whom you have learned it" (2 Tim 3:14). 

I really love that line: for me, it captures something of the essence of church. Church is a place we go to receive deep wisdom, wisdom that has fed generations before us and generations to come, wisdom that can anchor us when nothing else will. 

My mother tells a story from her childhood that speaks to this: she was a little girl, five or six, sitting in the pews of her congregational (soon to be UCC) church in Connecticut, watching the minister preach. His voice sounded urgent and intense.
UCC forgives _5.3 million in medical debt video

UCC Forgives Millions in Debt in Chicago, Announces National Effort

by Hans Holznagel, United Church of Christ
Almost 6,000 families on the South Side of Chicago have had their medical debt forgiven through a collaborative effort of local, Conference and national bodies of the United Church of Christ and other partners. UCC leaders announced Oct. 20 that church donations have wiped out $5.3 million in medical debt for 5,888 Chicago families.
Bread for the Advent Journey: Nourishing Ourselves, Nourishing Others
An Advent Retreat
Friday, December 13, 2019 from 9:30am - 3:00pm

Jesus says, "I am the bread of life." Poet Mary Oliver writes, "Eat bread and understand comfort." In this Advent retreat we will ask: How is Jesus our bread? What does genuine nourishment look like? How do we give and receive comfort? Come join us as we explore the powerful metaphor of bread and thoughtfully prepare for a spiritually satisfying Advent.  
Worker Justice is Climate Justice
A UCC Webinar
November 14, 2019 at 12:00pm CST
As the climate movement pushes our society toward becoming fossil free, how can we ensure that the transition happens in a way that is just and fair for workers? This question will be at the heart of the UCC's next Creation Justice Webinar. The featured guests will be Michael Leon Guerrero from the Labor Network for Sustainability and Michael Williams from the BlueGreen Alliance. In a world that often falsely pits the wellbeing of workers against protection of the environment, they will help us see how matters of justice are interconnected rather than oppositional. The webinar will be on November 14th, but register even if you can't make it to receive a link to the recording. Sign-up 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

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
Youth Events!
Registration closes soon for these two great events

Youth Faith Formation Retreats
November 8-10, 2019 at Pilgrim Center
Join us for a confirmation centered retreat. We will explore what it means to be the church and how that commitment continues to evolve.
Register for November retreat (deadline: November 1, 2019)

This event will also be held on February 28-March 1, 2020, and
March 6-8, 2020. Registration to come in 2020.

Knock Knock Middle School Retreat
November 22-24, 2019 at Pilgrim Center
Come to Knock Knock with your youth group. Start a new group or fire up the one you've got, like your confirmation group. Don't come alone! Bring all the interested Middle Schoolers in your church, plus one adult leader for every five kids. The leaders go through the workshops with the youth. Your group will feel the impact for a long time! 
Registration link (deadline: November 15, 2019)

Registration for the Jesus Core retreat in January will be available soon!
Faith and Freedom Tour
Birmingham, Montgomery and Selma
March 13-20, 2020 or March 20-27, 2020

Join this pilgrimage exploring American slavery and Black American Civil Rights in Alabama. Enhance your on-going commitment to racial justice by engaging in deeper conversations of racism in the United States and how it intersects with one's faith.
Facing Your Church Building's Uncertain Future: A Conversation
Webinar, Nov. 12, 2019 at 2:00pm CST

Does your church building help or hinder your mission? Discuss church buildings with Rev. Patrick Duggan, UCC Church Building and Loan Fund. Participants will hear about and discuss options for their church facilities.
Register here
Flourishing in Ministry: Cultivating Trustworthy Relationships
Three retreat dates: May 11-14, 2020, Nov. 9-11, 2020, and May 10-12, 2021
Siena Retreat Center, Racine
Leaders: Rev. Winton Boyd, Chelsey Hillyer, Rev. Katrina Jenkins, and Sharla Steever

This is an invitation to step away from your daily work to explore your inner life, to reconnect with your calling and passion, and to join a global movement that believes that leadership begins from the heart of who you are. This is a different kind of leader development program. There are no assessments, instruments, or strategic planning workshops. Instead, the focus will be on building trustworthy relationships, with ourselves and the people in the circle, through a process that is intentionally ecumenical, cross cultural and multi-aged.   
Learn more
Conference Transitions

Searching Churches
  • First Congregational UCC in Genoa City is searching for a pastor. Details
  • Congregational UCC in Brodhead is searching for a pastor. Details
To see all searching churches, click here.
Wider Church Searches
The National UCC has several open positions. Details

Installations and Ordinations
  • Rev. Lisa Bodenheim was installed at Prescott United Church of Christ in Prescott on October 13, 2019
  • Rev. Jim Iliff retired from Middleton Community Church in Middleton on October 12, 2019
  • St. Paul's UCC in Marshfield celebrated their 125th Anniversary on October 21, 2019. Congrats!
In Memoriam
  • Clifton "Don" Mundell, father of Rev. Kevin Mundell, passed away on October 9, 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
Indigenous Peoples' Day honored
Damascus Project
UCC forgives medical debt
Advent retreat
Climate webinar
Boundary training
Congregational Conflict workshop
Youth events
Faith and Freedom Tour
Church property webinar
Flourishing in Ministry retreat series
Conference Transitions
Church Spotlight

This Southwest Association church is led by Rev. Larry Treece. The church is well known locally for the Peanut Project, a popular community event where church members and friends prepare fresh peanuts for sale in local grocery stores. The Peanut Project has been happening since 1954! 
Check the Conference calendar for upcoming events.
The Parish Paper
This month's Parish Paper is "Let's Take a Walk: The Ministry of Accompaniment." 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.