Wisconsin Conference Life Newsletter
Jan. 3, 2019 
Something Essential...Right Now
by Rev. Rob MacDougall

I met Rev. Suzie Craig at the national meeting of UCC Conference staff called AM21. Suzie isn't currently on staff, as she is retired, but she did serve in the Maine Conference and they wanted her to attend this meeting on their behalf. Suzie has a passion for small churches and Maine has an ample number of them. She and a colleague have been doing a study of about ten small churches in Maine and she is hearing some fascinating stories about their life and ministry. The stories and their learnings about vital ministry in small churches are being compiled and will hopefully be published this year.
One of the key learnings that Suzie spoke of in my conversation with her is that small vital churches are engaged in some essential ministry, a ministry deeply engaging and energizing to the church's members. This ministry is often a great benefit to the community and people where the church exists.
When Suzie said this it reminded me of a recent conversation with a member of Union Congregational Church in Three Lakes.  
General Synod logo
Call to General Synod 32 - Join us in Milwaukee!

I am officially calling all delegates, visitors, and friends of the United Church of Christ to join us in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, for the 32nd  General Synod, June 21-25, 2019!

The 32nd  General Synod promises to be an inspiring and engaging event in the life of the Church. Our keynote speaker is Dr. Matthew Desmond, professor of Sociology at Princeton University and Pulitzer Prize winner for the book, Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City.

We have inspiring preachers for the worship services. During Friday's Opening Worship Service, The Rev. Kaji Spellman Doua; Sunday's Community Worship Service, The Rev. Traci deVon Blackmon; Monday's Worship Service, The Rev. Sharon Mei-Shem MacArthur and for the Closing Worship Service, The Rev. Dr. Amy Butler.

We will also celebrate the ministries of retiring Associate General Minister for Global Engagement and Operations, Co-executive of Global Ministries, The Rev. Dr. Jim Moos and Mr. Don Hart, President and Chief Investment Officer, United Church Funds.
We will re-elect the General Minister and President and elect a new Associate General Minister for Global Engagement and Operations, Co-executive of Global Ministries.

I invite you to bring a spirit of love, of compassion, of openness and of hope with you. I look forward to seeing you in Milwaukee! Until then, let the light of the living Christ shine in and through you, and be known to all whom you meet along the way.

John C. Dorhauer
General Minister and President
Youth Faith Formation Retreat
February 22-24, 2019
March 1-3, 2019
Pilgrim Center

Bring your confirmation class or other interested participants and join us for a weekend of faith and team building. We will explore what it means to be the church and how that commitment continues to evolve. Our focus this year will be on General Synod and its role in the polity of the UCC. Participants will form committees to research, consider faithfully, and vote on several relevant resolutions. Check-in begins at 7pm on Friday. The retreat ends after worship on Sunday, between 11:00 and 11:30am.
More information and registration links

Jesus Core Update
January 9-11, 2019
Pilgrim Center

There's just one more day to register! The deadline for Jesus Core registration is Friday, January 4, 2019!
More information and link to registration
Youth Summit on Gun Violence: Youth Needed!
January 26, 2019, 9am - 5pm
Pilgrim Center

The Wisconsin Council of Churches is hosting a youth summit on gun violence at Pilgrim Center on January 26th. The Wisconsin Conference can send 9 middle or high school youth to the event. If you know someone who would be interested in participating in this one day, ecumenical event, please share this information with them and have them send a brief email to Lisa Hart. In their email they should provide a brief paragraph about why they would like to be a delegate to this youth summit, as well as their name, grade, email address, parent/guardian name and contact information. They also need to include the name of their church and their pastor. If you have questions, please contact Lisa Hart. Deadline: contact Lisa by January 10th.
More information
Migrant Monthly
A new monthly blurb from the Conference's Immigration Working Group to keep you up to date with issues surrounding immigration
As the United Nations observed International Migrants Day on December 18th, it reported that some 258 million international migrants worldwide are on the move, including over 25 million refugees and asylum seekers. UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres states that "Climate change, demographics, instability, growing inequalities, and aspirations for a better life, as well as unmet needs in labour markets, mean" that mass migration "is here to stay."  
Though Wisconsin relies on a growing immigrant workforce to meet its own labor needs, the State currently seems immune from a world of people on the move. That will change dramatically as domestic climate migration grows to include potentially millions of Americans by mid-late century, according to multiple studies. The social, economic, and racial justice issues of today's migration patterns may be but a harbinger of challenges to come.
Ed Kinane imagw Interfaith Peace Working Group Sponsors Talk on Drone Warfare with Ed Kinane
Tuesday, January 22 at 7pm
St. John's Lutheran Church, Madison

Ed Kinane will present the case against the U.S. Program of drone warfare, which is a form of targeted assassination, and what that means for our own national security.
Since 2009, Ed has worked with Upstate NY Drone Action to Ground the Drones & End the Wars outside Hancock Air Base near Syracuse, New York, to expose drone war crimes in Afghanistan. The group does regular vigils at the gates to the base similar to the vigils at Volk Field in Wisconsin, which is home to the RQ Shadow drones.
Ed has also been part of the Voices for Creative Nonviolence Iraq Peace Team, remaining in Baghdad throughout "Shock and Awe" US bombing in 2003. He returned to monitor the US occupation and has spoken to many classes, congregations, and communities throughout the US. He also spent a month in Kabul, Afghanistan, with Voices.
Ed has also been active with and arrested in Witness Against Torture actions in Washington, DC. Ed is now active with the local grassroots group Beyond War and Militarism.
More information

WISE Congregations for Mental Health Conference
March 2, 2019
Oakland, CA

Here's a New Year invitation. The UCC WISE conference on mental health is coming up March 2 in Oakland, CA and we want you to consider attending and letting your constituents and colleagues know about it. This will be a rich time together of learning about mental health, how congregations can be welcoming, inclusive, supportive and engaged on mental health, share practical steps that can be taken. We hope to see you. If you cannot make the conference due to geography, continue to pray for this mental health movement in the UCC.
The conference is conveniently located close to the Oakland airport and hotels.
And registration is open now.  
Register Online
Lenten Lectionary
Led by Professor Karl Kuhn
Lakeland University, Plymouth, WI
February 12, 2019, 9:00am-2:30pm

Penises and Pollution: the reframing of maleness and dirty people in Luke's Gospel

By ancient standards, Jesus didn't know how to be a man, or how to keep clean. Jesus committed one polluting and emasculating act after another. And yet, as Luke presents it, Jesus embodied a form of maleness and purity essential to the kind of community that mediates the blessing of God. Drawing from his book, Insights from Cultural Anthropology (Fortress Press, 2018), Rev. Dr. Karl Kuhn will share some of the latest research on masculinity and purity in ancient Mediterranean society. Participants will discuss how these insights can enrich our reading of Luke's narrative, including passages featured in the upcoming lectionary cycle, and guide our proclamation of authentic personhood and purity among our communities today.
Register online ($35; includes continental breakfast and lunch) 
Conference Transitions

Searching Churches
  • St. Paul's UCC in Marshfield is searching for a 3/4 time pastor. View details
To see all searching churches, click here.

New Calls
  • Rev. Bryan Sirchio has been called as pastor at McFarland UCC in McFarland, effective Dec. 5, 2018
  • Rev. Rachel Bauman has been called as pastor at St. John's UCC in LaPointe, effective Jan. 1, 2019
  • Rev. Stephen Gifford has been called as interim pastor at St. Paul's UCC in Menomonee Falls and at Calvary Memorial UCC in Wauwatosa, effective Jan. 2, 2019 
  • Christine Wilke has been called as interim pastor at New Horizon UCC in Kewaskum (Farmington), effective Jan. 2, 2019

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
General Synod 32
Youth Faith Formation Retreat
Youth Summit on Gun Violence
Migrant Monthly
Drone Warfare event
WISE conference
Lenten Lectionary
Conference Transitions
Congregations studying the Doctrine of Discovery
Can we count you in?
Church Spotlight

Lake Edge UCC
This east-side Madison church is in the Southwest Association and is led by pastor Lex Liberatore. Since 1948, this church has taken care of their community and their world, working towards justice. 

Check the Conference calendar for upcoming events.
The Parish Paper
This month's Parish Paper is " Defining Church Vitality: Let Me Count the Ways." 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.