Wisconsin Conference Life Newsletter
Feb. 14, 2018 
Rev. Tisha Brown image The Damascus Project - A Leadership Development Collaboration
by Rev. Tisha Brown

I do not have to tell you that we are living in times of radical and fast-paced change in our understanding of what it means to do and be church. In our conference, increasing numbers of congregations are turning to part-time and bi-vocational pastors and relying more and more heavily on the ministry of the laity to faithfully be the church in today's context. The farther I go in my DMin studies in Creative Leadership the more convinced I am that nurturing vibrant, spiritually-alive and theologically-grounded leadership is one of the most important and necessary functions for the current and future well-being of the church.
Continue reading>>
From a Culture of Growth to a Growth of Culture
by Alan Green, Creation Care Team member

In my last article, I referred to the 1972 book, The Limits to Growth, whose authors employed analog computer modeling, cybernetics, and systems thinking to forecast probable global consequences of a variety of critical elements, exponential growth of which, when acting as parts of a single system, equal more than the sum of their parts. Some of these elements were human urban population, arable land, food, fossil fuels, global temperature, pollution, non-renewable resources, etc.

Given current trends at the time, the forecast for major global collapse would occur by 2050 or thereabouts.
"Spirit Alive" Dementia-friendly Worship
by Bev Davis, member, Plymouth UCC, Milwaukee
While serving as hospice chaplain, I had the honor of meeting and working with many people diagnosed with Alzheimer's and other forms of dementia.
Sadly, I have become dismayed watching as people who have lived full and interesting lives are "talked at," instead of engaged in worship. "Sitting in a wheelchair holding a copy of 'Old Rugged Cross' is nice, but, there is more," I said to myself. "There must be more we can do," I would add.
UCC Planning and Evaluation Survey

The UCC's Center for Analytics, Research and Data  (CARD) is conducting a survey to identify potential needs around planning and evaluation within all settings of the United Church of Christ. The goal is to compile the responses and create the most helpful resources for effective planning and evaluation, with special attention to resources for local churches.
The survey will take between 15-20 minutes to complete . Responses are anonymous, although we do ask for the name of your setting to reduce overlap in response. The results of the survey will be shared with various stakeholders across the United Church of Christ.
Please complete the survey by Friday, March 16. Thank you for taking the time to provide your valued feedback!
Survey link
share fair image
Back by Popular Demand! The Share Fair Returns to the 2018 Annual Meeting
How is God using your congregation to transform lives and change our world?

How is your congregation shifting from maintenance to mission?

What is your congregation doing that may be an inspiring example to other congregations?
Share your ministry success! Be a Share Fair exhibitor at Annual Meeting. The 2017 Share Fair sparked ideas, established connections, inspired actions and was a great way to connect with congregations around our state. The feedback was so enormously positive that we are doing it again! Attendees were inspired by what they learned from exhibitors, and left with plans to start their own ministries back home.
Apply now to save your spot!
Read more>>
Open Wide Your Hearts!
Spring Meeting of the Southeast Association
April 21, 2018, at Plymouth Congregational Church in Burlington
by Mary Jane Huber

As we lead up to hosting General Synod 2019, the Conference is committed to having our churches engage in racial justice conversations and actions. Everyone is welcome to join the Southeast Association and be a part of this enlightening and challenging day. Registration will open soon. ~ed.

Our day will open with a lively worship service and keynote address from Rhonda Hill. Rhonda will invite us to be "Myth Busters" as we examine how the power of the stories we tell informs our understanding of race and poverty, immigration and justice. Rhonda has spent over a decade focusing on issues of race, poverty and leadership. Her commitment to raising up leaders who are culturally competent is seen through her previous work with the Milwaukee Social Development Commission, the YWCA, the Greater Milwaukee Synod of the ELCA, and now with her leadership as executive director of the Urban Gathering Center. Rhonda also shares her gifts with the Interfaith Conference of Greater Milwaukee. She maintains her quest for racial justice through her own organization, Race and Faith. Rhonda has a master's degree in marriage and family therapy, and an expected master's degree in theological studies from the Lutheran School of Theology in Chicago. Rhonda's greatest role is mother to four-year-old Josiah.

After we learn and grow with Rhonda, we will engage in the business of the Association and share table fellowship over lunch. Our afternoon will be led by Reggie Jackson of Milwaukee's Black Holocaust Museum. Reggie is a much sought-after speaker about issues of diversity, inclusion and equity within institutions and the greater society. He will help us explore the hidden history of race in our nation and specifically in Milwaukee. His depth of knowledge and engaging style will deepen our understanding of the complex nature of our history and how this history continues to impact the quality of life in our communities.
Webinar: A Mother and Son Take on Climate Change
Friday, February 28
7:00pm CST

Twenty-one youth are suing the federal government over climate change, and one of them is the son of a UCC pastor. Hear a personal perspective on the case in a live webinar featuring Kiran Oommen and his mother, Rev. Melanie Oommen of First Congregational UCC in Eugene, Oregon. A brief legal update on the case will be provided by Coreal Riday-White of Our Children's Trust. The webinar will take place on the evening of February 28th. Shantha Ready Alonso of Creation Justice Ministries will cohost the event with the Rev. Brooks Berndt of the UCC Environmental Justice Program. Register now to join the webinar. The event is part of the Justice for #EachGeneration campaign to have a thousand sermons preached in support of the 21 youth. This campaign was spearheaded by the UCC Council for Climate Justice and has 21 sponsoring organizations from different faiths.
Contributions from ONA churches helped Students from Lakeland Attend Conference
Alphabet Soup, a student organization at Lakeland University, will be presenting " God Loves All: Discussing Christianity's View of Sexuality and Gender" at the Midwest Bisexual, Lesbian, Gay, and Transgender Ally College Conference (MBLGTACC) in Omaha. Their research and presentation is focused on the importance of LGBTQ+ acceptance in the Christian church and necessity to make that decision known to the wider communities, sharing what the church is and can be.

They will also be presenting this research on Lakeland University's main campus (Plymouth), at Paradigm Coffee shop (Sheboygan), at the John Michael Kohler Art Center (Sheboygan), and at the Wisconsin UCC Annual Meeting, June 8-10, 2018. Dates of presentations open to the community are to be determined. All of this is made possible because of the generous donations from ONA UCC congregations, community members at fundraisers and institutional investments, of which we feel very thankful, blessed, and affirmed as we all engage in what it means to better be the church.

The advisor for the group is Rev. Lex Cade-White and the six students are Tyler Yost, Dominique Lee, Amalia Dodgson-Liosatos, Connor Armstrong, Elizabeth Wickstrom and Jen Schwartz. 
Clergy/Spouse Retirement Workshop
March 17, Grace UCC, Wausau, 9am-3pm
Starting to think about retirement? Or recently retired?
Do you have questions about how to best navigate this transition?
Attend this event to learn how to plan for healthy and transformational steps in your retirement journey. Through a combination of presentations, access to resources and dialogue, you will have an opportunity to ask your pressing questions and share concerns and possibilities with other participants. Clergy and their spouses/partners who are beginning to think about, nearing and/or recently retired are encouraged to attend.
Register online Deadline: March 2, 2018
missioninsite logo Learn More about MissionInsite's New PeopleView Interface
Webinars, Wednesdays at 1pm CST
Feb. 21, Feb. 28, March 14, March 21

MissionInsite is hosting webinars to help people learn more about their new PeopleView Interface. At the webinar, you will:
  • Get an Introduction to the new interface 
  • Gain an understanding of the navigation and core functions
  • Learn about Plotting People, Demographics, Thematic Mapping, MinistryInsite & ReligiousInsite Reports, Opportunity Scan and more
  • Learn about the New Capabilities included
As part of the Wisconsin Conference of the United Church of Christ, you have free, unlimited access to MissionInsite.
To register, click on the this link and follow the directions.
Conference Transitions

Searching Churches
  • Grace UCC, Kohler, seeks a full time pastor. Read more
  • Zion UCC, Dale/Fremont, seeks a part time pastor. Read more
  • Cedar Community, West Bend, seeks a Director of Ministry. Read more
  • Middleton Community Church UCC, Middleton, seeks a full time Christian Education position. Read more
To see all searching churches, click here.

New Calls
  • Rev. Jeannie Douglas has been called as interim pastor at Hope UCC in Fremont, effective Feb. 1, 2018
  • Rev. RaeAnn Beebe has been called as pastor at Saron UCC in Sheboygan Falls, effective Feb. 14, 2018
In Memoriam
  • Marilyn Bausch, mother of Rev. Michael Bausch, passed away on Feb. 3, 2018. Obituary 
  • Theodore Leung, son-in-law of Rev. Don Ellerman, passed away on Feb. 6, 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
Creation care article
Dementia-friendly worship
UCC Planning survey
Share Fair at Annual Meeting
SEA meeting on racial justice
Climate change webinar
Lakeland students present at conference
Retirement workshop
MissionInsite webinars
Conference Transitions
Church Spotlight


This Southwest Association church calls itself "a church with heart." A relatively new congregation, the church was formed in 1976. The church is active in their community, and are home to a Messy Church service. The church currently has an interim pastor, Rev. Michael Bausch. 
Free Choir Robes
Free to a new home: Choir robes. All have been laundered and are in good condition. There are 35 child/youth white cottas, 48 adult cottas, 26 child/youth black cassocks and 31 adult cassocks. Madison area delivery available. Contact Ruellene Seymour via email or phone at (608) 588-3198. 

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.