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Wisconsin Conference Life Newsletter
Nov. 20, 2019 
Tisha Brown image The Lay Academy: Transforming and Equipping
by Tisha Brown

Throughout this year, I have been engaged in a Doctor of Ministry study on our Lay Academy program. My purpose for engaging this study was to understand more about the observable impact of this program on the life of its participants. My research question is: How has the WCUCC Lay Academy transformed its participants and equipped them to live out the call of their baptism and what are the implications for theological education in our region?
To answer this question, I interviewed sixteen former and current Lay Academy participants to hear their stories of how they have been transformed and equipped. I am very excited to be at the point of sharing with you the brief outlines of what I have discovered through these interviews as I embark on a two-month sabbatical so that I can write up my findings to complete this degree.
How does the Lay Academy transform its participants? Continue reading article 
Support Youth Ministry on Giving Tuesday!

The youth ministry of the Wisconsin Conference changes lives, especially for youth without a large youth group in their home congregation. Please consider supporting the youth ministry programs of the Wisconsin Conference on Giving Tuesday, Dec. 3. Also, please consider including a bulletin insert about it in an upcoming bulletin and sending an email on Dec. 3 to your congregation. But you don't have to wait to make a gift - donate here now.
Sample bulletin insert (PDF) 
catalyst logo Fall 2019 Catalyst Grant Recipients Announced
I am about to do a new thing;
now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?
I will make a way in the wilderness
and rivers in the desert. (Isaiah 43:19, NRSV)
The prophet Isaiah speaks these words of hope and promise to a community in exile seeking signs of hope and new life. With these words, Isaiah reminds the people of God's covenant commitment to make a way for the people through the trials and tribulations of life and faith. These covenant promises remain with us today even in the midst of our own experiences of trial. In fact, springing forth in our midst are new things for us to perceive, new ways of being God's people that breathe life and hope and point to possibility. Shared below is a glimpse into just a few of the new things God is doing with and through our congregations throughout Wisconsin. Each of these projects recently received funding from the Catalyst Team in support of their efforts to join with God in their communities and to live out UCC values of radical hospitality, ecumenical partnership, interfaith relationship, and accessibility for all. May these stories be a source of inspiration and hope on the journey.
Perhaps God is doing something new in your midst? Maybe something is springing forth for you to perceive? We'd love to hear about it and join with you. Grant application guidelines are available here . Deadlines for 2020 are March 30 and September 28.  
Year-End Gifts Notice
The generosity of Wisconsin Conference congregations to the wider ministry of the United Church of Christ - expressed through support of OCWM and special offerings - makes meaningful mission and ministries possible. Thank you for your continuing commitment to the work of the United Church of Christ. Following is information for your year-end gifts.
Individual Year-end gifts : Contributions are deductible in the year made. Checks will need to be made out with a 2019 date and postmarked by December 31, 2019 for credit in 2019.
Church Year-end gifts : These need to reach the Wisconsin Conference office no later than January 15th, 2020.  Please clearly mark that your gift is intended for 2019 by including a 2019 remittance form or clearly identifying what you are remitting for and noting that it is for 2019.
Please send gifts to: Wisconsin Conference UCC, 4459 Gray Rd. De Forest, WI 53532
Please watch for your November 30, 2019, progressing contribution reports and 2020 OCWM remittance form. These will be mailed the first week of December. If you have any questions please contact the Wisconsin Conference finance office at 608-846-7880.
Jesus Core
January 10-12, 2020
Pilgrim Center

"Love from the center of who you are; don't fake it." Romans 12:9 from The Message

Experience faith in community, meaningful worship and great music, silence and time for prayer, getting to know new people and hanging out with friends.

Rest from the stress of school, listen to God's word, connect with yourself and others, and find satisfaction in silence and in fun activities.

Be inspired by the songs of musician Andra Moran (, by the beauty of God's Creation on Green Lake, and by workshops and discussions with adult leaders and your peers.

Retreat is open to youth in grades 9-12 and young adults ages 18-22.
NYElogo National Youth Event
July 22-15, 2020
Purdue University

United Church of Christ's National Youth Event will take place at Purdue University in West Lafayette Indiana July 22-25th 2020. This 4 day event is celebrated as the largest denominational gathering. Often bringing in 4,000 participants, this time together is centered on faith, leadership, service and social justice to empower our youth. Start planning now! Registration is forthcoming.

Who: Young people who have completed 6th through 12th grade.
What: United Church of Christ's National Youth Event
When: July 22-25th 2020
Where: Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana
Cost: $375 (February 1st-February 29th) | $435 starting March 1st (Details/cost for a bus trip to the event is forthcoming)
Claiming Your Life As It Is: The Soul of Aging
January 31, 2020 - February 2, 2020
Cedar Valley Retreat Center, West Bend
Register by November 25!
To ripen--not just grow up, but to keep on maturing through our entire lives--takes great courage and great vulnerability. We can end up unripe, bitter, not able to reap the fruits of this life, or as elders, we can explore and share the tender, bittersweet and ferocious truths of growing old. ~ Sherry Anderson
The Soul of Aging is a program based on the work of Dr. Parker Palmer and The Center for Courage & Renewal. It is for anyone yearning to explore the joys, challenges, and gifts of the aging; to surrender to and be transformed by the aging process. We will create and hold a safe space in which we may seek a deeper understanding of how to age well, with dignity and integrity. Led by Rev. Winton Boyd and Kirsten Anglea.
For more information, follow this link: Claiming Your Life As It Is
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.
Conference Transitions

Searching Churches
No churches began searches since the last issue of this newsletter. To see all searching churches, click here.
Wider Church Searches
New Calls
  • Rev. David McDonald has been called as interim pastor at Zion UCC in Milwaukee, effective Nov. 15, 2019.
Installations and Ordinations
  • Rev. Jeffrey Dodson was installed at First Congregational UCC in Ripon on November 17, 2019.
  • Trinity UCC in Brookfield is celebrating their 150th Anniversary. Congrats!
In Memoriam
  • Lorraine "Lorry" Horst, wife of Rev. Robert Horst, passed away on November 18, 2019. Robert had served as Southeast Association minister. Service and obituary are pending.

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
Giving Tuesday
Catalyst Grants announced
Year-end gifts
Jesus Core Retreat
National Youth Event
Soul of Aging retreat
Faith and Freedom Tour
Conference Transitions
Church Spotlight

This church is in the Northwest Association and Mary Jo Laabs serves as pastor. The church is involved with local and global ministries and is proud to have served the Medford area since 1901. 
Subscribe to the
Generosity Forward e-newsletter to learn about new ideas, best practices, and training opportunities around
congregational fundraising.
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.