Wisconsin Conference Life Newsletter
Feb. 1, 2018 
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Transforming Conflict in the Local Church
by Jane Anderson

We are well aware that living in community is both a blessing and sometimes a burden. In healthy communities we find love, comfort, support, encouragement, guidance, direction, nurture and much more. But, human relationships are not always easy to navigate, either in our families or in our faith families. It is often challenging, especially in the church, to navigate the multiplicity of human needs, desires, understandings, and loyalties in our relationships expressed within the church family. Also, differences of experience and opinions about our communal spiritual life and how that is expressed in word, sacrament, symbolism and song can lead to tension and conflict in relationship within the church.
Read more 
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!
Creation Care: an Economic Approach
by Alan Green, Creation Care Team Member

Last month I wrote to argue that the only mass-produced evidence for American economic growth is the GNP/GDP and Stock Market numbers in the daily news. These numbers are based on dollars in circulation, as if money is wealth and is the main element that counts in our culture, a Culture of Growth. The truth is that money is not wealth; it is an abstract medium believed in as a claim on the efforts of others to provide something wanted by the moneyed. We are told by many influential " Economists" that America is the wealthiest country in the world, assuming that the amount of money in circulation determines its wealth, regardless of its distribution, which at this point is grossly uneven.
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Best Practices for Church Members Serving as Staff
by The Parish Paper

Jean grew up in a large Methodist church in Ohio--confirmed there, active as a young adult, and married there. To accept a part-time job at the church, and later to go full time as the youth director, felt like a natural fit. "But to be on that side of the fence, attending staff meetings, was different," she said. "I was seeing the magic behind the scenes that I didn't know about. It was all about numbers. I still needed to be filled spiritually, to learn and to grow, and all of a sudden it was a business."
Continue reading >> 
Resources for One Great Hour of Sharing 2018
March 11, 2018

One Great Hour of Sharing® is the Lenten Offering of the United Church of Christ that supports disaster, refugee, and development activities. The suggested offering date for the One Great Hour of Sharing offering is March 11, 2018. Look for resources arriving at your church soon. If you need more, the UCC has them online. Also online are lectionary-based sermon notes for OGHS.  
Resource Center Spotlight
Congregation Care

The Wisconsin Conference UCC website has a growing resource center! Did you know there are resources available on caring for your congregation? Topics in this section of the resource center include aging and older adults, the opioid crisis, and safety and safe conduct.
Check it out here>>  
North Street Mission: A New Mission Trip Opportunity
Trinity UCC, Wooster, Ohio

North Street Mission (NSM) is a mission trip opportunity for youth, families or adult groups. They provide the opportunity to learn about big city poverty issues in a rural setting. Groups will start off the day working in their breakfast program, then venture out to work in other community organizations in the Wooster, Ohio area. Educational segments can be arranged on a variety of issues based upon the interest of the groups. Groups are housed in the recently renovated third floor of the church in four bunk rooms. If groups can fit in a fun day in addition to their mission trip, they are close to a variety of fun venues as they are located 60 miles south of Cleveland, Ohio.
More information
missioninsite logo Is Your Church Using MissionInsite?

Discovering your church's ministry opportunities has never been easier. MissionInsite provides instant access to community information for your church via The MI System. As part of the Wisconsin Conference of the United Church of Christ, you have free, unlimited access to MissionInsite. You'll get desktop, web-based access to demographic data for a variety of geographic levels.MissionInsite helps churches become more stable and engage more congregants, visitors and volunteers. Some of the many benefits include:
  • Better understanding your church's "reach"
  • Discovering gaps in presence or services within your mission area
  • Better understanding your community
  • Finding growing and changing communities quickly
And, starting February 6, MissionInsite is rolling out their new PeopleView System User Interface for an improved user experience.
Clergy/Spouse Retirement Workshops
February 19, Cedar Valley Retreat Center, West Bend, 9am-3pm
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 for the event at Cedar Valley Deadline: February 1, 2018 
Register for the event in Wausau Deadline: March 2, 2018 
Break the Silence Sunday: New Liturgy Materials for 2018
Suggested date: Sunday, April 22, 2018

Break The Silence Sunday is an effort to open up a conversation within the church about rape and sexual assault. Within the context of our faith communities we hope to:
  • acknowledge the reality of rape and sexual violence in our world;
  • support survivors by creating a place where they can tell their stories, feel loved and supported, and find encouragement on their healing journey;
  • commit ourselves to the work of changing the world, creating a future where rape is a memory.
Picture the Bible image First Congregational UCC, River Falls, Increases Interest in Sacred Stories with "Picture the Bible"
by Connie Larkman, United Church of Christ

A United Church of Christ congregation in Wisconsin has created a resource that helps bring the Bible to life. The 36 original pieces of art, images that represent and follow the biblical text, are used by First Congregational Church in River Falls, Wisc., to increase interest and interpretation of the Bible stories. It's called  Picture the Bible.

"We use it in worship, in adult bible study, in women's bible study, for confirmation and in everything we do with kids," said the Rev. Stacy Johnson Myers, the church's minister of Christian Education. "Children can see it and touch it. It has brought vitality to our congregation in ways that are just astonishing."
Continue reading>> 
Dear White Christians: A Path toward Racial Justice
Featuring Dr. Jennifer Harvey
Madison, February 9, 7 pm to 9 pm
Wauwatosa, February 10, 10 am to 12 pm

Dr. Jennifer Harvey, author of Dear White Christians: For Those Still Longing for Racial Reconciliation, will be in Wisconsin to speak and share conversation on the subject of the church and racial justice.

Dr. Harvey has spoken and led workshops for faith communities and academic audiences around the nation. She is also a regular contributor to the Huffington Post and keeps her own blog:  
Wauwatosa event registration
Bi-Vocational Ministry Incubator
April - November, 2018

Increasingly, congregations can no longer afford a full-time, fully-supported pastor.  And pastors are needing to wrestle with tough questions about how to sustain themselves while being faithful to their sense of call. The Bi-vocational Ministry Incubator provides a safe space where pastors can dig deeper into these questions, hone skills for doing ministry in a different way, develop tools to guide a congregation into making a transition into a more shared model of ministry, and find the courage to explore options. 
Monthly day-long gatherings over the course of 8 months will offer skill-building, peer support and coaching/mentoring. The program is offered inter-denominationally and designed for both ordained and licensed/commissioned pastors, for those who want to explore this option, and for those who have already made the transition and want additional support and tools, for those who seek additional income and for those who seek part-time arrangements in order to juggle home and care-giving responsibilities. Offered by Sand Bur Consulting, LLC.  For more information, contact Linda Kuhn of Sand Bur Consulting. Registration is limited and the deadline is March 23, 2018.
Informational brochure
Keeping Your Congregation Safe: Tips for Preventing Sexual Harassment in Your Church
Free webinar
February 7, 2018, 1:00 pm (CST)

The Insurance Board is pleased to have their partners from Praesidium present this webinar on such an important and timely topic. They will discuss what sexual harassment is, how it manifests itself in congregations, and how to respond in the current legal landscape. The presenter will share case studies and answer questions. Join in to better understand this important topic, how to prevent it, and what to do if it is happening in your church.
Register for the webinar 
Conference Transitions

Searching Churches
No churches have recently started searching for a pastor. To see all searching churches, click here.

New Calls
  • Rev. Larry Treece has been called as pastor at First Congregational UCC in Lake Mills, effective January 8, 2018
In Memoriam
  • Dorothy Hecky, mother of Rev. Steven Hecky, passed away on January 23, 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.

Wisconsin Conference United Church of Christ
4459 Gray Road | DeForest, WI  53532

In This Issue
2018 Share Fair
Creation Care
Church members serving as staff
One Great Hour of Sharing
Congregation Care
Mission trip opportunity
Retirement workshops
Break the Silence Sunday materials
Picture the Bible
Dear White Christians event
Bi-vocational ministry incubator
Free safety webinar
Conference Transitions
This Southeast Association church was founded way back in 1841 and is led by pastor David Schnepf. The church is also the site of a non-profit, inter-denominational preschool, the Hearts and Hands Preschool.  
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Check the Conference calendar for upcoming events.
Director of Music 
Redeemer United Church of Christ in Sussex has an exciting Part-Time role for Director of Music. This is a great opportunity to build on a rich history and tradition of music, while building new expressions for spiritual inspiration. To learn more, please go to our website.  
Quick Links

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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.