Wisconsin Conference Life Newsletter
Oct. 10, 2017 

Reorganization around Mission Realigns UCC National Setting

A reorganization of the United Church of Christ national offices was announced on Oct. 5, consolidating the departments of communication and philanthropy, and finance and administration. The new organizational structure also distributes oversight of the workforce among the three national officers of the church and realigns the work of Justice and Local Church Ministries.
The restructure, which is creating several new roles, also prompted a reduction-in-force, with fourteen employees notified that their positions had been eliminated.
Read more 
Law Allowing Tax Free Housing for Clergy Stuck Down Again

U.S. District Judge Barbara Crabb has declared unconstitutional a law that gives clergy tax-free housing allowances. Crabb has now ordered both sides to make arguments by Oct. 30 on what remedies would be appropriate, so there no immediate effect from this. Wisconsin Conference staff is in contact with the UCC's General Counsel, and we will keep you updated as this case progresses.
In 2013 the court also struck down the law, but the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals reversed the ruling on a technicality.
Health Insurance Rates for 2018 

The Wisconsin Conference Board of Directors has set health insurance rates for 2018. The percentage of insurance costs incurred by each congregation for participating insurees will rise from 61% in 2017 to 66% in 2018  The per capita cost for congregations be lowered from $16.25 to $15.25 in 2018. This represents a $1.00 reduction in per capita over 2017. The subsidy for retiree supplemental health insurance will be 10% in 2018, down from 15% in 2017. These changes reflect an increasing difficulty in sustaining our shared cost system. Look for updated rates on our website starting next week.
financial vitality logo Ministers' Financial Vitality Initiative
Creating Financially Vital Ministers

Ministers are invited to apply to join this new initiative, founded through a grant grant awarded to the Pension Boards by the Lilly Endowment's National Initiative to Address Economic Challenges Facing Pastoral Leaders.  
A financially vital UCC authorized minister is one who not only anticipates and plans for economic changes, but is ready to strategically respond when financial challenges arise in their own life and the life of their ministry setting. Ministers' Financial Vitality Initiative (MFVI), a five-year Faith and Personal Finance program of the Pension Boards, empowers UCC ministers with the financial tools and strategies they'll need to manage their personal and educational debt so they can serve their ministries more effectively.
More information and application 
Rethinking Veterans Day: An Education Workshop
Chicago Theological Seminary
November 10, 2017

Churches can play a crucial role in supporting our nation's military veterans and their families. In honor of Veterans Day, Chicago Theological Seminary and the Chicago Metropolitan Association are addressing some of the challenges and issues facing our Vets. This event will feature Dr. Zachary Moon, author of Coming Home: Ministry That Matters with Veterans and Military Families. (Livestream available)

To Register, please visit the online registration site. Free.
Youth Faith Formation Retreat
November 10-12, 2017
Moon Beach Camp

Bring your confirmation class and join us for a weekend of faith and team building. We'll spend time with the bible, our identity as Christians and members of the UCC denomination specifically, and our personal faith journey. More specific information to come.Check-in begins at 7pm on Friday. The retreat ends after worship on Sunday, between 11:00 and 11:30am.
The Faith Formation Retreats are a partnership of the Wisconsin Conference UCC and United Church Camps, Inc. Program planning and leadership is offered by a team representing the four Associations of the Wisconsin Conference UCC.
Partial scholarships available 
Register here
Knock Knock Middle School Retreat
November 17-19, 2017
Pilgrim Center

Start your 6-8th graders on an adventure called CHURCH. Open the DOOR to energized Youth Ministry. At Knock Knock, your group will discover love and acceptance as the true experience of the church, connect faith to their pressing concerns, do hands-on workshops and Bible study, be inspired by our Drama Team, and learn how they can keep opening doors back at home. It's a Group Thing! Come to Knock Knock together. Start a new group or fire up the one you've got, like your youth group or 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. The Drama Team is comprised of high school students and young adults who have a desire to grow and share their faith. They can be good role models for the younger students and will do relational ministry in a way adults just cannot do with youth. This retreat is co-sponsored by the Wisconsin Conference UCC and United Church Camps, Inc.
Register here 
More information
First Cong hartland image First Congregational UCC in Hartland Celebrates 175th Anniversary

The First Congregational Church of Hartland was founded in October of 1842 and the congregation has been celebrating actively throughout 2017. On October 15, the church has issued an invite to current and former members and friends to join in for a special service led by UCC Hartland Reverend Peter St. Martin and Franz Rigert, Conference Minister. 
Still Shifting after 500 Years: The Reformation for Today
Saturday, October 28
Trost Center, DeForest
Join is in commemorating the Reformation as we hear from two scholars on the relevance of the 16th century Reformation on our 21st century lives. Professor Lee Palmer Wandel and Margaret Bendroth are the speakers.
More information
Registration deadline October 22
Boundary Training
December 9, 2017
First Congregational UCC, Oshkosh
Wisconsin Conference UCC ministers are required to renew their boundary training every four years. On December 9, the Northeast Association is hosting a boundary training to help ministers meet this need. Can't attend this session? An additional boundary training will be held next June at Green Lake Conference Center.
Online registration
Conference Transitions

New Calls
  • Rev. Wayne Drueck has been called as interim pastor at First Congregational UCC in Rhinelander, effective October 1, 2017
  • Rev. Kristin Gorton has been called as pastor at Fitchburg Memorial UCC in Fitchburg, effective October 2, 2017
  • Kristal Klemme has been called as pastor at First Congregational UCC in Plymouth, effective October 2, 2017. She will be ordained and installed on October 22.
Installations and Ordinations
  • Rev. Kristin Gorton was ordained at McFarland UCC in McFarland on October 1, 2017
  • Rev. Robert Sherwood was installed at Union UCC in Waupun on October 1, 2017
  • First UCC in Colby celebrated their 125th Anniversary on October 1, 2017
Good Tidings
  • Rev. Kent Cormack, pastor of First Congregational UCC in La Crosse, was joined in marriage to William Pugh on September 16, 2017
  • Rev. Zayna Thompson, pastor at First Congregational and Mt. Zion churches in Platteville, was joined in marriage to Matt Motley on September 16, 2017. The couple has taken the last name of Thomley, a merging of their original last names.

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
Tax Free Housing Law
Health Insurance Rates
Ministers' Financial Vitality Initiative
Rethinking Veterans Day
Youth Faith Formation Retreat
Knock Knock Retreat
175th Anniversary
The Reformation for Today
Boundary Training
Conference Transitions
Church Spotlight

This church in the Northeast Association is led by their brand-new pastor, Kristal Klemme, who preached for the first time on October 8, 2017. The church isn't new, though: it's been serving the Plymouth area since 1855! 

Check the Conference calendar for upcoming events.
The Parish Paper
This month's Parish Paper is " Short-Term Mission Trips that Yield Long-Term Success." Access this issue and archived issues here!
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.