Wisconsin Conference Life Newsletter
April 4, 2018 
Lisa Hart image Welcoming the Immigrant
by Lisa Hart

Last June, delegates to the Wisconsin Conference Annual Meeting voted for our conference to become an "Immigrant Welcoming Conference." Less than a month later, the Wisconsin Conference was one of five UCC conferences to submit a resolution of witness to the General Synod "On Becoming an Immigrant Welcoming Church." The delegates to the 31st General Synod of the United Church of Christ voted for our denomination to become an "Immigrant Welcoming Church."
In the months leading up to these votes, and in the months following, I have been asked two primary questions. First, why is the Church involving itself in what seems to be a political issue? And, what does it mean for a church to be "immigrant welcoming"? Both are good questions, and both deserve thoughtful answers.
Continue reading

Register for the Becoming an Immigrant Welcoming Congregation event
View event workshop descriptions 
Spotlight Resource Center Spotlight

Looking for new or innovative ideas to spark faith formation at your church? The Wisconsin Conference Resource Center has a wide variety of faith formation resources available online for you to check out.
Access our Faith Formation resources here

Know of a good faith formation resource we could add to our website? Let us know! 
annual meeting 2018 logo
Why Are We Afraid? The Winds and Waves of Race and Privilege: Annual Meeting 2018
June 8-10, 2018
Green Lake Conference Center

Come join friends and colleagues from around the Wisconsin Conference for our 2018 Annual Meeting, Why Are We Afraid? The Winds and Waves of Race and Privilege, June 8-10, 2018, at Green Lake Conference Center. Rev. Traci Blackmon will be our special keynote speaker.

Click here to download the meeting program book and read about the workshops and speakers at the meeting. You can also access the annual meeting information and registration from the Wisconsin Conference UCC annual meeting website.

On Thursday, June 7, don't miss Dr. Ben Sanders III presenting White Identity and Christian Faith: Reflection and Practice at the Pre-Meeting Workshop (separate registration required). In this workshop, Rev. Sanders will use a combination of lecture, discussion, and small group work to:
    • help participants think about how white privilege functions in the life of the church, and
    • reflect on how to practice Christian faith in more effectively anti-racist ways.
Read all about the Thursday workshop and Rev. Sanders here

Find out everything about Annual meeting, including the Share Fair, optional Boundary Training, Volunteer Opportunities, and Exhibitor Opportunities at the Annual Meeting 2018 website
graphic-fist-globe.gif Earth Day/Arbor Day Service Order Being Finalized

The Creation Care Team is working on a worship service order honoring the gift of trees in creation.  Final editing is still underway - watch for an update with the materials in the next newsletter.

In 2017, the Team prepared an Earth Day service celebrating Wisconsin's natural wonders that is still pertinent, if you didn't use it for Earth Day last year. Click here to check it out
Great Lakes Regional Youth Event

Come ponder, pray, and play at the Great Lakes Regional Youth Event, guided by the 3 Great Loves of
neighbor, children, and creation in the UCC's mission statement: United in Christ's love, a just world for all.
More information 
missioninsite logo
Learn More about MissionInsite

MissionInsite is a service paid for by the Wisconsin Conference that our congregations can use. It can help your congregation

better understanding your church's "reach," discover gaps in presence or services within your congregaiton's mission area, better understand your community, and quickly find growing and changing communities. MissionInsite has developed a new PeopleView Interface, and is offering webinars to help you learn about the service.

Retreat: Amazing Grace, How Sweet the Sound!
April 27, 2018
Cedar Valley Retreat Center near West Bend

The dictionary defines grace as "the freely given, unmerited favor and love of God, the influence or spirit of God operating in humans to regenerate or strengthen them." How do we live by grace? How do we listen for grace? During this season of Eastertide, come explore the possibilities of this mysterious entity called Amazing Grace.
More information 
Steps on the Journey: A Healing Retreat
April 20-22, 2018
Moon Beach Camp

Plan to join us as "companions on the journey" for a time of sharing, reflecting, growing, and celebrating. This retreat is for people (18 years and older) who have experienced sexual abuse of any kind. Our weekend will include group time, quiet time, crafts, food, music, and of course, time to enjoy the beauty and sacredness of Moon Beach Camp.

athering together is an important part of the healing process. There is something so comforting about being with those who "get me," even though our stories may be different. Gathering together each year encourages and supports us to do the work needed to continue the steps of healing and wholeness.
Our retreat ends on Break the Silence Sunday, an especially meaningful day to think about how we will continue the journey in our own lives.
$226 for all meals, lodging and programming. Scholarships available! Register by April 13, 2018.
Click here to register

Ira Helfand image
Expert on Consequences of Nuclear War to Speak
April 10, 2018, at noon, UW Madison
April 10, 2018, at 7:00pm, First Baptist Church, Madison

Dr. Ira Helfand, an expert on the medical and long-term environmental consequences of nuclear war, is speaking at two engagements in Madison on April 10.
View flyer for more information
Guiding Congregations in Times of Transition Workshop
May 1, 2018
Trost Center, DeForest

Come to this workshop to learn how to help a congregation move beyond inertia by:
  • Building Consensus
  • Dealing graciously with resistance
  • Identifying reach-able, teach-able moments
  • Deciding when to go ahead and ask for forgiveness later
  • Developing tools and strategies for making change that "sticks"
  • Marshalling spiritual resources
  • Fostering a spirit of curiosity

More information and registration 

Conference Transitions

Searching Churches
No churches recently started a search. To see all searching churches, click here.

New Calls
  • Rev. Teresa Howell-Smith has been called as pastor at First Congregational UCC in East Troy, effective February 18, 2018. Teresa is also the pastor at Mukwonago UCC in Mukwonago.
  • Gary Wilner has been called as interim pastor at Congregational UCC in Neenah, effective March 26, 2018.
  • Rev. Robert Koepcke has been called as pastor at First Congregational UCC in Watertown, effective April 1, 2018.
  • Rev. Bill Rishel has been called as interim pastor at Grace UCC in Kohler, effective April 3, 2018.
In Memoriam
  • Rev. Thomas Pexton passed away on March 28, 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
Resource Center spotlight
Annual Meeting 2018
Earth Day service order
Amazing Grace retreat
Healing retreat
Nuclear War Expert speaks
Guiding through Transitions workshop
Conference Transitions
Church Spotlight

mukwonago ucc image
Mukwonago UCC

This Southeast Association church has been pastored by Rev. Teresa Howell-Smith since 2007. Their building, a passive-solar church, was built in 1980. The congregation is especially active in local missions.  

Check the Conference calendar for upcoming events.
The Parish Paper
This month's Parish Paper is " Church Energy Use: Can We Harness Hope?" 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.