Wisconsin Conference Life Newsletter
Nov. 17, 2016 
The Parish Paper image
Does Your Congregation Suffer from Anxiety?
The Parish Paper

A collective feeling of anxiety in your congregation can cause church leaders to focus on preventing bad things from happening instead of having a "promotion focus," the tendency to reach for new opportunities and rewards. Read this month's Parish Paper to get insight into collective anxiety and for some tips on tackling it. 
Immigrant Welcoming Conference Resolution

Immigration is currently a hot issue around the world. In response, the Wisconsin Conference is undergoing a period of study surrounding a resolution to become an Immigrant Welcoming Conference. The resolution will be voted on at the 2017 annual meeting in June. As part of this process, the Conference has called on at least 30% of churches to report by March 1, 2017, that they have engaged in study on this issue. More information, including study guides and the study response form, is available on the Wisconsin Conference website immigration page
Plymouth Eau Claire fire photo
After the Fire: Plymouth UCC, Eau Claire
Reprinted from the Northwest Association newsletter

On September 22, Plymouth United Church of Christ in Eau claire caught fire from a lightning strike. The building was completely destroyed, even the sanctuary that they thought might be saved sustained such extensive smoke and water damage has been determined to be a total loss. Demolition and removal of the building's remains will soon take place and the congregation will be making decisions based on a vacant piece of property.

The loss of the building has been painful; it was a place of vibrant ministry and spiritual history for its members and community. Also lost in the fire were many personal belongs, the church's records and important artifacts. There were no fire proof cabinets in the building. Since the fire, many churches have been talking about getting fire proof cabinets to preserve their history and vital records.

The congregation is renting office, meeting and worship space at Grace ELCA in Eau Claire. Pastor David Huber said this is working extremely well. Pastor David said that they have strong insurance coverage and don't have any immediate financial needs. Because the congregation is just beginning to think about their space needs going forward, they do not know whether they will have financial needs in the future. However, Pastor David did say they have requests for people  who wish to assist the church:
  1. Plymouth has a quilters group that makes quilts for the homeless, all their fabric was destroyed and they would welcome 100% cotton fabric from donors
  2. Plymouth has a night ministry in Eau Claire and the items this ministry offers to assist people were destroyed; as winter approaches this ministry needs donated sleeping  bags, warm socks, winter boots, coats, mittens, hats, scarves and about 75 small Bibles.
  3. Plymouth is also in need of about 50-75 New Century Hymnals if any church has ones that they would want to contribute.  
Pastor David said those interested in making donations can contact the church at 715-835-5475, or him at 715-497-8448. As Plymouth grieves the loss of their building they continue to feel and see how God is with them. They are asking where God is leading and they continue to reach out in love through their ministries of care. Plymouth UCC is on a journey along an uncharted path. Let us keep the people of Plymouth and Pastor David in our prayers.
ONA 201 image ONA 201 Webinar
Tuesday, December 6 at 7 p.m.
Sponsored by the Open and Affirming Coalition of the UCC

In the coming months and years, Open and Affirming churches will be challenged to stand together to defend what we have gained in the past decade, and to witness more effectively than ever that the Gospel promises a world where no one is excluded, where everyone is wanted, needed, and safe.
Our "ONA 201" webinars are designed to help your congregation learn the best practices for ONA evangelism--including advocacy, marketing, and communications. ONA churches have an impact in their communities when they are relentless and visible in their commitment to inclusion and justice.
More information and registration  
Phil Haslanger image Love in a Time of Resentment: Seeking Hope in Today's Politics

The tension between religion and the public authorities goes back to the earliest days of Christianity. But what does that mean for us today, living in a democracy, but where resentment seems to be the coin of the realm this year. How might we find paths to living as followers of Jesus or from other faith perspectives while still acting as engaged citizens in our nation?
Rev. Phil Haslanger of Fitchburg Memorial UCC, gave this presentation as Lakeland University's Mission House Lecture on October 18, 2016.
Read Phil's presentation
Transgender day of remembrance image Transgender Day of Remembrance

Sunday, November 20
, is Transgender Day of Remembrance. It's an opportunity for your ONA congregation to honor your trans neighbors--here and abroad--who lost their lives in the past year to violence and suicide. Your congregation can send a clear message to your community: yes, there is a church where trans people are wanted, valued, and safe. Many congregations read the names of the victims while ringing a bell: it's a powerful way to remember.
UCC Disabilities Ministries Seeks Nominations for Board of Directors

The UCC Disabilities Ministries Board's Nominations Committee is seeking people who are passionate about disability ministry who would like to serve on their Board. The Board is made up of people with disabilities, professionals who work in the disability field, and family members of people with disabilities. Their mission is to encourage our denomination to create worship and meeting places, programs, and leadership that are accessible to all (A2A) and welcoming and inclusive of all persons with disabilities. Nominations must be received by December 9, 2016.
More information 
Rediscover Your Congregation's Purpose and Passion with Five Practices
Starts January 28, 2017
Hospitality. Worship. Faith development. Mission and service. Generosity. These are practices that have been undertaken by churches for generations. But how would your church be renewed by radical hospitality, passionate worship, intentional faith development, risk-taking mission and service, and extravagant generosity? The Wisconsin Conference's Church Renewal Program seeks to help churches renew and grow their congregations by teaching churches the Five Practices of Fruitful Congregations.

Renew your congregation! Register for this important program by January 9, 2017. More details are available at wcucc.org/fivepractices. You can also access a flyer about the event to share with others, and here is the link for online registration.  
United Church of Christ Scholarships


The national United Church of Christ offers scholarships in four areas: Ministry Education, Program Grants, Leadership Development, and Global Ministry. Applications are accepted starting December 1, 2016. You can find out more about these scholarships on the scholarship page at ucc.org

Conference Transitions

Searching Churches
  • First Congregational Church in Lake Geneva is seeking a part-time pastor. To see this and all searching churches, click here.
New Calls
  • Rev. Robert Sherwood was called as pastor at Union Congregational UCC, Waupun, effective November 1, 2016
  • Rev. Marty Carney was called as interim pastor at Congregational UCC, Neenah, effective November 6, 2016
  • Bonnie Jacque has been called as interim pastor at First Congregational UCC, Plymouth, effective November 14, 2016

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.

Plymouth UCC fire image copyright 2016 WEAU/Gray Television, Inc. 

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
Immigrant Welcoming Conference Resolution
Plymouth Eau Claire's fire aftermath
ONA 201 Webinar
Seeking Hope in Today's Politics presentation
Transgender Day of Remembrance
UCC Disabilities Ministries seeks BOD nominations
Five Practices
UCC Scholarships
Conference Transitions
Shift blog 
Check out the
SHIFT BLOG for inspiration! 
Read about & share congregational shift stories.
Church Spotlight

St Johns Slinger image

For nearly 170 years, St. John's UCC in Slinger, in the Southeast Association, has been serving the community. Their pastor is Rev. Jim Scheif. For 155 years, the church met in the same building at the top of a hill south of Slinger. In 2003 a new church was built using the stained glass windows from the original church building. 

Check the Conference calendar for upcoming events.
The Parish Paper
Access this month's issue and archived issues here!
Revd Up logo
Follow Franz Rigert's Rev'd Up Blog for thought provoking ideas. Join the conversation!

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 Micah Schlobohm of the Wisconsin Conference UCC Committee on Ministry with LGBTQ Persons.
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Let us know! If you have something you'd like considered for publication in
Wisconsin Conference Life, email Nola at the Wisconsin Conference.