Wisconsin Conference Life Newsletter
August 25, 2020
In This Issue: scroll down to find these articles
  • Coping positively with conflict
  • Catalyst Grants available - Deadline October 5
  • Part-time meeting planner sought
  • This year more than ever...Neighbors in Need
  • Last chance for Faith Foundations & Leadership Skills
  • Annual Campaigns 101 Webinar
  • Confirmation during Coronavirus
  • Back to school: How your church can help
  • Grants available for creation care initiatives - deadline 9/30
  • NEW video series for local church stewardship
  • Engaging the Climate Emergency in Preaching and Worship - Webinar Video
  • Stewardship campaign resources
  • Strengthen your stewardship campaign - Cohort group
  • Participate in "Labor in the Pulpit"
  • Help others
  • Conference Transitions
Coping Positively with Conflict
by Tina Ottman-Boykin
Whenever we are going through a transition, whether it is planned for or unexpected, it is often challenging to discern God’s will. Internally we can experience confusion between our own competing wants and needs, and how to prioritize; while we are also experiencing conflict externally with family members, friends, and colleagues. As we look for guidance and mentorship, how do we discern the best path forward? So how do we discern how to resolve these conflicts in a manner that helps us tune into God’s wisdom, healing, and direction for our lives? 
Catalyst Grants Fund Community-Based Ministries and Partnerships
Got an idea for developing or expanding a community-based ministry or partnership? Maybe the Catalyst Team can help! The next deadline to apply for a Catalyst Grant is Monday, October 5, 2020. Contact Tisha Brown for more information.

The Catalyst Team believes that community-based ministries and partnerships are a key marker of congregational vitality and strength. These ministries and partnerships mean that a congregation is aware of and responsive to the needs of its neighborhood or community.
One of the questions the Catalyst Team explores when it comes to making decisions about grant proposals is “in what ways does this proposed project connect a local congregation with community partners?” We want to fund projects that demonstrate a commitment to relationships and to community beyond the walls of the church building and that stretch a congregation to reach out to its neighbors in some way.
Over the last few years we have provided funding for a wide array of projects that we felt were demonstrating healthy and exciting community-based ministries and partnerships. How does your congregation connect with its neighborhood or community? What existing partnerships do you have?
What partnerships could you imagine forming? What is something your community needs as we navigate this pandemic that is something your congregation could help with in some way? Here is a short list of just a few projects that have received funding to date to spark your thinking.
Part-time Meeting Planner Sought
The Wisconsin Conference United Church of Christ is seeking a Meeting Planner to plan and implement its annual meeting. This is a part-time contract position for around 250 hours per year. Hours are lightest in summer and heaviest in January through early June. We’re looking for a long-term commitment for this very important Conference event. This is an ideal engagement for someone who desires flexible hours and primarily working from home.

The Meeting Planner is responsible for the planning and execution of all aspects of the Conference’s 400+ attendance, 4-day annual meeting, including workshops, business meetings, exhibits and gatherings. Requirements include at least two years successful meeting and event planning experience, associate’s degree or above, exceptional organizational and project management skills, as well as excellent written and verbal communications skills. Proficiency in Microsoft Office Suite and online meeting platforms is essential. Candidates must be available for overnight travel (in-state) for the four days of the annual meeting in June. For full details go to wcucc.org/plannerApplication deadline is August 31, 2020.
This year more than ever...Neighbors in Need
By Sue McBride, Northwest Association
In 2020, more than ever, your contributions to the Neighbors in Need offering are needed. Our country is experiencing unprecedented needs in this time of the Covid-19 crisis. “I’m telling the solemn truth: Whenever you did one of these things to someone overlooked or ignored, that was me - you did it to me.” Matthew 25:40 (The Message). The theme of the 2020 campaign is: “All Children have the right to simply be children.”
Don’t Miss Out on Faith Foundations & Leadership Skills!
Time is running out! Join the 35 lay people from Wisconsin and Minnesota who've already registered for Faith Foundations or Leadership Skills, two innovative and welcoming online learning experiences from The Damascus Project! 

Not sure if Faith Foundations or Leadership Skills is right for you? Learn more by watching this video and register here. The absolute deadline to register is Tuesday, September 8.
Annual Campaigns 101 Webinar
Two sessions to choose from: Tuesday, Sept. 1, or Monday, Sept. 14
5:30-7:00 pm

Join this webinar to develop and strengthen plans for a successful fall campaign. Several churches that joined this webinar last year reported improved results from their pledge campaigns!

“Ebenezer UCC followed the information from the Annual Campaign 101 webinar very closely. We used most of the materials presented, modified for us. This was much easier than creating a campaign of our own and the results were excellent. Andrew presented very useful and practical information.” ~ Ron Rindfleisch, Generosity Chair at Ebenezer UCC, Sheboygan

Designed for pastors and lay leaders planning an annual pledge campaign, we will explore ways to create an effective campaign. We’ll reflect on core purpose of a campaign, discuss practical steps leaders can take, and explore creative ideas to design a campaign uniquely suited to your congregation. Invite others in your congregation too!

There is no fee for participating in this webinar, however registration is required to receive the link to join the webinar.
Confirmation during Coronavirus
Lisa Hart will be hosting a Zoom conversation on Confirmation on Wednesday, September 2nd, at 10 AM CDT. The purpose of this gathering is to offer an open space for people responsible for offering Confirmation in their setting to share ideas, ask questions, and find support from each other. We’ll be online for about 90 minutes and would love to have you join us if you are looking for guidance and ideas, or if you have an idea to share or are planning to try something new this year. If you're interested, please register to join us for the Zoom. If you're unable to join us, but would like to have notes/resources sent to you after the session, please register so that we have your name and email address.
Back to School: How Your Church Can Help
Recorded webinar
Our own Lisa Hart was a panelist on this webinar: BACK TO SCHOOL: The Impossible Choice and How Your Church Can Help, from the national UCC's "Thursdays for the Soul" webinar series.
Grant Opportunities for Creation Care Initiatives
In response to the Kairos Call to Action, the Conference Creation Care Team is offering grants of up to $1000 available to Wisconsin Conference UCC Congregations that are planning initiatives to deepen their love of creation and positively change their relationship with the environment.

These initiatives could address new models for community-based cooperation and ministry, environmental and economic justice work, theological grounding for your congregation's response to the climate crisis, and/or potential leadership identification and development for guiding the congregation's response. Additionally, because the Creation Care Team has connected with the Native American communities of Wisconsin, consideration will be given to congregations who use this as an opportunity for multi-cultural literacy and cooperation.

These initiatives can be small or large, focused on enhanced efficiencies, consciousness-raising and education, or organizing and advocacy. Because of the far-reaching dimensions of the climate and ensuing economic crisis, priority consideration will be given to initiatives that somehow connect with multiple partners within or beyond communities the congregation serves.

Application deadline is September 30. For more information and to submit a grant application, go to wcucc.org/creationcare. Contact Lisa Hart with questions.
New Video Resource for Congregational Stewardship
How-to video series for stewardship in a local congregation
Based on his personal experience and shaped by insights on best practices from the Lake Institute, Andrew Warner designed this 14-segment video series "Extravagant Generosity" for local congregations. Because fundraising arises from our faith commitments, the series begins by looking at the spirituality of generosity through conversations with the national leaders of the UCC. Then, it looks at ways to express gratitude for people's generosity. Lastly, the series turns to the practical elements of a campaign, such as giving a testimonial and creating a narrative budget.
You can watch the videos as a series or singly. The videos on the spirituality of generosity might be useful as devotionals before a board or committee meeting. Check out the video series here.
Engaging the Climate Emergency in Preaching and Worship - with Jim Antal
Recorded webinar
God is calling the church to shape our preaching, worship and liturgy as if life itself depends on it. Clergy must fully engage the greatest moral challenge humanity has ever faced. This webinar helps pastors offer their congregations hope, engage their imagination, and inspire them to take action on climate justice. How can pastors best unpack the relationship between racial, economic and climate injustice? How can the church shape the new realities emerging from the pandemic so that we experience a #JustRecovery for “the least of these among us” AND for the ecosystem? Led by Rev. Jim Antal, Special Advisor on Climate Justice to the UCC General Minister and President.
View the webinar here: https://vimeo.com/447885302
Expanded Stewardship Campaign Resources for 2020
Three Great Loves expresses the core commitments of the United Church of Christ as we live out Jesus’ call to share God’s love. Across our Christian movement, we embody God’s love in three ways: Love of Children, of Neighbor and of Creation. The Three Great Loves Stewardship Materials help congregations tell their story of expressing God’s love while making a request for financial support.

These materials provide all that you need to run an effective campaign:
  • Bulletin Inserts with compelling stories of how we love in the UCC and a worship folder for use each week.
  • Pledge cards
  • Graphics for websites and social media, materials for mailings.
  • Campaign Resources such as a committee calendar, letter templates, directions for testimonials, and worship resources all to help your campaign tell the story your congregation’s love.
Order your materials today: uccresources.org
Pastor and Leader Cohort for Fall Stewardship Campaign
Group starting now! Sign up (free) below.

Share and learn from your peers to strengthen your stewardship campaign - Pastors and congregation leaders can enhance their stewardship campaigns by connecting and sharing ideas and resources with others. This fall, join an online “cohort” group for stewardship campaign leaders using the Three Great Loves Stewardship Theme Materials. Participants will use an online forum to connect, ask questions, offer success stories, and learn together about what works in your setting. This cohort group will kick off in August and run through mid-November.

Andrew Warner and Bob Olsen, directors of development for the Wisconsin and Minnesota conferences, respectively, will moderate this online forum, offering weekly posts with ideas and resources designed to strengthen stewardship campaigns. Participants will sign into the online site to connect with the moderators and other participants. Participants will be able submit questions for the moderators or other group members, as well as adding their own stories and information. The group could also choose to hold an online live session for a group discussion.

This cohort group is being hosted on the Damascus Project website. To sign up for the group, click here, then 1) click on the ACCESS box, and 2) Provide your information to create a free account. Email Andrew Warner or call 414-758-6233 with questions.

Resources for Churches for “Labor in the Pulpit”
Worker Justice Wisconsin (WJW) is an organization that integrates faith with a passionate advocacy for worker justice. WJW invites churches to lift up the dignity of work this Labor Day weekend (or another day in September) by participating in their annual Labor in the Pulpit/On the Bimah/In the Minbar.
WJW offers a speaker, materials or a short video that make the important connection between faith and labor. If you’d like to participate, contact rebecca@workerjustice.org or your WJW contact person know what day you have decided on, and WJW will help you plan it out!
Help Others - Donate Now
The Emergency Response Fund of the Wisconsin Conference will provide help as congregations deal with critical needs caused by the Coronavirus pandemic. All funds will be awarded to organizations experiencing financial hardship and those meeting crucial needs in their community. Donate to the Emergency Response Fund 

The General Fund of the Wisconsin Conference helps us connect, support, and resource pastors, leaders, and congregations. Your gift allows the Conference to provide relevant and timely help during the pandemic and beyond. Donate to the General Fund
Conference Transitions
Searching Churches
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Wider Church Searches
  • Global Ministries is searching for an Executive for Resource Development. Details

Wisconsin Conference Searches
  • The Wisconsin Conference is searching for a meeting planner. Details

Good Tidings
  • Rev. Bridget Flad Daniels, of Union Congregational UCC in Green Bay, and her husband Scott Daniels welcomed the birth of their daughter Josephine Eleanor in May.

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.
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.
Join the Conference-wide Creation Care Team!

Are you passionate about Creation Care? Want to connect with others who are taking action to care for the earth? The Creation Care Team's primary focus is to encourage, support and provide resources to congregations in the Wisconsin Conference as they do what they can to care for creation. If you would like to be a part of this team, or for more information on the Creation Care Team, contact John Helt. You can also go to the Creation Care webpage to learn more.

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!
This month's Parish Paper is "Hospitality: Offering a Third Place to Gather." Access this issue and archived issues here!
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