Wisconsin Conference Life Newsletter
June 23, 2016 
Conference Minister's Annual Meeting Recap
by Franz Rigert

This year's Annual Meeting of the Wisconsin Conference featured lots of energy around "Shift: from Maintenance to Mission!" Highlights include:
  • The unveiling of our new Mission, Values and Vision Statement from the Conference Board of Directors. Learn more
  • Keynote addresses about the future Church by Cameron Trimble, Center for Progressive Renewal, who believes "the best days for Christianity are ahead of us."
  • Passing of a resolution to study (and work toward) becoming an Immigrant Welcoming Conference at Annual Meeting 2017. More info 
  • The passing of a 2017 balanced budget and full nomination slate.
  • Shift small group breakouts and workshops to learn and to share best practices, networks and resources.
  • A Shift rally to celebrate the many congregations that are engaging in Shift activities that bring positive change to their community or congregation in one of these areas - justice ministries, spiritual formation, leadership development, community based ministries, nimble governance and alternative models to ministry.
  • Recognition of long-time treasurer Rich Fluechtling and Board Chair Steve Hirby as they prepare to move on to other endeavors.
  • Celebration of more than 70 Lay Academy graduates from Faith Foundations and Lay Ministry Skills courses.
  • A stirring Sunday morning sermon by Rev. Tanya Sadagopan, who encouraged us to recognize the value of all of the many things we already do to make our communities better places to live, and to invite those outside our churches to join us in making a difference.
  • A fun-filled and entertaining skit looking at a Shift challenge in a fictitious local church, by Steve Savides and Company.
  • Celebration of the Campital Campaign success and announcement of our new UCCI Development Director, Glenn Svetnicka, as part of a strategy to ensure the camps' sustainability.
  • Wonderful worship!
  • Good food! Good faith! Good friendship!
For more info on the Annual Meeting also read Tisha Brown's blog post and see an album of photos on our Facebook page (you don't have to use Facebook to view them!). Our thanks go to Pat Mahoney, Congregational UCC Neenah, for taking the majority of the photos featured in the album. 
Shift Resources Available for Congregations
During Friday afternoon's opening worship service at this year's annual meeting Tisha Brown shared the three primary settings in which our conference-wide conversation around Shift will be continuing in the coming year.
  1. Cohort groups - Based on feedback received at annual meeting, we will be bringing together pastors and congregation leaders who are working on similar initiatives to support and resource one another.
  2. Coaching - 14 leaders from around the conference have been trained and certified by Pinnacle Leadership Associates in the art and practice of coaching. They are available to work one-on-one with pastors in our conference who are working on adaptive change in their congregations. If you're curious to learn more check out the information on our web site or contact Tisha.
  3. Conference website Resource Center - Our vision and hope is that our conference website will be a gathering place for best practices, useful resources, sharing ideas, tools and books and connecting throughout the conference and beyond in supportive community. This is a work in progress so check back often to see how this evolves. Online Resource Center
In addition to these concerted efforts of the conference, we also are relying on all of you to share ideas with one another and be a resource to one another. Follow up on contacts you made at annual meeting and look around to see what other churches in your area are doing so you can beg, borrow or steal their ideas to try in your own context. This is a time of holy experimenting as together we continue laying the foundation for a renewed Christianity. We are excited to be in ministry with all of you and look forward to seeing what the future will hold as we walk this journey - God's People on the Move!
Wisconsin Conference Votes to Engage in Year of Study on Immigration
The voting body at the Wisconsin Conference UCC Annual Meeting voted to enter into a time of study around issues of immigration and our faith, with the purpose being to vote on a resolution to become an Immigrant Welcoming Conference at the 2017 annual meeting. The Wisconsin Conference Immigration Working Group presented this resolution, along with goals they are challenging the congregations in the Wisconsin Conference to meet in the coming year. The first goal is for at least 66 congregations in the Wisconsin Conference to engage in the study of this issue and submit this form prior to March 1, 2017. The second goal is for 30 congregations in the Wisconsin Conference to vote to become Immigrant Welcoming Congregations prior to our 2017 annual meeting. The third goal is for 12 congregations to become directly involved in the resettlement of refugees or asylum-seekers.
In order to bring the resolution to the floor for a vote next June, the first goal must be met. The other two goals are encouragement for congregations to take action and begin to live into being an Immigrant Welcoming Conference. Resources are available to congregations in the Resource Center on the conference website. There are two online resources to choose from for the purpose of engaging in study of the issues. The first resource is provided by the United Church of Christ and the second resource is provided by the Wisconsin Council of Churches. Additional resources are also listed for further study. Members of the Immigration Working Group will also be available to provide support and guidance to congregations as they engage in this study and consider becoming "immigrant welcoming." Contact Lisa Hart to connect with the Group. 

Going to National Youth Event?

Have you let us know that you are going to National Youth Event? We want your group to be included in any Wisconsin Conference activities, so please let Lisa Hart know if you will be at NYE. Also, Conferences have a tradition of wearing Conference t-shirts at NYE...don't miss out on getting your Wisconsin Conference t-shirt! (We'll be wearing them for our group picture.) Orders are due on Thursday, June 30th. Order here and pick up your shirt in Orlando.

UCC Logo Proposed UCC Mission Statement Survey

Contribute your ideas to the discussion

The United Church of Christ general minister and president has released a survey to the wider church, looking for input from every member of the denomination about a proposed UCC mission statement. The 
survey, with a completion deadline of August 22 , is the latest step in crafting a Purpose, Mission and Vision Statement that underscores the UCC's commitment to unity, radical hospitality and full inclusion. 

In a letter to the wider church, the Rev. John C. Dorhauer shares the process that has led up to this
 20-minute survey  and how member feedback will help firm up the language of a statement that best answers 'Why the United Church of Christ?"
Read more

Drop the PO Box


Did you know that the Conference office is using a new address? Mail should be sent to:


Wisconsin Conference UCC
4459 Gray Road (no PO Box)
DeForest, WI  53532

But don't worry - we're still at the same place. The only difference is we no longer have a PO Box.
Lay Academy Summer Event
The Spirit Within: Where is God Leading You?
Friday, July 22, 7:00 to 9:00 pm
Saturday, July 23, 9:00 am to 3:00 pm
Trost Center, DeForest, WI
Conference Transitions

Searching Churches
Churches that recently started searching for a new pastor:
  • Roberts Congregational UCC, Roberts
  • First Congregational UCC, La Crosse
  • First Congregational UCC, East Troy
  • Peace UCC, Schofield
To see all searching churches, click here.

New Calls
  • Rev. Julie M. Goranson was called as Pastor and Teacher to Grace UCC, Wausau, effective June 1, 2016.
Installations and Ordinations
  • Rev. Erik Koepnick was installed at Calvary Memorial UCC in Milwaukee on Sunday, June 5, 2016.
  • Rev. Wayne Drueck has retired from Grace UCC, Wausau. A celebration of his ministry was held May 15, 2016.
  • Rev. Bill Clyma has retired from Peace UCC in Marinette. His final Sunday was June 5, 2016.
Good Tidings
  • Rev. Delbert Permann, longtime Wisconsin Conference UCC minister and resident in River Falls, will return to his alma mater this summer to be inducted into the Yankton College Humanities Hall of Honor.  
In Memoriam
  • Ralph E. "Bud" Howland died on June 17, 2016. Bud was father to Rev. Deborah Jean Howland, interim chaplain at Cedar Communities. Obituary
  • Vivian Luella Meier passed away on June 19, 2016. Vivian was a Lay Academy student and member of the United Church of Christ in Reeseville. 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
Shift Resources
Year of Immigration Study
National Youth Event
UCC Mission Statement Survey
Drop the PO Box
Lay Academy Summer Event
Conference Transitions
Shift blog 
Check out the
SHIFT BLOG for inspiration! 
Read about & share congregational shift stories.
Church Spotlight

This Southeast Association church is led by Pastor Beth Abbott and has served South Milwaukee for over 100 years. They participate in several missions that help their local community and have a strong scholarship fund that helps their congregants with college and camp.


Check the Conference calendar for upcoming events.
Revd Up logo
Follow Franz Rigert's Rev'd Up Blog for thought provoking ideas. Join the conversation!

First Congregational UCC in Appleton is seeking a Director for High School Ministries. More information 

Middleton Community Church UCC is looking for a part time Christian Education Director. For more information, contact the church

Salem UCC in Verona is seeking a director of Christian Education. For more information, contact Rev. Mark Yurs or the church office.

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.
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.