Wisconsin Conference Life Newsletter
April 21, 2021
2021 Wisconsin Conference UCC Annual Meeting
May 11-16, 2021
Powered by Generosity
The 2021 Wisconsin Conference UCC Annual Meeting is only 3 weeks away!
 
Register today to take advantage of our low registration rates.
 
Meeting Highlights
  • Videos and photos from churches around the state showing how they are practicing generosity both within and beyond their congregational walls
  • Opening Worship on Tuesday, May 11, featuring messages from Rev. Dr. John C. Dorhauer, Rev. Tracy Blackmon, Rev. Dr. Karen Georgia A. Thompson and Rev. Franz Rigert.
  • Original virtual choir piece, performed by musicians from all over the Conference.
  • Presentation by Conference Minister Rev. Franz Rigert titled Stewarding God’s Abundance on Saturday morning, May 15
  • Social Hour on Tuesday evening, May 11, to allow participants to reconnect and have casual conversations.
  • An inspirational opening session by Keynoter Rev. William Lamar on Rethinking Generosity
  • Guidance from Melissa Spas of the Lake Institute as we move our congregations from a “mindset of scarcity” to a “mindset of abundance”
  • Practical workshops on a variety of generosity initiatives you can implement in your congregation
  • Business Meeting on Saturday morning, May 15
  • A Sunday Conference-Wide Worship Service lifting up generosity as a spiritual practice with Rev. Andrew Warner preaching
In This Issue: scroll down to find these articles
  • Conference seeks Communications Lead
  • "Bearing with One Another in Love" - Updated returning to church recommendations
  • Readiness is the Key to Congregational Change
  • Cultivating Generous Congregations Seminar
  • Radical Belonging Resource
  • Help Others
  • Conference Transitions
Conference Searching for Half-time Communications Lead
The Wisconsin Conference UCC is seeking a Communications Lead to fill a half-time position that will drive the overall communications strategy and implementation for the Conference. The primary purpose of this position is to design and execute communications that increase awareness of and engagement with Conference programs and resources. An understanding of how to deliver communications to support organizational mission and goals is key to this position, as is the ability to build awareness and engagement through communications tactics and messaging.
 
Requirements include a Bachelor's degree in communications, marketing, journalism, or a related field, and a minimum of 5 years of experience in a similar role. We’re seeking a candidate who possesses a strong command of communications practices, methodologies and technologies who can effectively managing multiple concurrent initiatives. The ability to view opportunities and interrelationships with an organization-wide perspective is important, as is the ability to achieve goals working both independently and with teams.
 
If you know of anyone with the experience and education indicated, who might be interested in this position, please pass this along to them. The detailed job description and application requirements can be found at wcucc.org/CommLead. We will be interviewing candidates in early to mid-May. The application deadline is May 14, 2021.
"Bearing with One Another in Love" - Updated Returning to Church Recommendations Released
From the Wisconsin Council of Churches
Last week we released our latest Returning to Church supplement, "Bearing with One Another in Love" with updated guidelines around:
 
  • Vaccine ethics: congregational vs. community statistics, herd immunity, gatherings of the vaccinated, requiring vaccines for church attendance, implications of availability of vaccines for children
  • Hybrid Church and Inclusion: how best to engage a broader vision of the church
  • Considering COVID variants and adjustments to benchmarks/allowances for risk
  • Church music: singing, wind instruments and mass speaking
  • Layering risk mitigations
  • Developing and working through a checklist for re-gathering
Readiness Is the Key to Congregational Change
by the Parish Paper
Read this article by the Parish Paper to learn about why revitalization efforts can fail, how congregational readiness is the first step in a successful effort, and why this moment in time could be the perfect time to get to work.
Cultivating Generous Congregations Seminar
Webinar in 6 sessions, May 19 – June 23, 2021
Stewardship in any season can be stressful for pastors. It can feel awkward – “I’m asking people to pay me!” It can feel unspiritual – “Jesus chased the money changers out of the temple!” The Cultivating Generous Congregations Seminar for pastors and lay leaders offers an opportunity to explore faithful, practical, and tested ways for promoting generosity in our congregations. We will draw on current research, seek guidance from the wisdom of scripture, and discuss the best practices in church-based fundraising. 
 
This seminar will help pastors and leaders engage generosity as a spiritual practice, and will improve the “bottom line” of your congregation – mission and ministry. Six online sessions run on Tuesdays at 5:30-7:00 pm, from May 19 through June 23, and will be taught by the Rev. Andrew Warner, Wisconsin Conference Director of Development and the Rev. Andy DeBraber, Generosity Officer of the national setting. 

Between class sessions, Andy and Andrew will provide materials to help you analyze the culture of your own congregation and learn how to create change. By the end of the seminar, pastors and leaders will be equipped to lead effective fundraising and you will have a strategy to guide your success moving forward.
 
Be sure to recruit at least a team of two from your congregation for this program. The CGC Seminar is $150 per participant. The Wisconsin Conference will cover $100/participant if requested – email Andrew to request. Register here by April 30.
Radical Belonging: A Sunday Mental Health Resource for All
As the month of May approaches, many congregations are preparing for Mental Health Sunday on May 16, 2021, part of the designation of May as Mental Health Awareness Month. To assist in your liturgical preparation, we offer this new resource, Radical Belonging: Mental Health Sunday Liturgies and Resources for All.
This downloadable resource, available in both a PDF and a large print Word document, is for any congregation of any denomination that wishes to become a place of radical belonging. It was created in prayer and partnership between the United Church of Christ Mental Health Network and The United Church of Canada, with generous contributions by Rev. Dr. Sarah Lund, the United Church of Christ’s Minister for Disabilities and Mental Health Justice. Within it, you will find liturgy that challenges the systemic sins that create “otherness” and ableism, resources that share the stories of people living with mental illness and disabilities, and words of grace and celebration for the opportunities we have as the Body of Christ to love, care for and accept one another.

As our communities slowly emerge from the collective trauma of COVID-19, the losses of the pandemic weigh heavily on our lives and communities. Within this context, The United Church of Canada and the United Church of Christ Mental Health Network join our voices in calling faith communities to become intentionally inclusive places where God’s Kin-dom manifests through relationships of mutual respect for all people, including those living with mental health challenges, substance use disorders, neurodevelopmental differences, brain disorders, and their families.
Help Others - Donate Now
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
  • Madison Christian Community is searching for a Director of Children and Family Ministries. Details
  • Middleton Community Church is searching for a Music Director. Details
  • First Congregational UCC in Eagle River is searching for a pastor. Details

To see all searching churches, click here.


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.
The Kairos Call to Action Newsletter was created to support the efforts of congregations, families and individuals who want to be a part of the UCC’s Kairos Call to Action. Through this newsletter the Conference Creation Care Team will provide resources for study and worship, encourage advocacy on behalf of climate justice, and help congregations find and connect with partners who share this common concern and commitment.
Tending the Soul of the Beloved Community is a monthly communication dedicated to sharing resources and tools, wisdom and insight for congregations and individuals navigating these challenging days. Created by the Conference Supportive Ministries Team, this publication will highlight resources to aid in steering your path forward.
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!
Get Involved! A Conference-wide Racial Justice Task Force gathers resources and encourages congregations to engage in conversations around race. If you and your congregation are interested in participating in this group, you are welcome. Contact Lisa Hart get involved.

More information on the Racial Justice Task force is available on the Conference's Racial Justice webpages.

This month's Parish Paper is "Readiness is the Key to Congregational Change." 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