Wisconsin Conference Life Newsletter
April 8, 2021
How Can We Build Trust in a Vaccine?
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From The Parish Paper

The development of a vaccine for the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 has led to hope that the global health crisis will soon be over. How soon may depend on willingness to receive a vaccine, and a recent survey by the Kaiser Family Foundation reveals that roughly one quarter (27%) of Americans say they “probably” or “definitely” would not get the vaccine. Read on for the case for vaccination and how to take action. Continue reading
In This Issue: scroll down to find these articles
  • Annual Meeting 2021: Powered by Generosity
  • Church adds solar power
  • Earth Day resources
  • Break the Silence Sunday resources
  • Picture the Bible free curriculum series
  • Help Others
  • Conference Transitions
2021 Wisconsin Conference UCC Annual Meeting
May 11-16, 2021
Powered by Generosity
Virtual Choir Deadline Extended!
 
All are invited to participate in the Wisconsin Conference UCC’s first Virtual Choir! The deadline to participate has been extended until Sunday, April 11.
 
Click here for instructions on how to listen, record and submit videos.
 
NEW! Flexible Registration Rates in 2021
Click here to register

We’ve made this year’s Annual Meeting more affordable by offering a discounted registration rate of $20; however, the meeting will cost the Conference closer to $60/person. Please consider helping to offset our costs by choosing to add a donation to your registration rate. Those that choose a rate of $100 will be recognized as an Annual Meeting Sponsor during the virtual meeting and on the website.

Registration Rates

$20    Discounted Virtual Event Registration
$60    Virtual Event Registration + $40 Donation Towards Individual Costs
$100  Virtual Event Registration + $80 Annual Meeting Sponsorship

To determine the number of delegates per church, please click here.

Conference Annual Meeting Sunday Worship Service
 
A Conference-wide virtual worship service is planned for Sunday, May 16th to close the Conference Annual Meeting. This prerecorded service is based on the theme "Powered by Generosity," with a sermon by Rev. Andrew Warner. The service will be available beginning on Tuesday, April 27th.
Two Rivers Church Connects to Solar Power
A new 20 kW solar array installed at Grace Congregational United Church of Christ in Two Rivers has generated 6.7 Megawatt-hours of electricity in its first 3 months. This has already saved $626 in avoided utility costs and 5 tons of estimated carbon emissions, equal to the carbon uptake of 120 trees—even in winter, typically the lowest solar producing months!

When the church, through its Earth Care Ministry, started exploring solar energy in 2018, it had no idea how much support this project would receive. The cost was significantly reduced by the donation of 67 solar panels through the Solar for Good program, which supports non-profits installing solar energy through RENEW Wisconsin, and by an incentive from Focus on Energy.  Enthusiasm of church members was shown by pledges and contributions which will cover about 75% of the cost after grants. The balance should be recovered through savings on utility bills in just over 5 years.

Grace Congregational Church and its Earth Care Ministry hope the success of their project will inspire other worship places and non-profits to explore renewable solar energy to benefit the environment we all share. Anyone interested in seeing the ground-installed solar panels can drive up to the church at 2801 Garfield Street in Two Rivers. For more information, email the church or call 920-553-1222.
Earth Day Resources
Each year before Earth Day, Creation Justice Ministries provides materials to help faith communities explore themes related to God's creation. Our 2021 materials include theological insights, stories of faith communities taking action, sermon starters, liturgy ideas, and action steps. You can find the materials here. Find additional materials here.

Find more information about Earth Day Sunday, including materials from previous years, at this link.
Break the Silence Sunday
Suggested date: Sunday, April 25

Break The Silence Sunday is an effort to open up a conversation within the church about rape and sexual assault. Within the context of our faith communities we hope to:

  • acknowledge the reality of rape and sexual violence in our world;
  • support survivors by creating a place where they can tell their stories, feel loved and supported, and find encouragement on their healing journey;
  • commit ourselves to the work of changing the world, creating a future where rape is a memory.

Materials and more information can be found on the Break the Silence Sunday website.
Picture the Bible Curriculum for Churches – 4 Week Series
The Wisconsin Conference is partnering with the creators of Picture the Bible (PTB), the outstanding Faith Formation resource, to provide a 4-week, post-Easter series of PTB free to all congregations in the Conference. Each church received a mailed packet of complete materials in March.
 
Rev. Rich Pleva, former pastor of Zwingli UCC, Belleville, shared his congregation’s experience with Picture the Bible:

“If you believe (like I do!) that people are formed by story, and if you are looking for a flexible, cross-generational resource by which to immerse the people of your church - young and old - in the ‘big stories’ of the Bible, then you should give Picture the Bible a look. At Zwingli UCC we took an entire program year to focus on these formative stories in worship, Sunday School, adult Bible study and in confirmation. The succession of stories, week after week, helped build Biblical literacy and provide a framework for understanding the arc of Biblical content. I'd recommend you give the sampler a taste!” from Rev. Rich Pleva, former pastor of Zwingli UCC, Belleville, and former Conference Minister of the Iowa Conference UCC
 
The packets sent to churches include four age-levels of resource guides for each of four biblical texts, accompanied by four colorful art reproductions. The Informational Guide in the packet provides directions for free access to electronic files which you can download and print the materials as needed. Also, a video on how to use the Picture the Bible resources is available here
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
No churches recently began a search. To see all searching churches, click here.

Wider Church Searches
  • The national UCC is searching for a President and Co-Executive of Global Ministries. Details
  • The national UCC is searching for a Director of Public Engagement & Digital Presence. Details
  • The national UCC is searching for a Minister for Refugee and Migration Services. Details

Installations and Ordinations
  • Rev. Shelby Perez was ordained in a virtual service on March 28, 2021.


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