Wisconsin Conference Life Newsletter
June 23, 2021
Do the Disastrous Effects of Climate Change Seem Too Big an Issue? There Are Things You Can Do That Make a Big Difference
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Global warming is actually an intensely Biblical issue. God made us stewards of the earth to which we belong, just like the stewards in Jesus’s parables had a tight connection to the household and piece of land they were responsible for. But it is even more than that-- God gifted us with a world that sustains us like a child in the mother’s womb. In return, the Bible asks us to keep the world that surrounds and nurtures us in good condition. To top it off, God has given us another gift—a democratic government, so that each citizen is capable of input to the laws of the land. So now it comes time for us to take our rightful places as God’s stewards, to pay attention to God’s signs that we have less than 9 years to set things straight, to contact Members of Congress to ensure that the world that surrounds and protects our children and grandchildren is not convulsed by catastrophic storms, droughts, heat waves, flooded by poisonous, cancer-producing pollutants.

But contacting your legislators doesn’t have to be daunting! There are “creation care” coalitions like Interfaith Power and Light, which grew from a 1998 coalition of Episcopal Churches that got together to purchase renewable energy and ended up bringing together partners from many different faiths in 40 state affiliates and helped pass California’s landmark climate and clean energy laws. IPL can email you the information you need (such as important bills being voted on in Congress) and what to do about it. They have timely petitions you can sign, scripts for letters, phone-calls, tweets, op-ed pieces for local newspapers that you can tailor. You don’t have to respond to every alert; you are in control of your alerts and you can pick the ones you want to pursue. We could get worried over the increase of storms and disasters, or we can tap into God’s desire that we communicate the importance of doing something about it to our leaders.
In This Issue: scroll down to find these articles
  • Reason to have hope: A public response to racism
  • Wisconsin Gospellers share virtual choir piece
  • Deb Simon retirement
  • Memory camp
  • Interfaith Evensong for Peace service
  • Enjoy summer with UCCI
  • Help others
  • Conference transitions
Reason to Have Hope: A Public Health Response to Racism
Reason to Have Hope: A Public Health Response to Racism—a multi-part, online, interactive, and highly adaptable course created by the Council for Health and Human Service Ministries, UCC (CHHSM)—is now online! It was released in recognition of the Juneteenth holiday.

The innovative, user-friendly, self-paced curriculum is geared for a group learning environment, although you can go through it individually as well. It includes history, current events, theology, stories of resilience, and the intersections of race and social issues to help members of faith-based organizations and local churches learn from not only the material, but each other.

This virtual course is intended to support people in all settings of the church gain a deeper understanding of the harm that racism and white supremacy have on health and well-being. The material focuses on the systemic causes of health disparities for People of African Descent, Indigenous Peoples, and other People of Color, and how the work of health equity is tied to liberation for all.

Reason to Have Hope approaches the material with deep theological grounding. It details painful realities, but also relates stories of humanity, resistance and solutions from lived experience. It begins with a foundation on approaching racism as a public health crisis, and then dives into specific issues and topics. The final lessons offer a variety of approaches to ministry to inspire ways to take action in your own ministries and work.

Prayer pauses throughout the course provide a way to help you slow down, rest, and listen. The course concludes with a Benediction of Belonging.

This course grew out of the Resolution of Witness declaring racism as a public health crisis that CHHSM and the UCC Council on Racial and Ethnic Ministries (COREM) are bringing to UCC General Synod delegates this summer. We hope it provides the foundation and hope for all of us, together, to move all settings of CHHSM toward becoming an Anti-Racist organization. Enroll for free here.

We are grateful and hopeful to journey alongside you.

Mike, George, Elyse, Paula
The CHHSM Team
Wisconsin Gospellers Share Collaborative Virtual Choir Piece
As part of our Catalyst grant project, the Wisconsin Gospellers teamed up with the UCC New York Conference Inspirational voices, and two of our German partners--the Edertal Schule (Frankenberg a.d. Eder) and Essen's Gospel and More Choir--to produce a virtual recording of Keith Christopher's "This is the Day". This has been a great opportunity to pursue our mission by bridging cultural divides to share God's word through song; we've all been both challenged and filled with joy.

We are so grateful to the Wisconsin Conference UCC for the grant money that helped make this possible. Please help us share this recording in churches around Wisconsin and beyond. The Wisconsin Gospellers are planning to resume safe, in-person rehearsals soon, and invite anyone who is interested in learning more about our ministry to email us or check out our website.
Deb Simon is Retiring! Please Help us Celebrate Her
Deb Simon
Deb has faithfully served on the Wisconsin Conference staff for more than 9 years and will retire this July. We would like to invite you to participate in celebrating Deb with a card shower. Your well-wishes, shared memories, and words of appreciation are one small way that we can express our appreciation for Deb and her years of service to the Wisconsin Conference UCC.
 
Please send your cards or notes, to be received by July 12, to: Deb Simon Retirement, Wisconsin Conference UCC, 4459 Gray Road, DeForest, WI, 53532.
Memory Camp
Join us at Memory Camp 2021 as we relax and enjoy camp activities at beautiful Moon Beach Camp in St. Germain. Memory Camp is for people living with dementia and their families.
 
Because of the pandemic, we couldn’t have Memory Camp in 2020, but now we’re excited about our upcoming our camp session, August 16-19, 2021. All staff will be fully vaccinated by then. You can read more about safety protocols on the registration page.
 
In 2018 and 2019, our campers ranged in age from 5 to 95! Every family gets its own place to stay with up to four bedrooms, a full bathroom, extra sink, and living area. Many of the “cabins” are accessible for walkers and wheelchairs with walk-in showers.
 
Register for Memory Camp by July 18, 2021
 
If you don’t do websites, feel free to email Susan McFadden/call at 920-739-8695 with questions, or email Phoebe Spier/call 715-479-8255 at the camp and she can help you with the registration and answer your questions.
Interfaith Evensong for Peace Service
June 24, 2021
Please join the Wisconsin Council of ChurchesFirst Congregational UCC Madison and the Interfaith Peace Working Group for a monthly Evensong service. In response to the needs of the world, we are hosting evenings of prayer, song, learning, and discussion. We hope that these services inspire faithful spiritual, social and political engagement. We welcome people of all faiths or of no faith. 

Join us on June 24th at 7pm with David Schultz leading the homily, Paula Hirschboeck making a presentation, and John Leonard providing music. Prajnatara Paula Hirschboeck is a Soto Zen priest and teacher. She guides Sophia Zen sangha in Madison and SE Wisconsin. Paula was also a Sinsinawa Dominican sister for 25 years and was a member of the Philosophy Department of Edgewood College from 1994-2010. During those years she and Sr. Maureen McDonnell founded “Wisdom’s Well” to offer support for interfaith contemplation and action.
Enjoy Summer with UCCI
Hello Summer!
 
United Church Camps Inc. (UCCI) is overjoyed to be welcoming guests back for summer camps and events. Time together in these sacred spaces for play, rest and reflection is exactly what we need right now. Event registration is still open, so take a look and plan to join us this summer at Moon Beach, Pilgrim Center and Cedar Valley.
 
Can't wait to see you! Also, take a look at our most recent newsletter 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
  • First Congregational UCC in Hartland is searching for a pastor. Details
  • First Congregational UCC in Genesee is searching for a pastor. Details
  • Pilgrim UCC in Grafton is searching for 3 positions. View how to apply here.
  • Digital Media Specialist (Part time, 5-6 hours a week, Sundays). Job description
  • Early/Middle Education Coordinator (Part time, 10-12 hours a week, Wednesday evenings and Sundays). Job description
  • Children’s Ministry Coordinator (5-6 hours a week, Sunday). Job description 

To see all searching churches, click here.

New Calls
  • Rev. Deborah Anderson has been called as interim pastor at St Paul-St Luke UCC in Alma, effective June 1, 2021.
  • Rev. Sara Rabe has been called as interim pastor at First Congregational UCC in Fort Atkinson, effective June 1, 2021.

Installations and Ordinations
  • Rev. Will Nelson was installed at Union Congregational UCC in Three Lakes on June 20, 2021.

In Memoriam
  • Hope Goessling, wife of the late Rev. Robert Goessling, passed away on June 7, 2021. Obituary
  • Allen Kuhn, the father of Rev. Karl Kuhn and father-in-law of the late Rev. Kathryn Kuhn, passed away on June 9, 2021. 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.
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 "Is it Time to Relocate?" 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