Wisconsin Conference Life Newsletter
May 26, 2021
Powered by Generosity: Annual Meeting Recap
by Rev. Andrew Warner
Delegates and friends from throughout the Wisconsin Conference gathered earlier this month for an Annual Meeting centered on the theme of generosity. We began with a keynote address by the Rev. William Lamar of Metropolitan AME in Washington, D.C. He spoke directly to our hearts, beginning in part:

“I believe God’s spirit is calling you – Wisconsin Conference – to a new interpretation of what it means to be generous. Generosity beyond our culture’s penchant for automatization and individualization. Generosity beyond merciful responses to deep human pain that only justice can address. Generosity beyond sentimentality moved by the dehumanization of our siblings and the destruction of the planet that sustains us. Hear me: Generous beyond sweetness; generosity beyond niceness; generosity beyond kindness.”

Drawing on the story of Jesus driving the money-changers out of the Temple (Luke 19: 45-48), Lamar described what he called “confrontational generosity.” He underscored that Jesus not only confronted but remained in relationship; as Luke said, “Every day [Jesus] he was teaching in the temple.”
The following day, Dr. Melissa Spas of the Lake Institute on Faith and Giving at Indiana University’s School of Philanthropy picked up the theme of deepening our understanding of generosity. Spas pushed us to make a shift from a mindset of scarcity to a mindset of abundance. 
We moved into workshops for our third day. Brief descriptions of our more than a dozen workshops can be found at this link (video) or at this link (print). 
On Saturday we gathered for our business meeting as a conference with talks by Rev. Franz Rigert on the vision of the Wisconsin Conference and Cheryl Joseph Williams on the impact of OCWM Basic Support gifts on our congregations across the United States. The meeting considered and approved the nominations report and proposed 2022 budget. 
Finally, on Sunday May 16 our virtual worship service included a conference-wide rendition of the Summons, a sermon by myself, and much more. All of which can be found at this link.
We heard from local congregations about their practice of generosity throughout the Annual Meeting. These inspiring stories will be available on the Wisconsin Conference website in future months.
We’re grateful to all the staff, volunteers, and speakers who made this Annual Meeting a success.
Yours in Faith,
In This Issue: scroll down to find these articles
  • BE(Coming) the Church Today: Learning and Sharing in Community discussions
  • Dwelling in the Word with the Damascus Project
  • UCCMA Virtual Conference
  • General Synod
  • United Church Camps Update
  • Celebrating Deb Simon
  • Help Others
  • Conference Transitions
BE(Coming) the Church Today: Learning and Sharing in Community
A 5-week series of topical discussions, 12:00 pm-1:00 pm, Wednesdays, June 2 through June 30
What challenges are you encountering as we move to re-open churches and re-engage our worship communities? What are you learning? What questions do you wish you had answers to?
The Wisconsin Conference invites you to a series of facilitated conversations focusing on the questions being raised as we move through this liminal/transitional period of re-gathering, re-forming and re-newing our congregations. 
In these discussion sessions, participants can share what they are learning, and hear from others about the steps we are all taking in our ministry contexts. Your stories may be helpful to others. And in turn, you may gain new insights. This is a season of sorting this all out. No one has the answers, but together we can figure this out. 
Please join the conversation! Each of the 5 weekly sessions will take place on Wednesdays in June, at noon for one hour, via Zoom. Discussion topics are as follows:
  • June 2: Strategies for in-person re-gathering – discerning when and how to re-open
  • June 9: Hybrid Hospitality: Intentional Invitations to Build & Rebuild Community
  • June 16: Cultivating a Hybrid Community (Without Burning Out)
  • June 23: Mental Health and Spiritual Care: The Impact of the Covid 19 Pandemic on our Mental Health & Congregational Life
  • June 30: Tending the Soul: Ongoing Supportive Ministries
  • NEW: the June 30 session will be re-played in the evening with a live Q&A at 6:30 PM, for those who are unable to make the session at noon. To sign up for this evening session, click here.
For more information and to register go to wcucc.org/conversations
Dwelling in the Word with the Damascus Project
We are living in an uncertain and transitional time. In some ways, life is returning to some version of normal, and in other ways we are very much impacted by the ongoing pandemic. Now is the perfect time to come together in community to listen for Jesus’ wisdom through the parables. In June and July, join with like-minded folks as together we dwell in the word.
Dwelling in the Word is a spiritual practice in which we open our hearts and minds to the Spirit’s call as it comes to us through the scriptures. It is also an opportunity to take a pause in your week and practice listening for and noticing God’s presence in our world and in our lives. 
When? Thursdays 12–12:30 pm CT, June 10, 17, 24 AND July 8, 15, 22 (no meeting on July 1)
Come once or come every time. No preparation needed. And when we say 30 minutes, we mean it!
To receive a weekly email reminder and the meeting link, PLEASE RSVP:
Already a Damascus Project Network member? Click here.
Not yet a Damascus Project Network member? Click here.
United Church of Christ Musicians Association 2021 Virtual Conference
Brave New World!
July 8-10, 2021
Did you know that the UCC Musicians Association is hosting an online conference this summer, just prior to General Synod? On July 8-10, musicians, pastors and lay leaders are invited to attend a very special conference, filled to the brim with workshops, worship, networking and a concert. Take advantage of the online format and lack of travel expenses! All conference content will be accessible for one month following the event.

The UCCMA is a grass-roots national organization of over 200 members that aims to serve all those who "minister through music and the arts." Over the past 25 years, we have hosted over a dozen biennial conferences at locations all over the US. Our conferences attract an average of 100 musicians and pastors from all areas of the country, and they include opportunities for worship, learning, music making and fellowship.
General Synod 33: "Rooted In Love"
July 11 – 18, 2021
General Synod 33 is virtual this year, so anyone can attend from anywhere! Check out the General Synod website for more information. Registration is now open!

This Synod's keynote speakers are Valarie Kaur, Social Activist & Film Maker, and Rev. Adam Russell Taylor, Author & Minister. Find out more about these speakers here.
Open and Excited for 2021!
United Church Camps, Inc., is open and ready to welcome guests to Moon Beach, Pilgrim Center and Cedar Valley. We can't wait to reunite in these sacred spaces again.
Check out our event registration and link to the scholarship application below. Money is not a barrier to participation.
The lake is calling, the sunshine is calling, the trees are calling, camp is calling, God is calling you – it's time!

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 June 25, to: Deb Simon Retirement, Wisconsin Conference UCC, 4459 Gray Road, DeForest, WI, 53532. We will share the cards with her at a small staff lunch BBQ the following week.
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
  • St. John's UCC in Sheboygan is searching for a Christian Educator. Details
  • Congregational UCC in Amery is searching for a pastor. Details
  • To see all searching churches, click here.

New Calls
  • Rev. Stephen Davis has been called as interim pastor at Calgary Congregational UCC in Twin Lakes, effective May 8, 2021
  • Rev. Adam Westrich has been called as pastor at First UCC in Green Bay, effective May 17, 2021
  • Rev. Karl Rist has been called as interim pastor at Trinity UCC in La Crosse, effective May 24, 2021. Karl is new to the conference. Welcome!

In Memoriam
  • Joel Klink, husband of JoAnn Klink, died on April 6, 2021. JoAnn is a commissioned minister with standing in the Northwest Association Wisconsin Conference United Church of Christ. 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 "How Can We Overcome Barriers to Vaccination?" 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