Wisconsin Conference Life Newsletter
November 18, 2020
Announcing the Fall 2020 Catalyst Grant Recipients
What do projects addressing systemic racism, a free clinic, and arts and science literacy have to do with one another? They are just a few of the projects selected for funding by the Catalyst Team this fall. Read on for more info!

The prophet Isaiah promises:

Your ancient ruins shall be rebuilt;
you shall raise up the foundations of many generations;
you shall be called the repairer of the breach, the restorer of streets to live in.
(Isaiah 58:12)
 
Inspired by these words and believing ourselves called to join with God in repairing breaches and restoring streets to live in, the Catalyst Team of the Wisconsin Conference: 
  • Resources vital and innovative ministries that creatively and vibrantly live out the values of Jesus in this time and place
  • Encourages congregations and individuals to broaden the focus of their mission toward building partnerships in their community to serve the common good
  • Supports congregations and individuals in their efforts to make a greater impact on their members and their wider communities 
  • Connects congregations and individuals engaged in vibrant ministries with one another for idea sharing and inspiration

Twice each year we have the delightful opportunity to receive grant requests and distribute funds to catalyze creative, innovative projects that contribute to repairing the breaches in our world and restoring streets for all to live. This year’s projects are many and varied. Check them out!

Deadlines for Catalyst Grant Proposals in 2021 are: Monday, March 29, and Monday, October 25
Questions? Contact Tisha
In This Issue: scroll down to find these articles
  • Keep the First Burning: Matching Gift Campaign
  • Digital Strategies for Reaching New Communities Webinar
  • New Monies for New Ministries Webinar
  • Year-End Gifts
  • Help Others
  • Conference Transitions
Keep the Fires Burning: Matching Gift Campaign
Outdoor Ministry Matters! These are challenging times, indeed. The global pandemic’s impact is far-reaching, and has been felt by many of us, locally and personally, as it continues to wreak havoc in our communities, congregations, homes, and everyday life. But, this moment in history also provides us with opportunities. Opportunities to take positive action for those things that you believe in, like the beliefs inherent in UCCI’s mission to provide sanctuary, practice hospitality, and perform ministry while loving God, all others, and the Earth.

A dear couple, who wishes to remain anonymous, has grasped their opportunity during this global crisis to take positive action, committing to generously match all donations in support of UCCI up to $200,000, thus allowing UCCI to raise more than $400,000! Their generous leadership and support couldn’t have come at a more meaningful time. We have taken many steps to keep UCCI operational in the absence of our usual operational revenue, and difficult decisions have been made in order to “keep the fires burning.” However, as the pandemic continues and UCCI is unable to operate due to government mandate and to protect the health of all, the future of our outdoor ministry mission and our beautiful sanctuaries are at stake.

The unvarnished truth is that UCCI needs additional financial support to survive until a vaccine is widely available and it is safe to resume outdoor ministry operations. Opening our doors and welcoming campers back to our facilities and outdoor ministry programs is our fervent hope for mid/late 2021. Until that day arrives, we are humbly asking all of our friends to reflect upon this moment in history, and take a positive action for something that you believe in….God, nature, unity and understanding for all people and all walks of life. Your love and support for UCCI is needed now, more than ever! Between now and December 31, 2020, your generosity will be matched dollar for dollar, with a goal of raising at least $400,000, which will go a long way towards “keeping our fires burning!”
Outdoor ministry provides comfort during times of storm and times of calm. Will you provide UCCI with the comfort of your support during this stormy time in our history? Please consider saying YES to this matching gift opportunity TODAY. Simply follow the link below to make your gift online or, if you prefer to mail in your donation, please make it out to UCCI and send it to: United Church Camps, Inc., W1010 Spring Grove Rd., Ripon, WI 54971 Attn: “Keep the Fires Burning.”

Thank you for all that you do to support UCCI and its outdoor ministry programs! Donate now here
Digital Strategies for Reaching New Communities Webinar
December 9, 3 pm
2020 has been a challenging, disruptive year. One result of this upheaval has been a new experience of digital communication and convening, which has the potential to open our congregations or organizations to participation from anyone, anywhere. In this one-hour webinar we will:

  • Consider the wide range of online tools and resources available
  • Identify digital strategies for outreach, engagement, and connection
  • Learn about creative connections made in this time of physical distancing
The Lake Institute on Faith & Giving at Indiana University’s Lilly Family School of Philanthropy and the national UCC’s OPTIC team joined forces to present this webinar, which provides tools that church leaders can use and adapt to their individual settings.
New Monies for New Ministries Webinar
Nov. 19, 2pm
Have you found yourself imagining a new ministry but struggling to fund it? Good ideas can fall apart when we lack the financial resources to implement them. Instead of cutting existing programs and missions to fund new ideas, we can expand our sources of financial support. 
 
Join Jill White of Church Building and Loan Fund and Andrew Warner of the Philanthropy Team at the National Setting and Development Director for the Wisconsin Conference for a conversation on practical ideas to generate new dollars for your new ideas. Drawing on their experiences with local congregations, Jill and Andrew will help identify realistic and actionable ways to find new revenue sources.
Deadlines for Year-End Gifts
  • Individual year-end gifts. Please keep in mind that contributions are deductible in the year they are made. To receive credit in 2020, checks should be made out with a 2020 date and postmarked by December 31, 2020.
  • Churches' year-end gifts for 2020 need to reach the Wisconsin Conference office no later than January 15, 2021. Please clearly mark that your gift is intended for 2020 by including a 2020 remittance form or clearly identifying what you are remitting for 2020.

Payments can be sent payments to: Wisconsin Conference UCC 4459 Gray Rd. De Forest, WI 53532. Please watch for your 2021 OCWM remittance form, which will be mailed the first week of December. If you have any questions please contact Tracy at the Wisconsin Conference finances office.
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
  • The United Church of Christ in Pittsville is searching for a pastor. Details
  • First Congregational UCC in Genoa City is searching for a pastor. Details
To see all searching churches, click here.

New Calls
  • Rev. Michael Southcombe has been called as senior pastor at St. Stephens UCC in Merrill, effective November 1, 2020.

In Memoriam
  • Rev. Daniel V. Schowalter died on November 5, 2020. 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 "Building Relationships in Livestream Worship." 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