Wisconsin Conference Life Newsletter
September 22, 2021
Proceeds of Land Sale to Support Conference Mission
The Wisconsin Conference earlier this month closed on the sale of 10 acres adjacent to the Trost Center in Windsor. The net proceeds of about $620,000 will be used to support the Conference mission of resourcing pastors and congregations during this era of adaptive change.

The acreage comprises two lots at the corner of Gray and Lake roads. The purchaser agreed to maintain one lot as green space, retaining the wetland and surrounding trees. A walking path will link to existing trails.

The second lot will be developed into multifamily apartments, providing aesthetically pleasing, affordable housing in an area of high demand.

The Conference retains the woodland and prairie south of the Trost Center.
The Conference board of directors authorized the listing of two lots four years ago, a decision based on a desire to be good stewards of Conference resources and preserve the site’s natural beauty, consistent with UCC values. 
In This Issue: Scroll Down to Find These Articles
  • Camp name change honors Native American heritage
  • Seminary Debt Repayment Assistance
  • Catalyst Grants
  • Join the Big Read and hear from author Robin Wall Kimmerer
  • Don't Beg—Rethinking the Stewardship Sermon
  • Creation Care Grants
  • Can We Talk? Webinar
  • Immigration Justice Liturgy now available
  • Solar Array Dedicated
  • Wisconsin Conference Life survey
  • Immigration Justice Update workshop
  • Grit & Grace workshop
  • Copyright Concerns for Ministries workshop
  • CROP Hunger Walk
  • Youth Ambassadors Program
  • UCC Webinar: Movement Lessons
  • Help Others
  • Conference Transitions
Name Change Honors Native American Heritage
The United Church Camps Inc. Outdoor Ministry site in Green Lake has been renamed Daycholah Center. “Daycholah” is the original Ho-Chunk name for Green Lake.
 
“This new name recognizes that this land was and remains a sacred place for Native Tribes,” UCCI Executive Director Glenn Svetnicka wrote in an email announcing the change. “UCCI’s Outdoor Ministry has a unique role and opportunity to restore the voice of Native Americans, acknowledge their stewardship of this sacred place, and begin a journey with this one small reparative step toward building strong, supportive, and sustained positive relationships with our indigenous siblings.”
 
A formal renaming will take place Oct. 11, Indigenous Peoples’ Day.
 
Seminary Debt Repayment Assistance Available
Pastors who are new to the state of Wisconsin or new to parish ministry are eligible for grants from the Wisconsin Conference’s Seminary Debt Repayment program.

The program, made possible by the generosity of UCC members and congregations, offers need-based assistance for seminary debt repayment. Eligible clergy will be contacted by mail in October. Click for more information.

Pastors already in the Seminary Debt Repayment program will be invited by mail to apply for renewal of their grants.
Catalyst Grants Available Now
Application Deadline is Sept. 30
If you have an idea for a project your congregation and community might experiment with together in the coming year, and where a financial grant (of up to $5,000) can help bring it to life, consider applying for a Catalyst Grant.
 
How do Catalyst grants affect congregations? Read more here
Join the Discussion of Braiding Sweetgrass and Hear From Author Robin Wall Kimmerer
Braiding Sweetgrass and the Kairos Covenant: Time, Attention, Agency” is the theme of the next Conference-wide discussion of Robin Wall Kimmerer’s book examining the intersection of indigenous wisdom, science and spirituality. The 90-minute event, scheduled for 7 p.m. on Sept. 30, will feature brief presentations from three congregations about they are acting on the call to care for creation, followed by an opportunity for discussion in small breakout groups. Register here. Want to learn how your congregation can get the most out of a group reading of Braiding Sweetgrass? Check out this webinar. And don’t forget to sign up for Kimmerer’s talk to the entire Wisconsin Conference on Oct. 9. This study guide can be used by congregations or individuals. 
Webinar: Don’t Beg - Rethinking the Stewardship Sermon
This Bible study is for pastors thinking through sermon options for a fall stewardship campaign. We will be guided by this observation from Henri Nouwen: “Fundraising is precisely the opposite of begging. Rather, we are declaring, ‘We have a vision that is amazing and exciting.’” The webinar is scheduled for 4 p.m. Oct. 6. 
Creation Care Grants Available
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The Creation Care Team will award grants of $1,000 to Wisconsin Conference congregations to support initiatives designed to positively affect the environment and demonstrate love of creation. Initiatives could include new models for community-based cooperation and ministry, environmental and economic justice projects, or theological grounding for your congregation’s response to the climate crisis. And because the Creation Care Team has connected with Wisconsin’s Native American communities, consideration will be given to projects that tackle cultural literacy and multicultural cooperation. Click to apply
Can We Talk? Webinar
The Wisconsin Conference Supportive Ministries Team invites you to join a Tending the Soul Zoom conversation from noon to 1 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 6, for a discussion of the September Tending the Soul of the Beloved Community article Can We Talk?

The conversation, which builds on the success of the BE-coming Church virtual gatherings held in June, will provide an opportunity to talk through our shared experiences related to being the church in the time of COVID. We seek hope, connection and a vision for transformation.

To join us, please register here. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting. If you missed reading Can We Talk?, you can read it here.
Immigration Justice Worship Liturgy Now Available
The Wisconsin Conference Immigration Justice Working Group has created a liturgy for worship that focuses on the plight of immigrants attempting to enter our country. The liturgy is grounded in the biblical call to compassion, justice, and the “Extravagant Welcome” that is at the heart of the Gospel. The liturgy is an entire worship service for congregations interested in giving a Sunday morning worship experience to this theme, but individual prayers, litanies, and songs, could be used by themselves as well.
The Conference Working Group is hoping that congregations throughout Wisconsin will use this liturgy at a time that is convenient and appropriate for them. World Communion Sunday, Oct. 3, would be a wonderful choice. The liturgy, which includes a sermon written by the Rev. Randy Mayer, is available here. Additional liturgical resources created by Rev. Elizabeth Hazel, a member of the Immigration Working Group, are also available.
Solar Array Dedicated
Plymouth Congregational UCC in Madison earlier this month dedicated a 46-panel solar array, one congregation’s effort to reduce its carbon footprint. The project was financed with a $1,000 Creation Care Catalyst grant from the Wisconsin Conference and $7,000 from RENEW Wisconsin’s Solar for Good program, and $19,000 in congregational funds. Plymouth expects to save up to 85% on its electric bill. Click for more information.  
What Do You Think of Wisconsin Conference Life?
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The Conference communications team wants to hear from you. What do you like about the newsletter? What needs work? Are there topics you want to hear more about? Less? Let us know what you think by clicking here to take a brief survey. Your input will help us improve Conference Life so that it becomes a must read for UCC members across the Conference.  
Don't Miss the Immigration Justice Update Workshop
Would you like to learn more about how the actions and policies of the Biden Administration stack up against Joe Biden's ambitious and progressive immigration policy agenda, eight months into his first year as president? Have you been wondering about how your congregation (or your community) could get more involved in immigration justice work, including sponsoring an asylum-seeking family, right here in Wisconsin? Join the Immigration Working Group for a Zoom workshop, "Immigration Justice Update," from 6:30 to 8 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 30. Register now to hold your place. Presenters will include Katie Adams, policy advocate for domestic issues in the UCC’s Washington, D.C., office. The workshop will also include an update on the fast-changing situation of Afghan refugees who recently arrived in Wisconsin.
Damascus Project to Offer ‘Grit and Grace’ Workshop
Are you seeking inspiration and creative renewal? Writer and composer Amanda Udis-Kessler's virtual workshop “Grit and Grace: Creativity, Spirituality, and Justice Work” is an ideal opportunity for clergy, lay leaders, and all people of faith.
 
Workshop time will include conversations, individual exercises, pair and small-group discussions, and creative opportunities supported with spiritual grounding practices. During the workshop, as well as the two weeks before and after, participants will build supportive community through conversations about creativity.
 
Optional-use pre-workshop materials will include essays on various ways of thinking about creativity, covering theology, sociology, ethics, spirituality, liturgy, and justice work, as well as practical writings and exercises designed to assist people with developing their creativity.
 
Oct. 22, 10 a.m.–noon
Oct. 23, 10 a.m.–noon and 1–3 p.m. (all times Central)
Cost: $65 
Copyright Concerns For Ministries
During these challenging times, ministries rely heavily on the virtual environment and various electronic mediums to share the printed forms of inspiring poetry, quotes from prayer books and daily affirmations, as well as words from songs during worship and through other forms of ministry.
As a result, some ministries have been shocked to discover they are actually in violation of laws against copyright infringement; join us as Heather Kimmel, general counsel of the UCC, offers valuable information on how to help your ministry avoid this situation.
Join us at 1 p.m. Central time on Sept. 29. Register here
Oct. 16 Hunger Walk Wants You!
Don’t have a CROP Hunger Walk in your community? You can still join the 2021 National CROP Hunger Walk to end hunger in the U.S. and abroad on World Food Day, Oct. 16. Walk on your treadmill, in your neighborhood, in a park with friends – you choose the location and the experience. Walk one day – 3.7 miles (the average distance a woman walks for water) – or take the Weekend Challenge and walk 11.1 miles (3.7 miles for 3 days). Every step you take and every dollar you raise make the walk shorter for neighbors in need by providing clean water, emergency food as well as livelihoods and access to education. Sign up and start raising funds today at crophungerwalk.org/usa. Contact info@cwsglobal.org for more info.
Youth Ambassadors Program
At the United Church of Christ we believe that youth are vital to the denomination's success and will shape the future of our society. We are looking for 12 youth who are in their freshman, sophomore or junior year of high school to be a part of our pilot program. These ambassadors will gain a deeper understanding of their faith, study alongside justice leaders, collaborate on one large yearly project that aligns with the mission and goals of the UCC, and regularly give voice to the wider church through appropriate news and social media challenges.

By the end of the Youth Ambassadors Program each youth will have deepened their commitment to justice and increased personal leadership skills to make a difference in their congregations and communities.

This is a two year program and is funded by generous gifts within the United Church of Christ. Full program description and application can be found here. The application deadline is Oct. 31.
UCC Webinar—Movement Lessons: The First National People of Color Environmental Leadership Summit 30 Years Later
One of the best resources of the environmental justice movement today is its own history. Leading scholars in the field of environmental justice have described the First National People of Color Environmental Leadership Summit as one of the most significant events in the movement's history. It was an event hosted and organized by the UCC’s Commission for Racial Justice. In 1991, this summit literally re-defined the word “environment." No longer did the word refer to remote wilderness areas and pristine natural landscapes as was often the case for largely white environmental organizations. The environment became where one lived, worked, studied, played, and prayed. It became the water one drinks in one’s home. It became the air one breathes in one’s neighborhood. It became the safety of one’s workplace.

The summit produced the landmark 17 Environmental Justice Principles that are still used as a source of moral guidance for environmental organizations to this day. The ripple effects of the summit continue to be felt today. In this webinar, we will learn from three key participants in the summit: Charles Lee, Vernice Miller-Travis, and Richard Moore. Sign up even if you can’t make the scheduled time of 12 p.m. Central on Oct. 13, and we will send you a recording. Register now!
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
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Conference Search
  • The Wisconsin Conference is searching for an Associate Conference Minister. Details

New Calls
  • Rev. Ted Drewsen will serve as the bridge associate conference minister for the Wisconsin Conference, upon Rev. Lorraine Ceniceros's departure on Nov. 12. Ted will cover the Southwest Association and parts of the Southeast Association.

Installations
  • The Rev. Marty Carney was installed at Williams Bay Congregational in Williams Bay on Sept. 12.
  • The Rev. Michael Southcombe was installed at St. Stephen's UCC in Merrill on Sept. 12.
  • The Rev. Mike Bober was installed at St. Paul's UCC in Oshkosh on Sept. 19.
  • The Rev. Leanne Rose was installed at Emmanuel UCC in Dousman on Sept. 19.

In Memoriam
  • Mark Liddicoat, father of Tracy Hauge, the Wisconsin Conference finance manager, died on Sept. 10. Obituary
  • Joan Hart, mother-in-law of Lisa Hart, the Wisconsin Conference associate conference minister for faith formation and justice ministries, died on Sept. 13. 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 "Hospitality: Offering a Third Place to Gather." 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