Wisconsin Conference Life Newsletter
November 4, 2020
Welcome to Our New Annual Meeting Event Planner!
As a part of some strategic planning related to our Conference staffing configuration, we have recently hired a part-time Annual Meeting Event Planner. I am pleased to introduce to you Ms. Katie Komassa! Katie is the Senior Meeting Manager at American Express Global Business Travel, working on the Johnson Controls account. In her spare time, Katie will be responsible for the overall management of our Annual Meeting, including convening the planning team, delegating to and supporting our many volunteers, coordinating contracts with vendors and speakers, planning the schedule, and effectively tending to all other logistics and communications. Katie also has extensive event technology experience and has quickly learned the art of planning for virtual gatherings.

Katie resides in Oak Creek with her husband Dennis and their two children: Leah (5) and Lucas (3), and their dog Dax! She enjoys reading, cooking, traveling, trips up north to her family’s cabin and taking her dog for long walks. Katie and her family are members of First Congregational UCC in South Milwaukee, where she has served on the Evangelism Committee. She comes highly recommended and is eager to share her event planning gifts with the Wisconsin Conference UCC!
In This Issue: scroll down to find these articles
  • Help Us Plan the 2021 Conference Annual Meeting!
  • Memo for churches that host a Boy Scout Troop
  • Building relationships in livestream worship
  • Crafting communications to inspire generosity webinars
  • Time to reinvigorate your sermon process?
  • Prophets and Power: compelling Congress to act
  • Could Your Church Use A New Website?
  • "The Sunday After Tuesday"
  • Virtual Worship from the Council of Conference Ministers
  • Reset for Renewal Virtual Gathering
  • After the Election: The Role of Listening with an Open Heart
  • Help Others
  • Conference Transitions
Help Us Plan the 2021 Conference Annual Meeting!
Got 3 minutes? Completing this quick survey by Monday, Nov. 9 will let us know what you’d like to see at the 2021 Annual Meeting. At this time, it’s uncertain whether the meeting will be in-person or virtual. However, the planning team is considering a range of possibilities for how to structure the meeting and what content might be most valuable to participants. We’d appreciate your input so we can create an event that you will find valuable and inspiring. Thank you for your help! Click here to take the survey.
Important Memo for Churches that Host/charter a Boy Scout Troop
If your church has a history of hosting the Boy Scouts of America (or if your congregation has a Charter with a Troop) please carefully read the email below from our UCC General Counsel, Heather Kimmel, and the attachment. There is a critical deadline – November 16 – for congregations that may decide to file a “proof of claim” in order to establish a right to remedy for known or potential cases of abuse. Pay special attention to #2, #3 and #4 in the attachment. 
Building Relationships in Livestream Worship
from the Parish Paper
Livestreaming a worship service extends its reach far beyond the physical gathering of a congregation and into the home, backyard, office, or anywhere imaginable. Hosting a live worship event over the internet amplifies the experience certainly, yet it raises an important question: What makes it worship and not simply a broadcast? If worship is relational, what can be done to build relationships in livestream worship?
Webinar Series: Crafting Communications to Inspire Generosity
November 18 and December 9
Creating a communications strategy to inspire engagement and generosity is often a daunting task for faith communities. That’s why two expert communications teams are collaborating in a series of webinars to provide the tools that church leaders can use and adapt to their individual settings.
The Lake Institute on Faith & Giving at Indiana University’s Lilly Family School of Philanthropy and the national UCC’s OPTIC team are joining forces to present these webinars, which provide knowledge and skills in key areas of organizational and mission effectiveness and nonprofit administration. The series emphasizes strategic communications for development and explores related planning, management, and leadership skills.
Each one-hour webinar begins at 3:00 p.m. Central Time on the dates indicated. Click "Register" for more information and to sign up.

  • Gratitude and Nurturing Generosity - Nov. 18. Register here
  • Digital Strategies for Reaching new Communities - Dec. 9. Register here

Time to Reinvigorate Your Sermon Process?
In challenging times, you wonder if there's a better way to prepare your sermons. But it's hard to know where to start and how to make change that matters — and lasts. The Damascus Project is partnering with Backstory Preaching to offer you a roadmap to a new approach rooted in prayer & best practices.
Sermon Camp is fully online, runs from January 11 to February 19, 2021, and costs $299. Experience what participants describe as "the class I wish I had in seminary," "the exact sermon-writing refocus I needed for this time in my ministry," and "salve for my soul."
More details and registration here. Please direct questions to info@the-damascus-project.org or 507-222-0194.
UCC Webinar—Prophets and Power: Compelling Congress to Act
In the tradition of prophets who spoke and acted with the power of their faith during critical times, this webinar focuses on what faith communities can do to compel congress to pass the climate legislation that our world needs so much right now. In congressional districts across the country, faith-rooted advocates have enormous potential to be the moral and spiritual force needed in this moment. The featured panelists for this webinar include Rabbi Daniel Swartz from the Coalition on the Environment and Jewish Life, Shantha Ready Alonso from Creation Justice Ministries, and Todd Fernandez from Climate Crisis Policy. Even if you can't make the webinar’s scheduled time on Wednesday, November 18th at 1 pm ET, still sign-up, and we will send you a recording of it. Sign up now to join the webinar!
Could Your Church Use A New Website?
The UCC Everywhere program of the national church gives your church the opportunity to have a modern, functional and custom website so that faith-seekers and current members alike can learn and engage in what your church has to offer. Expert web developers create a site with your custom information, which you can then manage and update as desired. Tutorials on how to maintain your website are provided. 

In addition to the basic website, your site will include feeds of fresh content which are updated daily by national church staff. You’ll have the opportunity to add online giving and your website will be created to make your site stand out to key search engines.

The Wisconsin Conference Emergency Fund can provide grants to help make this attainable. You can learn more about UCC Everywhere at ucceverywhere.org. Click on Product Features for details. For grant and cost information, and to apply, go to wcucc.org/websites.
"The Sunday After Tuesday"
This was the subject line of this week’s Alban Weekly newsletter from the Duke Divinity School. One particularly compelling article caught our eye. “How Pastors Can Bridge Political Divides in 2020” by Leah Schade offers a method for dialogue that can be helpful this week and beyond. Schade is a minister, and author of “Preaching in the Purple Zone.”
Virtual Worship from the Council of Conference Ministers
You and your congregation are invited to the Council of Conference Ministers’ second virtual worship service! The service will be ready for use on Sunday, November 15th, in full and in parts, but can be used at any time. It is centered around the Parable of the Talents. We hope you’ll join us! The link for the service isn't quite ready to be shared yet, but the Conference will send it out to pastors and churches as soon as possible.
Reset for Renewal Virtual Gathering
The Network of Wider Church Youth Ministry and the Faith INFO team of the national setting of the United Church of Christ have partnered together to bring you Reset for Renewal: A virtual gathering to foster relationships, reclaim your own resilience and gifts for ministry and reconnect with the pulse of young people in the midst of today’s world. Over the course of three days you will have the opportunity to meet and gather with like-minded individuals who are doing youth ministry in a variety of contexts within the United Church of Christ and beyond. We will hear from three keynote speakers and participate in a variety of workshops and small group experiences. We will be blessed by music and worship with The Many throughout the event. 
This event is for people working and volunteering in youth ministry, outdoor ministries, and campus ministries.
Reset for Renewal will take place on Nov 12-14. For more information and registration: www.ucc.org/youth.
Scholarships are available. If a scholarship is needed beyond what the national setting is offering, contact Lisa Hart for more financial assistance.
After the Election: The Role of Listening with an Open Heart
The Catholic-Jewish Conference of Milwaukee presents this interfaith gathering on
Sunday, December 6th at 2:00 p.m. via Zoom. Join Guest Specialists Paula J. Pedersen and the Rev. Winton Boyd as they lead this healthy conversation about how to openly discuss with kindness and heal wounds after disagreements. RSVP to Allison to receive the Zoom link.
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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Wider Church Searches
  • The United Church of Christ has several open positions. Details

New Calls
  • Rev. James McKenzie has been called as interim pastor at Community Church UCC in Middleton, effective November 1, 2020.

Installations and Ordinations
  • Rev. Hannah Campbell Gustafson was ordained via Zoom on October 31, 2020. The vent was hosted by First Congregational UCC in Platteville.

Good Tidings
  • Rev. Zayna Thomley and her husband Matt are proud new parents to Asa George Thomley, born October 27, 2020. Congratulations!

In Memoriam
  • Thomas L. Ross Jr, father of Rev. Christopher Ross and father-in-law of Rev. Laura Yurs, passed away on October 26, 2020. Obituary
  • Rev. Dr. Kathryn Kuhn passed away on November 2, 2020. Kathryn most recently served as Associate Pastor at First Congregational UCC in Appleton, and was the wife of Rev. Karl Kuhn. 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