Wisconsin Conference Life Newsletter
October 15, 2015
Rev. Jane Anderson imageConnections and Pizza
by Jane Anderson

Wonderful connections and re-connections have been made around the Conference over this past month as together the wider church has hosted 22 Meet and Greets around the state from Eau Claire to Sheboygan, Osseo to Waukesha. What a joyful way to be church-eating pizza and sharing in conversation! About 350 people joined in this marvelous opportunity to get better acquainted with our new Associate Conference Ministers--Revs. Joanne Thomson, Rob MacDougall and Jane Anderson--and to hear the ways they are reaching out to resource our clergy, churches and associations. Our Conference Minister, Rev. Franz Rigert, was able to be present for many of these gatherings as well, giving you the opportunity to get better acquainted with him.

At these get-togethers participants heard what's new in the Conference, and shared the hopes, dreams and concerns for our common life. Read on to learn more about these conversations, and ideas discussed for strengthening connections throughout the Wisconsin Conference.

Churches, you are, as always, welcome to share this article with your congregation.
Break the Silence Sunday

Wisconsin Conference congregations are invited to join us in focusing on sexual assault awareness and supporting survivors of sexual assault on Sunday, April 24, 2016. April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month and we have set the fourth Sunday aside as "Break the Silence Sunday." While many of our congregations have worked to create a safe environment, including knowing what to do if a convicted offender is part of the congregation, too often we are not prepared or equipped to support the survivors. As a result, many survivors report that they feel the church is not a safe place for them to turn. To address this issue, a blog has been created. The blog will include stories from survivors, as well as resources for responding to and supporting survivors. In addition to the blog, a group of clergy and lay members within and outside the conference is creating worship materials to be used on April 24. These will be made available to congregations in early 2016.
Rich Fluechtling image Conference Treasurer Honored

Richard Fluechtling , the Conference Treasurer since 2002, was recently honored by OutReach as the recipient of the 2015 OutReach Courage Award. The Courage Award is presented to a person who has a deep and lifelong commitment to advancing equality and quality of life for LGBTQ people. This is a special honor that is not awarded every year. In addition to his LGBTQ advocacy, Rich has given generously of his time to the Conference in many roles, including the Investment, Insurance and Budget and Finance committees, and is chair of the Board of Director's Governance Committee. Rich is a member of First Congregational Church in Madison. Congratulations, Rich!
Conference Transitions
The Conference Transitions feature is new. Please share your transition information, including church anniversaries, with the newsletter editor by emailing Nola.

New Calls
  • Rev. David Ostendorf has been called as the part-time minister for community and outreach at First Congregational UCC, River Falls, effective October 13.
  • Petra Streiff has been called as interim pastor at Zwingli UCC in Monticello, effective October 13.
  • Rev. Jack Seville has been called as interim pastor at First Congregational UCC in Oshkosh, effective October 13.
First Congregational Church Genoa City image Genoa City Church Serving Others


First Congregational Church and pastor Jennie Swanson have been serving free community meals after participating in the  Hunger at Our Doorstep program. Read how this church started a community ministry, as featured in Wisconsin Council of Churches' Ecu-News.
Knocking image Knock Knock Middle School Retreat

This is a retreat for middle school youth groups and their leaders. It is designed to help groups bond as the youth explore some of the many issues they will encounter during their middle school years...and beyond. Leadership is provided by the CYMT, the Drama Team and Bryan Sirchio. Register early...this retreat fills up fast! Register by November 2, 2015.
Autism, ADHD & Other Gifts: How to Love, Support and Care for Unique Youth & Children
Saturday, November 14 - 1:00pm-2:30pm
First Congregational UCC, Menomonie

As a community of faith, we promise in baptism "our love, support, and care" to every child and to those who raise them. How do we remain true to this ideal with a youth who has ADHD or autism? How does a volunteer Sunday School teacher honor it fully and fairly? Come participate in a discussion of the gifts these youth bring to your congregation! Open to church leaders, Sunday School volunteers, and parents. Led by professional educators Barb Sisco and Ken Beck of Robbinsdale United Church of Christ in Robbinsdale, Minnesota.
To register for this free event, call (715) 235-5838 or email Susan Weston.
Haiti Mission Trip Opportunity with the Southeast Association

You are invited to join the Southeast Association's Haiti Partnership for a mission trip to Haiti, January 22 to 30, 2016. Join them for a multicultural, spiritually-renewing and educational experience!
Rev. Phil Haslanger image Rev. Phil Haslanger Receives Justice Award

The Governor's Council on Domestic Abuse awarded Rev. Phil Haslanger its 2015 Justice Award for Outstanding Achievement in Domestic Abuse Issues at an October 14 award ceremony at the Wisconsin State Capitol. This award honors an organization or individual for extraordinary accomplishment in promoting safety, empowerment or justice for victims of domestic abuse and their children.  Rev. Haslanger, pastor of Memorial UCC in Fitchburg, received this award for his incredible impact on the way the faith community in Dane County responds to domestic violence.
Hannah Wagner Jacoby of Domestic Abuse Intervention Services said, "Rev. Haslanger has done great work over the past few years bringing together faith leaders to learn more about domestic violence, understand effective ways to connect with families dealing with domestic violence, and strategize about how to create change."
Phil adds that this award, while in his name, recognizes the support - financially and emotionally - that Memorial UCC has given to survivors of domestic violence over the years.

We're not the only ones talking about Phil's award. Click here to read what the Cap Times had to say about Phil. 
Congratulations and thank you Phil! 
Deborah Krause image Deborah Krause to Speak at Mutton Lectureship
Saturday, November 14, 9:00am-3:00pm
Trost Center, DeForest
Dr. Deborah Krause is this year's Mutton Lectureship speaker and will present  Being a New Creation: Paul's Revelation and the Purpose of the Church on Saturday, November 14.
Facts on UCC Congregations

An upcoming webinar will share the findings from the UCC national survey of congregations, Faith Communities Today (FACT) on October 21, from 9:00-10:00 CDT. Nearly 1,000 UCC congregations participated earlier this year.
Cornerstone Fund logo
Financial Clean Up with the Cornerstone Fund

It's that time of year to gather the last of the garden crops and pick the last blooms before the early frosts end the growing season. It's time to take the rake in hand and gather up the fallen leaves or to mow and mulch them to feed the lawn for next year's growing season. It could be the right time to clean up finances to help feed the ministry and mission of your church with needed funds that might be saved with some consolidation of older loans or some new investments. The Cornerstone Fund of the United Church of Christ would like to be your helper in doing some of those clean up chores. We can't come rake your church yard, but we can help with some financial clean up. Check us out at cornerstonefund.org  or by contacting our Mission Interpreter for the Midwest region, Rev. David Moyer, at 608-630-3177 or dsmoyer47@gmail.com . He might even bring a rake and gloves and help with those yard chores.
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.

Wisconsin Conference United Church of Christ
4459 Gray Road | PO Box 435 | DeForest, WI  53532

In This Issue
Break the Silence Sunday
Conference Treasurer honored
Conference Transitions
Hunger mission started
Knock Knock middle school retreat
Autism & ADHD workshop
Haiti mission trip opportunity
Phil Haslanger receives award
Deborah Krause to speak
UCC Congregation Study Completed
Financial Clean Up
Church Spotlight

This Southeast Association church was formed in 1970, when Immanuel United Methodist church (formed in 1883) and the United Church of Christ (formed in 1893) merged. Their pastor is Rev. Roger Harris.

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 Micah Schlobohm or Rich Fluechtling of the Wisconsin Conference UCC Committee on Ministry with LGBTQ Persons.
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Wisconsin Conference Life, email Nola at the Wisconsin Conference.