Wisconsin Conference Life Newsletter
July 26, 2018 
The Parish Paper logo
Inviting, Informing and Including Newcomers
by The Parish Paper

Despite the trends toward secularization, eight out of ten adults in the U.S. believe in God. Therefore, given a changing context, what methods play a role today in how people connect to God and grow in faith through a congregation? An examination of how to invite newcomers, how to inform them, and how to include them requires new reflection.
Read more
UCC logo comma image Report Issued on National UCC Staffing and Programming

United Church of Christ General Minister and President John Dorhauer recently issued a midsummer report providing highlights of the status of work and staffing in the National Setting. This report will give you some idea of what is unfolding right now.
immanuel greenwood VBS
God's Heroes are courageous!
God's Heroes
How one of our churches does VBS

Immanuel UCC in Greenwood held a Vacation Bible School (VBS) session recently. Pastor Asafa Rajaofera led participants in a rousing chorus of "God's Heroes" on July 12. What are God's Heroes? They are wise, strong, courageous, and more.
Good job, kids!
Creation Care for your Congregation

Is your congregation trying to focus on creation care? A couple new environment-focused handouts have been added to our Creation Care page on the Wisconsin Conference website. Check them out at the links below, and share them with your church or post them on your church's bulletin board.
Additional resources can be found on the Conference Creation Care webpage
WISE UCC for Mental Health logo
WISE Congregations for Mental Health Conference
The Power of Personal Story and Breaking Silence on Mental Illness
September 29, 2019
Andover, MA
You are invited to join the UCC Mental Health Network for their fourth WISE Conference on Mental Health. This conference helps to reduce stigma about mental illness and increase understanding of mental health conditions and how our congregations can respond. You will experience personal stories; receive practical steps to engage in a mental health ministry in your congregation; and be introduced to the WISE (Welcoming, Inclusive, Supportive, Engaged) Covenant for congregations for mental health.
More information 
Wisconsin UCC Youth "Clean Up" at Great Lakes Regional Youth Event

What does it look like when 250 young people from across the Midwest converge in one space to complete a project?

"Absolutely marvelous!" said the Rev. Roger Dart, the disaster response coordinator for the Illinois Conference UCC
balanced rocks image Register now for Lay Academy
Deadline: August 12
Lay Academy is a ministry of the Wisconsin Conference that forms a transformative learning community that engages lay people in spiritual growth and development through theological education. Anyone who longs to grow in faith, discover new ways to serve God and their community, and deepen their knowledge of Christian tradition, ministry, and mission is welcome.
People in a group abstract image
Communities of Practice Groups forming for 2018-2019

Communities of Practice (COP) clergy groups provide the sustenance that your ministry needs in order to be effective well into the future! COP groups are designed to be peer learning groups, focused both on the practice of ministry and your growth in your role as a pastoral minister. Previous participants will need to re-register to continue on in a group.
More information
Register for a clergy COP group 
COP groups are available for people who work in Christian Education and Faith Formation (CE/FF), too!  
Register for a CE/FF COP group 
picture the bible resources image Two Christian Education/Faith Formation Enrichment Opportunities

The CE/FF (Christian Education/Faith Formation) Commission is offering two enrichment opportunities this August. Come for one or come for both! 
At the request of clergy engaged in faith formation, we are offering a "Clergy-Educator Resource Group." The Rev. Dr. Stacy Myers will be the facilitator for the 2018-19 program year. The group plans to meet two times during the year. The first gathering will be on August 8th at the Trost Center in DeForest. Stacy will provide a mini-presentation of "Picture the Bible" and will work with the clergy-educators to create goals for their individual contexts. Registration and more information for the August 8 event is available here.
The second opportunity is a Faith Formation Enrichment Day on August 9th at the Trost Center. Anyone involved in (or interested in) faith formation is encouraged to attend. The Rev. Dr. Stacy Myers will the presenter and facilitator. The focus will be to:
  • Equip yourself and your staff for leading faith formation activities
  • Connect with others
  • Get useful ideas to use this fall
  • Learn about "Picture the Bible" as a resource and tool for forming faith in your congregation
Registration and more information for the August 9 event is available here
Church Safety Spotlight
The Conference has recently updated the Safety and Safe Conduct page in the website Resource Center. Check out these resources to help you provide a safe place for worship and ministry.

In addition, on October 13, Kingswood Security is offering their third annual Securing your Place of Worship conference in Minneapolis. You can find more information about this one-day conference here.
Grants for Faith-Based Research
The Louisville Institute, a center to support research and leadership education on American religion, is accepting applications for its 2019 Pastoral Study Project.
Learn more here
Conference Transitions

Searching Churches
  • Evangelical & Reformed UCC, Waukesha, seeks a part time pastor. View details
To see all searching churches, click here.

New Calls
  • Rev. Richard Pleva has been called as pastor at Zwingli UCC in Paoli, effective July 10, 2018.
  • Laura Crow has been called as interim pastor at First UCC in Belleville, effective July 12, 2019.
Good Tidings
  • Hannah Campbell Gustafson, Member-in-discernment for ordination and member of First Congregational UCC in Platteville, welcomed a daughter, Leona Joyce Campbell-Simenson, on July 12. She weighed 9 lbs 10 oz, and was 21.5" long. Congratulations!
In Memoriam
  • Mary Nack, former Wisconsin Conference UCC staff, passed away on July 22, 2018. 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.
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

In This Issue
National UCC report
God's Heroes VBS
Creation care
Mental health conference
Youth at GLRYE
Lay Academy
Communities of Practice groups
CE/FF enrichment opportunities
Church safety spotlight
Faith-based research funds available
Conference Transitions
The Conference has racial justice resources available for churches to access as we lead up to hosting General Synod in Milwaukee in 2019. You can access these resources online in the racial justice section of our website
Church Spotlight

This Southwest Association church calls itself  "A welcoming community of faith, for the community." Currently led by Pastor Leslie Schenk, Plymouth has been serving their east-side Madison community since 1903. 

Check the Conference calendar for upcoming events.
Quick Links

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
Got News?
Let us know! If you have something you'd like considered for publication in
Wisconsin Conference Life, email Nola at the Wisconsin Conference.