Wisconsin Conference Life Newsletter
Jan. 22, 2016
graphic-helping-hands.jpg River Falls Church Reaches Out with Love to Refugee Family

Dear friends in Christ,

These days our media waves are inundated with fear and hurtful rhetoric. The welcoming teachings of Jesus, as well as our nation's long invitation to immigrants, have almost entirely given way to border closings and refugee banning. In the midst of this, some remarkable movements of solidarity and compassion are surfacing. Below is the story of a Guatemalan family who has suffered gang-related domestic violence, and seeks safe refuge and a fair chance at life.  

First Congregational UCC in River Falls, along with several ecumenical partners, are moving swiftly to sponsor a Central American refugee family. I pray this story will inspire you and invite your congregation to ponder ways in which you might advocate for refugees and help make our world a little more just and generous. Read on for more about what this group is doing.

With courage and hope, 

Youth Faith Formation Retreats
February 26-28, 2016, Pilgrim Center
March 4-6, 2016, Pilgrim Center


Bring your Confirmation class/youth group to one of these retreats...
Mark your calendars now for an outstanding Faith Formation Retreat at Moon Beach Camp or Pilgrim Center! Youth will have an opportunity to build a church from the bottom up. They will call a pastor, organize several committees, plan worship, and get an overview of church life: What it is - How it works - How we get things done. As usual there will be time for worship, recreation, and yes, outstanding music!

Your youth and adults will have wonderful time learning about local church ministries and how churches operate. We will be creating several fictional churches in Wisconsin Conference. By the end of the retreat we might be ready to take over the Wisconsin Conference!
The cost is $115/person for all participants. We require one adult for every five youth attending. Adults are expected to participate in the sessions, worship services, and help create a safe and friendly environment for all.

Registration for the 2016 events at Pilgrim Center:
These retreats fill quickly, so plan ahead and get registered for a (really) Great Time (really)!!!
ucc history logo
Calling all Local Church Historians!

The Historical Committee of the Wisconsin Conference is sponsoring an oral history workshop at the Trost Center in DeForest from 10:00- 2:00pm on Saturday, April 16. Anyone interested in learning more about conducting oral history interviews for a local church or other organization is cordially invited to participate to this workshop conducted by three experts in oral history from the Wisconsin Historical Society and University of Wisconsin. Cost for the program and lunch is $25.00.  Any questions, call the conference office (608-846-7880).

Here is how Troy Reeves, one of our presenters, describes what will happen:  This introductory workshop serves as an informative overview of the art and science of oral history from initial idea through finished product. The workshop will cover specifics within three sub-categories of oral history: Pre-Interview, Interview, and Post-Interview, including project planning, technology, funding, questions and follow-up questions, release forms, index or transcript, publication, and any other topic of interest to the attendees. Additionally, the workshop leaders, time permitting, will include interactive exercises to hone listening and interviewing skills.
nye logo National Youth Event

Mark your calendar to attend the most magical NATIONAL YOUTH EVENT (NYE) of all!  Join 4,000 UCC and Disciples youth from across the country and world at
Walt Disney World's Coronado Springs Resort in Lake Buena Vista, Fla.

There's some important items to make note of about this event; please see this info at wcucc.org/youth (scroll down to National Youth Event and read the "Important information!" section.)
National Youth Event website 
No Longer Messy and no Longer Sad: Tips for Pastors


Rev. Buck Firth, interim pastor at First Congregational Church in Menomonie, offers these tips for pastors.

Read more

It's Yearbook Data Input Time!

Deadline to input data into the UCC DataHub: March 7, 2016

It is once again time for the year-end Yearbook forms. Please remember the National Office is no longer accepting paper copies of these forms. The National Office is asking all conference churches to enter their data using the online system in the National Office's Data Hub; all data from the local church report and ministerial support form will be entered online. Instructions for this online data entry are included with the mailing your church received (Church Yearbook Instructions). After you have entered your data online, using the self-addressed envelope that was sent to your church, please mail these forms to the conference office and mark that your data has been entered online. If you do not have internet access or are uncomfortable inputting data into a computer link, please email or call Sue Taylor ( staylor@wcucc.org/608-846-7880) to work something out together.
chhsm logo January 31 is Health and Human Service Sunday

Health and Human Service Sunday is a special opportunity to create awareness of the health concerns of our communities and world, and to learn about the many and various health and human service ministries of the United Church of Christ.  It is observed annually in the United Church of Christ and is an opportunity to talk about health in a holistic way, address the issues of justice in our health care systems and learn about how each of us can become involved. 
logo Adult Events at Pilgrim Center and Moon Beach Camps

Moon Beach and Pilgrim Center are excited to announce some upcoming adult events!

Pilgrim Center is hosting two new adult events this winter. Unravel and Unwind is a knitting and crocheting retreat, led by Rev. Ashley Nolte, February 5-7. Please join us as we gather around the fireplace for a weekend of projects, new techniques, and intentional Sabbath. Rev. Nolte will also weave in parallels between the work of our hands and our steps on our faith journey. Nathan Athorp will lead a Woodworking Retreat February 19-21. Participants will make canoe paddles, enjoy each other's company and some delicious food, and look for God steering us as we work. Join us for fellowship with other craftspeople, time away from hectic lives, and the amazing hospitality that our camps provide. 

Moon Beach will again be hosting Steps on the Journey: A Healing Retreat, April 8-10. This retreat is for women, 18 years and older, who have experienced sexual abuse of any kind. Gather with other women who are experiencing this healing process, who encourage and support each other to do the work needed to continue the steps of healing and wholeness. Our weekend will include group time, quiet time, crafts, food, music, and time to enjoy the beauty and sacredness of Moon Beach Camp. The retreat will be facilitated by women who have experienced this abuse. Professional counselors, clergy, and/or chaplain will also be available.

Please join us for these wonderful retreats! You can find more information, including registration, at ucci.org.
Back Bay Mission Social Justice Internship logo

This internship provides a unique opportunity to members of the United Church of Christ between the ages of 19 and 35. During this 10-week summer internship, participants will:
  • Work directly with Mission staff in each of our program areas. This includes our emergency assistance, housing rehabilitation, volunteer, and supportive housing programs, as well as the Micah Day Center.
  • Meet with leaders in the Biloxi community, including staff at other nonprofit organizations in Biloxi, Mississippi, and the surrounding area.
  • Have the opportunity to focus on specific ministry areas of special interest to them.
More information
logo Campital Campaign Update

Is your church on this list?
Rural Ministry Conference

the 2016 Rural Ministry Conference to be held in Dubuque, Iowa, March 6-8th. The Rural Ministry Conference outreach is continuing to grow and has become an ecumenical conference for those working in small town and rural parishes throughout the Midwest. The theme this year is "Life Changing Ministry in the Small Membership Congregation." You will note that one of the keynote speakers is Elizabeth Dilley, from UCC national headquarters. The information will also be useful for larger congregations. Scholarships are available for those who have served in a rural/small town ministry for less than five years. New this year for congregations within driving distance is the availability for lay people to attend the Monday afternoon workshops at a reduced price.  
Conference Transitions

Searching Churches
Churches that recently started searching for a new pastor:
  • Brookfield Congregational UCC, Brookfield
  • First Congregational UCC, Wisconsin Rapids 
To see all searching churches, click here .

New Calls
  • Rev. Colleen Kwong has been called as pastor at Hope UCC, Cochrane, effective December 29, 2015.
  • Gary Wilner has been called as interim pastor at Ely Memorial UCC in Land O' Lakes and at Congregational UCC, Phleps, effective January 7, 2016.
  • Rev. Ann Beaty has been called as Associate Pastor at First Congregational UCC, Madison, effective January 10, 2016.
  • Rev. Glenn Danz has been called as pastor at St. Paul's UCC in Colgate, effective January 11, 2016.
Installations and Ordinations
  • Rev. Tanya Sadagopan was installed at First Congregational UCC in Janesville on January 10, 2016.
  • Joe Medina retired from First Congregational UCC in Mukwonago, effective 12/20/15.
  • Sonja Heiser retired from St. Paul's UCC in South Wayne, effective 12/28/15.
Good Tidings
  • Rev. Bridget Flad and Scott Daniels were married at Plymouth UCC in Milwaukee on October 16, 2015. Rev. Flad Daniels currently serves Union Congregational UCC in Green Bay.
In Memoriam
  • Shelly Ann McClain Trost, daughter-in-law of Rev. Frederick and Louise Trost, died Monday, December 14, 2015. Obituary
  • Rose Margaret Gross, mother of Rev. Bob Gross, senior pastor at Evangelical & Reformed UCC in Waukesha, died on January 3, 2016. More information
  • Rev. Dr. Zane Pautz of Stoughton/Milton died on January 16, 2016. Link to more information

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.

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

In This Issue
Youth Faith Formation retreats
Oral history workshop
National Youth Event
Tips for pastors
Yearbook Data
Health and Human Service Sunday
Adult camp events
Social justice internship
Campital Campaign update
Rural ministry conference
Conference Transitions
Church Spotlight

Union Grove Congregational image

This Southeast Association church was founded in 1844. The Cream City Brick of the church building has survived three fires in its 124 year history. Now served by Rev. Manda Stack, the church was founded on service. Stained glass windows in the front of the church proclaim, "Look out and not in, look forward and not back and lend a hand."
The Parish Paper
This month's Parish Paper is " How Ministry Teams Get Things Done." Access this issue and archived issues here!

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.
Quick Links


Check the Conference calendar for upcoming events.
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.