Wisconsin Conference Life Newsletter
February 3, 2016
Jane Anderson image Transforming Community
Help on the path out of conflict
by Rev. Jane Anderson

Many of us in the local church will celebrate Transfiguration Sunday this week. The Transfiguration story is one of my favorite stories told in scripture. It speaks of mystery and mayhem, confusion and conviction, fear and faith.

When I read this story I imagine Jesus casually inviting a few of his friends to join him for an outing--a day hike away from the responsibilities of ministry. I imagine that Peter, James and John believed that Jesus was taking them to a place where they could enjoy some much needed rest, time away from the crowds of people to whom Jesus and his followers had been ministering--feeding, teaching, healing, prophesying. I imagine they might have been looking forward to this outing, believing that such time would bring renewal. Yet, what Jesus' friends believed would be an ordinary outing turned into an extraordinary experience, one that changed how they saw their friend Jesus and one that transformed their lives forever. In that mountain top experience they glimpse the glory of God in their friend Jesus.
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shift initiative logo A SHIFT is in the Wind

What is SHIFT?! SHIFT is a new conference-wide initiative designed to support your congregation in exploring fresh paradigms for ministry in the 21st Century. To learn more, go to the Shift website at www.wcucc.org/shift. We're hoping that you and your congregation will join us in this exciting initiative.

SHIFT meeting logo 2016 Annual Meeting!
SHIFT: A Hope-Filled Future
June 10-12, 2016

Come to the 2016 Annual Meeting to join others from around the Conference as we explore how to shift from a maintenance to a mission mindset towards a hope-filled future! This year's annual meeting will build on the work being done from now until June by congregations throughout the Conference seeking new approaches to mission and ministry.
Rev. Cameron Trimble of the Center for Progressive Renewal will bring insights into ways that creative people in congregations around the US are shifting their ministry focus, and inspire us to think creatively about our own ministries. Through workshops and small group conversations we'll deepen our connections and encounter resources available to support our efforts to move in new directions.
Plan to bring a team from your congregation to Annual Meeting this year!
Annual Meeting website
balanced rocks picture Lay Academy

Are you looking for information about the next session of Lay Academy that starts in September? We're working on some exciting new possibilities for the next Faith Foundations Year 1 class, and will have details and registration information available by March 15.

Already a Lay Academy student? Registration is now open for Lay Ministry Skills - Year 3. Register for Year 3 here

Have you attended Lay Academy in the past? Mark your calendar for this year's Lay Academy Alumni Event, July 22-23, 2016.
Register Now for Youth Faith Formation Retreats
Deadlines to register are coming up!

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!

February 26-28 at Pilgrim Center (register by Feb. 20)
March 4-6 at Pilgrim Center (register by Feb. 25)

More information and registration links
National Youth Event: The Magic Happens this Summer!
July 26-30, 2016

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.
More information and registration links
New Jim Crow book image Conversation around The New Jim Crow

Increasingly, our nation (and our churches) are troubled by injustice toward many of our neighbors, especially people of color. This is especially true for young, African-American males, whose treatment in our nation's justice system begs for change.
That's one of the subjects in Michelle Alexander's best selling The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness. Drawing on Alexander's book, a group of Milwaukee area UCC pastors invite you to join an in-depth look at what's often called the "school-to-prison pipeline" that saddles so many promising young men with a criminal record for even minor offenses. Learn more 
Oral History Workshop

Calling all Local Church Historians (and others):
The Historical Committee of the Wisconsin Conference is sponsoring an oral history workshop at the Trost Center in DeForest from 10 to 2 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. Register online.

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.
Looking Ahead to Retirement?
Pre-retirement workshop for clergy
May 10, 2016

No matter what you do for a living, retirement brings many changes. But for those who have been pastors, the decision to retire raises some unique questions. For pastors, the call to serve doesn't end when one's working life comes to a close. Pastors face questions as practical as "Where do I go to church next Sunday?" and as broad as "What shape will my vocation take in this next phase of my life?"
We're offering a gathering to help those who are looking ahead to retirement begin to think about the life questions that are part of the decision to retire from ministry. The event will be led by the Rev. Rob MacDougall, Associate Conference Minister for the Northwest Association, who brings experience and resources related to clergy retirement issues.  
We encourage pastors and their spouses/partners to attend, even if you do not yet have a firm retirement date. The workshop is designed both for pastors who see retirement in the near future, and also for those who are just beginning to think about retirement planning and for whom a retirement date is, perhaps, five or more years away.

This event is not intended for lay leaders of congregations where the pastor may be retiring, and we'll be continuing to develop resources for church members and leaders. The workshop will also not focus on the financial issues typically addressed by Pension Board programs.
The Southwest Association is sponsoring this workshop as a pilot program with the hope that it can become available throughout the Conference. All Wisconsin Conference pastors and spouses/partners are invited to attend.
The gathering will be held on Tuesday, May 10, 10 am-2 pm at Memorial UCC, Fitchburg. The cost is $10, which will allow us to pay for lunch.
Register online

missioninsite logo MissionInsite
Has your church ever used MissionInsite? It's a powerful tool for accessing demographic information about the community surrounding your church that you can use, free, through the the membership of the Wisconsin Conference. MissionInsite has recently updated their demographic information and the latest data is now available. 

I f it is your church's first time registering with MissionInsite, follow these instructions to set up an account. Be sure to check out the many other resources available to you while you're at the website - free to you through the membership of the Wisconsin Conference.
ucci logo Warm Thoughts from Moon Beach and Pilgrim Center

Dream of Spring and join us for an April or May retreat!

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.

Pilgrim Center has a retreat for everyone this spring. Consider signing up for one of these events:
  • Clergy Retreat, April 24-26, fellowship and renewal with other clergy
  • Stitch In Time, a quilting retreat, May 10-13.
  • Fisher & Me, May 13-15, fishing and camp activities for kids 6 and older with an adult
Find information, including registration, for these events and more at http://www.ucci.org.
IRA Charitable Rollover Contribution

Did you know that you may be able to donate your required minimum distributions (RMD) directly to a charitable organization without paying taxes on them? If you are 70½ or older, read on.
More information

church.jpg Rural Ministry Conference
Wartburg Theological Seminary
March 6-8, 2016  

Where leaders in rural communities and congregations gather to gain insight and inspiration, to network and neighbor that our ministries might be empowered. This ecumenical conference includes worship, keynote speakers, workshops, and Bible study, and offers participants a unique opportunity to network with others who are active in and concerned about rural ministry.
More information

A Lenten Retreat
Exploring Early Celtic Christianity to Walk Again with the Moon and Stars
Friday, March 4, Cedar Valley near West Bend 

God was present to the early Celts in images, signs, in poetry, art, in the sacred and the secular, and in the mysterious stories of the saints. The feminine principle was strong, and there was a sense of God's immediacy in daily life. This natural mysticism invites us to embark on a spiritual journey of our own.
More information

Conference Transitions

Searching Churches
Churches that recently started searching for a new pastor:
  • First Congregational UCC, Boscobel 
  • Immanuel UCC, Darlington
To see all searching churches, click here.

New Calls
  • Sonja Ingebritsen has been called as pastor for Community of Hope in Madison, effective January 24, 2016.
  • Rev. Gail Irwin has been called as interim pastor for Immanuel UCC in Kaukauna, effective January 24, 2016.
  • Rev. Dan Schultz has been called as pastor for St. Paul's UCC in Malone, effective January 24, 2016.
  • Rev. Beryl Melcher has been called as interim pastor for Congregational UCC in Mineral Point, effective February 1, 2016.
Installations and Ordinations
  • Rev. Jeremy Hylen was installed at St. Paul's UCC in Sheboygan on January 24, 2016.
  • Rev. Topher Mehlhoff was installed at Community UCC in Saint Germain on January 30, 2016.

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
Shift Initiative
2016 Annual Meeting
Lay Academy
Youth Faith Formation retreats
National Youth Event
The New Jim Crow
Oral History Workshop
Pre-Retirement workshop
Camps update
IRA Charitable Rollover
Rural Ministry Conference
Lenten Retreat
Conference Transitions
Church Spotlight

Trinity UCC Portage  
 Trinity UCC
This Southwest Association church celebrated its 150th Anniversary this past summer. Rev. Vicki Warren has served as the pastor since 2003. The church's building, built in 1889, is on the National Register of Historic Places as part of the city of Portage's Society Hill District.
The Parish Paper
This month's Parish Paper is " The Payday Lending Crisis: What Can Congregations Do?" 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.
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Let us know! If you have something you'd like considered for publication in
Wisconsin Conference Life, email Nola at the Wisconsin Conference.