Wisconsin Conference Life Newsletter
Feb. 18, 2016 
shift logo Shift Space
by Tisha Brown

Welcome to Shift Space, a new feature of our newsletter in which we will highlight ministries in the Wisconsin Conference and beyond that are examples of Shift, share articles, and suggest resources in support of our efforts to be the church in ever evolving ways. Be sure to look for this feature in future newsletters. 
Here is a quick story about how First Congregational UCC, Genoa City, is embracing Shift.

Their pastor, Jennie Swanson wrote: "I watched the SHIFT videos and think this is all a good thing for us right now. I plan to use the videos initially as council devotions, and then have each of our groups watch them too. I launched an emphasis this year on M&M's, for Mission and Ministry. I have been doing a lot of teaching about the history and purpose of the church, that it is not just for us...not just about our clubs and boards...but that everything we do here needs to be prioritized and evaluated by its Mission and Ministry! So, lots of chocolate M&M's all around the building and people are really getting into it. I think we are ready to stop, think, pray, act and serve, rather than continue to run on the hamster wheel of maintenance, programs and tasks."
Then she shared this example of how her congregation is beginning to shift. Read more  
Building the UCC Database of Refugee Ministries
When the refugee crisis began making daily headlines last year, churches started asking what they could be doing to respond faithfully to this human tragedy. Has your church been part of this movement? Does your congregation feel called to become more involved? If so, the United Church of Christ would like to add your church to the growing database of UCC congregations involved in refugee ministries, a resource that will encourage other congregations as they start the journey and strengthen the United Church of Christ's Refugee Ministries. We are eager to hear your stories and to hear about practices that have worked in your contexts. 
To contribute to the database, please contact Ariel Royer, UCC Partners in Service Volunteer, and Mary Schaller Blaufuss, Team Leader, Global Sharing of Resources.
For more information on the project, read the recent United Church News article, "New project to help connect and resource refugee-welcoming UCC congregations."

Protect Native American Burial Effigy Mounds

The Wisconsin Council of Churches has issued a call to action to protect Native American burial effigy mounds. Various interests in his state have tried twice to pass a law that would allow for the desecration and destruction of ancient Native American effigy mounds that are key to Native American religion, and most of which are burial grounds. A bill has recently been introduced in the state legislature that would remove protections that have been in place for decades.

In response, faith leaders from the WISDOM congregation-based community organizing network have crafted a letter to our state legislators regarding this issue to be delivered later this month.

Read more
Youth Faith Formation Retreats
Last chance to register!

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
balanced rocks image Join Lay Academy

Do you want to deepen your faith and knowledge? Do you want to grow in spiritual maturity? Do you want to gain skills for empowering the ministry of Christ's church? Then Lay Academy is for you! Registration is now open for the 2016-2017 session ofFaith Foundations - Year 1, which is only offered once every two years. Registration is also open for returning students who wish to continue on to Lay Leadership Skills (Year 3).
break the silence sunday logo Break the Silence Sunday

The Wisconsin Conference invites congregations to focus on sexual assault awareness and supporting survivors of sexual assault on Sunday, April 24, 2016. April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month and we have designated the fourth Sunday as "Break the Silence Sunday." Rev. Moira Finley, pastor of St. Johns UCC in Cecil and Trinity UCC in Shiocton, led an effort to develop resources for congregations to respond to this issue, inviting several colleagues to share creative writings, music, stories and statistics, worship tips, sermon suggestions, and state/county contact information. This has been compiled into a wonderful resource, including liturgical materials for "Break the Silence" Sunday.

upcoming events image Upcoming Events
campital campaign logo Campital Campaign Update

Thanks to all who have already adopted a goal! 
Read more
Conference Transitions

Searching Churches
Churches that started searching for a new pastor in February:
  • St. Peter's UCC, Kiel
  • First Congregational UCC, DePere
To see all searching churches, click here.

New Calls
  • Rev. Marlea Gilbert has been called as interim pastor at First Congregational Church in Genesee, effective 2/15/16.
Installations and Ordinations
  • Rev. Robert Gross was installed at Evangelical & Reformed UCC, Waukesha, on February 14, 2016.
  • Rev. Joanne Thomson will be installed as Associate Conference Minister, Wisconsin Conference UCC, on February 21, 2016, at First Congregational Church in Madison.
In Memoriam
  • Rev. David Rohlfing died on February 5, 2016. Obituary
  • Della Beil, widow of Rev. Howard Beil, died on February 13, 2016. Obituary
  • Ardelle Petzold, widow of Rev. Milton Petzold, died on February 14, 2016. 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.

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

In This Issue
Refugee Ministries database
Effigy mound protection
Youth Faith Formation retreats
Lay Academy
Break the Silence Sunday
Upcoming Events
Campital Campaign Update
Conference Transitions
Church Spotlight

Rev. Marty Black serves this Northeast Association church. The people of Peace are very active, supporting local community groups and hosting a wide range of church and community activities. The church also has a food stand each year at the Shawano County Fair...and has done this since the 1930s! 
The Parish Paper
February'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.
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.