Saturday Workshops

Sunday Faith Formation Gatherings

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Annual Meeting 2015

Workshops & Faith Formation Sessions

There are two workshop breakout sessions on Saturday, at 1:30 pm and 3:15 pm.
Please indicate your workshop choices when registering so that we can better plan for space needs.

Saturday Workshops

Vocatio: Discovering the Work of Your Soul in the Soul of Your Work

"Vocatio" refers to a calling into our life's work. Once, when asked by a student how one goes about finding one's vocatio, Harvard University's Howard Thurman responded, "Ask not what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, then go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive."  In this workshop, we explore the concept of "calling" in the Christian tradition – and how one goes about finding it.  (1:30 - This workshop is meant to serve as a helpful companion to the 3:15 workshop.)   

Rev. Eric Elnes will lead the workshop

The UCC Today and Tomorrow: Questions and Conversation

A time to hear about the work and witness of the UCC's national setting, ask questions, offer feedback or suggestions, and unpack together the important issues facing our denomination and the world.  (1:30 and 3:15)

Rev. Ben Guess will lead this workshop.

Embracing Tension in Life Giving Ways

How might we imagine moving from resisting tension to embracing it in lifegiving ways?  How might our experience of congregational life, ministry and personal spirituality be enhanced as we see creativity and possibility in tension?  We'll explore paradox, safe space, wonder and circle of trust as practices that can be used in all the settings of our lives.  Winton Boyd is an experienced retreat leader with the Center for Courage and Renewal, using material and concepts developed by author Parker Palmer and used in settings with people of all professions across the country.    (1:30 and  3:15)

Rev. Winton Boyd is the Senior Pastor at Orchard Ridge UCC in Madison and is a trained facilitator with the Center for Courage and Renewal.

New wine, new wineskins: A turnaround story

Five years ago, McFarland UCC began a church turnaround project with the support of conference staff.   With hard work, focus and an ear for the Holy Spirit, they've experienced a 65% increase in worship attendance, a renewed sense of vitality and excitement for the future.  Join McFarland's pastor and lay leaders for a conversation about what they've learned...and what they're still figuring out.  (3:15)

Rev. Kerri Parker is Pastor at McFarland UCC, graduate of Chicago Theological Seminary, and former Executive Director of YWCA Rock County.  She is the mom of an amazing daughter, a hopeful Christian, and a hopeless BBC addict. 


Using the Five Practices to Revitalize Your Congregation

JoanneA panel of local church leaders will share their experiences and reflect on ways that the Five Practices program help them to grow into a more extravagant, risk-taking, intentional, passionate, radical and vital congregation.  (1:30)

Rev. Joanne Thomson, Associate Conference Minister since 2001, understands her ministry as helping churches to reclaim their original God-given call and to discern their response within their current context. She has served as pastor at Middleton Community UCC, Middleton, Wis. (1989-2000), First Congregational UCC, Madison, (1984-1989), and Prospect Congregational UCC, Cambridge, Mass. (1981-1984).

Breathing New Life Into Worship Music

Meet Chuck Maronhic and learn about creative new ideas for music in worship.  Chuck will be providing the music for Saturday evening worship.  (1:30 and 3:15)

For 20 years, Chuck has had the privilege of serving as Music Director in numerous churches including United Methodist, Roman Catholic and United Churches of Christ. He is also a frequent guest performer and clinician at many churches and conferences throughout the US. His association with Rev. Dr. Eric Elnes began at Scottsdale Congregational United Church of Christ in Scottsdale, AZ where he served as Director of Music for the now well-known Studio Worship service.

After retiring from Arizona State University in 2003 as Director of Jazz Studies and moving to Louisville, KY with his wife Mary Ann, Chuck was asked by Eric Elnes, now senior Pastor at Countryside Community Church in Omaha, NE to help develop a jazz based worship service there. During this period, Rev .Elnes approached Chuck with the idea of an Internet ministry. Both Eric and Chuck worked on developing what is now known worldwide as Darkwood Brew www.darkwoodbrew.org where Chuck served as Music Director leading a jazz quartet during its first two years.

In 2011 Chuck began composing original modern music for the Book of Psalms. The project is called The Jazz Psalms Project and is published for Music Serving the Word Ministries, Scottsdale, AZ. Chuck has numerous published books of jazz arrangements of church hymns for several publishers that are played around the world. He also has recorded over 50 CDs and albums. For a full discography and bibliography of Chuck's work, visit his website at: www.sanctuaryjazz.com and! www.musicservingtheword.org

How We Got Fat (aka, how to get unfat)

This workshop will outline clear mechanisms that force us to gain weight and make it impossible to lose. We will teach you how to follow clear data points that will guide you on your own metabolism. You will also learn how to get off statins, diabetes meds, high blood pressure meds - but not how to buy new clothes. Anyone who brings a memory stick can have the powerpoint at the end of the workshop.  (1:30 and 3:15)

Dr. John Whitcomb is in private practice of Functional and Anti-aging Medicine in Brookfield.  After Medical School at Yale and 20 years as the director of St Luke's ER, he got retrained through the first medical school in America to start a real preventative medicine program: U of South Florida. He says functional medicine is what Internal Medicine and Family Medicine will be in 15 years.  It's how the body functions.  And he will teach you how-he has deep teaching experience and has led a wellness program in Aurora Health Care and Redeemer UCC in Sussex for over eight years.

Seeing Your Sanctuary In New Ways

Based on his recent book, Feeding Imaginations: Worship That Engages, Michael Bausch will discuss ways lay people and clergy can learn from the architecture of their worship sanctuary and what its design, windows, furnishings, fabrics and religious symbols say about Christian faith and practice.  Participants will learn to see their own sanctuaries with new appreciation, and teachers and preachers will come away with some ideas for teaching and preaching about the sanctuary in Christian Education-Confirmation programs, children's messages, and a sermon series.  (1:30)

Rev. Michael Bausch serves as interim minister at St. John's UCC in Hartford and St. John's UCC in Slinger, and over the years has produced multimedia worship services, taught workshops and seminary summer sessions on the subject, and written extensively on the use of visuals in worship.

The New Sanctuary Movement -   Immigration:  Issues for Wisconsin and Beyond

Immigration issues are a large part of the political discussion in our country.  This is a presentation about Immigration Issues, particularly relating to immigration from Central America, Guatemala and Mexico:  what is at stake, what churches are doing, and what might be possible.  (1:30)

Rev. Charles Wolfe served Plymouth UCC in Madison for 24 years, and was chair of the Wisconsin partnership committee with the Diocese of San Cristobal de las Casas in Chiapas, Mexico, through the late 1980 and until into the 2000s.  He is now retired, and living in Prescott, Wis., and serving as chair of the Northwest Association Church and Ministry Division.

Rev. Michael Swartz is a minister ordained in the United Methodist Church who has served UCC congregations in Illinois in the Quad Cities area.  He was very active in the Illinois Partnership with Chiapas, and also has made numerous trips to villages of returned refugees in Guatemala.  Michael also has some experience in the border areas between the U.S. and Mexico, and has had long interest and concern for immigration issues.  Michael is serving as an interim minister to the UCC congregation in Sparta, Wis., and has dual standing in the Wisconsin Conference.

Being an ONA Church      

People from ONA churches talk about living ONA and how they got there. (1:30)

Led by members of the LGBTQ Committee

Why should my congregation or I care about the Prison Reform movement, racial justice, environmental justice or General Synod?

Every other year the United Church of Christ gathers as one body at General Synod. This is the place where the important business of discussing the goals and priorities and present and future ministries of our denomination takes place. Later this month, 28 delegates from the Wisconsin Conference plus staff and guests will attend the 30th General Synod in Cleveland, June 26-30, 2015.

This year, delegates will be asked to vote on 16 resolutions including these two: "Dismantling the New Jim Crow" and the "Transition from Fossil Fuels to Renewable Energy." Full text of these two resolutions is available at synod.uccpages.org under the "Materials" tab.

Workshop leaders will discuss the importance of these issues and why they are passionately involved in them right here in Wisconsin. They will also suggest ways your congregation might get involved in work on these two very important justice concerns and create a link between your local church and the work of the General Synod. We hope to see you there!  (1:30)

Rev. Tisha Brown is on the Conference Staff and she is passionate about facilitating good conversation on important issues.


Rev. Eldonna Hazen is Pastor of First Congregational in Madison and she is passionate about all things General Synod.

Rev. Jerry Hancock is the Director of the Prison Ministry Project and he is passionate about prison reform and spiritual care and justice for those who are incarcerated.


Stephen Gifford is a retired pastor living in Kenosha and he is passionate about our environment and climate change.


 Campital Campaign Progress and Updates

 We invite you to come and learn more about the "camp-ital" campaign United Church Camps, Inc. and the Wisconsin Conference are partnering in. We will provide an update on the campaign as well as the projects we are hoping to accomplish.  Plenty of time will be given to questions and answers about these exciting projects as well as your outdoor ministry program.     (1:30)

Mike Klemp –North and Glenn Svetnicka, directors of Pilgrim Center and Moon Beach camp will be presenters.

The Paths of Lydia and Luke: A Revolutionary Model for Lay Ministries of Justice and Peace

In the post-Christendom Church, the lines between "sacred" and "secular" are more strongly blurred than ever.  So must be its leadership.  Leadership must come not simply from "those who wear the robes" (traditional clergy), but from those who "live the life" who are operating on the front lines of culture and commerce, where Jesus and justice are most needed yet often most absent.  Increasingly, leadership within the church will come not from preachers (though they will still be critical), but from practitioners within "secular" professions.  These practitioners will not be proclaiming their faith in Jesus so much as treating the recipients of their labors as if they are Jesus.  In this respect, they will be teaching us all how to transform both culture and commerce, as well as Christian faith itself, with the twin pillars of justice and spiritual discernment.  In this workshop we take our cue from the biblical figures of Lydia and Luke as revolutionary (yet quite ancient) models for ministry in the post-Christendom world.  (3:15)

Eric Elnes will lead the workshop.

In the Belly of the Beast: Courage in the Struggle against the idolatry of the American empire

Kent leads a bible study of Revelation 17:1-19:10 in a modern context.  (3:15)

Rev. Dr. Kent Ulery is Interim Associate Conference Minister in southern Wisconsin; Author of No Longer at Ease: Seven Churches and the Empire-a Bible Study series on Revelation available from amazon.com (and at this workshop); former seminary president, Michigan Conference Minister, and local church pastor.

Is Lay Academy for me or my congregation?     

The Wisconsin Conference Lay Academy Ministry has a 20 year history of equipping the faithful in our Conference to do the work of God in their local congregations and communities. This workshop is for anyone curious to know more about Lay Academy either for themselves or for their congregation.  If you are curious about how Lay Academy strengthens faith, invigorates congregations and inspires ministry this workshop is for you. Ordained clergy, Licensed Pastors and Lay People alike are invited to hear testimonials from current Lay Academy participants and Pastors of people currently in Lay Academy about their Lay Academy experiences.  (3:15)

Rev. Tisha Brown is the Director of Lay Academy with the Wisconsin Conference.  Current Lay Academy participants and Pastors of folks currently in Lay Academy will share stories and answer questions.

Transgender Stories

Come hear the stories of Transgender people. (3:15)

Led by members of the LGBTQ Committee.

Outdoor Ministry Matters!!!

Mike and Glenn will reflect on current trends and stories about how outdoor ministry matters both on the individual level as well as congregational level.  Focus will be on both the anecdotal stories as well as statistical trends demonstrating the benefit of the local church and outdoor ministry partnering together.   (3:15)

Mike Klemp-North and Glenn Svetnicka, directors of Pilgrim Center and Moon Beach camps, will be presenters.

What else would you like to know about the Wisconsin Conference 2016 Budget?

The three people in the conference who know the budget best will be available to discuss the budget in greater detail and answer your questions.  (1:30)

Jim Williams is chair of the Conference Budget Committee. Rich Fluechtling is the Conference Treasurer.  Vicki Graff is Conference Director of Finance.

What is the Doctrine of Discovery?

Learn about the Doctrine of Discovery and its lasting effects on the Indigenous People of the Americas. 

Europeans claimed the lands, territories, and resources of the Indigenous Peoples, asserting that the monarchies had a right to appropriate the lands on behalf of Christendom. The monarchies' claims of a Christian dominion (dominance) over Indigenous Peoples and their lands also served to fend off competing monarchies and to de-legitimate the long-established autonomous indigenous peoples' governments.  The Doctrine of Discovery is a key premise for non-Indigenous government claims to legitimacy on and sovereignty over Indigenous lands and territories. It is used in particular by former British colonies, specifically, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the United States of America.  The devastating effects on Indigenous Peoples were forced removals  from traditional homelands, changes in belief systems, and continue to today.  (1:30)

Larry Littlegeorge, an enrolled member of the Ho-Chunk Nation, is an active member of the UCC at the Indian Mission located in rural Black River Falls. Currently, he is in his third year in the Conference's Lay Academy program. He is the founder of the Federation of United Tribes.

Description: Marlene HelgemoRev. Marlene Whiterabbit Helgemo (Ho-Chunk), Pastor of All Nations Indian Church in Minneapolis, serves as the Interim Executive Director of the Council for American Indian Ministry.  She is the pastor of All Nations United Church of Christ in Minneapolis, Minn. She devotes much of her pastoral ministry to the urban setting and serving on city boards and agencies that serve the native community. At the same time, she is familiar with reservation life and rural communities.

Description: Laura KelsonReverend Deacon Laura Kelson is a graduate of Troy University, Class of 2000 * Alpha Phi National Criminal Justice Honor Society * Criminal Justice * Troy, Alabama. Currently, she resides in Pensacola, Florida. She has been a participant in the Doctrine of Discovery Webinar. She authored a 31-page presentation on the Doctrine of Discovery. Portions will be referred to in this workshop.

Description: https://c2.staticflickr.com/4/3575/3828254273_729d928628_z.jpgArt Shegonee founding member of Call For Peace Drum & Dance Co., represents a multi-ethnic, internationally-based Company in Madison. For over two decades, he has been serving and giving a new hope for humanity. With a Circle Dance of "We The People: Dancing the Dream of Peace" for our children's children, and sending a message that all things are interconnected, what effects one, effects all of us. Art Shegonee is Menominee, Potawatomi.

Description: C:\Users\Cecelia\Pictures\1425596281020 dawn dod.jpeg
Dawn Shegonee is the co-founder of Call For Peace Drum & Dance Company along with her husband Art. She has successfully orchestrated many events regarding humanity and environmental issues. Her latest accomplishments are organizing events for the Climate Convergence in New York City, tours of the Sand Mines in Amish Communities, and many diligent hours to the Federation of United Tribes First Summit held in March 2014.

Sunday Faith Formation Gatherings

A Healing Service

The healing service is an act of worship set aside for the express purpose of sharing in worship, prayer and God's spiritual gifts of healing.

Rev. Franz Rigert will lead the service. Mugs McFadden will accompany with music.

And the Children Shall Lead Them

RJohnstonThe United Church of Christ is promoting Centers of Excellence throughout the nation. Lisa Hart and Rebecca Johnston attended one in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, in February. Rebecca will share what was experienced at this church and talk about authentic ways to include children in worship and the life of the congregation.

Rev. Rebecca Johnston is the Interim Associate Conference Minister for the Northern Associations. She has worked with Faith Formation and served in a variety of settings.

Unplanned Unfoldings: Getting Lost without Losing Your Way

This Annual Meeting's theme deals with courage and so does this workshop. In her pregnancy, Mary, the young mother of Jesus, experienced an unplanned unfolding. We all experience unplanned unfoldings which carry us to scary and unfamiliar places. How can we live into this lostness? How can we embrace the not knowing while retaining some amount of confidence and trust? Come explore spiritual strategies for getting lost without losing your way.

Rev. Holly Whitcomb is a widely traveled retreat leader who is the director of Kettlewood Retreats.  She is also a spiritual director and the author of four books including Practicing Your Path and Seven Spiritual Gifts of Waiting.


Come, walk and enjoy a renewing experience. There are no tricks, there are no decisions to be made as one walks the labyrinth-much as the walking of a sacred spiritual path in life.  Our only decision is to choose God and surrender to divine guidance. Whatever one's religion, walking the labyrinth clears the mind and gives insight. It calms people in the throes of life's transitions.

Contemplative Space

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