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Annual Meeting 2014 Workshops

There are two workshop breakout sessions on Saturday, at 10:45am and 1:30pm.
Please indicate your workshop choices when registering so that we can better plan for space needs.

Saturday Workshops

Good News in Wisconsin: A Panel Discussion on Church Vitality in the Wisconsin Conference
A panel of local church leaders will lead us in a conversation about good things that are happening in congregations around the state. We'll hear real stories from real churches, and also think together about what is making it possible for these churches to develop and renew.  (offered afternoon)

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, WI (1989-2000), First Congregational UCC, Madison, WI (1984-1989), and Prospect Congregational UCC, Cambridge, MA (1981-1984).

Is Your Congregation a Hothouse for Faith Formation?

This workshop will help you discover the characteristics of faith communities conducive to the spiritual formation of their members. We'll discuss the definitions of a faith-forming community and how these communities need to relate to their children, youth and adults in order to facilitate spiritual nurture. (offered morning and afternoon)

Ivy Beckwith is the Faith Formation Team Leader for the National Offices of the United Church of Christ. She is a specialist in the area of facilitating spiritual formation in children, youth, and adults. Her most recent book on spiritual formation is Children's Ministry in the Way of Jesus.

Thinking About Forgiveness

In this workshop we will consider biblical, theological, ethical, and pastoral approaches to thinking about what forgiveness is and how we practice it.  (offered morning and afternoon)

Dow Edgerton is a Professor of Ministry at Chicago Theological Seminary. He has served a church in Wisconsin and is an instructor for the Lay Academy Program.

The Older Testament as the Family Story of Israel
This workshop will serve as a "mini-lesson" of what the instructor teaches at the WI Lay Academy. Specifically, we will explore ways of thinking about the Older Testament that "take it seriously, without taking it literally" and that claim these spiritual ancestors for the UCC, not just for more conservative denominations. (offered morning and afternoon)

Carolyn Pressler is the Harry C. Piper Professor of Biblical Interpretation at United Theological Seminary, is ordained in the UCC, and is an instructor for the Lay Academy.

Member of the Body: the Changing Structure and Polity of the UCC
We will look at the ways in which the United Church of Christ has chosen to order its common life; how that has changed through the years; today's unified governance of the national setting (United Church of Christ Board); and what it all says about our polity, theology, and practices. (offered morning and afternoon)

Marti Baumer is a retired UCC Clergyperson with standing in the Southwest Wisconsin Association; Pastor Emerita of Windsor United Church of Christ; Lay Academy Instructor; former Pastor, Conference Minister, Seminary Faculty Member; former member of UCC Executive Council, Pension Board Trustees, Governance Task Force, and Ministry Issues Implementation Task Force; Various Conference and Association offices and responsibilities.  

St. John Fans One Congregation's Forgotten Flames

Following a brief introduction to the apocalyptic style of writing, the Risen Christ's Letter to the Ephesians (Revelation 2:1-7) will be studied for the beloved apostle's counsel regarding how to be a faithful church living in the midst of an empire – both Rome's and the American. (offered morning)

Kent Ulery is Author of No Longer at Ease: Seven Churches and the Empire.  He is the former President and Professor of Pastoral Leadership at Bangor Theological Seminary, Michigan Conference Minister, and Local Church Pastor. Currently, he is Wisconsin Conference Interim Associate Conference Minister.

[NOTE: copies of Kent's book on Revelation will be available at an Annual Meeting special price of $15/each. Orders for five or more copies for adult Bible studies will be available at $10/book, shipping included.]

Where Do I Go From Here?  Lay Academy Experience Enhancing Mission in the World
We are a church recognizing the "priesthood of all believers." All of us are called to ministry in the world using our gifts and faith to serve Christ in a variety of ways in a variety of settings. The Lay Academy ministry empowers people to discern and ignite this calling.

Lay Academy Alumni will share how they have been empowered to witness and to serve Christ inside and outside of the church setting. (offered afternoon)

Facilitated by Rev. Deborah Payden. She has served as the transitional Director/Minister for the Lay Academy.

Working with the New Ministerial Profile

This workshop is designed for Pastors who want a tutorial in the new Ministerial Profile. Search Committee members may also attend to understand the differences between the new profile and the Vintage profile.

Rev. Rebecca Johnston is currently serving as Minister to the Northeast Association.

Frugal Medicine – The Stewardship of Your Health
Your health is your most valuable asset. Stewardship of your own health and wellness should come naturally. It is increasingly evident that 70% of our illnesses are based on lifestyle choices. Rather than depending on a health care system to care for us, we need to act to care for ourselves. But do you know what to do? By taking care of yourself and following sensible wellness protocols you can reduce the scourges of cancer, heart disease and Alzheimer's by as much as 70%. Changing your lifestyle can reduce your lifetime medical costs by 90%. You can add 14 quality years to your life. We will explore this ultimate frugality and modern day stewardship. (offered morning)

John Whitcomb, MD, is Board Certified in Anti-Aging and Regenerative Medicine with a Masters Degree in Nutritional and Biochemical Medicine.  He has practiced emergency medicine in Wisconsin for over 25 years and started the journey to wellness and anti-aging medicine in the last 10 years.

How Our Church Lives ONA
Listen to people from ONA churches talk about living ONA and how they got there. (offered morning) Members of the LGBTQ Committee will lead the discussion.

Hunger at Our Doorstep

With the persisting effects of the economic recession, growing disparities of wealth and income, and proposals to drastically cut SNAP and other forms of nutrition assistance, the church's challenge to help feed and advocate for the hungry has become even more daunting in recent years. This workshop will survey the current situation and how the WCC's revised study-action guide, "Hunger at Our Doorstep," will provide resources for local churches understand and respond to increased need in their own communities.  (offered afternoon)

Peter Bakken is Coordinator for Public Policy at the Wisconsin Council of Churches. He received his Ph.D. in Theology from the University of Chicago Divinity School. He is the author of the WCC publications, Hunger on Our Doorstep: A Study-Action Guide for Wisconsin Congregations (2006/2014) and Becoming Welcoming Communities: Immigration in Light of Biblical Faith (2011). Other publications include: Church on Earth: Grounding Your Ministry in a Sense of Place (with Jeff Wild; Augsburg Fortress 2009). He lives in Madison, Wisconsin, with his wife and daughter, where they are members of Advent Lutheran Church (Evangelical Lutheran Church in America).

Kairos Palestine
After decades of occupation, Palestinian Christians came together to write "Kairos Palestine Document: A Moment of Truth: a Word of faith, hope, and love from the heart of Palestinian suffering" to tell the world about what is happening in their land and calling Christians to stand with them in search of peace and justice. In this workshop we will use a study document "Kairos USA: Call to Action," to talk about how our churches might respond to our  sisters and brothers  in Palestine. The Southwest Association has had a partnership with Christmas Lutheran Church in Bethlehem since 2004; their pastor, Rev. Mitri Raheb, was one of the presenters at the 2010 Annual Meeting. Rev. Mitri is one of the authors of Kairos Palestine. (offered afternoon)

Nancy Baumgardner, Phil Haslanger, and Bonnie Van Overbeke are members of Southwest Association Bethlehem Partnership Committee and Memorial UCC, Fitchburg.

ONA Conference - What Does It Mean to You?

Come if you're interested in learning exactly what it will mean for the Wisconsin Conference to declare itself as an ONA Conference, and what the impact on your church will and will not be.  (offered afternoon)

Members of the LGBTQ Committee will lead the discussion.

Five Practices of Fruitful Congregations: An Inside Look

The Five Practices materials have been used in our congregations for several years, and many congregations have benefitted from their self-assessment and future planning resources. This workshop will provide a look at the Five Practices materials and share supplementary planning resources developed here in the Wisconsin Conference. We'll also hear from folks whose churches have gone through the Five Practices program and have time for questions and discussion. (offered morning)

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, WI (1989-2000), First Congregational UCC, Madison, WI (1984-1989), and Prospect Congregational UCC, Cambridge, MA (1981-1984).

Vibrant Children's, Youth, and Family Ministry in the Local Congregation

This workshop will provide tools and ideas for revitalizing faith formation with children, youth and families in the local congregation. There will be a focus on how to strengthen the home-church connection. Come learn about resources that are available and easy to use. Information about how CERT School (The Certification School for Progressive Christian Faith Formation and Youth Ministry) can benefit your congregation will also be shared. (offered morning)

Lisa Hart serves as the Coordinator for Youth Ministry on the Wisconsin Conference staff.

What are the "Camp-ital" Projects?
We invited you to come and learn more about the projects and goals of the "camp-ital" campaign UCCI and the Wisconsin Conference are partnering in. These include remodeling and construction of lodging facilities at both camps, upgrades in program spaces, as well as a conversation about the importance of the David Moyer Endowment Fund for Outdoor Ministry and its role in our ministry. Plenty of time will be given to questions and answers about these exciting projects as well as your outdoor ministry program. (offered morning and afternoon)

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

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