“For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then we shall see face to face. Now I know only in part; then I will know fully, even as I have been fully known.” (I Corinthians 13:12)
You are cordially invited to join me on a breathtaking adventure. It will be to a place that we have never been before. I cannot guarantee safety or comfort. In fact, I am absolutely sure that some will not enjoy this adventure at all. It demands risk. It demands courage. It demands humility and surrender. I am inviting you to join me in the present moment – right here, right now, in the world that IS, rather than in the world as we think it is or should be.
What is the difference between the world that IS, and all the worlds that we make up in our minds and hearts? Well, this world is neither good nor bad, and people are not good or evil. What is, simply IS – just as God created it. We strip away our filters and lenses, and look at the world through new eyes, eyes unclouded by prejudice or predispositions, eyes open to new possibilities and to the very mind of Christ.
On February 11, more than 150 laity and clergy gathered for the annual South East District Meeting and Learning Day. A collaborative worship service preceded workshops led by Giovanni Arroyo of the General Commission on Religion and Race; Rory Blakeney of Discipleship Ministries – Young People’s Ministries; and Wisconsin Conference staff members Sharon Cook, Jean Nicholas, and Tamara Wims. In the afternoon, district members reflected on how they Imagine Wisconsin Anew in their local congregations. Lay Leader Imelda Roman led discussion of the budget and goals for 2017, and District Superintendent Deborah Thompson thanked churches for their involvement and commitment to the Conference. “Thank you for all you do,” she said. “Thank you for being leaders in your district and in the Conference.” Click here to see pictures from the day.
All laity, as well as clergy, in the Wisconsin Annual Conference are invited to the annual Laity Leadership Convocation with Bishop Hee-Soo Jung on March 10-11 at Watertown: Christ UMC. Visit tinyurl.com/LaityConvo2017 to register today! The theme for this year's event will be "United in Mission and Ministry." Participate in breakout workshops, hear Bishop Jung speak about "Imagine Wisconsin Anew: A Vision of Justice and Mercy," converse with Conference leadership, and enjoy dedicated times for worship, praise, Bible study, and fellowship. Contact Deanna Shimko with any questions.
Bishop Jung has set aside A Day Apart with clergy in each district in late February and early March 2017. The theme for the day is “Weaving Life Together”. This gathering is not only important for us to visit together and rebuild relationships with each other, it is also an important time to be with Bishop Jung as we seek to do ministry together for the sake of the Kingdom of God. Each Day Apart with Bishop Jung will begin with registration at 9:30 a.m. and run from 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. If you cannot attend the Day Apart in your district, feel free to attend in a different district. Be sure to RSVP with the district you plan to attend.
North West District: Monday, February 27, 2017
Shell Lake UMC, 135 Reinhart Dr, Shell Lake, WI 54871
RSVP to: Susan Olson at email@example.com or (715) 835-5181.
South East District: Thursday, March 2, 2017
Faithbridge UMC at Franksville Campus, 10402 Northwestern Ave., Franksville, WI 53126
RSVP: Click here.
North Central District: Monday, March 6, 2017
Pine Lake Methodist Camp, W8301 Cty Hwy M, Westfield, WI 53964
RSVP to: Susan Olson at firstname.lastname@example.org or (715) 835-5181.
North East District: Tuesday, March 7, 2017
First UMC, 325 E Franklin St., Appleton WI 54911
RSVP to: Barbara Franken email@example.com or (920) 991-0548.
South West District: Thursday, March 9, 2017
Sugar River UMC, 415 W Verona Avenue, Verona WI 53593
RSVP to: Sherry Malone at firstname.lastname@example.org or (608) 837-0056.
A new Wisconsin Conference Advance has been established to aid the new Provisional Conference in Rwanda. The Advance Fund number is 7944. Monies sent to this Wisconsin Advance will be forwarded to the General Board as soon as the GBGM has approved a General Advance for Rwanda which was named as a Provisional Annual Conference at the 2016 General Conference. During 2015 and 2016, five new churches were planted in Rwanda adding about 800 new members! A one-week training was held to train Rwanda UMC pastors in evangelism, church planting and church leadership which helped pastors to improve their ministry within local churches. Also in 2016 three pieces of land were purchased in rural areas and three churches were built with money from church members: Ryabizige UMC (under construction), Tabagwe UMC, and Gishuru UMC (under construction). In addition a metallic roof for a UMC Multipurpose Hall at Remera, in Kibungo town has been started. It is the only building of that kind the UMC has in Rwanda and it is changing image of UMC in the area of Kibungo. But, the roof is not completed due to lack of money and so it is a big challenge to the Church. Click here for more information.
Recently United Methodist Insurance (UMI) has been contacting our churches to provide insurance quotes. This contact has been done in error by the company because our Conference is under a mandatory group insurance program with Church Mutual. UMI will not be making further solicitations in Wisconsin and will not be issuing quotes to any of our churches that request one. If you receive a communication from UMI, please disregard it. Please call (608)478-2556 or e-mail TreasurerOffice@wisconsinumc.org with any questions about our group insurance program.
Do you long to be with others who share a desire to deepen one’s relationship with God through teaching, prayer, daily Communion, and covenantal fellowship? The Wisconsin Five-Day Academy for Spiritual Formation is a place where Christian faith is challenged, all in the context of a shared experience led by faculty presenters, who invite participants to reflect on your own spiritual journey, and how God is at work in your life. The Academy is for clergy and laity. It is designed for both “head” and “heart,” communicating knowledge about Christian spiritual formation and a context for experiencing it. Registration is now open for this year’s retreat, which will be held October 29 to November 3 at the Siena Retreat Center in Racine. Click here to download a brochure with more information and registration form.
Do you question how your faith impacts and informs your daily living? Do you wonder how your faith calls you into the world? If that's the case, you are invited to join others with similar questions in a two-year journey called Faith Alive! It is an active and involved study about understanding our spiritual gifts, defining our ministry and service, exploring the relationship of the Bible and faith, and integrating faith into the workplace and daily living. Faith Alive! consists of six sessions, three weekends each year (from 7 p.m. Friday to noon Sunday), over the course of two years. All sessions are held at the Mt. Morris Camp & Conference Center in Wautoma, WI. To help prepare for each session, you will be provided a book to read and a brief assignment to complete prior to each weekend. The next session begins in September 2017. Click here for more information and to register.
Registration for 2017 Annual Conference is now open! Visit https://tinyurl.com/WAC2017 to register and learn about highlights at this year's event, book your hotel room, reserve a display table, sign up for child care, and much more. This year’s Conference will be held June 16-19 at the Madison Marriott West, with Monday, June 19 as a Learning Day. The theme will be “One with Christ.” Please join us as we rejoice in our unity with the Lord. Click here to see this year's Ingathering list. With any further questions, contact Registrar Kellye Walker-Pontius at email@example.com or (608) 837-7328.
Changes to Registration in 2017: This year, we will be taking advantage of technology already in place with two changes to make registration more efficient for both attendees and Conference staff! First, payment will only be accepted by credit card along with your online registration. This will save many staff hours and physical resources that would otherwise be spent processing registrations by hand. Second, instead of handing out physical meal tickets, we will be printing a scannable (QR) code on your name tag. This will streamline the meal check-in process, and you won’t have to worry about keeping track of your tickets!
Submit Award Nominations by May 1: Nominations for our annual clergy, laity, and youth awards are now being accepted. These awards will be presented during Annual Conference. Click here for information on the Harry Denman, Love in Action, Perry Saito, Thelma Gregg, and Francis Asbury Awards and nominate yourself or someone you think deserves the recognition by May 1, 2017.
Adam Hamilton to be Featured Speaker: One of our many highlights at Annual Conference will be presentations by Adam Hamilton entitled “Leading Beyond the Walls.” He is well known for launching The Church of the Resurrection in 1990, which today is the largest United Methodist Church in the United States with an average weekend attendance of 8,600.
Register for Blueprint for Wellness Screening: Registration is open for the Blueprint for Wellness screenings being offered to active HealthFlex participants during Wisconsin Annual Conference. Deadline to register is June 3. The screenings will be in the mornings on Saturday, June 17, and Sunday, June 18. The screenings are not available in 2017 for retired participants enrolled in the Conference group Medicare supplement plan, which is not part of HealthFlex. There is no charge for the Annual Conference screening and appointments are strongly recommended. Very limited walk-in appointments will be available at the Madison Marriott West, and those who are not pre-registered may not be served. Active plan participants and spouses who complete the Blueprint for Wellness screening and who are enrolled in the VirginPulse walking program at the time of their screening will be awarded $100 Pulse Cash if they complete the screening between April 1 and July 31. To schedule an appointment, active participants should click here and log in via Single Sign On, then use the Quest Diagnostics link. Alternatively, call Quest Diagnostics at1-855-623-9355.Note that the Unique ID for enrolled participants is the Insurance ID for Employees; add an S at the end for spouses.
One Great Hour of Sharing is now known as UMCOR Sunday by action of General Conference 2016. UMCOR serves as a “voice of conscience among Methodists to act in the relief of human suffering without distinction of race, color or creed.” Note: If your church gives towards this Special Sunday offering, you will notice the description change on your apportionment statements.
In the past few days, the United States has seen a surge of raids targeting immigrant communities by Department of Homeland Security officials. These raids are occurring in homes, places of work, and even near churches. We are especially troubled by the raid outside of a United Methodist Church in Virginia on February 8th where men exiting a hypothermia shelter were confronted the minute they crossed the street off of church grounds. Targeting those seeking sanctuary or services provided by houses of worship will not be tolerated. The United Methodist Church believes that “migrants should be given due process and access to adequate legal representation. Due to these raids and the ensuing detentions and deportations that follow them, families have been ripped apart and the migrant community has been forced to live in a constant state of fear.” (Book of Resolutions, ¶ 3281 “Welcoming the Migrant to the United States”) Click here to read the full message.
The Harvest of Hope Fund (Conference Advance #7020) was created to provide financial assistance and hope to Wisconsin farm families in difficult financial situations. In 2016, the organization passed the $1 million landmark. Since the fund was started in 1986, Harvest of Hope has granted more than 1,600 gifts totaling over $1,010,000 to Wisconsin farm families in crisis situations. Click here to read the full press release.
AHyun Lee, Mayville UMC Pastor, recently took a trip to Haiti. His trip is a story of connection between Mayville UMC's mission and Haiti; between pastors and seminarians; and of God's ministry. Click here to read his trip report and see pictures from the trip.
Yorkville UMC is celebrating its 175th Anniversary year in 2017. The first event of the 175th Anniversary (1842–2017) Celebration at Yorkville United Methodist Church was Marriage Sunday. At the event, Pastor Sue Leih led a brief Marriage Vow Renewal and Blessing during morning worship. The 23 couples who chose to participate represented a total of 819 years of marriage. They stood across the front and down the side aisles of the sanctuary, facing each other and holding hands. The organist played “Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring” and “Canon in D”. Soloists sang “The Wedding Song (There Is Love)” and “Remember When”. Everyone enjoyed a guessing game of identifying the couples in the wedding pictures displayed in Fellowship Hall. Cake and punch was served. “It was a lovely day of love,” Carol Knight, Chair of 175th Task Force, said. Additionally, the drama rotation presented by the combined classes during Sunday School was a puppet show of Jesus’ first miracle, when he turned the water into wine at the wedding at Cana.
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