John 17 reads: “May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one - I in them and you in me - so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.”

Like our Annual Conference theme indicates, we are One with Christ. While there are those that believe our Church should divide based on differences in biblical interpretation, I pray for the unity. Too often as United Methodists we define ourselves by what we are against—we stand against war and terrorism, against bullying, against police brutality—yes, we are against those things, but this kind of thinking sometimes causes us to lose sight of what we are for. United Methodists are for following Jesus Christ as disciples; we are for love and peace, for justice, for diversity and equality. We are for reconciliation and restoration, for harmony and unity. Now is a crucial time for United Methodists to communicate what we are for.

The North Central Jurisdiction College of Bishops and Directors of Connectional Ministry met in Columbus, Ohio on September 20, 2017 and issued the following statement: Events in recent weeks in our country have made evident the deep persistence of racism in our society. As United Methodist leaders, we commit ourselves to continuing our ongoing work to identify, resist, and dismantle racism in our churches, communities and world; building on work which began at the Jurisdictional Conference of 2016. We understand such work to be the work of discipleship, of growing in love of God and neighbor in the name and Spirit of Jesus Christ who is our peace, and who breaks down barriers of hatred that divide (Ephesians 2:14).

A group of 230 clergy gathered at Green Lake Conference Center last Wednesday and Thursday for a time of learning, fellowship and prayer. Margaret Marcuson, the leader of the three learning sessions, offered a variety of helpful tips on listening, praying, and communication with family. Each School for Ministry session offered the clergy a time to discuss and practice her lessons.

An enthusiastic group of more than 50 people attended the Heritage & Archives Retreat on September 8-9, 2017 at Pine Lake Camp. They were treated to a program on “A Place in the Pulpit—Women in The UMC Tradition” that looked back at the sixty years since women gained full clergy rights in the Methodist Church. Highlights included the premier of a dramatization of the debate that changed the Church—from the 1956 General Conference of the Methodist Church that resulted in women gaining full clergy rights—written by Sandy Kintner, our Conference Historian. We all appreciated the envisioned commentary provided by Georgia Harkness (played by Barbara Dick) and radio announcer (played by the Rev. Charles Bauer-King), on this historic event, as well as the other readers (the Rev. Jim Droste, Becky Halstead, Sandy Kintner, and the Rev. Wil Bloy) who read the parts of many who spoke from the floor at that General Conference. Check out the Conference YouTube channel for a look at the debate.

Celebrate World Communion Day on Sunday, October 1 at Central UMC in Milwaukee. At 4 PM, the church will hold a Prayer Worship for Peace in the Korean Peninsula and the World. Bishop Hee-Soo Jung said, “The Korean Peninsula cries out from pain and division. Peace and reconciliation in the Korean peninsula will move us all closer to peace on earth. I am so pleased to invite you and your congregation to the Prayer Service for Peace in Korea. Your prayers for healing and reconciliation are sought.”

If you haven’t already gone online to take your Health Quotient, please stop and plan a time to do it NOW, before the fall schedule is in full swing and your calendar is totally full! It’s a simple survey that will take 15-20 minutes….maybe a bit longer if you didn’t participate in the BluePrint for Wellness blood draw during Annual Conference. If you don’t know exact dates of procedures, give your best estimate. If you have any questions, contact Jean Ehnert Nicholas, Conference Benefits Officer, at 608-837-7320 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

The Wisconsin Conference is offering  you several opportunities to satisfy your boundaries training requirement. It is mandatory that all pastors serving local churches, including ordained, LLPs, retired, as well as pastors from other denominations, attend one of five sessions offered for Wisconsin Conference Boundaries Training. Clergy only need to attend one session, but you must attend before 2020. A registration fee of $10 will cover materials and lunch. Becky Posey Williams, Senior Director for Sexual Ethics and Advocacy at the General Commission on the Status and Role of Women, will lead the sessions. Click here for registration.

Wisconsin Annual Conference members are invited to provide feedback to the "Draft of The General Book of Discipline,” as requested by the 2016 General Conference. In 2 Peter 3:16, the apostle writes about the letters of Paul: "Some of his remarks are hard to understand". In a similar way, many United Methodists say the same about portions of The Book of Discipline, "some of these paragraphs are hard to understand,"and many say "some of these paragraphs do not relate to our context of ministry."General Conference 2012 mandated the Standing Committee on Central Conference Matters with clarifying which paragraphs in Part VI of the Book of Discipline (Part VI: Organization and Administration) apply for all regions of the world, and which paragraphs may be adapted by Central Conferences. 

For over 30 years, the Wisconsin United Methodist Foundation has been offering grants to help creative projects and ministries get off the ground. If you have a creative and innovative program, ministry, project or activity which is new to your group, you may qualify for a grant from the Foundation! Please read what MAY be and what will NOT be funded detailed in our Grant Guidelines available here. Grants awarded are to be considered seed money, rather than continuing support and typically phase out after three years. The application deadline for the 2018 grants is November 1, 2017. NOTE: This means that your grant application must be either postmarked or received in our office with all required signatures no later than midnight on November 1, 2017. To view or download the current Grant Application and Grant Guidelines, please click here.

Everyone is welcome to play or cheer at the Bishop’s Cup 2017 Soccer Game between the Hispanic Caucus and the Korean Caucus on September 24th at 4 PM. It all takes place at Centennial Park, 620 Midge Street, Johnson Creek, WI 53038. For more information, contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., Director of Congregational Development, 888-240-7328 or Cell: (608) 284-0448. Flyer is available in Spanish and English. Don’t miss the excitement.

To coincide with the Nationwide Vigil, Milwaukee: Albright UMC will host a Vigil to End Gun Violence at 7:00 PM on December 6th. The date December 14, 2017 marks the 5th anniversary of the Sandy Hook tragedy. Since that heartbreaking day in Newtown five years ago, half a million Americans have been killed or injured by guns. This effort hopes to continue to shed a light on the devastating epidemic of gun violence in our nation until these gun deaths and injuries are reduced.

People hit by Hurricanes Harvey and Irma need time to “get their arms” around the most pressing needs, but United Methodists around the connection can start helping by donating to the United Methodist Committee on Relief, collecting and assembling flood buckets and earnestly praying. Kathy L. Gilbert reports. Read UMNS story

Note: Wisconsin is in urgent need of flood buckets. Deliver to Midwest Mission Distribution Center or to Conference Office in Sun Prairie. If delivering to the Sun Prairie office, the buckets need to be in Wisconsin Conference Office by Friday, September 22 to make the truck traveling to MMDC.

New resources that support local church Advent outreach efforts are now available. The resources carry the theme “Unwrap the true meaning of Christmas” and complement The United Methodist Church’s national Advent advertising campaign, which will feature children sharing about their faith and what Christmas means to them. Read press release

Hurricane Irma has become one of the most powerful hurricanes ever recorded in the Atlantic, a category 5 hurricane with sustained winds of 295 km/hour. As of September 11, it has passed over Barbuda, Saint Barthelemy, Anguilla, Saint Marten, British and U.S. Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, Haiti, Turks and Caicos, Cuba, the Bahamas and currently passing through Florida with Georgia in line. Extensive damage has been reported in Barbuda and Anguilla where 70-90% of the buildings were destroyed. 27 people reported dead across affected territories, 34,000 people displaced in the Dominican Republic and Haiti. Over 1 million people were evacuated along the coastline in central and eastern Cuba. 17,000 people are in need of immediate shelter across the affected eastern Caribbean islands.

We look forward to seeing all clergy at School for Ministry this Wednesday and Thursday at the Green Lake Conference Center. Our presenter will be Margaret Marcuson of Portland, Ore. Her expertise is ministry coaching and developing congregational leaders. Margaret recorded this special introduction for us (click to view video).

Here is Margaret's schedule with us:

  • Session 1 - How to talk to others who will listen. How to listen to others who will talk. 3-5 p.m. Wednesday
  • Session 2 - Are you saying your prayers? (Prayer in ministry) 9:30-11 a.m. Thursday
  • Session 3 - Know your own story: Your family and your ministry. 1:15-2:45 p.m. Thursday

Remember also that at noon on Thursday, you can join a conversation about a proposed Global/General Book of Discipline.