On June 16 through June 21, Racine First UMC hosted 60 youth on mission from the Dakotas Annual Conference. The youth stayed and shared worship and fellowship with First UMC before heading out into the community to help many different organizations with work that needed to be done. They made repairs, served meals, and reached out to many communities that were in need of a willing hand to improve lives and structures. Jean Whiteside, Media Coordinator at First UMC, said, “We are very blessed to be able host this amazing group of young people and their chaperones. God works through the willing hands of our youth and His Spirit shines bright.”

In a Hallelujah Moments article from February, Rev. Barb Certa-Werner discussed the plans of Harbor House Crisis Shelters to open permanent supportive housing. She is now excited to announce that they have closed on an apartment building in Superior. This building is a first for their community-permanent supportive housing. The Wildfire! Youth Mission event is happening this week, and they will begin cleaning out the apartment so it can be prepared for renovations. If enough people sign up for the VIM trip in September, they will also be working on the new building. Rev. Barb said, “We continue to raise funds for the renovations but now that we have the building, our hope is this will be an inspiration for folks. Thank you for your ongoing prayers and support. This is a tangible sign of God's mercy and justice. We celebrate!”

Circuit Rider visited Janesville: Asbury United Methodist Church on June 24th to the delight of those in attendance. Pastor Will Jewson rode in on a horse and lead a 19th century Methodist Camp Meeting! Those in attendance learned a bit of history and experienced the feel of open air preaching as it may have occurred during the early to mid – 1800s. Visit http://asburyumcjvl.org/category/sermon-videos/ to find video of the ride and camp meeting event.

Superior: Faith UMC was recently featured on the front page of the Superior newspaper, The Telegram, for their community garden initiative. Rev. Joel Certa-Werner said that while they work toward a future building project, they decided to utilize the vacant land in a way to “connect” with their neighbors, and help revitalize downtown Superior. Sierra Wilson is taking this on as her senior class project. The Wildfire! Youth Mission event (hosted by Faith UMC July 15-20, 2018) will help finish the project. Read the article here.

More than 170 churches participated in Ingathering at Annual Conference this year. The Midwest Mission Distribution Center's truck was filled with over 300 Cleaning Buckets and supplies, 350 Personal Dignity Kits and supplies, 2,100 school kits and/or bags, a dozen layette kits, sewing machines and bikes. Harbor House Crisis Shelters, Northcott Neighborhood House, and Solomon Outreach split over 500 hospitality kits for men, women and children. Items donated totaled 16,087 pounds. In addition, over $8,000 in checks and cash was collected. Thank you to all who participated, as well as the volunteers who helped load the truck and trailer in all the heat!

Several congregations of different faiths are working together in Eau Claire to create IM Church. IM Church is an ecumenical, inclusive ministry created by a coalition of several faiths working together to provide a monthly message of God’s love and a meal for people with cognitive and other disabilities. Beginning Sunday, July 22, IM Church will meet at 3 p.m. on the third Sunday of every month at Lake Street UMC. Unlike a traditional church service, IM Church will be broken up into three components: a short interactive learning session that previews the sermon message; a short worship service with music, where people can participate as they choose; and a simple meal and fellowship afterward. IM Church will be led each month by a team from a different congregation. Read more here.

For the past three years, Faith UMC, Superior, has led an initiative with seven United Methodist Churches in the Duluth Area to host a youth and young adult trip to Wisconsin Dells. The goal is to help develop friendships with other United Methodist youth, and to create great experiences of “church.” Rev. Joel Certa-Werner said that “this trip isn’t just about having fun – it’s about growing friendships with other youth, as we grow closer to Jesus with a very welcoming and fun experience.”

The 32nd Annual SPUMC Garage Sale at Sun Prairie United Methodist Church is in the books! Proceeds from this year’s sale totaled over $11,500 and have been distributed to the Food Pantry, various Scholarships, The VA Hospital Vern Piper Fund, DAIS, Heifer (will be triple matched by special donors promotion), UMCOR Disaster Relief,  Shop with a Cop, LOGOS trip scholarships, the Wesley Fund, the purchase of some bells for the Bell Choir, Shelter from the Storm, the Sun Prairie Pastoral Care picnic,  and the Boiler Fund. They also were able to donate items to their own ministries, such as Children’s Ministries and their offices, and outside groups, including the Humane Society. All items left over were donated to St. Vinny's.

Rev. Juan Garay was interviewed about the vibrant, multicultural growing congregation of Urban Poiema. The article states, “Originally designed as a Hispanic/Latino ministry, Urban Poiema has innovatively nurtured a fluid congregation to do multicultural ministry in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Within the past three years, Urban Poiema has increased by 61 in membership through their ministries and has an average attendance of 100 people in Sunday service. That growth is bucking a trend of declining membership that is challenging many United Methodist congregations in the U.S.

A small group is taking on the challenge of feeding the children of Milton. The Milton United Methodist Church on Monday, June 11, launched a free summer lunch program at one of the city’s parks. A nine-person planning team, calling itself the One Apple Lunch Bunch, has organized a program to offer meals each weekday throughout the summer, ending on Aug. 31. The idea originated a year ago when a staff member at a local elementary school lamented that not all children eagerly anticipate summer vacation. For some, it’s the end of structure and healthy routines, and many go without adequate food and are hungry.

The Wisconsin Hmong Caucus (WHC) hosted a service celebrating the appointment of Rev. Tsuker Yang to District Superintendent of the North Central District. It was held on June 2 at Christway UMC in Milwaukee. The program began at 10 a.m., and was followed by lunch.

The Office of Congregational Development, Conference Committee on Hispanic/Latino Ministries, and Wisconsin Conference Hispanic/Latino Caucus hosted The Gift of the Stranger: Hispanic/Latino Ministries as a Means of Grace on Saturday, June 2 at Reedsburg UMC. This event was part of the implementation of the Hispanic/Latino Pentecost Emergence Initiative in Wisconsin, with a goal to reach out to the growing Hispanic/Latino population in our state with the Good News of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

North Pointe UMC Racine installed 57 solar panels in April and dedicated them on Earth Day, Sunday, April 22. To model creation care, the church invited the community to the church for a solar power information event where residents could sign-up for a free home assessment for solar power and join a group discounted purchase of solar panels.

In October of 2015, Rev. Thomas Thao, Pastor of Milwaukee Albright and New Hope UMC, was approached by Chuck Steinbach, who wanted to find a host church for the Daii community. He indicated that he looked up United Methodist Churches in the Milwaukee area and found that Albright UMC was the closest church to the Daai community. In Myanmar (Burma) the Daai belong to the British Methodist faith. That is why they prefer to be part of the United Methodist Church.

On a night dedicated to celebrating the most outstanding institutions from both the private and public sector in Zimbabwe, Africa University was awarded first place at this year’s 6th edition of the Contact Centre Association of Zimbabwe (CCAZ) Service Excellence Awards. The award ceremony was held in October 2017 in the Higher Education Category at a gala hosted in Harare at the Rainbow Towers Hotel where over 450 delegates were in attendance for a night that showcased exceptional leaders in industry.