WI Conference Weekly ENews - May 4, 2022

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Conference News


Disaffiliation Steps For Wisconsin Churches

The 2019 Special Session of the General Conference of The United Methodist Church adopted legislation establishing the limited right of a local church to petition its annual conference to disaffiliate from the  denomination “for reasons of conscience regarding a change in the requirements and provisions of the Book of Discipline related to the practice of homosexuality or the ordination or marriage of self-avowed practicing homosexuals as resolved and adopted by the 2019 General Conference, or the actions or  inactions of its annual conference related to these issues which follow.” This limited right, codified as the Book of Discipline’s new Paragraph 2553, expires December 31, 2023. 

Local churches seeking to disaffiliate from The United Methodist Church during this limited time frame are required by ¶2553 to fulfill the financial obligations specified in that paragraph. The 2019 Special Session also adopted ¶1504.23 requiring that a local church changing its relationship with The United Methodist Church shall contribute a withdrawal liability in an amount equal to its pro rata share of any aggregate unfunded pension obligations.  Read More

New Forest Fights Climate Change at Lake Lucerne

It all started with a call to an old friend. Jack Kallio (Facilities Manager at Lucerne) asked Randy Hammond if the camp could borrow a tree planting machine. Randy, owner of Huckleberry Tree Farm in Princeton, said sure. The next thing you know, 9,000 trees and 12 acres were planted. But first, a lot of other steps needed to be completed. Invasive thorny brush needed to be cut and removed.  In September, an energetic crew of VIM volunteers went to work. Thanks to Mary Beth Nienhaus, Bill Keen, Gini Frey, Lisa Karls, Donna Kiefer, Wes Hurlburt, and Jack Kallio. Thanks also to all others who helped with this challenging job.

Then, the brush needed to be piled and safely burned. Jack Kallio, Bill Keen, Rev. Caleb McGregor (Port Edwards), and Site Director Tanner Clark all pitched in. Finally, the trees had to be purchased.  Generous donations from Rev. Norm and Lucy Silvester and Mary Beth Nienhaus, along with Conference funds and support from Sue D'Alessio, made that happen.  Camp Forester Jeff Niese ordered the trees from the DNR and delivered trees and hand tools to the site. Planting 6,000 red pine and 3,000 white pine required sorting, preparation and 3 long days of labor. Read more

Wisconsin United Methodist Foundation Scholarship Awards

The Wisconsin United Methodist Foundation (WUMF) is pleased to announce the award of 78 general scholarships to post high school and undergraduate college students. Candidates had strong applications, including a personal essay and two references from the church, and exemplified impressive involvement in church and community life. Scholarships are made possible by generous WUMF donors.

Fast facts: 
- WUMF received 83 total applications, 20 more than last year! 
- They included current 12th graders, college students, returning adults, and community college students
- That means 156 recommendations from pastors or laity - THANK YOU! 
- Applying students included one set of triplets, seven sibling pairings, and one father-son duo. 
- Darlington UMC had the most applicants (5), followed by Cargill UMC in Janesville (4) 
- Most popular university attending: UW-Madison (11) 
- Most popular major: a three-way tie between Biology, Business, and Nursing (6 each) 
- Furthest away universities - Tulane University & University of Alabama 

WUMF will see you next year! In the meantime, seminarian student scholarships must be postmarked or emailed by July 1. Click here for more information.

Wisconsin Conference United Methodist Women in Faith
Mission u 2022

Great news—COMMUNITY is God’s desire for us! Join Mission u 2022 as we reflect on the community that Jesus is calling us to be! This year, as we study Luke 13, we find ourselves in a period of disruption and uncertainty. In the midst of a devastating pandemic, divisive political climate, unaddressed systemic racism, ecological crises and economic turmoil, we turn to the stories of Jesus that have anchored Christian communities for two millennia. Our newly designed Mission u 2022 is more flexible than ever. You may choose to do an in person class or a Zoom class. The text for the class, Who Can We Be Together?, will be available soon.

In Person Class:       July 28- July 30, 2022 ( Thursday evening - Saturday afternoon)
                                   Christ United Methodist Church, Watertown, WI
In-person Mission U Registration Form
Online Zoom Class: July 12, 14, 19, 21 (4 evening sessions)
                               Zoom Registration Form

Speakers at Mission U 2022  
More Information

WI Annual Conference Volunteers Needed

Tech Crew: Committed and responsible volunteers to work for the Tech Crew/Stage Crew. Must be 12 years old or older, by June 1, 2022. In some cases, this time can be approved for community service hours towards graduation (check with school). Download the application here. Applications must be submitted to Angela Ullrich at aullrich@wisconsinumc.org by extended deadline - May 13, 2022.

WUMF Stewardship News

The monthly stewardship newsletter from the Wisconsin United Methodist Foundation is now attached and on our website. You are welcome to use this article in your Church Newsletter or Bulletin Insert. Please contact wumf@wumf.org if you'd prefer a Word document. To view this newsletter, please click here. If you know someone who would benefit from our stewardship services, please feel free to forward them.  Plan to bring your team to the Foundation's Stewardship Conference at Pine Lake this August 12 & 13. This year's theme is "Stewardship as the Dust Settles" and will tackle general issues and post-pandemic strategy. Register here

Denominational News


May 22 is Heritage Sunday

Heritage Sunday shall be observed on Aldersgate Day (May 24), or the Sunday preceding that date (this year it is May 22). The day provides an opportunity for reflection on heritage, celebration of where the Church has been, how it understands itself as it shapes us today, and the meaning of Christian conferencing. Heritage Sunday calls the Church to remember the past by committing itself to the continuing call of God. 
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Wespath: Clergy, Employees May Qualify for Student Loan Forgiveness

Clergy and employees of not-for-profit organizations engaged in faith-based work may benefit from recent changes to the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) Program.

Wespath is offering a one-hour webinar on Monday, May 9 at 2:00 p.m. Central time, and again on Wednesday, May 11 at 12:30 p.m. Central time, to help organizations and their staff understand the PSLF Program and its application process.

Use this document to help spread the word about this important opportunity.
Learn more at Wespath.org/r/PSLF.

UM Council of Bishops: Bishops Work For Unity As One Resigns

WASHINGTON — United Methodist bishops completed their spring meeting April 29 in a spirit of collegiality and love for one another and the worldwide United Methodist Church. Bishop Cynthia Fierro Harvey passed the gavel to Bishop Thomas Bickerton, who succeeds her as Council of Bishops president. At the same meeting, the bishops also learned that retired Bishop J. Mike Lowry announced that he plans to resign his role as a United Methodist bishop effective May 1. Lowry stated he will join the Global Methodist Church on May 1 and continue his service on the new denomination’s Transitional Leadership Council. UM News plans to have a story Monday.
Read press release

Local Church Stories


UMW at Wild Rose UMC Raises $4200 For UMCOR Ukrainian Relief Project

When Mary Kusche and Lois Dowden, Co-Chairs, made a proposal to the Wild Rose UMW group in March to donate $1000 as a matching fund to contributions made by the congregation and community of Wild Rose, little did they realize that the funds raised would exceed it by $3200. Wild Rose UMW Co-Chair Mary Kusche expressed, "every Sunday, the generosity of members and friends exceeded our expectations; we may be a small church and community, but we know what really matters, even if it means making a few sacrifices to respond to someone else's need."

Treasurer Kitty Davies reported, "people trust UMCOR to make every dollar count while providing disaster relief around the world." Pastor Jill Nowlen blessed the donation to UMCOR for Ukrainian relief on Easter Sunday, saying "we pray for the way of God's peace and healing for the people of Ukraine and Russia through the power of the Holy Spirit." Praise God! Pictured are Pastor Jill Nowlen (right), Mary Kusche (middle) and Kitty Davies (left).

Trinity & Iron Creek UMC Charge Palm Sunday Parade

Around 80 people gathered for a Palm Sunday parade that started at Trinity UMC in Elk Mound and traveled down two of the main streets in town. The parade included a live donkey and other animals (with a goat leading)! Parade activities included waving palm branches, playing musical instruments, flying streamers, and enjoying ice cream bars. Rev. Joel Certa-Werner explained the point of the parade, "This is a combined Palm Sunday event for both Iron Creek (rural Menomonie) and Trinity (Elk Mound) United Methodist Churches. We wanted to host a fun and engaging event for our community that celebrated how the Biblical narrative of how the crowds lined the streets, cheering, waving palm branches, and even lying their cloaks on the ground like a royal carpet as Jesus entered Jerusalem riding on a donkey, just as the Old Testament prophecy foretold of the coming Messiah King (Zechariah 9:9).

So, we decided to make that happen in our area in a more real way. It was a lot of fun seeing so many "thumbs-up" and waves from people driving by!" After the parade, the crowd joined with others who gathered for the combined Palm Sunday worship service, during which the children led a procession of palm branches around the sanctuary along with the chime choir and the congregational singing. The Iron Creek choir also sang. "It was a triumphal event. I think it brought honor and glory to the King of kings" Rev. Joel said. The event drew the largest number of Palm Sunday worshipers in many years for the Trinity and Iron Creek Churches and was featured in the Colfax Messenger newspaper!

Confirmation Back In The Life Of Portage UMC

Due to Covid-19, for the past two years Portage UMC couldn't have Confirmation for middle and high school students. Last September, PUMC resumed its annual confirmation classes with 7 students and on April 24, 2022 had Confirmation Sunday. While hearing those 7 students' testimony about their being confirmed, the congregation of PUMC - their parents, grandparents, relatives and friends - had a meaningful moment to witness the generational continuation of our faith in God in spite of the uncertainty that is still chasing after us - spiritually, emotionally, physically, and financially.

On April 24, 2022, PUMC witnessed and relived Isaiah 6:13 in the sanctuary: "And though a tenth remains in the land, it will again be laid waste. But as the terebinth and oak eave stumps when they are cut down, so the holy seed will be the stump in the land." Amen. We all said so with one heart.

Share Your Story!

We are called to share the good news in all the ways we can. Sharing your stories is way for us to be in community together. Every church has a story to tell and we want to hear about them and what is happening in the life of your church.  We want to hear from churches around our conference so if you have a story that you would like included in an upcoming ENews please use the link below and fill out the form.  We would love to have pictures to accompany the story! Submit story here

Mission News


Midwest Mission Distribution Center Trip- August 21-26, 2022

Would you like to join us?  Oak Creek Community UMC is planning our annual trip to the Midwest Mission Distribution Center in Chatham, IL.  Anyone age 11 and up are welcome to come.  (Youth need a parent or guardian.) We have been sending a team to MMDC every August since the facility opened in 2002 with the exception of 2020.  We keep going back because we are doing God’s work and we have so much fun.  Plus we get to use power tools!  This year's trip is August 21-26.  The cost is $20/night for a shared room + $12 per day materials fee.  You can come for a few days or all 5.  There are jobs for every skill level from sitting at a table counting items to making desks.  Come with a friend or make a new one as you work together on a wide variety of projects. Check out their website at midwestmission.org. Click MORE and pick MISSION JOURNEY to see what the volunteers do.  Contact Bonnie Clement at bonnieclement05@gmail.com or 262-497-9969 for details and to sign up.  Registration deadline & payment due June 1st.


Mission Schools Alumnus Gives Students A Boost

MUTARE, Zimbabwe (UM News) — More than 100 students received scholarships at two United Methodist mission schools thanks to a local businessman and former student. The assistance program awards the top students in each class. Kudzai Chingwe has the story.
Read story

Upcoming Events


Ask The UMC: What Happens When A New Denomination Launches?

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UM News) — The Global Methodist Church, a theologically conservative breakaway denomination, has set May 1 as its official start date. However, it will take time for any potential separations from The United Methodist Church to take place. Heather Hahn reports on some frequently asked questions.
Read story

BeADisciple.com Course: Opening Ourselves To Grace: Basic Christian Practices

Grace is God’s un-merited, unconditional love and acceptance freely given to all.  Yet as Christians, saved by grace, often we are unable or unwilling to extend that grace to others. “Opening Ourselves to Grace: Basic Christian Practices” is a course designed to help us learn about grace while exploring the practices that help us nurture and watch over one another in love. As we participate in the means of grace (works of piety and works of mercy), we are better able to help others understand the power of grace so that they grow in love of God and neighbor. This means we are better able to live out our mission of making disciples of Jesus Christ. 

Quick Info: Number of weeks: 2, Price $70, CEUs: 1, Live Video, yes- optional, part of a certification or series of courses?: Yes, Lay Servant Ministries
Learn More

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