Broadcaster Newsletter

Vol. XXVI No 6                                                            July 2018

From the Pastor’s DeskA Statement from WI Council of Churches

For this month, I am not really turning my column over, but commending the following statement from the leadership of the Wisconsin Council of Churches to you.  It lays out and express what I would want to offer you in these days.  It’s lengthy, but well worth all of our consideration and action.  We are, by the way, a member church of the Council through the Wisconsin Conference of the UCC.  Council Executive Director, the Rev. Kerri Parker, is also a dear friend and UCC colleague. Pastor Doug

On The Misuse of Scripture to Justify Injustice.     The Wisconsin Council of Churches

As the crisis surrounding immigration continues to unfold, we, the members of the Wisconsin Council of Churches, raise our voices in protest at the policies being implemented and at the inappropriate appeal to scripture by government officials in support of these policies.

With a signed Executive Order instructing the indefinite detention of families, the reunification of children separated from their parents unlikely to occur, and National Guard troops from Wisconsin being sent to support ICE activities along the border, it is clear that our government intends to continue using its authority in ways that perpetrate trauma.

We, the members of the Wisconsin Council of Churches, have covenanted “to pray and work together for the unity and renewal of the church and the healing and reconciliation of the world.” That means, whenever possible, we will strive to give clear expression to the Christian faith that unites us, especially when that faith has been publicly perverted or maligned, and stand with the weak and powerless when they are being exploited, maltreated or neglected – especially by those who are officially responsible for the public welfare.

We are especially concerned with the Attorney General’s appeal to scripture to support the policy of separating parents from their children, and by extension, the indefinite detention of undocumented immigrants and the rejection of asylum seekers.

The Attorney General appeals to Paul’s statement in Romans 13:1: “Let every person be subject to the governing authorities; for there is no authority except from God, and those authorities that exist have been instituted by God.”

We reject this theological misrepresentation of Scripture, specifically, and of Christian teaching about the State, generally, in justification of such obvious injustice.

This verse has been used in many contexts: by Nazis demanding that Christians submit to and participate in the genocide of Jews; by South African Christians defending the injustice of Apartheid; by American Christians defending the institution of slavery. The historical echoes are profoundly disturbing and we call the church and society to attend, that the past not be repeated.

The Apostle Paul, author of these words, was himself imprisoned and executed by the Roman Empire. He wrote this sentence in a larger context, in a letter written to Christians in Rome, who were an illicit community and in danger of persecution. He wrote it as part of a larger argument that includes not only his insistence that governmental authority is ordained by God but that such authority has its limits.

Paul asserts that there is a higher law, a higher principle to which any government, any human community, any human is subject: “Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore, love is the fulfilling of the law” (Romans 13:10).

We declare that our common Christian witness is imperiled by inauthentic Christian teaching in the public square, and the church’s own limited, episodic responses to injustice. When Christian teaching is perverted by those in governance and that twisting of scripture is allowed by the Christian community, we stand in a dangerous place.

Throughout Hebrew and Christian scripture, there is an understanding that all human authority is subject to divine judgment and justice; that laws are just only to the extent that they conform to divine justice. The Hebrew prophets railed against the injustices of kings and societies that ignored the plight of the poor, of widows and orphans, of strangers and aliens.

It is not only the government which bears responsibility for a just society; the voice of the people addressing their government, the witness of the Church and its prophetic voice offered in encouragement and admonition must not be absent. We must not only speak a Word into these perilous times, but be ready to act, as well. We pray for the guidance of the Spirit that our words and actions may be true.

The Rev.Kerri Parker, Executive Director, Wisconsin Council of Churches. Bishop Gerald Mansholt, East-centralSynod, ELCA Board President.


Annual Meeting Wisconsin Conference UCC, June: Quick Recap

We were inspired by our keynote speaker Rev. Traci Blackmon, and uplifted by the deep and moving spiritual music, words and worship of Rev. Bryan Sirchio, Rev. Bryan Johnson, and others. Many interesting workshops and faith formation sessions were also offered, as well as a Share Fair with local congregations sharing their gained wisdom and experience about ministries in their communities.  Delegates Jill Bobholz, Carl Alexander, Pastor Doug and “visitor” Barb Alexander were our official representatives.  Other clergy members of First Congregational were present in different capacities including Marlea Gilbert and Micah Schlobohm.

Several important items of business were also transacted at the meeting. Franz Rigert’s was resoundingly re-elected to another four-year term as Conference Minister.

In the spirit of speaking out on racial justice, a motion to undergo a year of study to consider a possible resolution of witness regarding “Repudiation of the Doctrine of Discovery” was passed overwhelmingly. This means that congregations are asked to study and reflect around issues relating to the Doctrine of Discovery prior to next year’s Annual Meeting. If 30% of the congregations in the Conference do so, a Resolution of Witness regarding the “Repudiation of the Doctrine of Discovery” will be voted on at the 2019 Annual Meeting. Study materials and Information about the proposed resolution will be forthcoming to Baraboo.

As always, elections were held for Conference-level committees, and we reviewed and passed the 2019 budget. Other motions that were passed include 1) ratifying changes in the national UCC governance structure that were passed at the last General Synod, and 2) approving a change in the term length of the Conference Budget and Finance Committee members.

Because we’re hosting General Synod next year, we will hold an abbreviated Annual Meeting jointly with all four Associations’ Annual Meetings, April 5-6, in the Dells. It’s a new adventure!


                   The Circus Parade is Coming!

On Saturday, July 21 the Great Circus Parade will go rumbling past our church.  It will be an exciting and happy time.  But we also know that the crowds of visitors will be hot and thirsty.  For the third year Outreach and Christian Education Boards are planning to have a hospitality tent to provide free ice cold water and lemonade for the people who have come to enjoy the parade.  We’re also hoping to have several people join Pastor Doug in making balloon animals for the children.  You don’t have to know how already; he’ll show you how.

This is how you can help – Sign up at church to bring: lemonade mix, a 10 pound bag of ice, 6 oz. Drinking cups or help with set-up or take-down.  And of course we need lots of balloon blowers.  Don’t forget to wear your “To Believe is to Care…” t-shirts.”

Little Free Library Needs Kids’ Books

Our Little Free Library has been doing a brisk business lately.  We have a good supply of books and magazines that are of interest to adults but we’re running out of children’s books.  So if you happen to have books or magazines that your children or grandchildren are done with, please consider sharing them with the children who are visiting our Little Free Library.  In this way we reach out to our community and encourage everyone to enjoy reading.


Stewardship Reminder for Summer

As you take vacation time off, please remember that the church and its expenses do not take time off, nor should our gratitude to God, expressed through offerings in support of the church and its ministry.  Your pledges and support, as well as joining together for worship at 9:30 on Sundays and other church activities as much as you are able, are important not only to the church but to you. Blessings and joy in the warmth of summer.


Second Sunday Summer Shenanigans

All Shenanigans are 9 AM to meet at church and concluding 11:30/noon time.

Transportation is always available  See you there!!

Sunday July 8th: fishing at the Dresen’s.

Sunday August 12th: swimming and cookout at south shore Devil’s Lake

See you there!!!

Calendar of Events

Sun, July 1

Worship with Communion (No children’s Sunday School during Summer), 9:30 AM

Tues, July 3 Trustees, 6  PM

Wed, June 6 Outreach Board, 8:15 AM

Sun, July 8

Summer Shenanigans-to Dresen’s, fishing

Worship, 9:30 AM

Tues, July 10 Stewardship, 6:15 PM

Cabinet, 7 PM

Sun, July 15 Worship, 9:30 AM

Mon, July 16 Parkinson’s Support, 2 PM

Tues, July 17

Mission & Social Concerns Bd, 6 PM

Sat, July 21 Circus Parade

Sun, July 22

Worship, 9:30 AM

Wed, July 25 August newsletter items due

Thurs, July 26

Diaconate, 4 PM Christian Ed, 6:30 PM

Sun, July 29 Worship, 9:30 AM