Programs and Ministries

 

The Wisconsin Council of Churches utilizes the collective gifts of the thirteen member denominations and associate members to study, pray and minister to the important needs of the people of Wisconsin. Together we are:

+ Forming Leaders
 
+ Empowering Public Witness
 
+ Equipping the Missional Church
 WCC Comissions
  

Forming Leaders

Educational Events for Clergy & Lay Persons

The Council holds more than a dozen workshops and conferences annually, including the Washington Island Forum, the Annual Board Meeting and seminars held throughout the state designed with clergy and lay people in mind. For a listing of current and future events see our Events Page and online registration.

Mandatory Reporting

On April 9, 2004, Governor Jim Doyle signed Senate Bill 207 which impacts the ministry of every clergyperson and congregation in the State of Wisconsin. The legislation aims at protecting God’s most precious creation: the children of Wisconsin. The bill requires clergy to report suspected cases of child sexual abuse, extends the statute of limitations for filing criminal and civil charges of alleged child sexual abuse, and clarifies the conditions under which religious organizations can be sued for actions of offending clergy.

More information is available on our Mandatory Reporting  page.

Unity and Relationships

The WCC Unity and Relationships Committee (formerly Faith & Order) is made up of representatives from each member judicatory. The Committee keeps abreast of the most important national and international dialogues leading to greater unity within the Church. Believing that prayer is the soul of the ecumenical movement, the Committee also encourages ecumenical worship and prayer. In addition to its work promoting unity and renewal in the Church, the Committee participates in and encourages dialogue with other religions through the Interfaith Committee. For more information see the Unity & Relationships page.

Washington Island Forum

For more than thirty years the Washington Island Forum has provided a week of retreat with study, worship, community and fun on Washington Island off the tip of Door County, Wisconsin. Quality presenters and worship and music leaders help make this a premiere offering early each summer. For information on a coming Forum see our Events Page.

Week of Prayer for Christian Unity

The Week of Prayer for Christian Unity is an important expression of ecumenical activity at the local level. The theme and text for each year’s observance of the Week of Prayer are chosen and prepared by representatives of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity and representatives of the World Council of Churches. The events are usually scheduled for the third week of January each year. The international texts are developed, adapted and published for use in the USA by the Graymoor Ecumenical & Interreligious Institute. View our Week of Prayer for Christian Unity page.

Empowering Public Witness

Public Witness Ministry

The Council supports grassroots Christian advocacy on issues of social and economic justice through educational materials and events, e-advocacy alerts, and an online Legislative Alert Center. “People of Faith United for Justice,” an biennial advocacy day at the State Capitol co-sponsored by the Council and other faith-based groups, gives constituents an opportunity to learn about the issues, get advocacy training, and meet with legislators and staff. Public witness issues addressed by the Council include: affordable housing, immigration reform, care for creation, death penalty, health care reform, hunger in Wisconsin, and torture. To join the Council’s statewide ecumenical grassroots advocacy network or for additional information – including WCC social policy statements, voter education resources, and links to further advocacy resources — visit the WCC Advocacy Resources web page.

Care for Creation

As people of faith. we know that God calls us to be caretakers of our precious home, the Earth. Through education and advocacy, the Council supports actions and policies to ensure that we will pass on a more healthy, beautiful, sustainable and just world to future generations. In collaboration with Wisconsin Interfaith Power and Light, WCC works to promote the transition to a clean, renewable energy economy and reduction of climate-altering carbon emissions. See the WCC Care for Creation page.

Hunger at Our Doorstep

Food is one of the most basic human needs. Caring for the poor and feeding the hungry is a basic responsibility of God’s people (see, for example, Proverbs 22:9). To help congregations learn about – and respond to – hunger in their communities, the Council has produced a study-action guide, Hunger on Our Doorstep. We advocate on behalf of funding for school breakfast, and as members of the Wisconsin Food Security Consortium we have helped develop Ending Hunger in Wisconsin: An Action Plan which describes actions we can take to reduce hunger by strengthening the “four legs” of food security:

  • Family economic security
  • Access to affordable and healthy food
  • Federal nutrition programs
  • Emergency food assistance

Visit our Hunger at Our Doorstep page.

Immigration Reform

Immigration continues to reshape and enrich Wisconsin’s social and cultural landscape, as it has for more than 100 years. The Council is developing a new, collaborative initiative to build bridges between the descendents of earlier immigrants and those who have arrived more recently, and to advocate for fair, compassionate and comprehensive immigration reform legislation. Visit our Becoming Welcoming Communities pages.

Torture is a Moral Issue

Torture violates the image of God in both the victim and the torturer, and fails to yield reliable information, yet some would justify it in the name of national security. The Council has joined the National Religious Campaign Against Torture in advocating for the elimination of the use of torture by U.S. military forces and clandestine operatives. Even though President Obama issued an executive order banning torture, ending U.S.-sponsored torture forever will require further, investigation, legislation, and other actions. Visit our Torture is a Moral Issue page.

To join the Council’s statewide ecumenical grassroots advocacy network for additional information – including WCC social policy statements, voter education resources, and links to further advocacy resources – visit the WCC Advocacy web page.

Death Penalty Initiatives

The Wisconsin Council of Churches has prepared a variety of resources which may be useful as you and your local church consider ways to discuss the death penalty question. Visit our Death Penalty page.

Equipping the Missional Church

Equipping the Missional Church

Watch for information and resources on our “Empowering the Missional Church” page

Rural Ministry & Small Congregations

The Council supports initiatives to assist small congregations and rural ministries to identify cultural changes and demographic realities of their communities and, through Bible study and discernment, discover missional practices of the New Testament Church and connect these practices to the new realities facing churches today and to build action plans for addressing these realities. Watch our calendar for upcoming events in your part of the state.

Community Investment Program

The Community Investment Program is for individuals, congregations and member denominations investing in a brighter future for Wisconsin’s low income families and communities. The Council offers a unique opportunity to local church members, congregations and its member denominations to invest in selected community development financial institutions (CDFI’s) throughout Wisconsin. The CDFI’s help distressed communities, low and moderate income people and minority populations to develop housing, employment and business opportunities. For more information or to view or print a Community Investment Program Brochure in PDF format, see the Community Investment Program page.

How Can I Participate?

Familiarize yourself with issues, pray about them, and discuss them with friends and family. Take issues to your congregation, attend public meetings, and write letters to the editor. Consider taking a part in WCC program activities, joining the Peace and Justice or Unity and Relationships Commission, or the Friends of the Council.

If you have questions about any of the Council’s programs contact us at (608) 837-3108 or email us at: wcoc@wichurches.org.

Comments are closed.