In coordination with the McFarland Food Pantry, a Giving Tree has taken root in the MUCC sanctuary filled with tags representing families in need throughout our McFarland community.
Simply take a tag off the tree, write your name down, shop for what is listed on your tag, and bring it to church before December 10. Questions? Contact Melissa in the office 608-838-9322 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
At McFarland UCC we aren’t afraid to do church differently.
When you join us for one of these upcoming activities,
you’ll have a chance to experience the story of Easter – and the events leading up to it - in fresh ways.
Palm Sunday, April 9th 10 am
You won't want to miss this lively service with palm branches for everyone and a play developed by children of the congregation! CLICK HERE for a video invitation.
Messy Easter, April 9th 4:30 - 6:30 pm
Engage your inner child with storytelling, arts and crafts as we retell the Easter story in simple ways. Remind yourself – and teach your dear ones – that the story of Easter has so much more to offer than mere brunch and bunnies. Sunday April 9th. Arrive between 4:30 and 4:45 pm. Dinner is included. We wrap up around 6:15 pm. Questions about Messy Church? Watch our video.
Dinner Church - Maundy Thursday, April 13th 6:15 pm
Good food, spiritual conversation and a chance to build relationships with your neighbors. Dinner church is one of the oldest expressions of church - gathering together, breaking bread, and making sense of scripture and life through conversation around the table.
Dinner and worship begin at 6:15, and we should be done by around 8 pm. (Would you like to help with prep and setup? Email us to be connected with the ministry team, or arrive early; we create the setting together.)
As with all McFarland UCC activities, this is cross+generational - all ages are welcome at Dinner Church.
CLICK HERE to RSVP/share on Facebook
Easter Breakfast, April 16th 8:30 - 9:30 am
The annual Easter Breakfast is FREE and a great way to start the morning!
Easter Sunday Service, April 16th 10 am
MUCC's Easter Sunday service is a celebration with new and traditional music throughout. Communion is open to all. Whoever you are, wherever you are on life's journey, you are welcome here.
Our April Newsletter was recently emailed. Click here to read.
We send our newsletters out using Constant Contact.
If you'd like to subscribe, click here.
Because ministry ideas are always popping up, and good news is shared throughout the week, we make our most frequent updates on social media. We invite you to follow us on Facebook for the most timely news about church events.
If you're an active part of our ministry circles, you may be interested in our Facebook 'Mission and Service' group, which is a space for recruiting ministry teams, sharing prayer requests and urgent needs. Contact the church office for help getting connected: email@example.com or 608.838.9322.
On Sunday, January 15 in worship we blessed individuals going to Washington DC over inauguration weekend to witness to our Gospel values, where they joined others holding forth a vision of a more just and generous world for all people. Below is the online journal of several MUCC members who participated in the Listening & Witnessing trip: Kristin Gorton, Joan Jacobsen, and Maddie Loss.
Want to see more pictures and stories? Visit facebook.com/mcfarlanducc.
And if you're curious about the ministry trip as a whole, CLICK HERE to learn more
from the United Church of Christ.
The bus is packed and ready for the trip to D.C. with the Wisconsin Conference United Church of Christ.
MORNING: We arrived in the Washington DC area just after midnight yesterday. Today dawns with a quiet morning of reflection and prayer. This afternoon our sisters and brothers at Emmaus UCC will be hosting us for a day of sacred conversations around issues of interfaith and inter-race engagement. An inter-religious worship service...and...of course...a community meal, will end the day.
You are invited with us in this digital sacred place to experience God's transformative love. Blessings this day, and in the months and years ahead. You are a beloved child of God.
This morning's moment of faith included a scavenger hunt for copies of We the People posters.
MID-DAY: An afternoon in community. Reflecting on the faith tools we carry as followers of Jesus... tools that can transform. Food. Community. Christ.
We have spent the day talking and listening and learning. The day ends with a shared worship with 6 different faith communities. Praying for Peace and Understanding.
"I envision all people coming together in unity...Tonight, all of us said 'yes' for understanding...for peace..." - Rev. Russell Heiland
Good Morning! Ready to MARCH in mind, body, of spirit? Come along with us digitally as we walk in the Women's March in Washington, DC. Folks will also be marching in Madison with a contingency of people from McFarland UCC. Carpool available 9:45am at the MUCC parking lot. Join us- all are welcome!
A beautiful journey in unity burst forth during the Women's March on Washington today.
Multiple moments of compassion and care were observed in the massive crowds.
"And what does the Lord require of you, but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?" Micah 6:8
A photograph from the road. Members and friends from UCC congregations from around the state (including 3 from the McFarland UCC). On our way home from the Women's March on Washington! We took time this morning to reflect on the global solidarity and radical hospitality we experienced on the trip.
Visit facebook.com/mcfarlanducc to see more!
Testimony by Maddie Loss
One of McFarland UCC’s participants in the
‘Listening & Witnessing in Washington DC’ Mission Trip, January 19-21 2017.
(an edited version of her 1/8/2017 mission moment)
I’ve been coming to a United Church of Christ congregation for as long as I can remember. It’s what I know. I’ve gone through confirmation and other activities within the church. This church drew me to the General Synod in Cleveland, Ohio. This trip was where I became so enthralled with the United Church of Christ’s mission. The constant call for social justice. The daily grind to ensure that the world is a more just and loving world for all people. I was able to witness these moments of faith. The excitement when the supreme court ruled on the right for LGBTQ couples to marry, the sorrow filled moments in remembering the Charleston shooting, and the calls to action found on the plenary floor. I fell in love with the message. The message of extravagant acceptance and widespread love. Where no single person is left behind or forgotten or devalued. The message of loving all people regardless of race, gender, ethnicity, gender expression, sexual orientation, or religion.
I grew up hearing messages from the church that have shaped who I am as a person. That all were created in God’s image. That whoever you are and wherever you are on God’s journey, you are welcome. That all are blessed to be a blessing. And that ALL are welcome at God’s table. These messages. These messages pack all that this Church is about. These are all ideas that I witnessed as I was growing up that became such a constant part of my life. These are the messages that I heard in a setting that was loving and accepting. I desperately wish that all people can hear these messages for if the words are heard they can make the world a little softer and little more loving. It is a type of love that continues to lead my life today. And in these past few months I have formed my concept of the church leaving the building and heading to college.
College is complex. Because while it is believed that one pursues a degree, it is for yourself. But it is actually all about Him. You go to college to learn how to love God and His children better. Love His children regardless of their race, age, gender expression, sexual orientation, religion, or gender.
I went to college expecting that the majority of people that I met would believe the same and be aspiring to the same knowledge. That love and acceptance lived loudly. I was devastated to discover that this approach that I saw in the actions United Church of Christ and represented to myself was not widely accepted. I found myself participating in a campus ministry where other students rejected this idea just as firmly as the UCC embraces it. I felt like I had to transform my identity as a Christian to be viewed as a Christian among my peers in this group. Do I continue down the path that I belong on, a path of love and acceptance that my life has been shaped by? Or do I turn away from my prior identity to conform with this new group that I stumbled upon? Thankful for my decision to read “Let Your Life Speak” by Parker J Palmer I came across this paragraph. It was my involvement in this group that “made me feel inadequate to the tasks of living my own life, creating guilt about the distance between who I was and who I felt I was supposed to be.” And living these two lives left me exhausted and frustrated. But after I faced myself with this question the decision was an easy one. I made a choice that reflected who I had been, am, and always will be. But I was disappointed that I was even presented with this type of decision. I was hurt. Because as I moved through this process my country was moving through an election where some feel that they had not been the offered love and acceptance that they deserved.
After the election I listened to other new friends that I have met that are Jewish and Muslim. Friends that are sent flyers from Christian organizations on campus that preach about how the only way of saving the world is have everyone convert to Christianity. How this generation was going to fix the world by leading everyone to the one true savior. A belief that frightens my friends that are not Christian. My dear friend would question, trying to figure out where these actions come from. She would ask me, “But aren't you a Christian too?”. And I would respond with, “Yes, I am, but … I don’t believe that stuff. I believe all are equal, and that all can coexist, and that all are welcome in the world”. And this “but” made me even more confused. For the frustration of having to defend my own beliefs in response to other beliefs of Christians wasn’t something that I had exactly experienced before. And this reasoning wasn't enough and will never be a enough for members of the Islamic or Jewish faith. The faiths that believe in the same God, come from the same father, Abraham. And after a few weeks of school these excuses were not enough. Because I saw daily fear and knew I had to do something more. For my beliefs, the beliefs of love and acceptance have constructed who I am. And to see others so comfortable with rejecting this one core belief of my own God was brought out feelings that I cannot put into words.
After the election I witnessed the fear of females who are survivors of sexual assault. Women that attend school at a university where one in four of the undergraduates experience sexual assault. Women that live in a country where the general populace elected a man who brags of sexual assault. Terrified that the rhetoric of the election will come to normalize what they have survived. I watched as my friend moved through the process of receiving the justice for what she had gone through. The process of fighting the uphill battle and the heartbreaking realities in her life that she struggled to comprehend. And as things continued to stack up against her, she asked me if she could go to church with me. The hope that my religion of love and acceptance was prevailing over all of the voices that were shogun at her. She heard the calm beckoning of love and acceptance. Love and acceptance where even the most fragile could find solace in a vesper service on a cold, Sunday afternoon.
These experiences are just scratching the surface. And I am forever grateful that I followed the life that I was meant to live. I felt that I finally found my true being in these moments of tenderness and hurting and joy by striving to live through all that I was taught as a young girl. And now this is a continued version of the church leaving the building and heading to the streets. It first started by leaving to go to high school, then to college, and now to Washington DC.
Text: Jeremiah 36:1-8, 21-23, 27-28 then 31:31-34
Preached by Rev. Kerri Parker, Sunday November 20, 2016
Justice-loving, Still-Speaking God: grant us the grace to hear and make sense of the challenging words presented to us by holy scripture and the work of the Spirit. May the words of my mouth, and the meditations of all our hearts be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, our Rock and our Redeemer. Amen
What’s a preacher to do when the scripture for the day – several weeks in a row - cuts a little too close to what’s going on in the world? The same thing one does any other Sunday: preach the text. Preach the Gospel. We are people of faith. And if we shy away from our sacred stories because they bear an uncomfortable word, then we are no better than the king who fed a scroll bearing forty years’ worth of prophetic words into the flames.
This is the Word the Spirit has brought to the church this day: a perilous time, when the nation is under threat. The Prophet Jeremiah under house arrest, confined, prevented from gathering with God’s people. God’s word snatched from Baruch’s hand - and in a section we skipped over for length today - God’s prophets had to go into hiding. The scroll with these holy, subversive words taken to the palace and read in private quarters amid the king’s closest advisers, and then deliberately, section by section, consigned to the fire. Burned because the king did not like what he was hearing. Because he wanted to suppress the message being spread by the prophet.
What we have in today’s scripture is tantamount to a book burning. We’re not talking about a single speech here. We are talking about a scroll containing forty years of Jeremiah’s life’s work - his heart and soul, everything God had given him for the good of the nation of Israel, the shining days and the terrible days and everything in between. A masterwork, destroyed.
It would be easy, after such a disaster, to give up. It would be natural — particularly for Jeremiah, who was already prone to depression, and lived in difficult times — to give in to the inner voice of doom. To stand there in judgment, shaking one’s head, saying, “I told you so.” Worse: to entertain fantasies of revenge, as if salvation is to be found there.
But the prophet doesn’t give up, although it would have been so easy to do so. Instead, he stayed rooted in his call, offering us a model of faithful resistance to a world that just wants to get back to normal when it’s everything but business as usual:
First, the prophet speaks the word given by God. Over and over again, the prophet spoke the words. Sometimes it offended people. But he kept going. Then, the prophet passes the word on to others, so they are equipped to share it. When Jeremiah couldn’t go himself, Jeremiah taught Baruch. Baruch wrote it down so it could be shared. And Baruch spoke it in the temple.
And then - I love this part - when the powers of this world try to shut down the transmission of God’s word (because when does that ever work, people?) - the prophet steps up again. This is when God germinates the seeds of the Word that are planted in the weary heart of the prophet, and it cracks wide open again. You may think you have seen it all and done it all and by all that is holy you are tired, but the word of the Lord comes to you and here it comes again:
“Write down all the words that were in the first scroll that was burned.”
Write down all of the words...and more. The scroll was burned. The powerful ones shut it down. Has the message been lost? No. Just delayed. Write the revised and expanded edition, God says. They're not going to like hearing this one any better, but it’s still worth saying. Justice is justice. Write it. Speak it. Send My Word forth, instructs God — so the prophet continues to raise the uncomfortable questions before the nation as a whole, not neglecting to confront the powerful, not neglecting to speak in the public square:
Do you treat each other justly? Do you follow the Lord’s ways?
Stop taking advantage of the immigrant, orphan, or widow.
Stop shedding the blood of the innocent,…
going after other gods to your own ruin…
And are you caring for God’s creation?
“I will weep and wail for the mountains,
and lament for the grazing lands in the wilderness.
They are dried up and deserted;
no sound of the flocks is heard;
no sign of birds or animals is seen;
all have vanished.”
Are the rich and powerful growing fat and sleek,
prospering, indifferent to the plight of the orphan, the rights of the poor?
From the least to the greatest, all are eager to profit.
From prophet to priest, all trade in falsehood.
they treat the wound of my people as if were nothing:
“All is well, all is well,” they insist, when in fact nothing is well.”
Do you treat the worker with justice?
And do you allow room, in your economic life
for rest, as God commanded?
And to whom do you give supremacy?
“The Lord is the true God!
He’s the living God and the everlasting King!”
“God made the earth by his might;
he shaped the world by his wisdom,
crafted the skies by his knowledge.”
“Stop at the crossroads and look around; ask for the ancient paths.
Where is the good way? Then walk in it.”
It is words such as these the prophet carried to the nation, which had him banned from the temple, confined, his words burned, and eventually killed in exile. It is words such as these which Jesus used to confront the powers of his time, words that got him killed.
Today is Reign of Christ Sunday, when we remember who rules supreme. When we remember the kingdom - or kindom - to which we belong.
We are in the middle of a challenging time in the life of our nation, and a challenging run of texts from the Hebrew Prophets, to be followed by a challenging run of texts about the imminent arrival of Jesus, Emmanuel, God-With-Us. We may come to church looking for comfort. But the comfort in the Gospel is inseparable from its challenge, inseparable from Christ’s claim upon our lives.
Our Christian life leads from font, to table, to cross: We baptized a baby last week, and set her on the road to discipleship. Remember all the things we said about the water: water is washing, and soothing, and slaking thirst, and drowning. It is death and it is life. Remember all the things we say at the communion table: it is a meal, where we nourish our bodies, where we celebrate the great banquet where none are excluded, where there is always enough, and it is also a funeral meal, where we remember that it is a gift offered to those Christ already knows will abandon him before he dies. Even the first resurrection story is filled with challenge, more than comfort.
King Jehoiakim wants to enjoy his comfortable winter chambers by the firepit. The nation would like it very much if things could get back to normal. It’s a lovely dream; but that’s all “normal” ever was, a dream. Because “comfort” was only comfortable for some, and “peace” only “peace” for some. To abandon them for our own comfort is to abandon the Gospel.
Prophets, attend! We have been given a Word for our time. Though there may be those in our nation who say, "Hush! Your Word disturbs our peace," and urge us to quiet ourselves, we are called to proclaim it again, more boldly.
For here is the way our God works: never settling for a retread of the past, but going beyond, calling us to speak and work for the revised, expansive vision of human community, a community ruled according to kindness, justice, and righteousness.
“I am the Lord who acts with kindness,
justice, and righteousness
in the world,
and I delight in these things,
declares the Lord.”
God is writing the revised and expansive edition.
It’s gonna take a while. There’s still time to get involved. Prophets, are you in?
Preached November 13, 2016, the Sunday after the US Presidential Election
Text: Isaiah 6:1-8 (Isaiah's Call and Sending)
The holiest places we are privileged to walk are where another person entrusts to us their deep gladness or deep grief. Heaven and earth meet when we are called to attend to one another. If you listen carefully, you might hear the fluttering of wings, as the angels hasten to cover their eyes to grant a tender moment its due. Given an especially challenging situation, you may perceive the searing of a hot coal on your lips as you consider what words to speak into the sacred space. You have been granted entrance to the Holy of Holies: a tender place in the human soul.
“Woe is me,” says the prophet. “For I am a person of unclean lips, and I come from a people of unclean lips.” You consider carefully. What will be suspended in the air between you and this fellow child of God? What word could be true enough, and faithful; adequate to the gift of revelation that has been unfolded before you? For such access is not granted lightly. It comes only when there is something so great that the weight of it cannot be carried by one human soul. When it takes a second - a soul-friend - to shoulder the load - it is an honor and a privilege to be invited across the threshold.
Now and then, a tight-knit community is invited to step across. But sometimes, an entire nation or a world is unwillingly pushed across a threshold. These are not comfortable moments. Then again, prophets’ call stories seldom are.
Taking Faith Home wherever you may be...
“…The Lord is in this place, and I didn’t even know it” Gen 28:10-22
Sacred spaces can find us in the most unexpected places. At the ocean side. On a mountaintop. By a river. In the desert. At Sundaes on Thursday. In a song that gets stuck in our head.
Summer is often a time of travel. Of busyness in new places. In the midst of going do you find time to pause and see God? This summer, we invite you to find God in the unexpected as we Take Faith Home. We are a church of hearts and hands. Where do YOU find sacred places? Is it a tree, a bluff, a beach? Or do you find sacred in art? Music? Food? Movement? Take your hands, make a heart, and share YOUR sacred space! Snap a picture. Build a sculpture. Be creative! Then bring YOUR heart and hands to church – in person, via email, the church’s FaceBook page, via Instagram – as we build community through the summer in unexpected places. Just...
Sunday, April 3 at 11:15 am, you are invited to a special lunch where we will provide an update about MUCC's capital campaign - Building for God's Future.
For almost two years, the church’s leaders have been studying building needs and ministry possibilities. In concept meetings, we developed a list of values and priorities.
At the 2016 Annual Meeting, the church approved a fundraising campaign. Based on campaign results, we will work with an architect to develop a proposal that makes best use of pledged funds.
Welcoming is at the core of being ‘A Church With Heart’ – we want to convey a sense of hospitality and compassion. The building exterior, entries and spaces within should be inviting and approachable, warm, and light.
Visionary We want to go beyond ‘new and improved’ to look to the future. How can we convey the new, bold spirit in this place? What big ideas will equip us for the next stage in our ministry? What technology shifts do we need to consider?
Faith-Filled We want our facilities and our ministry to be faith-filled. We hope for an enriching environment that helps the congregation and the community grow in faith.
Community-Building Our ministry is for the congregation and for the community. We hope to build community within the church and with our neighbors. The project should help us reach out and reach in, in ways that are fully inclusive. We want to create a place for conversations.
Functional Whatever we create should be versatile and flexible. We are an informal congregation. This implies special attention to creating inviting spaces to be at ease, materials that are child-friendly and mess-friendly, and adequate, well-organized
With multiple generations at the core of our ministry, we need an environment that is both accessible and safe. We want spaces that are well-lit, acoustically and visually pleasing, but also designed to be used.
The guiding values for the project are also who we are as a church.
Invest in our shared ministry!
You can choose the best way for you to give!
Funds can be pledged over up to a 5 year timeframe.