About Craig Jan-McMahon

Angler on many levels.

Joe Disch

Interview by Luke Sather, Confirmand

Where were you born?
New Glarus wi on a farm

Where were your parents from?
Dad-New Glarus

What did your parents do?
Mom- housewife

Where did you go to school?
One-room country schoolhouse

When were you confirmed?
June 7, 1953

How many were in your confirmation class

What were confirmation classes like/what did you do?
A sit-down session with the pastor

Which pastors do you remember?
Reverend Chudy

Do you have any children? 
Two boys; One girl

Where are they now,?
Oldest (Boy)- Alabama
Middle (Girl)- Marshfield
Youngest (Boy)- Sun Prairie

Six grandchildren, and four  great-grandchildren

What sports did you enjoy growing up and now?

Kit Thomsen

Interview by Makena Lisowe, Confirmand

Kit was born in Ann Arbor Michigan. Her parents were both from Michigan, her mom was a housewife, and her dad was an insurance salesman. She grew up and went to school in Ann Arbor. She was involved in her church’s youth group, and would sometimes attend church. Luckily, no one in her family had to serve in the military during a war, but she mentioned that her husband served in the navy during peacetime. Even though she remembers Sunday school, she unfortunately doesn’t have much memory of confirmation. She says that she doesn’t remember ever getting confirmed, and she might not have.

Kit went to Central Michigan University, and got a degree in teaching, where she later on became a teacher for a while. She also had owned a retail business, which sold quilting supplies. She also lived in Chicago, and she moved to Wisconsin because of her husband’s job. She started at a congregational church when she moved here, but eventually came to Windsor UCC. She says the pastors she remembers are Dave Moyer, Dan Randall, Marty Balmer and David McDonald.

She has three children, Mark, Julie, and Sarah. Mark is a consultant, Julie does nutritional work for dairy cattle in her dads business, and Sarah works at Eveco. She has eight grandchildren, most of them in college. Her husband, Tom, worked as an accountant, and helped with his dad’s business, which Julie now works in.

Joan Rice

Interview by Hailey Sutherland, Confirmand

Joan Rice was born November 5, 1949 near Green Bay. She lived there for the first few years of her life. She was one of eight children. Her dad owned a jewelry store and her mom stayed home with her and her siblings. Both of her parents died at a very young age. She went to a few Catholic schools. She went to Sacred Heart for elementary. For intermediate school she went to Xavier high. She attended UW Madison for college. She was confirmed in 7th grade, with all of the kids in her class which was about 30 to 40 . In her confirmation class she had to memorize a lot, also the bishops came to help with confirmation. The one pastor Joan remembered was Pastor Schmidt.

Joan has two children and they both live in California. Sara is the oldest, and has a talent agency. She also teaches workshops about the arts, and nature education. Sara also has a 16 year old son named Riker. Her other child Nick does background acting. Joan has lived in many different places in Wisconsin. Those include Green Bay, Appleton, Spooner (Which is up North), Madison and now Deforest.

Joan and I went to El Charro for dinner and conversation. Joan is very nice and easy going. This interview was great because I met someone new. I felt the interview could not have gone any better because we were similar people. I would love to do it again.

Kathy Boebel

Interview by Anabelle Stravinski, Confirmand

Kathy Boebel was born in Madison, Wisconsin, started school in a country school in Milwaukee, and then moved to downtown Windsor for her father’s work. She later moved to Sun Prairie. She was taught in one classroom with 8 other grades in her first country school. She was the only 1st grader in her school. When she moved to Sun prairie she was in 2nd grade, where she was amazed to see there was more than just her in her 2nd grade class. Everyday for school, she would walk a mile there and a mile home, however she was involved in multiple school activities so she wasn’t home very often. She lived in a multigenerational home.  This means she lived with her mother, father, grandma, grandpa, and older sister. Her father worked as a farmer salesman, but later got his license for selling homes and became a realtor. Her mother didn’t really leave the house and stayed at home taking care of her family. She has 2 children (one girl and one boy) and 5 grandchildren (plus a grand-dog).  

Kathy was confirmed in 1959, with four kids in her confirmation class. Kathy was able to remember so many pastors. She was able to remember the following: Pastor Dave MacDonald, Pastor Dave Moyer, Pastor Bob who married them, Pastor Dan Randle who she hired and fired, and Pastor Reverend Caseman. 

Kathy worked as a PE teacher for a few years before raising her kids. She was a synchronized swimming, track, tennis and gymnastics coach.  Later she worked for UW and retired from the School of Education where she had been assistant to the dean.

Once the pandemic hit, she realized how much the church really meant to her.  When we were all worshiping online, no one was 100% connected within the church. She realized what was amazing was the fact that she was able to have that family within the church when she needed it most.  For example, she needed support when her mother died and also when her husband had cancer.

One amazing story that she was able to tell was about her father and sister. As WW2 ended, and word made it back to Windsor, her dad was at home with her sister. When he heard the news, he grabbed her sister’s arm, ran to the church and rang our church bell until he couldn’t do it anymore. This meant that as WW2 ended, our church bells rang to celebrate it! 

Some advice she gave to me was to stick with the program. Even if I wasn’t enjoying it now and I still had questions, I should just stick it through and be able to find that the church family is the most important part of a church. Overall, I loved this interview and she was very nice.

Confirmation Interviews

The final assignment of our Confirmation class was for each confirmand to interview someone in our congregation they didn’t already know.  Here is how I explained the assignment to the class: 

There are a lot of wonderful people in the congregation who have long and faithfully supported the church.  It is easy to attend for years without meeting people  who are not friends or relatives or who sit on the other side of the church.  The purpose of this assignment is to give you an opportunity to meet some of these people.  I trust they will inspire you--they sure inspire me  (-:

I am proud to share these interviews with you over the next few days.

With Great Hope,
Pr. Craig


Dear Pastor Craig,

Why do we wear red on Pentecost Sunday? 
And, why is Confirmation on Pentecost Sunday. 
And…well…what is Pentecost?

Dear Friend,

I am so glad you asked these questions :-).

Let’s start with the last one.

The story of Pentecost is told in The Acts of the Apostles.  This book is a continuation of the Gospel of Luke by the same writer, telling the story of how the Christian church arose through the faithful actions of the apostles after the resurrection.
Pentecost was the beginning of these actions. 

When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. And suddenly from heaven there came a sound like the rush of a violent wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. Divided tongues, as of fire, appeared among them, and a tongue rested on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages, as the Spirit gave them ability. 
Acts 2:1-4

Jesus promised the Holy Spirit would be given to them, that he would not leave them (And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, to be with you forever. John 14:16). 

Pentecost is the moment the Holy Spirit–the Advocate–is given as promised, marking the birth of the Christian church.  Without the Holy Spirit, faith would be only about following the words and deeds of Jesus during his life. Pentecost means that the Holy Spirit is given to lead us in the present in ways that are true to the words and deeds of Jesus in his life.

The Acts of the Apostles is the story of how on Pentecost they find their way forward, how the Holy Spirit begins to lead them.

Which brings us to your first question.  Why red? 

That is pretty obvious: God is a Badger fan 🙂 

We wear red to remember and to celebrate the fire and wind of the Holy Spirit, igniting the faith of the people who wait and pray, setting them ablaze, burning away the divisions of language and culture that separate them.  

There is a lot more to be said about the need of a good church fire now and again, spiritually speaking of course. We wear red and celebrate Pentecost to remember the fiery energy of the Holy Spirit is given to us by God to help us prayerfully discern what divisions and separations need to be burned away in our lives today.

That is a lot to take in, I know, which helps us get to your middle question.

We celebrate Confirmation on Pentecost Sunday because the church is born again when our confirmands affirm their baptism and become members of our congregation.  It is a moment of action and power uniting us together as one.  

Of course, there is a lot more to it. Truth is: we learn the meaning of Pentecost as we go, each of us confirming our baptisms by following the unpredictable, uncontrollable, fiery Holy Spirit wherever we are led.

I hope you will be led to join us this year on Pentecost Sunday, May 28th, wearing red to support our confirmands and to join Christians around the world in celebrating the birth of the Christian church.

In the Spirit,
Pr. Craig


Dear Congregation,

With many of you, I have been puzzling through the effects of the past three years.  What has emerged from my reading has resonated with my own experience and with conversations we have been having? 

It was traumatic.

The most helpful book I’ve found for understanding the effects of trauma is Bessel A. Vander Kolk, The Body Keeps the Score (New York: Penguin Random House, 2015). Vander Kolk says, 

Being traumatized means continuing to organize your life as if the trauma were still ongoing–unchanged and immutable–as every new encounter or event is contaminated by the past. 53

Vander Kolk describes the science of how trauma alters brain functioning in ways that register in the body–the body keeps score:

After trauma, the world is experienced with a different nervous system.  The survivor’s energy now becomes focused on the inner chaos, at the expense of spontaneous involvement in their life.  53

In Chapter 13, “Healing from Trauma: Owning Yourself,” Vander Kolk says:

Trauma robs you of the feeling you are in charge of yourself….  The challenge of recovery is to reestablish ownership of your body and mind–of yourself.  This means feeling free to know what you know and feel what you feel without being overwhelmed, enraged, ashamed, or collapsed.  For most people this involves (1) finding a way to become calm and focused, (2) learning to maintain that calm in response to images, thoughts, sounds or physical sensations that remind you of the past, (3) finding ways to be fully alive in the present and engage with people around you, (4) not having to keep secrets from yourself, including secrets about ways you have managed
to survive. 205-06

A recent article written by Rev. Libby Howe for the Wisconsin Council of Churches focuses on another piece of the puzzle.  How does the body of Christ respond to trauma? This article is important for us to consider as a church body made up of people like you and me.

We find healing as a body of believers when we work through our own, individual traumas. The hard part is that healing is not easy; faith offers no magic solution. Our faith holds together for the work we are called to do, assuring us we are safe even when fear courses through our bodies, especially even then.  

Pr. Craig


There are times when what is true and good is clear to see, and the Service of Installation on Sunday the 19th was such a  time for us. 

Three challenging years after we began our journey together, filled with disruptions too many to count and with strains too general to measure, we at last made an official start as pastor and congregation.  

Our Conference Minister, Rev. Franz Rigert, preached a sermon that continues to resonate in my soul. >>>Rev. Franz Rigert, Sermon of Installation<<<<.

None of us would have chosen to start this way, and yet here we are, called to walk together, making promises for what we cannot see in advance–this is the heart of the installation liturgy:

Pr. Craig: I am willing, and I promise to serve this church faithfully, preaching and teaching the word of God, administering the sacraments, and fulfilling the pastoral office, according to the faith and order of the United Church of Christ. 

Windsor UCC Members: We, the members of Windsor United Church of Christ, receive Craig as our pastor and teacher, promising to labor with him in the ministry of the gospel and give him due honor and support.  >>>Rev. Wayne Shannon, Service of Installation<<<

I believe we have been called together for a purpose, convinced that the hardships we faced inside and outside the church prepare us for the road ahead. 

With the Holy Spirit to guide us, gathered as a church in Christ’s name, we will walk this road together. 

Pr. Craig Jan-McMahon

Bidding Prayer

On the first Sunday in July, we will begin practicing a new form of intercessory prayer called “Bidding Prayer.”  In this form of prayer, I will invite the congregation to pray about  something using a pattern that we all understand and can participate in.  

To get us started, we will follow a regular pattern each week, focusing our attention in four categories on our life together:

Prayers for the World
Prayers our our Nation
Prayers for our Church
Prayers for Ourselves

My role will be to offer prayers to introduce each of these categories, concluding with “Hear now our prayers for our world / nation / church/ ourselves. Individuals in the congregation will then offer petitions, and the congregation will respond as one.  

Here is an example of the Bidding Prayer form:

Lord in your mercy....
Hear our Prayer

And here are a few examples of bidding prayers:

For the people of Ukraine, 
Lord in your Mercy…Hear our prayer.  

For the people along the Yellowstone River as they recover from the raging flood.
Lord in your Mercy…Hear our prayer	

For our congregation and our leaders, and for our worship life.
Lord in your Mercy…Hear our prayer.  

For the birth of our 5th Grandchild, Leslie May, born on the
 4th of July, weighing in at a whopping 10 lbs, 
Lord in your mercy…Hear our prayer.

As we practice praying together, we will discover the power of prayer to focus our attention and shape our ways of living in the world, desires for our nation, hopes for our church, and longings for ourselves.  

Yours in Christ

Pr. Craig