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.


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

On Poetry and Pat Feldman

I started reading the newspaper to begin my days in graduate school at Iowa State University–The Des Moines Register.  It was an excellent newspaper from an era that now seems as far away and quaint as fading memories of my parents watching Walter Cronkite on a black and white TV.

The news is not black and white these days, as we all well-know; facts go begging and we are awash with options and opinions–it is all so exhausting, conflicted. 

A few months ago, weary of it all, I broke a habit and started a new one.

I stopped reading the newspaper in the morning, quit looking at my phone or iPad to start my days, and started reading poetry. This small change of habit has been such a blessing, such a relief, and such a gift, shifting my sense of time and feeding creativity.

Currently, I am reading Jim Harrison’s last collection of poems, Deadman’s Float.  Here is favorite poem, which I would be glad to quote for you by heart:


This year, we have two gorgeous 
yellow warblers nesting in the honeysuckle bush.
The other day I stuck my head in the bush.
The nestlings weigh one-twentieth of an ounce,
about the size of a honey bee. We stared at 
each other, startled by our existence.
In a month or so, when they reach the size 
of bumble bees, they'll fly off to Costa Rica, without a map.

Much of pastoring is about poetry, learning to find the lyrical rhythm of our lives together, the beauty of it, ways we are startled by our existence, times we discover our stunning ability to fly like warblers into chartless lands.  

Pat Feldman loved birds and flowers and the startling joy of our mutual existence–loved poetry And when we celebrated her life, the church full to capacity with people standing in the aisles, granddaughter Scout and her son Jason shared poems they wrote in her memory.

These poems below are offered in memory of Pat, to be sure, but also to remind us all that in all the news of the world, poetry reveals truth that sustains us.

May  God bless you and keep you,
Pr. Craig Jan-McMahon

Be Like You
by Scout Feldman
When I was young
And staring at the multiplication tables that you brought when you came to visit
I never imagined I’d want to be like you
As I stared at that paper, filled with multiplication, 
Having no idea how to even add double digit numbers,
You told me to multiply by two
You told me it was the same thing as adding the number to itself
Three times two
Three plus three
Multiplication is replication
You taught me to replicate
To duplicate
To recreate
At the time I had no idea how appealing replication could be
But more appealing than the replication of numbers 
Was the replication of your smile
I wanted to make people smile the way you did
The way you made people laugh
I wanted to be like you. 
Something I never thought I’d do.
By Jason Feldman
Rest: While we mourn the loss of you
A collector of things
Custodian of friendships
       - epicurious relationships, toasting to the meaning
       - literary discussions turned to laughter, over knowledge
Celebrations of talent, as if they were her own, knowing she played a part
Prayers, with eyes shut so tight and hands clasped so strong 
              Knowing she will hear and provide
              Keeping us all safe, so precious
A woman to whom Cardinals sang
                in pre- dawn spring
Calling for her to awaken- acknowledge life
To her:
Loons have swooned while discussing a sunset 
              Shimmering on the water
              before the fire begins to crackle
                                         and children's laughter makes the stars brighten
Her classroom was a child's refuge
          - Knowledge, Energy, Growth, Safety
New paths to intellect - welcomed and pushed away
        Old ways still ring true
Look me in the eye
I care about you 
Your success is a reflection
My Effort
My Kindness
My Sweat 
My Tears
After years of hope we pause for breath and celebrate
Even though in the beginning of this chapter she asked, "Why me?"
However, show me no pity.
I have lived and loved.
Cause in the end we circled around, 
                 While she asked, "When will it be over?"
She took the time to roll her eyes and gasp 
Smile, and pray for us.
Rest: As we celebrate the memory of you.

Annual Report: Windsor UCC 2022

Dear Congregation,

2021 was a hard year.  We witnessed all communities groaning under the strain of the pandemic, wondering how this time will change us, asking how the effects of 2021 will shape our lives in the coming years. We begin 2022 more aware than ever before that our lives are in the hands of God. How will we respond in faith to become light in the darkness?  What will it mean for us in 2022 to answer the call of the Holy Spirit though we are weary and suffering losses we are yet unable to name?

Last year, our first full year together, began with four months of online worship followed by a survey to develop a plan for our phased return to in-person worship.  Following Dane County Health Department Guidelines, with the help of our Medical Advisory Team, we organized an online sign up process to meet capacity limits, set up the church to ensure social distancing, and wore masks, believing all of this was transition to emerging fully from the pandemic and returning to normalcy.  

Our efforts to install an AV system were delayed, first by the challenge of making such a consequential financial decision during a pandemic, and then, when funds were generously given, by the Evergreen container ship running aground in the Suez Canal, of all things.  

As summer ended, with hope of emerging from the pandemic stronger and more united, I recommended we continue to worship together in the fall, combining worship times and styles.  As it turned out, we have not emerged from the pandemic but find ourselves adjusting to evolving conditions.

We have responded in faith as best we could, each step along the way bringing new challenges straining our resources–time, patience, good-will.  In all of this, we are united in a sense of loss most often expressed as a desire to return to normalcy.  

We enter 2022 like Mary going to the tomb on Easter morning, heart broken, eyes blinded by tears:

But Mary stood weeping outside the tomb. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb; and she saw two angels in white, sitting where the body of Jesus had been lying, one at the head and the other at the feet. John 20:11-12

Faith calls us to mourn our losses, grieving the many kinds of death we have suffered, trusting God will wipe away our tears and transform us, like Mary, into witnesses of resurrection. 

I am thankful to God for the faithfulness of many and for the new life emerging in our congregation. I am especially grateful to Terry Anderson, who completes four tumultuous years serving as church Moderator–pastoral resignation, interim process, search and call process, pandemic, transition to a new pastor.  In normal times serving as Moderator is demanding; the past four years have been more demanding than any four years in our church history.  

As the Apostle Paul encourages the early church to grieve with hope, so I pray you will be encouraged,

“so that [we] may not grieve as others do who have no hope (1 Thessalonians 4:13c). 

With Stubborn Faith and Steadfast Hope,

Pr. Craig Jan-McMahon

Windsor Word January 2022

On a snowy night in February 2020, I met with the Search and Call Committee for the first and only time. Less than a month later, COVID 19 began disrupting our lives and all of our plans, as it continues to do today. 

Back in February 2020, as we discerned whether God was calling us together, we had no idea how the world would shift and change, nor could we have foreseen the challenges our congregation would soon face.  But then as now, we all strive to faithfully answer the call of God on our lives, and our desire to do so unites us together.

With thanksgiving that the Holy Spirit called us together, and with prayers for our coming year, I offer the same prayer for our congregation in 2022 that I shared with the Search and Call Committee that snowy night two years ago, The Merton Prayer:

My Lord God,
I have no idea where I am going.
I do not see the road ahead of me.
I cannot know for certain where it will end.
nor do I really know myself,
and the fact that I think I am following your will
does not mean that I am actually doing so.
But I believe that the desire to please you
does in fact please you.
And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing.
I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire.

And I know that if I do this you will lead me by the right road,

though I may know nothing about it.
Therefore will I trust you always though
I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death.

I will not fear, for you are ever with me,
and you will never leave me to face my perils alone.

Thomas Merton, from Thoughts in Solitude, Farrar Straus Giroux

God bless us as we walk the road ahead of us in 2022, wherever the Spirit leads us, trusting we will be led by the right road, and our lives will be pleasing to God. 

Yours in Christ,
Pr. Craig Jan-McMahon