SCSW DIAKONIA: Featured Instructor: Rev. Todd Iverson

Our instructors are second to none!  We are so appreciative that our rostered ministers offer their time and knowledge to teach and develop leaders in our synod.  We are still looking for instructors.  Could serving in this way be on your heart?  Here’s why Pastor Todd Iverson decided to teach:

Featured Instructor This Week:  Rev. Todd Iverson

Rev. Todd Iverson is pastor of Immanuel Evangelical Lutheran Church in Watertown, WI. He is married to Rev. Rebecca Iverson, a hospice chaplain, and three girls, Sonja, Marta, and Amelia.

Pastor Todd (or PT) loves teaching and, more specifically, loves teaching the Bible. He has used the Crossways Bible Study throughout his 21 years of ordained work, leading eight groups through the two year, 60 unit comprehensive overview of the Bible, as well as many other shorter studies on books or themes of the Bible. A personal pet peeve of his: when people say, “I believe in the Bible.” We don’t believe in a book; we believe in Jesus and the triune God whom Jesus more fully revealed. The Bible is the story of God; it is him God that we put our faith and trust. Therefore, reading and studying the Bible is all the more important! Hold on tight for a fast-paced overview of the Old Testament that will hopefully inspire you to further explore God’s word.

Pastor Todd has served Big Drywood Lutheran Church in Cadott, WI and Our Savior’s Lutheran Church in Superior, WI. He was also an Assistant to the Bishop in the Northwest Synod of Wisconsin. Immanuel is his fourth call.

Instructors Still Needed for the Following Courses – If you are a rostered minister and would like to teach a Diakonia course, we are looking for instructors for the following classes in the following locations:

Madison & Evansville (Saturday mornings)
*  Faith in the North American Context

*  Christian Worship Practical Ministry – Visitation

If you are interested in teaching, contact Diakonia Coordinator, Barb Zimmerman at 608-535-0264 or email her at:

If you are interested in taking classes, you can find more information, along with registration forms on the Diakonia page.  You can also contact Linda Wulff at 920-210-2675 or by e-mail at

We look forward to hearing from prospective students and instructors!

Attention All Singers and Choir Directors!  Here’s a Learning Op Designed for YOU!

Do you know singers who are feeling a bit rusty after taking the summer off? Do you know adult singers who wonder about changes in their voices as they age?

The Madison Choral Project would like to invite such singers to attend our Master Class Series:

“Active Aging and the Voice: voice changes are not just for teenagers”

As we enter the Third Age* of our lives, we experience changes with our voices. As our larynx and lungs experience the same aging issues that our legs and back do, we may notice a breathy timbre, larger vibrato, narrower range, new breaks, less stamina, and less flexibility. Though the fountain of youth remains a mystery, we can offer practical exercises and medical insights to keep you singing into and through the Third Age.

Educate yourself about what you can do to guide your voice into and through the Third Age. Professional singer/educators from the Madison Choral Project will lead three sessions to help you navigate these changes and keep you singing for life. Led by MCP conductor & artistic director, Albert Pinsonneault; MCP singers/church choir directors Kathleen Otterson and Jen Terhune Streit (Madison Christian Community); and speech pathologist/voice specialist Brienne Ruel, M.A., CCC-SLP, our goals are to help people understand the changes in their voices and increase their confidence to keep people singing as long as possible.

Dates:  October 14, 21 and 28 from 3:30 – 5:00 pm.   Cost:  $60

Register online:

“Good Reads” from the Bishop for Your Church Library

 Please note that Honoring our Neighbor’s Faith and Together By Grace are only available through Augsburg Fortress and cannot be found through Amazon.

Honoring Our Neighbor’s Faith – Revised Edition, which describes many Christian denomination and non-Christian traditions to help us understand the diversity of our fellow journeyers in faith.  (I used it with Confirmands and their parents when I was in the parish.)

Future Faith – Wesley Granberg-Michaelson, which seems so on point in helping us understand the challenges to our faith in this new century.

Faith in the Face of Empire – Mitri Raheb, which view the Bible through Palestinian eyes and has, in my opinion, more to say to us in this day and age than one might think.

Together By Grace – edited by Kathryn Kleinhans, which is a nice exposition that introduces the diversity of we who call ourselves Lutherans.

I’ve just started John Shelby Spong’s new book Unbelievable.  At age 88, he challenges us where we live if we want the church to reach people today.  We can’t do things the same way and he tells us why.  I was introduced to it by members of the Bible study group at Vermont LC.  I’ll let you know what I think about this sometime down the road.

Be well and blessed,

~ Bishop Viviane Thomas-Breitfeld

Volunteer Preachers Needed for Synod Worship

As you know, each week we hold Communion Worship in the synod office chapel and each week, we invite a different preacher.  This is an opportunity that is open to all of our Pastors and Deacons, whether in an active call, or retired or on leave.  Worship is held in an intimate setting in our little fireside chapel from 12:00 to 12:30 with brown bag lunch immediately following if you are able.  We worship anywhere from 3 to 30.  You will choose one ad-hoc day or can choose more if you desire, but if you are interested in helping in this way, contact Volunteer Coordinator, Carolyn Butts at 608-270-0201.  Call Carolyn and make her day!

Join Us for Worship In the Synod Office Chapel Every Thursday at Noon

All Are Welcome!

 We gather for worship and holy communion on Thursdays.  Please join us!  Each week a different preacher from our synod leads worship.  Come and be fed in body and spirit. Brown bag lunch and fellowship immediately following if you are able at 12:30.  Our address is:  6401 Odana Road, Suite 20, Madison, WI  53719


Portico offers a new online video series for Congregational Treasurers.  The video links are below.   They will eventually be on EmployerLink,

  1. Welcome video:
  2. Understanding Your Bill:
  3. EmployerLink Tour:

Also, please share the following:

Resourceful Stewards Initiative

Financial wellness is a vital part of a healthy life. Ministers who are in a financially sound position experience greater satisfaction in their work and their relationships, and are more able to freely serve the church and its mission without being encumbered by financial anxiety.

Savings Matching Programs

The church is an active partner in addressing specific needs raised by rostered ministers, helping rostered ministers develop their personal financial and stewardship health. Two Savings Matching programs share financial resources with rostered ministers.

These programs match rostered ministers’ contributions to a dedicated emergency savings account and/or increased contributions to their ELCA retirement plan accounts.  Click below to learn about the programs, services and resources available to you as a  minister or lay person!  Deadline to apply is October 14th   Go to for more info!

A Statement from ELCA Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton Addressing our Call to Care for Creation

Last week we provided an update on what this synod team is doing to help us care for God’s creation. This ministry is funded through your mission support and a portion of that is sent on to the ELCA for our shared work caring for God’s creation. Thank you for your weekly offering to your congregation! This work is so important and in fact, Bishop Eaton shared this message recently addressing our call to care for creation:

Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) members pray and care for God’s marvelous creation every day. We also join the global Christian community each Sept. 1 to Oct. 4 to mark the Season of Creation. This season starts with a World Day of Prayer for Care of Creation, an invitation to focus our worship, our stewardship and action on honoring God by honoring and caring for God’s handiwork.

As members of the ELCA, we share a love and a responsibility for all that God has made. In our social statement “Caring for Creation: Vision, Hope and Justice,” we affirm that “made in the image of God, we are called to care for the earth as God cares for the earth. God’s command to have dominion and subdue the earth is not a license to dominate and exploit. Human dominion, a special responsibility, should reflect God’s way of ruling as a shepherd king who takes the form of a servant, wearing a crown of thorns.” We confess the ways in which we have been negligent in our responsibility to God and to all of creation and commit ourselves to exercising our stewardship by upholding the integrity of creation and safeguarding those most vulnerable to environmental degradation.

On this year’s World Day of Prayer, I am mindful that our warming climate is creating unprecedented crises for millions. These include increased food insecurity, forced migration, natural disasters, civil conflict and water scarcity. From across all communities most affected by climate change, women and girls are disproportionately affected. According to ACT Alliance, these communities suffer huge losses that extend beyond monetary losses to noneconomic impacts such as loss of lives, land, territory, language and culture.  Our response to these losses has focused on the neglect and carelessness, both in private industry and in government regulation, that have contributed to these changes. An honest accounting also recognizes that we all participate, both as consumers and investors, in economies that make intensive and insistent demands for energy. We are part of the solution.

In September, the ELCA will mark the Season of Creation by taking a leadership role during the Global Climate Action Summit in San Francisco. Together with The Lutheran World Federation and other partners, we will host a Talanoa Dialogue to accompany those most affected by climate change. The U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change states: “Talanoais a traditional word used in Fiji and across the Pacific to reflect a process of inclusive, participatory and transparent dialogue. The purpose of Talanoa is to share stories, build empathy and to make wise decisions for the collective good … sharing of ideas, skills and experience through storytelling.”

The focus of these dialogues will be “Loss and Damage” and “Just Transition” related to climate change. The former will explore the suffering that climate change is causing right now and seek new ways to learn from and accompany those most affected. The latter recognizes that we must also accompany those whose livelihoods are dependent on extractive industries, making sure they are not left behind during the transition to renewable energy sources. These dialogues will equip us in the planetary movement toward climate solutions with initiatives that reflect God’s concern for the sufficiency and sustainability of all people.

Our ELCA ministries are making an impact as we as a church take hold of our common responsibility to creation and to God. We know that transitioning to lifestyles that eliminate the causes of global warming is critical and must be done now. In response to the 2016 Churchwide Assembly resolution “Toward a Responsible Energy Future,” ELCA members answer the call to care for all of God’s creation in our churches and homes through stewardship, education and advocacy. These efforts include establishing environmental stewardship committees, building awareness around energy efficiency, evaluating investments in fossil fuels, and learning more about sustainable farming and development.

All who care for the earth and work for the restoration of its vitality can be confident in the power of the Holy Spirit to guide us as we serve in concert with God’s creative and renewing power and the indwelling Spirit of Christ to give us hope, courage and direction.

Almighty God, in giving us dominion over things on earth, you made us coworkers in your creation. Give us wisdom and reverence to use the resources of nature so that no one may suffer from our abuse of them, and that generations yet to come may continue to praise you for your bounty; through your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen (prayer for stewardship of natural resources, ELW p. 80).

In Christ,

The Rev. Elizabeth A. Eaton
Presiding Bishop
Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

Read the ELCA Social Statement: “Caring for Creation: Vision, Hope and Justice,”

Upcoming synod event: October 6, 2018 “What’s Working in Wisconsin:  Public and Private Uses of Renewable Energy”

You are cordially invited to the Rite of Ordination for Augusta Barnes

Saturday, September 15, 2018 at 2:00 pm

Bay Shore Lutheran Church
1200 E. Hampton Road
Whitefish Bay, WI  53217

Bishop Viviane Thomas-Breitfeld Presiding

Clergy are invited to vest and process.  The color of the day is red.

Augusta is new to our synod and will be serving at Luther Memorial in Delavan, WI

Thoughts from Rev. Cindy Crane, Director, Lutheran Office for Public Policy in Wisconsin

“We shall never achieve harmony with the land, any more than we shall achieve absolute justice or liberty for people.  In these higher aspirations, the important thing is not to achieve but to strive.” Aldo Leopold

Thoughts from Rev. Cindy Crane, Director, Lutheran Office for Public Policy in Wisconsin

Many prayers for all who are experiencing displacement and loss because of the flooding throughout Wisconsin and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.  The immediate needs of many have been vast, and the long-term effects of how water has overcome certain areas are unknown.  So much is out of our control, but considering that which humans can affect, we pause and wonder.  Which public policies make it more difficult for the earth to absorb water.  What are scientists saying about patterns that bring to light the impact climate change is having in the present?  Some respond by pointing out that the earth has always been altering and that flooding is a part of life.  Yet, based on what science teaches us, we can make needed changes even if we never achieve complete harmony with the land.

James instructs us to show no partiality based on economic status.  We say that’s what we’d like to do as a democracy as well, and yet money in politics has led to significant deregulation of environmental protections as a result of many government officials showing gross favoritism of corporations owned by wealthy donors.  The good news is that we find an increasing number of groups claiming the value of tapping into renewable energy, that doesn’t emit carbon dioxide emissions.  Many individuals, businesses, secular and religious nonprofits, cities and counties are making grassroots efforts to change.  Our advocacy on all levels from local to federal for our leaders to give less preferential treatment to those who steer us toward harming the earth is vital.

Show no partiality – how beautiful that is to experience and unlikely to 100% achieve.  With all our imperfections, we need to try for impartiality, realizing that it can win out and that sins can be forgiven.  Strive, knowing that God loves each of us and all of creation.

Learn more and sign up for advocacy alerts at:

Hymn of Hope for Disaster Situations:  Message from the Bishop

Good Afternoon Church,

As you know, I like to sing.  As we are still dealing with the aftermath of the flooding in our synod, I found a hymn by one of the most prolific contemporary hymn writers around, Carolyn Winfrey Gillette.  I share it with you as a resource as we continue in recovery.

“Oh God We’ve Prayed in Wind and Rain”

As we seem to be on the brink of another pending disaster for our siblings in the Carolinas and Virginia, we are reminded that we are not alone in our struggles due to weather calamities.  Blessings as you continue to do recovery.  Be careful to observe safe practices.

~ Bishop Viviane Thomas-Breitfeld