Please note the synod office will be closed from December 24 through January 2 for Christmas and New Year’s.

What Matters will be on hiatus until January 8. Please call the synod office for pastoral emergencies for pastor-on-call contact information.
A blessed Christmas to all of our congregations and partners from Bishop Thomas-Breitfeld and your synod staff!

Christmas Message from Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton

ELCA Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton shares her 2018 Christmas message. We are free to greet this holy season knowing that Christ’s cradle defeats the grave. Life and healing and hope come to us in the child in the manger.

Listen to her message on YouTube:
Print Version – Christmas message in Spanish: Resource Repository/2018_Christmas_Message_Spanish.pdf?_ga=2.191946732.71198288.1545073618-1612800659.1533764142
Print Version – Christmas message in English: Resource Repository/2018_Christmas_Message_English.pdf?_ga=2.126623691.71198288.1545073618-1612800659.1533764142

Worship Space Furniture For Sale – New Hope Lutheran (Hollandale/Blanchardville)

New Hope Lutheran Church has a number of very nice items for sale for worship spaces. Here is a link to photos:
If you are interested, contact the New Hope Lutheran church office – 608-523-4239 or at

All Things Annual! Your Annual Meetings Are Right Around the Corner

We suggest that you wrap your annual reports in a beautiful ELCA-provided cover that includes an inspiring message from Presiding Bishop Eaton and litany. The covers are FREE, you pay only shipping.
Order these from the ELCA through their website:
And remember to include in your annual meeting agenda the election of your voting members for Synod Assembly, May 4 & 5, 2019. Don’t forget to include extra for youth & Young adults. If you have any questions about who you can send, contact the synod office.

Are You Interested in Volunteering at YOUR Synod Office?

It’s easy and fun and you can sign-up below. If you have questions please call Robyn Zimmerman at the synod office, 608.270-0201. – General Office Volunteer Work

Your synod is looking for people who are available and able to donate the precious gift of their time to help with general office work. This could be 2 days a week for a couple of hours in the morning/afternoon or an ongoing volunteer spot of every Monday afternoon, just as an example. Your synod staff would love the chance to get to know you and this a fun way to do just that. – Pastors Or Deacons or Vicars to Lead Worship

Pastors or Deacons or Vicars, are you interested in leading one of the synods Thursday worship services? It’s a short 30 minute worship with communion. It is open to all. Please bring a lunch to enjoy after worship. Thank you for considering this opportunity.

Below is a template of our Thursday Service. Plan ahead, we have availability in February.

• Gathering-Song is commonly done but feel free to do what ever you want.
• Word & Message-Gospel either the narrative or lectionary from this week or really whatever you would like to use.
• Prayers of the people- we will have some names to add to your prayer after you invite prayers.
• Meal-Communion- that will be all set up for you and one of us will help you serve.
• Sending – Sometimes people will do another song at the end but that is totally up to you. The service is normally 30 minutes long. You can really do it however you like as long as the 5 highlighted pieces are included. We do have plenty of hymnals here in the office.

Congregations feel free to share on your church Facebook or web page through Thursday!

The Synod’s Speaker’s Bureau Announces The Newest Speaker Available To Come To Your Congregation!

Introducing: Dawn Heath
Topic: Human Trafficking & Internet & Social Media Safety
Join the Movement organizes community conversations about human trafficking specifically, internet safety and social media and how it plays into human trafficking. How we as a community can protect our neighbors, friends, children from predators before it’s too late. Human Trafficking is in all 72 counties in the State of Wisconsin. The Traffickers/Predators are becoming more sophisticated right along with the technology industry. Even our laws can’t keep up with the ongoing changes in technology…but, predators are. Law enforcement can’t do it all and they need the help of communities coming together to assist this battle. Dawn has given presentations all over the state and is happy to come to your congregation to build awareness and help you to improve your safety measures.

About Dawn: Dawn is a mom of three sons with 2 daughters-in-law and Nana to 1 granddaughter and 2 grandsons. Her family is her greatest blessing. Her parents are missionaries who serve at a Wisconsin State correctional facility in S.E. Wisconsin. Dawn has spent her whole life advocating for those in need.

Dawn is the Family and Outreach Ministry Coordinator at Sugar Creek Lutheran Church and serves as the current President of the Elkhorn Rotary Club. Her passion is threefold: for her family, her work at Sugar Creek Lutheran Church and for Join the Movement Events, Inc., educating our community on what human trafficking is and how to protect our neighborhoods. She became aware of this great need for Wisconsin at her Rotary District conference 2 years ago. Since that time Dawn has been organizing large group awareness events that are county wide initiatives and small community conversations. She has spoken in churches, hospitals, support groups, community service organizations, youth groups, college campuses, and libraries. Wherever the need is and a request comes to her, Dawn is dedicated to educating ourselves and our neighbors what we should be looking for and what to do when we see it.

Dawn is now the Rotary District #6270 Anti-Human Trafficking Ad-Hoc Committee Chair and brings education to area business leaders through Rotary International. She also founded and is President of Join the Movement Events, Inc. to stop human trafficking, a 501c3 non-profit with a mission to bring community education at the ground level. She also specializes in social media awareness and internet safety. Dawn is an advocate for victims, helping them with the resources needed to make the changes in their lives. She is also a founding member of the Walworth County Anti-Human Trafficking Task Force.

To schedule Dawn to speak in your congregation:
PHONE: 262-374-1491

WHAT MATTERS MISSION MOMENT: Synod’s Speaker’s Bureau – Visit the Synod Website

Gratitude for and Connections to How Your Weekly Offerings Help the Whole Church
by Deacon Vicki Hanrahan, Assistant to the Bishop for Media, Communications and Leadership Development

The synod office manages a Speaker’s Bureau designed to bring resources to your congregation on topics that educate us on the core values of our synod. Many of these topics have been borne from resolutions that you, our readers have voted on at our annual synod assembly. Others come from topics we feel are important to you, our leaders in our congregations, to be the best disciples and leaders that God created you to be.
Thank you to all of our speakers who have graciously volunteered to share their time, knowledge and passion with you this year. We look forward to our continued partnership!
Thank you to all of our congregations for your weekly offerings that are sent on to the synod office as mission support. Your dollars are used to manage this resource used by many of our congregations and serving hundreds of our members! Thank you!

Cindy Crane

Don Falkos
Peder Johanson
Pati Kachel

Bob Lindmeier

Mary Kay Baum

Peter Narum

Summer Markham

Carolyn Schneider (Hong Kong)
Kirsten Fryer (Cairos, Egypt)

Blake Rohrer

Nancy Raabe

Eleanor Siebert

Sherrie Hansen
Nancy Raabe
Sherri Hansen

Jack Finney

Kim Eighmy

Marsha Swenson

Laura Hermanns
Lily Zeich
Nate Zimdars

Anne & David Andert

Jennifer Prinz

Nancy Raabe

Kathy Jacobson

Connie Walker

If You Have Never Visited the Bold Café Site, You Really Don’t Know What You Are Missing!

About Bold Café
Café is an online magazine and podcast for and with young adult women who identify as Lutheran or not.
Café shares stories written by bold young women who write about faith, relationships, advocacy and more. Readers and writers of Café include pastors, seminary and college students, and other young adult women who use Café as a Bible study resource individually or with a group.
Although many women in their 20s and 30s contribute in every issue, Café can be used and shared by women of all ages. It has wonderful short stories, bible study resources and more. We encourage you to check it out!

Did You Know That The Elca Website Offers A Multitude Of Downloadable Resources?

We encourage you to visit the ELCA website often to learn what our church is up to. You are after all, a very important participant of our church! Especially visit the “RESOURCES page.” There you will find a plethora of information including such things as:

  • Tools and graphics and downloadable art files for congregations that help you to invite members and visitors to your worship
  • The ELCA logo for designing your letterhead and branding for your websites
  • Our theology and Lutheran lens on matters of social importance, called “Social Statements.”
  • Administrative Tools and Archiving Guidelines
  • Call process
  • Worship resources
  • and a whole lot more!

Check it out:

Restore: Synod Youth Leaders Retreat

Calling all those who work with children, youth, and family ministries! Are you a pastor, staff member, lay leader, or volunteer that works with faith formation?  Join us as we learn, dream, and worship together February 11th-13th at Bethel Horizons. We’ll be joined by Deacon Tammy Devine, a spiritual coach and systemic whole person promoter of well-being. “Restore” will be an opportunity to connect with those doing similar work to you in our synod, reflect on how God is calling you in your ministry, and gain tools and resources to bring holistic, spiritual wellness into your faith life. There are three payment levels ($30, $70, $85) based on the funding you have available to you. We are looking forward to gathering together as we listen for how God is calling us in our own faith journeys and how that shows up in our vocational roles in ministry.

Register online at:

Find out more details on the main event page at :


Monday, February 11th

2:00 pm – Registration
3:00 pm – Gathering and introductions
4:00 pm – Restore: Session #1 w/ Tammy Devine
5:30 pm – Dinner
6:30 pm – Restore: Session #2 w/ Tammy Devine
7:30 pm – Break
8:00 pm – Worship
8:45 pm – Fellowship

Tuesday, February 12th

8:30 am – Breakfast
9:30 am – Morning Devotion
9:45 am – Restore: Session #3 w/ Tammy Devine
11:30 am – Break
Noon – Lunch
1:00 pm – Restore: Session #4 w/ Tammy Devine
2:00 pm – Sabbath Time
5:30 pm – Dinner
6:30 pm – Restore: Session #5 w/ Tammy Devine
7:15 pm – Worship
8:30 pm – Trivia and Fellowship

Wednesday, February 13th

9:15 am – Breakfast
10:00 am – Worship