Mission Moment: SCSW Women’s Organization

The Women of the ELCA held their 14th Biennial Convention last Saturday. The theme was “Bold Women – Answering the Call”. The keynote speaker, Reverend Angela Khabeb from Holy Trinity in Minneapolis was outstanding. There were also excellent workshops and worship.

At the business meeting, a new women’s synod board and Voting Members to the 2020 Triennial Convention were elected. The newly elected board includes Janna Smith (President), Sandy Seffrood (Vice President), Lynn Mehringer (Secretary), Bonnie Gilbertson (Treasurer), Linda Freitag, Eleanor Siebert, Lawanna Schieldt, Sheryl Phillipson, Diane Luginbuhl, Kathy Hultine, and Eugenie Hildebrandt from across the synod.

Voting Members elected to the 2020 Triennial Convention are Janna Smith, President, Barbara Penington and Kathy Hultine (first time voting members), and Polly Carter and Donna Peterson. The Alternate Voting members are Marlys Hittesdorf, Lawanna Schieldt, and Jane Harrison.

July 16 – 19, 2020, Phoenix, Arizona

The South-Central Wisconsin Synodical Women’s Organization provides 4 scholarships in the form of the Gathering registration fee. Here is a link to the scholarship application form. October 1, 2019 is the deadline for emailing or postmarking a completed application form or requesting a paper copy of the form by email or calling Helen Sheahan at 608-692-7553. Email address is sheahan1@sbcglobal.net or mailing address is 1106 Valley Stream Drive, Madison, WI 53711. Recipients will be notified by October 31, 2019.

Triennial Gatherings are always uplifting and inspiring. Yes, Phoenix will be hot in July but the buildings are all air-conditioned. So start thinking now about attending. Registration opens September 30. Early-bird registration through January 6, 2020, is $325. After that, registration is $375. One day registrations are $200. We can’t wait to see you!

Submitted by Helen Sheahan, Past President 

PREPARE/ENRICH Training and Refresher Training Programs

PREPARE/ENRICH is a customized couple assessment completed online that identifies a couple’s strength and growth areas. Based on a couple’s assessment results, a trained facilitator provides feedback sessions in which the facilitator helps the couple discuss and understand their results as they are taught proven relationship skills.  This is intended for couples that are seriously dating or engaged.

There are several goals of the PREPARE/ENRICH Program.  In order to achieve these goals, there are exercises designed to help couples improve their relationship skills.  The program helps couples:

  • Explore strength and growth areas
  • Strengthen communication skills
  • Identify and manage major stressors
  • Resolve conflict using the Ten Step Model
  • Develop a more balanced relationship
  • Explore family of origin issues
  • Discuss financial planning and budgeting
  • Establish personal, couple and family goals
  • Understand and appreciate personality differences

The next training will be held on Thursday, October 31, from 9-4:00 p.m. and is intended for both first time training and for those wishing a refresher training.  Fee for the initial training is $235 or $50 for a refresher training for those previously trained.   For more information contact:  Dan Feaster, 608-663-0763 ext. 200 or dfeaster@samaritancounselingcenterwi.org.

Equipping The Saints: ELCA Social Statements, Messages & Resolutions

Whether you are on a church council, ministry team, teaching confirmation or adult classes, or just wanting a better handle on our Lutheran beliefs, the ELCA’s website offers a plethora of information for your good work.  There you will find many interesting resources to enrich your ministries and faith life.  There are explanations of all of our ministry partnerships and who we are as a church together.  There are practical resources such as guidelines for church councils, tips for organizing church records, it can be overwhelming, so I would suggest a great place to start are the ELCA SOCIAL STATEMENTS.

What is a Social Statement? 

Social Statements are social teaching and policy documents, adopted by a churchwide assembly in accordance with ELCA policies and procedures.  Social statements require a 2/3 majority vote.  Most social statements move from an introduction of the social situation to biblical & theological themes and then on to implications and application to issues.  Reading our social statements gives you a very clear picture of our Lutheran lens on such topics as:

  • Abortion
  • Criminal Justice
  • Death Penalty
  • Economic Life
  • Education
  • Environment
  • Gender-Based Violence
  • Genetics
  • Human Sexuality
  • Marriage
  • Peace
  • Race, Ethnicity & Culture

Our most recent social statement that was passed at the Churchwide Assembly is titled:

“Faith, Sexism & Justice:  A Call to Action”

Click here to read the social statement, for a user’s guide and for “Frequently Asked Questions.”  These are all the things you would need to study this in your settings!


 Click on the link below and you will find them all in one place.  Grab your favorite beverage and when you have some quiet time, look around the ELCA’s website.


WECARe: Workshops Expanding Caregiver Awareness & Resources

Free Tools and Resources for Family Caregivers & Respite Care Workers! October 9, 2019
2 Sessions – See times below Location:  Oakwood Village Prairie Ridge – 5565 Tancho Drive, Madison

Oakwood Village Prairie Ridge is partnering with the Respite Care Association of Wisconsin (RCAW) and the Center for Aging Research and Education (CARE) at the UW-Madison School of Nursing to bring Workshops Expanding Caregiver Awareness and Resources (WECARe) to community members like you!

“Family caregivers – and the respite care workers who give them much-needed breaks – do so much to support older adults and others in our community,” said Christa Iverson from Oakwood. “We’re happy to have this opportunity to bring free tools and training for caregivers and respite care workers to Oakwood.”

  • Dementia Care         Session 1:00 – 3:30 PM Resources and support for family members of an aging loved one, caregivers and respite workers of people living with dementia and dementia friendly community groups– anyone is welcome to attend!
  • Respite Care             Session 4:30 – 6:30 PM Resources and training for current respite care workers, community members interested in becoming respite care workers, and agency providers– anyone is welcome to attend!

PEASE RSVPhttps://go.wisc.edu/221ubo

Oakwood Village (https://www.oakwoodvillage.net/) Our Community is built on five core values Compassion, Faith, Inclusion, Integrity, and Dedication. The Respite Care Association of Wisconsin (respitecarewi.org) works to promote, support, and expand quality statewide respite care across the lifespan. The Center for Aging Research and Education (care.nursing.wisc.edu) supports discoveries that improve aging and builds the skills and capacity of those who care for older adults.

Wisconsin Council of Churches Has Moved

The Wisconsin Council of Churches office has moved to the Capitol Square in Madison. Located within Brix coworking, our new offices feature both private office space and space we share with other non-profits and businesses. Our address is now 30 W. Mifflin, Suite 602, Madison, WI 53703.

Many have expressed curiosity at our new arrangements. We recognize that not everyone is in Madison and so we are hosting an online open house!

Join us on Facebook Live over the lunch hour on October 7th at 12:00 pm for an online open house. We will show you our office and answer questions. For those who tune in live and comment during the broadcast, we will choose someone to win a copy of our 2020 Washington Island Forum speaker, Kaitlin Curtice’s, book “Glory Happening”.

Director of Music Ministry (Sun Prairie)

Position includes directing and accompanying the Chancel Choir (adult) and keyboard responsibilities on Sunday mornings and Wednesday evenings.  Choir has about 20 members. We have an 8-year-old Kawai 6′ grand in the sanctuary. The organ will be a 13 rank Casavant, which is in the final stages of installation. Salary is dependent on experience, with the pay range between $100 and $135 per service.  The Chancel Choir salary is between $3500 and $4000 per 9-month annual period. 

Mission Moment: Racial Equity Task Force to Focus Next on Partnerships & Programs

South-Central Synod of Wisconsin Racial Equity Task Force to Focus Next on Partnerships & Programs
By Mary Nervig, Chair, Racial Equity Task Force & Deacon Vicki Hanrahan

The South-Central Synod of Wisconsin Racial Equity Task Force was formed in 2017 in response to the synod assembly resolution mandating the provision of educational events related to promoting racial justice and the ELCA churchwide memorial mandating that each synod provide anti-racism training for all rostered individuals.   The mission statement of this synod’s Task Force has been to educate, with an understanding that “the way out is back through.” As a people who have been reconciled to Godself through Christ, our mission is to seek reconciliation with all our brothers and sisters.

The task force has been presenting in person programs since 2017, recordings of which are archived on the website available for congregations to use as a resource for learning.  Video links:  https://scsw-elca.org/ministries-and-partners/racial-equity/

Our team is very pleased that in the past year, many synod congregations have borne fruit in this ministry area by beginning book discussion groups and hosting events addressing issues of racism for the larger community.  In addition, there are educational possibilities in the wider community sponsored by other entities that address racism and racial equity.

As this good work in our congregations continues and grows, the Racial Equity Task Force will refocus its efforts on partnerships and programs.  We will no longer be hosting monthly educational events and will instead support and lift up congregational events and the occasional Racial Equity Ministry Task Force educational event.  All will be featured under the Racial Equity banner in What Matters. Look here for events at locations throughout the synod!

It has been a wonderful year and a half of programs and many good relationships have been built. Those who have attended have commented on the growth in awareness that has happened as a result of the presentations by so many gifted and knowledgeable presenters. Seeds have been sown and growth is on-going throughout our synod!  Blessings as you begin this new program year in your congregation. May you be finding times and spaces to do the important work of racial justice as part of your ministries.

The next event in which you are invited will be hosted by Madison Christian Community.  Madison Christian Community has created their own Racial Justice Task Force.  This faithful group is a beautiful example of how we are always being made new!  What started out as an initiative for personal enrichment (which by the way included a Big Read for the synod that then was part of a statewide push) has now moved into a task force whose primary interest is in presenting opportunities for learning offerings to others wishing to know more.

This faithful group is moving more deeply into their work for racial justice, from the what of racial inequity to the “what now” of racial justice work.  As they believed, “The more one engages at a personal level, the more the journey requires from us. Yet, it is exactly this engagement that signals a movement from being merely an observer or information-gatherer to becoming an active participant in the anti-racism movement.”  Hosting and organizing these movie viewings and conversations is a mission moment we wanted to recognize as it continues the good work of the movement in the synod toward a better, more loving and inclusive beloved community.  Let’s continue to walk together!

Documentaries & Dialogue: Continue the Conversations About Racial Justice

All Congregations Are Invited!
A racial equity learning opportunity recommended by the SCSW Racial Equity Ministry Task Force 

Wednesday evenings Beginning September 25 – 6:30 – 8:30 pm
Hosted by: Madison Christian Community
7118 Old Sauk Road, Madison

Madison Christian Community is hosting a six-Wednesday series beginning September 25 and concluding October 30. We’ll meet from 6:30-8:30 pm. The films we’re using have been specifically crafted to enhance understanding and spark conversation about whiteness, racism, and racial justice. They build from uncovering whiteness to listening in on conversations among and between various ethnic groups about their experiences of racism to revealing the systemic nature of racism to examining our current justice system and the potential for change through restorative healing practices. We hope folks can commit to the full series, but if you can only attend a handful of the movies you are welcome.

Equipping the Saints: Above All, Trust in the Slow Work of God

This week’s recommendation is from Rev. Walter Baires, Assistant to the Bishop and Director for Evangelical Mission. Received during a Congregational Vitality training and used today for our staff meeting, it is an inspiring message for any congregations going through transitions. We offer it here for consideration for your use in your settings. It reads:

Above All, Trust in the Slow Work of God
By Pierre Tellhard de Chardin, S.J.

Above all, trust in the slow work of God.
We are, quite naturally, impatient in everything
to reach the end without delay.
We should like to skip the intermediate stages.
We are impatient of being on the way
to something unknown,
something new.

Yet, it is the law of all progress that is made
by passing through some stages of instability,
And that it may take a very long time.
And so I think it is with you.

Your ideas mature gradually. Let them grow.
Let them shape themselves without undue haste.
Don’t try to force them on
as though you could be today what time
– that is to say, grace –
and circumstances
acting on your own good will
will make you tomorrow.

Only God could say what this new spirit
gradually forming within you will be.
Give our Lord the benefit of believing
that God’s hand is leading you,
and accept the anxiety of feeling yourself
in suspense and incomplete.
Above all, trust in the slow work of God,
our loving vine-dresser.

Apply Now for the 2020 Contemplative Renewal Cohort

Are you looking for ways to be renewed in your pastoral work and sense of call? As you encounter the demands of ministry in a changing and challenging time, would you benefit from time away to deepen your spirit?

The Ecumenical Center for Clergy Spiritual Renewal (ECCSR) hosts a two-year “Contemplative Renewal” for early and mid-career clergy. The cohort of 19 men and women will discover renewal through the rhythms of prayer, Benedictine spirituality and community at Holy Wisdom Monastery, an ecumenical monastery outside of Madison, WI.

Early and mid-career ordained pastors, currently serving half-time or more in a congregational setting, are invited to apply starting October 1, 2019 for the next cohort, to begin in July of 2020. Funded by a Thriving in Ministry Grant from the Lilly Endowment, this unique experience is available at no cost.

For more information:

Co-Director Rev. Jerry Buss (608) 836-1631 ext. 163 or Co-Director Rev. Nancy Enderle (608) 836-1631 ext. 114 or visit: www.holywisdommonastery.org/eccsr.