2023 Synod Assembly

Synod Assembly Logo for 2023

Our 2023 Synod Assembly is in the books! What an incredible day, from inspiring worship led by musicians Sharon Irving and Quincy Cochran, to a stimulating discussion with Peter Tan regarding built environments and creating a sense of place where people yearn to gather, to a joyful business meeting that included elections and the passage of three incredible resolutions and the 2024-2025 synod spending plan. AND, we still finished early!

An email was shared on May 24, 2023 with all congregations and those who attended providing a recap of the assembly along with a special video message from our companion synod, the Northern India Evangelical Lutheran Church. Congregations are encouraged to share this information. A copy of the email may be found below:

All congregations and leaders are invited to be a part of the 2023 Synod Assembly! The Synod Assembly is a time to celebrate and give thanks for our partnership in Christ’s mission. The assembly will include meaningful worship, fellowship and opportunities for learning and spiritual growth as well as decision-making on how we will use our resources and gifts to be partners in God’s work in the world.

  • Date: Saturday, May 20, 2023
  • Time: 9:15 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. (Registration open at 8:15 a.m.)
  • Location: Evangelical Lutheran Church – Mt. Horeb, WI

“Come to him, a living stone, though rejected by mortals, yet chosen and precious in God’s sight, and like living stones, let yourselves be built into a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.” 1 Peter 2:4-5

Our theme in the synod for this past year has been “Building/Rebuilding.”

As we slowly emerge from the worst of the pandemic, many congregations, organizations, and ministries are finding that much has changed. We are discovering that we need to rebuild beloved community that was scattered when were kept apart. We are working to rebuild ministries that paused or faltered during the pandemic.

We wonder what the uncertain future holds for our communities, our lives, even our world. We are in a strange space of needing to forge ahead, to build anew, knowing that what has always worked before is likely no longer going to continue to produce the good fruit it once did…yet also not yet knowing what will take its place.

The theme of “Building, Rebuilding” is intended to remind us that we do this work, as we have always done, firmly planted on the solid rock that is Christ. It is ultimately God who builds and rebuilds the Church through the breath and power of the Holy Spirit. We have always needed to feel grounded in our faith in Christ to do this work. Yet perhaps now more than ever the shifting sands of the world around us give us all the more reason to remember we do this building and rebuilding work on Christ, our rock. We are Church, we are Church together, and on Christ the solid rock we stand, we build, we rebuild.

So then, dear siblings in Christ, let us “assemble the assembly” and let us, as our theme verse reminds us, “be built into a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood.”

Registration for synod assembly has now closed. If you need assistance with your registration please contact Johnny Hufford in the synod office at (608) 270-0201 or johnnyh@scsw-elca.org.

Registration Fees
Registration fees cover the cost of the program, materials, and meals, unless otherwise noted. Registration rates are per person.

  • Registration Fees:
    Registration fees are the same for all attendees of the assembly (voting members, guests, ministry partners, displayers, etc.)

    • Early Bird Registration Fee: $50 (Ended March 31, 2023)
    • Regular Registration Fee: $75 (April 1 - May 1, 2023)

Online registration can be paid either by credit card or electronic (e-check) HERE or by mailing a check. Payment deadline is May 8, 2023.  If you are paying by check, please note “Assembly” with your remittance so that we apply payments appropriately. Please do not mix your payment in with your mission support. Those paying online please indicate the name of your congregation in the “Notes” field on the payment screen.

Documents and other information related to the business matters that will be coming before the Synod Assembly are available below. In order to be good stewards of creation, as well as the synod’s resources, all assembly materials will be distributed electronically. All documents are PDF format and can be easily read on most devices. Download PDF readers here: PC, Mac, iPhone, iPad, Google Play, Amazon Fire.

Note that attendees may bring their computers, tablets, and/or smartphones to access these materials, or else print them in advance on your own as Wi-Fi internet access during the assembly will not be guaranteed.

Documents uploaded May 16, 2023

On Thursday, May 4, 2023 members of the synod council presented the proposed SCSW Budget via Zoom. This was an opportunity to ask questions and to learn more about our ministry spending plan and our work together. You can view the proposed spending plan (PDF) via the link above. View the recording of the forum on our YouTube Channel HERE.

Three (3) resolutions were submitted and will be considered by the assembly. The resolutions are available for download below:

Information about nominations and elections to be considered by the assembly are available for download (PDF) below:

Document Version May 17, 2023

Except as otherwise provided in this constitution and bylaws, the Synod Council has establish processes that will ensure that at least 60% of the members of the synod assemblies, councils, committees, boards, and other organizational units shall be lay persons; and that at least 45% of the lay members of assemblies, councils, committees, boards, or other organizational units shall be women and at least 45% shall be men; and that, where possible, the representation of ministers of Word and Sacrament shall include both men and women. This synod has established processes that will enable it to reach a minimum goal that 10% of its assemblies, councils, committees, boards, or other organizational units be persons of color and/or persons whose primary language is other than English. (Synod Constitution; S6.04)


All congregations use the following formula to determine the number of lay (non-rostered) voting members they are allowed to register for the assembly.  The formula has been created to meet the constitutional expectation that 60% of the voting membership of the assembly be composed of lay persons, and to achieve the goal of an equal balance of men and women.

  • Up to 1000  baptized members =  2 voting members (one male/one female)
  • 1001 – 2000 baptized members = 3 voting members (one male/one female/one either)
  • 2001 – 3000 baptized members = 4 voting members (two male/two female)
  • 3001 – 4000 baptized members = 5 voting members (two male/two female/one either)
  • 4001 – 5000 baptized members = 6 voting members (three male/three female)
  • 5001 – 6000 baptized members = 7 voting members (three male/three female/one either)
  • 6001 – 7000 baptized members = 8 voting members (four male/four female)

Youth and Young Adult Voting Members:

In addition to the aforementioned allotment of voting members, in June of 2010 the Synod Council passed a continuing resolution allowing congregations to register additional Youth and Young Adult Lay Voting Members.  To be eligible for a youth or young adult voting member registration, the individual shall not have obtained the age of 30 years old at the time of registration.

  • Up to 175 baptized members = 1 youth or young adult voting member of either gender
  • 176 or more baptized members = 2 youth or young adult voting members (one male/one female)

Synodically Authorized Worshiping Communities:

A Synodically Authorized Worshiping Community may register one lay voting member of any gender.

Rostered Ministers:

  • Ministers of Word & Sacrament – All Ministers of Word & Sacrament (pastors) under call in this synod are voting members of the synod assembly. This includes those under call to specialized ministry and under synod call. All pastors under call in the synod are expected to register for and attend the assembly. Each registered pastor has one vote at the assembly, even if they are serving more than one congregation or ministry site.
  • Ministers of Word & Service – All Ministers of Word & Service (deacons) under call in this synod are voting members of the synod assembly and are expected to register for and attend the assembly. This includes those under call to specialized ministry and under synod call. Each deacon has one vote at the assembly even if they are serving more than one congregation or ministry site.
  • Retired Rostered Ministers – Retired Rostered Ministers may elect up to 10% of their number to be registered as voting members of the assembly.

Sharon Irving is a singer, songwriter, worship leader, poet, rapper, actress, and voice over artist. She is an inspiring ‘voice for the voiceless’, a passionate wordsmith spewing truth and inspiration, singing songs of life and love motivated by her personal experiences and undergirded by her Christian beliefs. Sharon has a passion and gift for shaping words and everyday phrases to melody.

Sharon is a South Side of Chicago Native who is a gifted songstress/songwriter/spoken word artist, worship leader and actress, since she was a little girl, performing in front of the congregation at the south side church in Chicago where her grandfather was pastor. Her first tenous steps as an artist were shaped by the influences of his powerful baritone singing and eloquent sermons, and the mind blowing artistry of her father, famed jazz musician and composer, Robert Irving III. With loving encouragement from her mother and grandmother, Sharon has cultivated and shaped her own creative persona. She is an inspiring ‘voice for the voiceless’, a passionate wordsmith spewing truth and inspiration, singing songs of life and love motivated by her personal experiences, and undergirded by her Christian beliefs.

We are delighted to welcome Peter B.H. Tan as our assembly presenter. Since 1993, Peter has worked at Strang Architecture/Engineering/Interior Design/Planning, voted Madison’s In Business Executive Choice Top Architectural Firm for the last ten years (2013-2022).  As Executive Vice President/Chief Design Officer, he is the architect responsible for Strang’s design vision and creative direction.

His client-focused design philosophy involves a commitment to thoughtful listening in order to create environments that truly reflect users’ needs and visions, while responding to their context of time and place.  As a LEED Accredited Professional, he is passionate about sustainable design and our collective responsibility as stewards of our planet and the public realm.  Peter seeks to follow Jesus’ radical example of servant leadership in his life and work.

Peter grew up in Malaysia, playing with Legos and going on Sea Scout escapades.  He earned his Bachelor and Master of Architecture from Cornell University. He serves as Chair of the Madison Region Economic Partnership (MadREP) Board, and has served on the Madison Urban Design Commission, and as Scoutmaster of Boy Scout Troop 122.

Peter is married to Rachel Durfee, his best friend and fellow artist.  They have two adult sons, John and Kevin.  When not engaging in their lifelong conversation on art and design, they love dancing and outdoor adventures.

In partnership with our host congregation we are proud to offer childcare this year. Childcare will be available for all children ages 3-12 (5th grade) and will be housed in several of the Sunday School rooms located on the lower level at Evangelical Lutheran Church (ELC).

Children will be invited to attend worship with the remainder of the assembly from 9:30 a.m. until 10:30 a.m. At that point registered children may be dropped off by their parents in the designated area during the break just prior to our time with our presenter. Childcare will be provided by staff, adult and youth volunteers from ELC and will run until 4:00 p.m. A lunch and activities including games, stories/music, snacks, crafts, and potentially a movie will be provided.

The cost is $15.00 per child and includes everything noted above.  If you have any questions please reach out to Johnny in the synod office at (608) 270-0201 or johnnyh@scsw-elca.org.

This year’s Synod Assembly service project is an ingathering for two area non-profit organizations, Neighbors Helping Neighbors in Mt. Horeb, and Heights Unlimited in Black Earth. Evangelical Lutheran Church in Mt. Horeb, our host congregation for this year’s assembly, has partnered with both organizations, and highly recommends the work they do for their local communities.

This year we are collecting laundry detergent, toilet paper, dish soap, shampoo/ body wash, and diapers. Items may be brought to Evangelical Lutheran Church in Mt. Horeb on the day of the assembly. Neighbors Helping Neighbors and Heights Unlimited will handle transporting the donated items after the assembly.

For many years our service project has focused on need around the globe through the ingathering of health, baby, and hospice kits for Global Health Ministries (GHM). GHM is an outstanding organization and it is our prayer that congregations in our synod will continue their support on an individual basis. In addition, we are deeply grateful to everyone who has helped in the past to organize and transport the kits to the distribution center in Minneapolis.

The assembly planning team believes choosing a local focus for this year has many benefits. It enables our local congregations to strengthen their partnerships with others who are seeking to do God’s work in their community. It is also a way for us as a synod to be a blessing to different communities from year to year. Helping a local partner also means we are able to minimize transportation costs. This means more of our donations will go directly to those who are most in need.

We are looking forward to providing Neighbors Helping Neighbors and Heights Unlimited with an abundance of needed items. Monetary donations are also welcome. To donate to Neighbors Helping Neighbors click here. To donate to Heights Unlimited click here. Donations made by cash or check will be collected on the day of the assembly.

This synod is not arranging for overnight accommodations this year. If congregations or individuals would like to stay overnight you will find a list of hotels in the Mt. Horeb area below. Reservations and payment for hotel accommodations are to be handled individually. The list below is simply for your information, we have not verified availability nor do we endorse any hotel directly.