Hands on Ministries to Take Place at Synod Assembly

Two Ways You Can Make a Difference:


We know many of you are already rolling up your sleeves with this ministry as part of your Lenten offerings.  Thanks to the volunteer efforts of Ted Sehmer, member of Christ, Stoughton, we will be holding an in gathering for Global Health Ministries at Synod Assembly this year to transport you kits to the GHM warehouse in St. Paul, Minnesota.  Thank you Ted!


Location:  Drop off your kits at the ALLIANT ENERGY CENTER, 1919 Alliant Energy Center Way, Madison

Drop off times:
Friday, May 4 – 3:00 pm – 8:00 pm
Saturday, May 5 – 7:30 am – 6:00 pm

Please pay attention to boxing instructions by taping shut and labelling all boxes with quantities of items in each box.  This is very important as we are required to provide this information to GHM before we arrive so they can schedule the appropriate volunteers for unloading at the warehouse.

Financial Donations Needed Too!  Even if your congregation can’t participate in creating kits, you can still help.  Financial donations are needed for transportation costs to get the donations to the warehouse in St. Paul as the synod does not have a budget for this.  We are needing $500 to cover transit expenses.  You can send donations made payable to SCSW and mail to South-Central Synod of Wisconsin, ELCA, 6401 Odana Road, Suite 20, Madison, WI  53719.  Thank you!!!


Some of our congregations are participating in this hunger ministry in their communities and making a big difference in feeding children.  The assembly planning team is very excited to bring this hands-on activity to our assembly with an associated workshop that will teach you how to start this hunger ministry in your community.  At assembly, our attendees will be invited to help pack the backpacks with food that we purchase from the Blessing in A Backpack organization.  This assures high quality products that provide consistency in content and freshness.  Our goal is to pack 1,000 backpacks for children in our synod.

How you can help?  Instead of in-kind donations, we need to raise $2,900 to fill 1,000 backpacks.  These backpacks will be distributed to congregations that are engaged in this ministry and ready to distribute to the schools in their community.

Donations should be made payable to SCSW, with Blessings in A Backpack in the memo.  Mail to South-Central Synod of Wisconsin, 6401 Odana Road, Suite 20, Madison, WI  53719 by April 30.

Living the Godly Life As The Beloved Community

This past weekend I attended the ELCA Church Council meeting.  There were many items of business, all in some way pointing us to living the Godly life as the people of God.  Documents presented had been reviewed and recommended by the Conference of Bishops.  As co-chair of the task force that developed the proposed social statement “Faith, Sexism and Justice: A Lutheran Call to Action” which speaks clearly about how sexism is inconsistent with living the Godly life. I was overjoyed when the Council approved it unanimously.  It now goes to the 2019 Churchwide Assembly for approval.

Another document, “Trustworthy Servants of the People of God,” focused on living the Godly life by addressing best practices for pastors, deacons and those preparing for those roles in this church.  The Church Council decided not to consider this document for adoption and referred the document to the ELCA Domestic Mission unit for further review and redrafting. This document is intended to replace “Vision and Expectations,” which outlines expectations the church has for rostered ministers. In their recommendation the council stated that further consideration of the document should involve a process that includes diverse voices from across the church, especially those who perceive they were most harmed in the past by the misuse of the current document, Vision and Expectations.  They have asked that work be completed by the fall of 2020.

I’m sure some of you are asking the Lutheran question, “What does this mean?”  A little background is in order.  The ELCA, like all church bodies, including our predecessor bodies, has always had clearly stated expectations for pastors and deacons. You can find these in the ELCA constitution, the services of ordination and consecration, in a document entitled Vision and Expectations and in a companion document, Guidelines and Definitions for Discipline. I’d encourage lay leaders to read what is currently expected in the preaching, teaching, pastoral care, and service of those you have called to serve and for their personal integrity.  I believe we need guidance to live the Godly life and be beloved community together.

As Bishop of this synod, I truly want us to be beloved community.  For me this means all congregations will be places where the gospel is proclaimed boldly.  It means that congregations are safe and respectful places for all within it, including rostered leaders, and those who surround these mission outposts.  It means that there are clear and high expectations of those called to lead, and those who are preparing to lead.  Boundaries are important but we must understand that boundaries are related to so much more than sexual ethics.  It means our congregations are places that welcome persons of every background, race, sexual orientation and gender identity to engage fully in a life of discipleship. We affirm that Jesus is gracious and radical enough to extend a call to us all to be beloved community together.

Being beloved community means we live into Easter joy as a reconciling and racial equity synod – blessed to be a blessing in this world we inhabit.

Blessings and peace,

The Rev. Viviane Thomas-Breitfeld

Bishop, South-Central Synod of Wisconsin

Vision and Expectations for Ministers of Word and Sacrament:  http://bit.ly/VEPastors

Vision and Expectations for Ministers of Word and Service: http://bit.ly/VEDeacons

Guidelines and Definitions for Discipline: http://bit.ly/ELCADisciplineGuidelines

Rev. Viviane Thomas-Breitfeld elected bishop of the South-Central Synod of Wisconsin! 

The Rev. Viviane Thomas-Breitfeld, Beloit, Wis., was elected May 6 to serve a six-year term as bishop of the South-Central Synod of Wisconsin of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA).

The election was held during the Synod Assembly May 5-6 at the Kalahari Resort and Convention Center in Wisconsin Dells where over 500 lay leaders and rostered ministers gathered to do the work of God’s church, participating in learning, fellowship and important voting matters.

Thomas-Breitfeld was elected on the fifth ballot with 224 votes to 150 votes for the Rev. Steven Kottke, assistant to the bishop of the South-Central Synod of Wisconsin.

While we recognize that this is an historic moment in the life of the ELCA in the election of the second African-descent synod bishop, (see full story in Living Lutheran – https://www.livinglutheran.org/2018/05/bishop-elects-reflect-on-historic-votes/), we also recognize that the bishop-elect brings many gifts to her new leadership role and ministry.  She currently serves as interim pastor of St. Paul Lutheran Church in Beloit. She served as pastor of Gethsemane Lutheran Church in Brookfield, Wis., from 2010 to 2013 and Good Shepherd in Wausau, from 1992 to 2010.  Rev. Thomas-Breitfeld earned a Bachelor of Science degree from Cornell University in Ithaca, N.Y., in 1974 and she received her Master of Divinity from McCormick Theological Seminary in Chicago in 1979.  A full biography can be found on the synod website:  https://scsw-elca.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/Thomas-BreitfeldBio.pdf

Learn more about Bishop Elect Thomas-Breitfeld

Biographical information from Bishop Election

ELCA “Bishop-elect Reflect on Historic votes”

ELCA News 5/9/2018

Wisconsin State Journal News Article


2018 Synod Assembly 

Saturday and Sunday, May 5-6, 2018 
Kalahari Resort & Convention Center, Wisconsin Dells


View more information on the 2018 Assembly Page