MISSION MOMENT “Equipping for Ministry”

Gratitude for and Connections to How Your Weekly Offering Helps the Church

by Deacon Vicki Hanrahan, Assistant to the Bishop for Media, Communications and Leadership Development

Two of the three tenets of our mission are to equip and connect the congregations of our synod to be the heart and hands of Jesus. On Sunday afternoon, eleven of our congregations and one from the Northern Illinois Synod connected for conversation at the “Rural and Small Town Ministry” event hosted by Sugar Creek Lutheran Church in Elkhorn. We were led by Rev. Dr. Mark Yackel-Juleen, Director of Small Town & Rural Ministry for the Center for Theology & Land. Rev. Dick Inglett, pastor of Sugar Creek Lutheran and Bishop Thomas-Breitfeld opened the event.

Dr. Mark Yackel-Juleen received training in this process from the Division for Outreach of the ELCA and has led it with more than 180 different congregations.

Why this matters . . .
This event is a kick off to introduce a new rural/small town ministry leadership partnership between Wartburg Theological Seminary, the South-Central Synod of Wisconsin and Sugar Creek Lutheran Church to offer a training “equipping” resource for rural and small town ministry that builds faith, relationships and service. We explored the current state of rural and small town ministry, our challenges, our hopes and our current outreach ministries.
Dr. Yackel-Juleen shared interesting data to frame up our conversation. For example:

  • 90% of US land mass is rural. 20% of the population is rural.
  • Until 1920, a majority of our population was rural. In 1920, this flipped.
  • The world population transitioned to majority urban in 2007.
  • 71% of congregations in the U.S. have fewer than 100 in average weekly worship attendance according to the National Congregations Study. (63% in the ELCA).
  • A small town is generally considered to be 10,000 or less in population; although some consider anything under 25,000 to be a small town.
  • More and more congregations and ministers are combining resources to approach mission jointly. Because of economic challenges and trends in religious demography, the number of ELCA multiple-church arrangements will steadily rise above its current level of 13% of all congregations.
  • ELCA Research and Evaluation projects that by 2019, almost 20% of the full-time calls available in congregational settings will be in multiple-church arrangements. Another 2,000 congregations will not be able to afford full-time ministry, and many of them will move into multiple-church ministries.
  • At present, 90% of multiple-church ministries in the ELCA are in open country and small towns of fewer than 10,000 people. Sixty-one percent (61%) of first calls are to rural and small-town settings where many seminary graduates walk into multiple-church ministries. After ten years in ministry, the percentage is still over 38%. Therefore, people in seminary ought to learn best practices for multiple church ministries, small churches and rural.
  • 1,313 prospective MDiv students have visited the 7 ELCA seminaries this year. Of those numbers, historically about 16% actually enroll. That will yield about 210 degree candidates. Currently, there are about 2,776 vacancies, of them 1,000 are full-time called. To meet the number of vacancies, we would actually need 6,250 visits by prospective students.

The writing is on the wall. The need for shared ministry is great. Our congregations in attendance had an opportunity to connect with each other and form cohorts to begin the important work of creating a Task Force that works with a facilitator to process information, discuss possibilities and make recommendations for shared ministry. The congregations, through their constitutional process approve whatever recommendations are made. The ultimate purpose of these conversations is to develop strategies that sustain and grow the mission and ministries of the participating congregations. It is NOT to close or merge congregations. An underlying assumption of the process is that there are things that we can do more faithfully as Christians if we cooperate.
So what is in store for the future of Small Town and Rural Ministry? According to Dr. Yackel-Juleen,”We will need more cooperative forms, more clusters, more area parishes, more ecumenical cooperation and more deployment of variously gifted and variously trained leadership.”

Thank you to Sugar Creek Lutheran Church for their financial support in making this event possible, their members for hosting and serving the potluck, the attendees for bringing dishes to pass, and for enlivened conversation about moving forward in mission together!
If you would like to learn more about this initiative, contact the synod office.

Mission Moment: ELCA Hunger Fellows

Each week we are highlighting ministries that are supported by your weekly offerings.  We are grateful for your generosity as it helps us do what matters to God in Jesus’ name!  Please reprint these stories in your newsletters or share them during worship as mission moments as they help to answer the question, “Where does my offering go?”

By Abbigail Hull, ELCA World Hunger Fellow

Advocacy requires collaboration and a gaze towards the future. It was this vision that created the ELCA Hunger Advocacy fellowship. A program made possible by ELCA World Hunger, this fellowship is a year-long transformative experience that combines leadership development, faith formation, and impactful advocacy that moves us toward an end to hunger and a just world where all are fed. This program is in its second year and has already received and developed thoughtful leaders with passion and fresh ideas.

Fellows are placed in various faith-driven public policy offices throughout the United States. The goal of the Hunger Advocacy Fellowship is to build ELCA World Hunger’s capacity to end hunger by deepening and expanding Lutheran advocacy efforts in synods, coalitions and networks.

There are six hunger fellows this year, and one of them works with Lutheran Office for Public Policy in Wisconsin under the leadership of its director, Rev. Cindy Crane.  We have the pleasure of rubbing elbows with both as LOPPW offices


Hunger Fellow, Kelsey Johnson – The Lutheran Office for Public Policy in Wisconsin (LOPPW) – Madison

Kelsey Johnson has an active history with the church. Most recently, she served as a ELCA Young Adult in Global Mission (“YAGM”) volunteer in Jerusalem and the West Bank. At the Lutheran School in Ramallah (West Bank), she assisted with English and art classes. She has explored topics related to refugees, baptism, and accompaniment.

Kelsey graduated with a BA in Journalism and Mass Communication from the University of Iowa. She has interests in writing, using social media and working with young people.  She shares how grateful she is for this opportunity to learn and serve:

“My experience serving as a Young Adults in Global Mission volunteer in Palestine was formative in shaping how I see accompaniment as the model for social justice in the world. I didn’t realize there was such a huge overlap and call for advocacy in the ELCA, and I was so excited when I heard the Lutheran Office for Public Policy in Wisconsin had received a grant for a Hunger Fellow. Though the fellowship is only in its second year, the Hunger Advocacy Fellowship is an opportunity and space I have felt called to for quite a long time. So far it has been an informative and formative continuation of my YAGM year of service. It builds on the passion I have for social justice, and connects it to tangible issues in the state, while keeping a broad view of social justice and advocacy in the world.” 

Our synod and LOPPW is so blessed to have Kelsey walking together with us!  Please keep Kelsey and all the Hunger Fellows in your prayers!

MISSION MOMENT: Lutheran Campus Ministry

 Your gift of mission support carries God’s love to others, making a difference in their lives and in the world.  Your mission support in addition to special partnership offerings help to support campus ministries at UW-Madison, UW-Whitewater and UW-Platteville. 

Campus pastor, Rev. Emily Tveite shares exciting news about how you are supporting the campus ministry at UW-Madison:

New Faith & Vocation Fellows Grow in Faith, Serve in Local Ministries

This year, we are excited to introduce our first cohort of Faith & Vocation Fellows. These four young women and men will spend about 10 hours each week working in partner ministry sites related to their career interests. They will also gather each Sunday afternoon to support one another, pray together, and grow in their faith.

Lutheran Campus Ministry’s generous donors raised $10,000 to fund this program, which was matched by the Siebert Lutheran Foundation. These funds provide monthly stipends to our fellows and honoraria for guest presenters. We ask for your prayers for these students as they grow in faith and serve their neighbors.

  • Addison from Ontario, WI will work with Luther Memorial Church on Youth Ministry.
  • Logan from Corcoran, MN will work with UW Hospital on public health education.
  • Rylie from Green Bay, WI will work with Bethel Food Pantry & the Badger Caring Closet.
  • Sarah from Oregon, WI will work with the Lutheran Office for Public Policy in Wisconsin.

Lutheran Campus Ministry alleviates student hunger with daily community meal.

Did you know that Lutheran Campus Ministry serves a community lunch each day during the academic year? Last year we served over 20 thousand meals to hungry students for less than $1 per meal. This year, we are hoping to do even more through a new partnership with Second Harvest Foodbank. You get a glimpse of the lunch by watching the University Health Service’s Video about the lunch.

Hunger and homelessness are an increasing problem on university campuses. The Wisconsin HOPE Lab studied basic needs insecurity among students in 2018 and found that one in three students at 4-year universities has experienced some kind of hunger. You can read the HOPE Lab’s report at: http://wihopelab.com

Learn More & Stay Connected to Lutheran Campus Ministry

You can learn more and stay connected to LCM by visiting our website at: www.lcmmadison.org or by following us on Facebook.

Lutheran Campus Ministry is graciously funded by the South-Central Synod of Wisconsin, thirty partner congregations, and many generous individuals.  Thank you for your mission support!

Mission Moment: Care for God’s Creation Ministry

This ministry is funded through your mission support.  Thank you for your weekly offering to your congregation. A portion of that is sent on to the synod for synod-wide ministries such as Care for God’s Creation!

In December of 2015 this team met for the first time.  Care of Creation is part of the World Hunger effort of our church. At this time, members of our team include Pastor Mae Jean Zelle (First, Janesville) Jane Harrison (First English-Platteville), Pastor Cindy Crane (LOPPW), Pastor Nick Utphall (Advent, Madison), Bob Lindmeier (St. John’s, Oregon), Eleanor Siebert (Five Points – Blue River) and new member, Debbie Nelson (Bethel-Madison).

Our emphasis is education and advocacy in the area of the environment. We continue to educate about the Carbon Fee and Dividend issue.  This year we are prioritizing the formation of Green Committees in churches.  Bob Lindmeier continues to be available for speaking engagements and others of the team are also willing as time permits.  The SCSW/LOPPW Care for God’s Creation team is excited about our October 6th event “What’s Working in Wisconsin,” which will highlight renewable energy progress in the state and tools for how we can all make a difference. The event is free! Who should attend?  Anyone interested in renewable energy for their church, business or home, or who would like to know more about advocacy and various local and statewide groups that help us to care for  God’s creation!  Check out the synod website for resources:

Update from Eleanor Siebert, Coordinator, Care for God’s Creation Team

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

 

Mission Moment: Lutherans United Assisting After Disasters  “LUAD”

Drone photo courtesy of Robert J. Dorn Jr. show flood damage in Cross Plains following an historic rainfall.

LUAD is a synod ministry supported by your mission support.  Thank you!  And now, the work of this synod ministry has a time-sensitive need as they respond to recovery efforts for those in our synod impacted by the flooding from recent heavy rains.  Please read this letter from LUAD President, Todd Long.  Congregations have been asking where to send their special offerings for victims of the flood. At the end of the article, we provide information on where to send your special offerings in support of this important work. 

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

I would like to take a few moments to remind you and your congregation of our efforts.  We are LUAD (Lutherans Assisting after Disasters) and are affiliated with the South-Central Synod of Wisconsin, ELCA.

With all the rain we have had and the resulting flooding, we would like to remind you of our mission to help disaster survivors bridge the gap between emergency response and long term recovery rendering necessary services, donated items, supplies assistance, and social, emotional and spiritual support.

We become engaged only by a call from a congregation within the Synod.  This could be the Pastor or Council President.  At the present time we have been called by St. Martins of Cross Plains.  As water levels rise and more rain is in the forecast, it is a true possibility that other comm unities will or are being affected.  We are ready to serve.

We rely on volunteers from all congregations within our Synod and only ask of them what they are willing to commit in both time and service. There is always work for anyone willing to serve. We like to say, “We are family helping family.” There is an orientation meeting before any work is begun dealing with workplace safety and guidelines for service.

We ask that you and your congregation extend your prayers for our work and explain our goals to any of your members so they might know of our needs for service.  If there is need within your congregation, please extend a call to LUAD so we might be able to assist and advise you in this time of need.

Sincerely in Christ,

LUAD Executive Committee
Todd Long, President
317-691-3070

Disaster Assistance number
888-237-0433


If you would like to make a donation or take a special offering in your congregation to help LUAD assist flood victims, please send it made payable to the South-Central Synod of Wisconsin and put “LUAD” in the memo.

Mail it to: South-Central Synod of Wisconsin, ELCA
6401 Odana Road, Suite 20
Madison, WI  53719

Thank you for your support of those who have been impacted by flooding in our synod!

Mission Moment: Young Adults in Global Mission (YAGM)

It is your mission support that makes these ELCA ministries possible.  Together we are doing What Matters in God’s kingdom!  Thank you! 

Meet our synod’s new Young Adults in Global Mission!

Another cohort of Young Adults in Global Mission (YAGM) volunteers have recently accepted the call into service, beginning in August.  The YAGM program has seen significant growth since its beginnings in 1999, and this is especially true since the start of the Campaign for the ELCA.  In the past five years, the average number of volunteers sent into service each year was 30 more than in the years prior to the Campaign.  This growth has only been made possible through generous individuals, congregations and synods who support this program and the faithful young adults who answer God’s call to service.  And with approximately 35% of YAGM alumni entering seminary, it’s also a strategic and timely investment.

Among the 80 newly called YAGM volunteers, two of them have named a congregation, campus ministry, ELCA camp or ELCA college/university as a faith home within the South-Central Synod of Wisconsin.  They are:

Rachel Perkins – Faith Lutheran Church in Janesville.  She will be serving in Southern Africa, and  John Baynton – Intervarsity Christian Fellowship in Madison, Luther Memorial in Madison and Blackhawk Church in Madison.

The YAGM volunteers will be sent to serve in 14 countries in 11 country programs alongside our companions in Argentina/Uruguay, Australia, Cambodia, Central Europe (Hungary & Servia), Jerusalem/West Bank, Madagascar, Mesico, Rwanda, Senengal, Southern Africa and the United Kingdom.  Young adults serve in a variety of areas including congregational ministry, human rights work, development projects, healthcare, education and youth work.  A year of service through the YAGM program helps young adults to think more critically about their own identity, God’s work in the world, and their place within it all.

Watch What Matters for more updates on these two young adults and their journey.  We will be publishing links to their blogs and newsletters when they become available.  For now, please keep them in your prayers and thank you for the support that your mission support provides these young disciples.  Your offerings and prayers are greatly appreciated!

God’s blessings to you Rachel and John!  We will be walking wet with you!

Visit the ELCA website for more information on the ELCA’s Young Adults in Global Ministry program.

Might your son or daughter be ready for this opportunity?

Mission Moment: SCSW Refugee Resettlement Ministry

It is your mission support that makes these synod ministries possible and it was voting members of our assembly who voted to support these ministries with human and financial resources. Together we are doing What Matters in God’s kingdom!  Thank you! 

Following is an update from Rev. Dan Odden, co-chair of the Synod’s Refugee Resettlement Ministry Team:

Refugee Resettlement Group Re-focuses on Needs

We have in the past welcomed about one hundred refugees to the Madison area each year, but the Federal government administration has significantly reduced the number of refugees being admitted to our country. Consequently, we have welcomed only a few families in the last nine months.  We continue to be prepared to welcome people with apartment furnishings and commodities. We also continue to look for ways we can show hospitality and be of help as refugees get settled in the Madison area .

With this lack of arrivals, we have shifted our activities in two ways:

First, we have been making individuals and congregations aware of Lutheran Social Services financial needs to maintain staffing during this time.  There are families that need our continued support and it is important to maintain a presence to build on in the future.

Second, we are looking for opportunities for advocacy for refugees.  We encourage individuals to write letters to US Congress Representatives and Senators to encourage a more welcoming and sustainable flow of refugees to our country.  We encourage use of materials consistent with the refugee work of LIRS (Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service) and L.S.S., and ELCA social statements.

Recently, Catholic Charities of Milwaukee has shut down their program that had been receiving over 500 individuals per year.  This may make the Lutheran Social Services program in Wisconsin    more important in the months ahead.

We give thanks for your prayers on behalf of people seeking refuge from wars and disasters that have caused the historic high of 65 million refugees worldwide.

God’s Blessings and Peace,

Dan Odden

For more information on the synod’s Refugee Resettlement Ministry, visit the synod website: www.scsw-elca.org and click on Ministries & Partners and then Refugee Resettlement.


If your congregation would like to get involved with this ministry, contact Rev. Dan Odden at (608) 643-5128 or danodden@gmail.com or Lisa Hansen at (608) 838-7929 or lisatimhansen@charter.net of the SCSW Refugee Resettlement Team.

Madison Area Urban Ministry Mission Moment

Lakeview Lutheran Church (Madison) Received Madison Area Ministry (“MUMz’) Visionary Award!

Congratulations to Lakeview Lutheran Church!  As the synod office was reading through the MUM newsletter, we saw that Rev. Dean Kirst accepted the Visionary Award on behalf of the congregation.  Lakeview received this award for their early support of Just Bakery through in-kind contributions of $25,000 annually for program space, for their long-term commitment as host to The Road Home, for their community food pantry, and for the many other ways they contribute to the community.

Many of our congregations are walking together and are now supporting the efforts of Just Bakery by inviting them to sell their baked goods at your congregations.  We are grateful to Lakeview Lutheran for helping to make this ministry possible.  Well done faithful servants of Lakeview Lutheran!

For more information on ”

Madison Area Urban Ministry:  http://emum.org/

Just Bakery:  http://emum.org/what-we-do/justbakery/

Full story on Just Bakery, see the synod’s e-magazine, Walking Together,

 

 

Lutheran Social Services Mission Moment

 Off The Square Club Works with Neighbors to Foster Change Within Community

Fresh towels are something most of us take for granted. For members at Lutheran Social Services’ Off the Square Club in Madison, towels are a luxury. More than half the club members are homeless. With the addition of a shower thanks to ELCA congregations in the South Central Synod of Wisconsin, along with various corporations, foundations and generous individuals, club members have access to shower facilities.

This welcome addition brought with it a new challenge – providing fresh towels for clients. When Hampton Inn and Suites, of the Raymond Management Company, in downtown Madison learned of this challenge, they were determined to help LSS.

Hotel Manager Michael Luehrs and Assistant Manager Nicki Kelly came up with a plan to begin donating towels to Off the Square Club. Now two years later, Off the Square club receives three deliveries of towels from Hampton Inn and Suites Housekeeping Staff each week, with 25 towels in each delivery. Lutheran Social Services of Wisconsin and Upper Michigan thanks that staff at Downtown Madison’s Hampton Inn and Suites for their commitment to meeting the needs of their neighbors.