Mission Moment: Anti-Human Trafficking Work

South-Central Synodical Women’s Organization
Anti-Human Trafficking Work Is Making A Difference!
By Helen Sheahan, Past President, South-Central Synodical Women’s Organization

For our South-Central Synodical Women’s Organization, understanding and responding to human trafficking is a call to walk with Jesus.

At the 2014 and 2017 Women of the ELCA Triennial Conventions, women voted to continue to bring awareness of and to prevent human trafficking. Women of the ELCA has focused on ending human trafficking for over a decade.
This year there were bills introduced in both legislatures on 3 topics related to human trafficking. Along with the Lutheran Office for Public Policy in Wisconsin and 2 other Wisconsin women’s synod organizations, our women’s synod board participated in the legislative process and had an impact. Over 400 postcards supporting the bills were signed by women during our 2019 Spring Gatherings in April.

In March, Helen Sheahan and Margo Holzman, women’s board members, attended a hearing on Assembly Bill 41, Safe Harbor for Trafficked Youth at the state Capitol along with Rev. Cindy Crane, Director of Lutheran Office for Public Policy in Wisconsin, Deacon Vicki Hanrahan of the Synod staff, and other Women of the ELCA.

Our work continued September 24 when our South-Central Wisconsin Synodical Women’s Organization was a co-sponsor of a rally that included education and visiting representatives and senators at the state Capitol. Women from around the state participated. The culmination of our efforts was the signing of AB 22-SB 25 into law as Act 27 on Nov. 20. This bill requires truck driver education to include information on human trafficking. Helen Sheahan was present at the signing, shook the Governor’s hand, and even received a state pen, symbolic of having an active interest in the passing of the bill. The signing was very well attended by supportive legislators, Department of Human Services administrators, and anti-human trafficking advocates. What impressed Helen was the Governor’s knowledge about the reason and benefits of the bill and acknowledging the efforts done on a bipartisan level in support of the bill.
Over the past four years South-Central Wisconsin Synodical Women’s Organization has been offering education about human trafficking through workshops by Rev. Cindy Crane, Director of LOPPW, and Dawn Heath from Sugar Creek Lutheran Church and the Synod’s Speaker’s Bureau, and founder of Join the Movement Events, Inc., a nonprofit anti-human trafficking organization. These workshops and presentations have been at our Biennial Convention, synod wide women’s events, and Conference Gatherings.

The women’s board has made donations to Cherish All Children, a service of Lutheran Social Services of Minnesota, that offers services to combat human trafficking, and to Dawn Heath’s Join the Movement Events, Inc., and Lutheran Social Services.

Articles to educate about human trafficking and updates about anti-human trafficking legislation appear regularly in our quarterly newsletter, The Trumpeter, which is available free via email. We have published annual prayers for ant-human trafficking before the Super Bowl for the past 3 years.

Local women’s units are also active in anti-human trafficking efforts. One example this year is St. Peter’s in Loganville that sponsored five forums on human trafficking and used My Neighbor Is Not For Sale, a resource by Cherish All Children, a service of Lutheran Social Services of Minnesota, available through WELCA.org

Nationally, Women of the ELCA also provide the following:

  • A staff person – Jennifer DeLeon, ELCA Director for Justice, who is responsible for providing resources, programs, and assistance on anti-human trafficking.

Resources on WELCA.org website

  • “My Neighbor is Not for Sale” is a four-part guide for adult education sessions, youth groups and more, produced by Cherish All Children, a service of Lutheran Social Services of Minnesota.
  • “UNDERSTANDING & RESPONDING TO HUMAN TRAFFICKING”, is a discussion study
  • Human Trafficking 101, a powerpoint of basic information

Exhibits at the 2015 & 2018 National ELCA Youth Gatherings on anti-sex-trafficking and collected kind gifts for anti-human trafficking organizations.

$2000 grant in 2015 to Lutheran Office for Public Policy (LOPPW) in Wisconsin for travel, supplies, printing, and speaker expenses for their project “Safe Harbor Campaign”, a statewide education program on Human Trafficking, held in 3 locations.

Thank you for your mission support that helps our church follow Jesus by putting our faith into
action to protect our most vulnerable. Sometimes your offerings that get sent on to the larger church
come back to our synod in forms of grants such as the once received by LOPPW. We are church together
for the sake of the world!

Governor Tony Evers signs AB 22-SB 25 into law as Act. 27 on November 20. (Helen Sheahan seen left in blue). Helen Sheahan representing WELCA and Rev. Cindy Crane and Intern Amelia Gonzales represented LOPPW. The bipartisan bill Governor Evers signed into law requires commercial driving education to include information on human trafficking and how to spot the signs of it. WELCA members from around the state were very active in advocating for this bill.

Mission Moment: Synod Prayer Team

South-Central Synod of Wisconsin Synod Prayer Team

 Did you know that the synod has a prayer team that actively prays for our synod?

 In a spirit of love and care for one another as rostered ministers of this synod, a Synod Prayer Team has been created to offer prayer for those times when a rostered minister would like either themselves or their loved ones to be lifted up in prayer. The synod prayer team also prays for our congregations, communities and our world.  We are the body of Christ together, and enfolding one another in prayer is a comforting and sustaining expression of this body.

Recently our team lifted in prayer Chaplain Mark Teslik and the community of Columbia Correctional Institution in Portage.   CCI was recently put on lock-down due to an incident of violence by an inmate against a staff member. 

 

Rev. Mark Teslik is a rostered leader in our synod, called to serve as a Chaplain to CCI providing spiritual care to this community that desperately needs to hear the good news and feel the presence of God.  Our team swiftly shared the prayer request for this beloved community.

 

Our team prays for our community leaders during legislative sessions that holy conversations would capture the hearts and imaginations of those participating for just and loving outcomes.

The members of the Synod Prayer Team are: Rev. Nancy Raabe, Rev. Lisa Nelson, Deacon Meg Nielsen, Diane Padrutt (co-chair), Deacon Judy Nolde (co-chair), Deacon Vicki Hanrahan, and Rev. Ken Smith.  If you would like the prayer team to pray for you, either contact the synod office or Deacon Judy Nolde who is coordinating the prayer team, at judynolde@sbcglobal.net (cell 608.219.4556). Deacon Judy then will send a prayer request by email to the prayer team asking for prayers.

Today, our team is holding in prayer the community of Wartburg Seminary on the loss of one of our beloved professors, colleague and friend in Rev. Dr. Gwen Sayler. 

 

To submit a prayer request, contact Deacon Judy Nolde at judynolde@sbcglobal.net or call her cell:  608.219.4556.

Mission Moment: Goodbye Cairo, Hello Passages

Goodbye Cairo, Hello Passages – Message from Rev. Kirsten Fryer

 

With great joy, I write with two updates.

First, this will be my last Cairo newsletter, as I am now settling into life in St. Paul, MN. I have been called to serve as pastor of Bethlehem Lutheran Church in the Midway. I started on September 15 and am getting settled into new routines, doing lots of listening, and have plenty to learn about St. Paul, our local neighborhood (Midway), and life back in America.
Joanna started preschool and is loving it. She is very excited to see “golden leaves” and experience her first real autumn. We’ll see how she feels when the snow starts to fly. It’s not in the forecast yet! She is also very excited about Sunday school at Bethlehem and looks forward to Sunday each week because “there will be lots of Sundays in St. Paul.” Justin is enjoying time to be a stay-at-home-dad as he figures out what is next for him.

Located a block west of Snelling and University (the busiest intersection in St. Paul), Bethlehem is rooted in the neighborhood and discerning what it means to be church in a changing neighborhood. Construction is scheduled to start in a few weeks on a new six-story residential building on the other side of our alley, and the Minnesota United soccer (I still say football after six years in Cairo!) stadium is across the street.

Like in Cairo, we share the space with others, including Open Hands Midway, a non-profit housed in the building that feeds the hungry through meals, a food pantry, and providing a welcome space. We also share space with House of Mercy, another ELCA congregation, who worship on Sunday evenings. I am excited to see what the Holy Spirit has in store for us and grateful for the opportunity to share some of the things I learned in Cairo with an urban American congregation.

We worship at 9:30 on Sundays. Open Hands serves lunch every Monday from noon until 2:00 pm. If you’re ever in the neighborhood, please stop by!

The second update is that Pastor Christie Manisto, and her husband, Steve Saari, are settling into life in Cairo. Their gifts are a perfect match for St. Andrew’s and I am so glad that they are there, accompanying our beloved siblings in Cairo. Please consider supporting them, as you have supported me–in prayer, financial support, and encouragement!

If you would like to continue to receive updates from Cairo, please email Christie.manisto@elca.org and/or Steven.saari@elca.org to be added to their newsletter list.

Click here for their most recent Passages newsletter. http://bit.ly/PassagesfromCairo

If you would like to receive the StARS newsletter, please email news@stars-egypt.org to be added to the list.
Thank you again for all of the ways you have supported and encouraged me over these six years. I will treasure our time in Cairo always, and look forward to figuring out how the Spirit is calling in years to come.

Mission Moment: LOPPW & WELCA Gather Around the Safe Harbor Human Trafficking Bill

Women of the ELCA & Lutheran Office for Public Policy Gather As Beloved Community
Around the Safe Harbor Hu
man Trafficking Bill
By Amelia Gonzales, LOPPW Intern

The Women of the ELCA and Lutheran Office for Public Policy in Wisconsin joined together to hold a rally on youth are impacted by sex trafficking on September 24.  The day began at Messiah Lutheran Church in Madison.  We then went to the capitol, equipped with information and faith-based responses to advocate for the Safe Harbor bill.  AB 41/AB 49 would move Wisconsin ahead in directing trafficked youth to receiving human services rather than criminalizing them.

We heard from Morgan Meadows, M. Ed., Survivor of sex trafficking and consultant in leadership and survivor advocacy, Door County; Bishop Jim Arends, La Crosse Area Synod; Jen DeLeon, National WELCA Director for Justice; Dana World Patterson and Jay Reinke, Milwaukee Joint Task Force on Human Trafficking; and Representative Jill Billings. District 95.

The Safe Harbor Rally was a chance to bring together people to support a very important piece of legislation that is currently making its way through the system. For someone who has been an advocate for human trafficking for three years now, the rally was a truly an amazing experience to be a part of.  Not only was it great to hear the amazing speakers from the Milwaukee Human Trafficking Task Force and a survivor of human trafficking, Morgan Meadows, but also to have the chance to speak to legislators about why the Safe Harbor Bill is needed in the state of Wisconsin. The day also gave me joy to see people come to the rally who perhaps weren’t familiar with the bill but were willing to learn more about it and to understand why it was needed.

The rally was also taught us why certain legislators weren’t in support of the Safe Harbor Bill and how to be that person to perhaps further educate legislators

Amelia Gonzales joined the Lutheran Office for Public Policy as a graduate student in social work at UW-Madison in September.  She comes to us via the university’s 4W-STREETS (Social Transformation to End the Sexual Exploitation and Trafficking for Sex) program. Amelia is a recent graduate in social work and sociology from UW Oshkosh.

Thank you for your mission support that helps ministries like this happen!

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.

ELEVENTH TRIENNIAL GATHERING SCHOLARSHIPS AVAILABLE – APPLY NOW! DUE OCTOBER 1, 2019
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 

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!

Mission Moment: God’s work. Our hands. 2019

Many of our congregations are participating in the ELCA day of service, “God’s work. Our Hands.” Some have participated on September 8, which is the day set aside by the ELCA if you wanted to participate when most other congregations were joining in. God’s work. Our hands. reminds us that We are Church, We are Church Together, We are Lutheran and We are Church for the Sake of the World! And our work is for all generations!

Mission Moment: ELCA Churchwide Assembly Recap

On August 5-10, our synod’s delegation of 18 joined nearly 1,000 members from 65 synods in Milwaukee for the ELCA 2019 Churchwide Assembly. Held every three years, “We are Church” was the theme of this year’s assembly, and the manifestation of that theme throughout did not disappoint. Read all three parts of the Mission Moment by clicking below.

Mission Moment: Young Adults in Global Mission

Each week we share a mission moment. Why do we call them mission moments? In short, because every time you put money in the offering plate at your congregation, you are supporting these missions of the wider church through the money that your congregation sends on to the synod in the form of MISSION SUPPORT. Some call this benevolence. The ELCA encourages us to refer to this in a more meaningful way by calling it Mission Support. YOU are supporting the missions of the ELCA at all three expressions…your congregation, your synod and churchwide and we THANK YOU for your offerings. This mission moment shows how you are helping to raise up leaders through Young Adults in Global Mission (YAGM) through ELCA HUNGER FELLOWSHIPS. A short video has been created about their experiences, and here also in writing is a reflection from one of those in our midst who ends her fellowship with LOPPW on August 12, Kelsey Johnson.

Many of us have had the pleasure of walking with (or sometimes running with!) Kelsey Johnson, Lutheran Office for Public Policy in Wisconsin Hunger Fellow and member of Midvale Lutheran Church. You may have seen her leading workshops at LEAD & Synod Assembly, addressing the Senate Committee hearing for the Human Trafficking bill, at the Immigration, Asylum & Our Response Forum, at the movie conversation, “Emanuel” and in the synod office to name a few. Kelsey has worked in the LOPPW office under the direction and guidance of LOPPW Director, Rev. Cindy Crane.

She writes, “I’m excited to share this short video about the ELCA hunger advocacy fellowship I’ve had the privilege of experiencing in the context of Wisconsin for the last year. The fellowship has been challenging, life-giving, invaluable, and has shaped my growth trajectory in profound ways. Thank you to the Lutheran Office for Public Policy in Wisconsin, the ELCA Advocacy state public policy network, and ELCA world hunger for empowering my voice and gifting me the experience to develop as a leader and advocate. Thank you to the 6 synods I’ve worked alongside in Wisconsin. I look forward to continuing these relationships as I continue candidacy for the next four years through the South-Central Synod of Wisconsin.

Also, a special thank you to the young adults/not so young adults I’ve served alongside this year. These have been and continue being transformative relationships and experiences I’m so deeply grateful to carry.”

Note: Kelsey Johnson is at the very end of the video:

ELCA Hunger Advocacy Fellows 2018-19

The summer #heat can be felt nation-wide, and so can contributions of Hunger Advocacy Fellows at 6 sites around the U.S. thanks to ELCA World Hunger in 2018-19. Peek into their roles & share the encouragement of their advocacy that moves us toward a just world & end to hunger.

Posted by ELCA Advocacy on Monday, July 22, 2019

https://www.facebook.com/elcaadvocacy/videos/561152794289517/

To learn more, also visit: www.elca.org/careers

Mission Moment: God’s Love Lets Us Retire!

God’s Love Lets Us Retire! But What Does That Look Like for Retired Pastors and Deacons in Our Synod?

Don’t let the word, “retirement,” fool you. In our beloved community of our synod, our retired clergy hardly stop moving when they retire. Retirement seems more like a state of mind than a slowing down. In fact, retired rostered ministers in our synod continue to serve in many different capacities and we are very grateful for that. But to them, it is about serving in a gentler way…taking sabbath as they need it…and choosing to serve in ways that feed their souls the most.

Perhaps who has said it best is recently retired pastor, Rev. Ken Schaub. Last Sunday, the members of St. John Evangelical Lutheran Church in Reedsburg participated in a sending service for their interim contract pastor, Rev. Ken Schaub. Ken had finished his one-year commitment to the congregation for interim ministry concurrently with announcing his retirement. In his words, “Now I know that I am not done. I know I will be riding a circuit for supply preaching around the synod…but maybe not during the winter in the hinterlands.” And that is true. Retired clergy can choose to say “no,” if they don’t want to drive to rural congregations during wintertime; they can choose the weekends in which preaching works for them; they can serve in short 5-week stints such as in teaching Diakonia courses. The beauty for our retired is that they design their retirement calls. Often time is spent in conversations with the synod staff person, Rev. Steve Kotte, who helps our rostered navigate the waters of retirement.

This is a joyous time for our retired as they get to combine all their passions…continuing to preach on occasion, (as exhorting the good news to their flocks is one of the things they often miss the most), but they can lean into other passions be it spending time with grandchildren, spouses, children, hobbies, travel, or just being!

I seem to be specializing in “sending services” these days and have in the past two months sent off two pastors to their retirement. Pastor Mark Peterson recently retired after serving as contract interim at Faith Lutheran Church in Columbus. During his final children’s sermon, Pastor Mark shared that he was looking forward to spending more time with his grandchildren, but that there will be a little spot in his heart that will need a band aid for his missing the children of Faith Lutheran church who endeared themselves to Pastor Mark. Transitions can be bittersweet and we recognize that it’s not easy for congregations and members to say good bye to each other. But say good bye we must as we send them on to other parts of God’s kingdom.

Ways that retired pastors serve are numerous! They serve as:
* Interim contract pastors
* Synod Committees
* Pulpit Supply
* diakonia Instructors
* Synod’s Speaker’s Bureau
* Volunteer in the synod office
* Guest Preachers for Thursday Worship in the Synod Chapel

To keep our rostered retired and those with spouses connected, quarterly gatherings are held that include a meal, fellowship and updates. Former Bishop, Rev. George Carlson is the chair of the retired clergy group and organizes these gatherings. Another way our retired serve!

Pastor Rich Johnson (formerly pastor of All Saints, Fitchburg and now retired) serves as a Diakonia instructor and recently taught an excellent class on Christian Worship.
God’s love makes us new each day. For all of our retired, we continue to be grateful that they consider serving us in new ways. They are on our roster of ministers, are invited to synod events and are considered to be actively serving, until they tell us otherwise!