Breaking Down Walls – ELCA Global Mission

Greetings, dear friends in Christ!

On Nov. 9, 2019, the world will commemorate the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. As we look back to remember this important moment in human history, we are reminded that there is much work to be done to tear down the walls that divide us today.

Galatians 3:28 reminds us that in Christ all that separates and divides us no longer holds sway over us. There is no longer Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female — all are made one in Christ Jesus. In him the walls we have built are brought down so that we might see each other as siblings, each made in the image of God.

My friends, I encourage you, your congregations and your communities to join together in proclaiming this truth — that we are one human family. Just as tens of thousands of people gathered in nonviolent protest in the streets of Leipzig, Germany, in the “Peaceful Revolution” of 1989, so, too, are we called in this moment to advocate for an end to division and oppression in our own communities and throughout the world. This is a significant moment in our denominational history, as the ELCA recently declared itself a sanctuary church body at the 2019 Churchwide Assembly. This is a moment for breaking down walls.

Here you will find an array of resources that we hope will assist your community of faith in remembering those who have helped bring down walls in the past and those seeking just and peaceful ways to bring down the walls in our midst today. Included as part of these resources is a special liturgy that I hope you’ll use in your own candlelight vigil or service of remembrance this fall. The liturgy is patterned after the weekly prayer services that were held at St. Nicholas Church in Leipzig, Germany, during the Cold War, services that many believe helped topple the Berlin Wall and end the war itself.


As we gather to celebrate this Peaceful Revolution — and its Lutheran roots — let us pray for and advocate on behalf of those divided and oppressed by other walls. Let us hold in prayer the people of Palestine, those on the U.S.-Mexico border, and all places where we build barriers, in our communities and in our hearts.

Come, Holy Spirit, lead us to unity and peace.


The Rev. Rafael Malpica Padilla
Executive Director for Global Mission
Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

4th Annual Faith in Numbers, hosted by Wegner CPAs

The 4th Annual Faith in Numbers, hosted by Wegner CPAs, is two weeks away and we want to make sure you are there!

This day is filled with relevant breakout sessions including

  • What Policies Do I need In My Congregation?
  • Donor-Advised Funds: An Introduction and Key Strategies;
  • Key Performance Indicators: Track What is Important to You;
  • Does Culture Matter? Roundtable; Funding & Facilitating Construction with a Frugal Mindset;
  • Seven Ways to Fail Your Donors;
  • High Functioning Church Boards – How to be the best!

All of these sessions are filled with tips that you can take straight back to your organization and implement. The impact of this day is made not only with the presentations but through all of the connections created between the attendees of this conference. Collaborate with other churches, listen to other organization’s pain points, share your success stories, and make this conference our best one yet!

Please click HERE to see the full agenda. and register for the event.

One of our very own pastors is on the panel of the 12:45 breakout session, Rev. Jim Hearne, Barneveld Lutheran Church!

Equipping the Saints: 2019 Military Caregiver Resource Directory

Several of our rostered with hearts for the care of Veterans and active duty service members in their communities have participated in Community Clergy Training Programs for caring for our veterans. They continue to gather to learn more about their special needs and ways to serve and support them. We all have service members that we know, so it helpful to stay abreast of the resources that are available to them so that we can be better caregivers and friends. A new resource has been released to do just that and we offer it here for your consideration. A special thank you to Retired Naval Captain, Connie Walker, who continues to support our synod with connections to valuable resources to help us serve this beloved community.

About the Resource:

Service members, families and caregivers, the Department of Defense Military Caregiver Support 2019 Caregiver Resource Directory (CRD) has officially been released and is ready for download. The annual update includes 114 pages of resources, organizations, agencies, and programs that assist and support families and caregivers of wounded, ill and injured Service Members and Veterans. The CRD is an enriched source of information from childcare, education and training, healthcare needs, legal assistance, rest and relaxation, to peer support, mentoring, and so much more. The Directory is essentially a one-stop-shop for questions and concerns about support, assistance, and awareness for those who are new to the change or experienced caregivers.

The resources provided in the CRD have gone through a rigorous review and vetting process to ensure that Service Members, Veterans, and their caregivers are receiving accurate, timely, and pertinent information. The easy-to-use guide uses icons to assist with accessing certain information quicker, such as, DoD programs, non-profit organizations, 24/7 availability, smartphone apps, and resources that are available in Spanish. The CRD is also a good source of self-care programs and awareness for caregivers. With the assistance of Personalized Experiences, Engagement and Resources (PEER) Support Coordinators, it is in their daily routine to provide additional support and navigation to workshops, networks, seminars, education and training that will ease and help understand the challenges of being a caregiver.
In certain situations, caregivers may be given respite assistance or compensation. To get more information on respite assistance or compensation, contact a regional PEER Support Coordinator in your area.

To download a digital copy of the CRD or to request a hard copy, please go to:

If you would like more information, connect with two of the synod’s Veteran’s Support Ministry Team members:

Rev. Todd Iverson – Immanuel Evangelical (Watertown)
Rev. Joe Brosius – Good Shepherd (Madison/Verona)

New Speaker on the Synod Speaker’s Bureau – Rev. Dr. Stephen Bouman! 

Rev. Dr. Stephen Bouman!  Yes…you heard correctly!  Dr. Bouman was our keynote speaker for LEAD this year and as ever, received an overwhelmingly positive response by our attendees.  So we are extremely excited to introduce him as one of our newest speakers to the synod’s Speaker’s Bureau.

As he is now retired from his call to the ELCA churchwide office as Executive Director of the Domestic Mission of the ELCA, he has started his own consulting business, 3 Roads Consulting.

He is available to work with your congregation in the areas of congregational renewal, community ministries and leadership training.  As ever, you work directly with our speakers to make arrangements and negotiate details.  See the synod’s website for his contact information.

 Link to Speaker’s Bureau page:

All Things Annual! 4 Things Needing Attention

#1 Your Annual Meetings Are Here!

We suggest that you wrap your annual reports in a beautiful ELCA-provided cover that includes an inspiring message from Presiding Bishop Eaton and litany. The covers are FREE, you pay only shipping.
Order these from the ELCA through their website:
There will not be an annual report letter from Bishop Thomas-Breitfeld. She desires and encourages congregations to use the letter from Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton provided here:


Remember to include in your annual meeting agenda the election of your voting members for Synod Assembly, May 4 & 5, 2019. Don’t forget to include extra for youth & Young adults. If you have any questions about who you can send, this chart of formulas for determining the number of voting members in which to send to Synod Assembly may be helpful:
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 either gender.
Rostered Ministers:
Clergy – All clergy 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 clergy under call in the synod are expected to register for and attend the assembly. Each registered clergy has one vote at the assembly, even if they are serving more than one congregation or ministry site.
Associates in Ministry and Diaconal Ministers – All lay rostered leaders under call in this synod are voting members of the synod assembly and are expected to register for and attend the assembly. Each rostered lay leader 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.

#3 Report to the Bishop from Ministers of Word and Sacrament and Ministers of Word and Service Are Due February 4.

Ministers of Word and Sacrament Currently Serving in a Call:
In an effort to receive information that is more valuable to the Bishop in understanding your needs and how best to support your ministry, you will be receiving a communication from the Bishop’s Administrative Assistant, Robyn Zimmerman with a totally new form for your annual reports to the bishop. Please use the new form instead of the ELCA form. Thank you!

Ministers of Word and Service Currently Serving in a Call:
You will receive a communication from Robyn Zimmerman with a link to the form that you should use for your report to the bishop. Please do take the time to fill this out and submit it to the synod office. Thank you!

#4 – Nominations and Resolutions for 2019

Congregational Presidents and Rostered Ministers  received a letter from the synod Vice President, Jane Cahill Wolfgram, with information about bringing resolutions and nominations to the assembly. Please pay attention to the timelines for these. Nominations and Resolutions forms can be downloaded here. They are due to the synod office by February 28th at 4:30.

Assembly Nomination Form 2019 FINALFillable

2019 Assembly Resolution Form

Message from Bishop Eaton

ELCA presiding bishop pastoral letter on UMC decision

2/27/2019 6:00:00 PM

Dear Church,

This morning at worship in the Churchwide Office we sang;

God, when human bonds are broken, and we lack the love or skill
To restore the hope of healing, give us grace and make us still…
Give us faith to be more faithful, give us hope to be more true,
Give us love to go on learning: God, encourage and renew. (ELW 603)

These words speak to many aspects of our current world.  Today they resonate especially with our continuing prayers for our full communion partner, The United Methodist Church (UMC), and, as they call themselves, for all “the people called Methodists.”

Yesterday the 2019 General Conference, the UMC’s highest legislative body, voted to affirm the church’s current prohibitions of “ordaining LGBTQ clergy and officiating at or hosting same-sex marriage.” (You can read about this decision at This special General Conference had been called for this issue only; in the end, delegates turned away from a plan recommended by their Council of Bishops, which allowed for diversity in local practice, to embrace instead this “Traditional Plan.”

Many of you today are asking the good Lutheran question, “What does this mean?” The implications of the decisions of the General Conference are not yet fully apparent: the Judicial Council must review controversial provisions later this year, and in any case the rippling consequences for ecclesial life will take much longer to work themselves out. Yet it seems clear that the conclusion of this process has not brought the greater unity for which so many longed.

What we can say with certainty is that as the UMC takes its next steps, we in the ELCA will continue to walk with our full communion partner. We treasure the joyful memories of the 2009 Churchwide Assembly, where, in a near unanimous vote, we entered into this relationship. We are grateful also for the common witness, deepened friendships and shared ministries that have been the fruits of this decision. This relationship, and our commitment, have become woven into who we are as this church. Our life together as churches is a shared life together in Christ.

We remember also that the same 2009 Assembly decided to open the way for those in same-gender relationships to serve as pastors. This week, as we watched the impassioned debates on the plenary floor in St. Louis, we recognized that these costly struggles are familiar from our own recent history, and acknowledge that some amongst us have experienced re-traumatization. In our present experience also, we have not fully grown into the commitments we have made. Yet, though a controversial decision at the time, our 2009 action has brought strength and blessings for our life and mission beyond what we could have imagined a decade ago. This church treasures the faithful ministries of those rostered leaders who help us witness to God’s love and invitation for all people. Their ministries are integral to who we are as this church.

I ask this church, then, to continue by the side of the UMC, exchanging gifts and sharing burdens. In particular, we pray for them in their continued efforts faithfully to be church in the contexts we share.  As we pray for them, we pray also for this church: may we be faithful to the calling to which we have been called, willing to confess our shortcomings and to trust in the healing, challenge and surprise of the Spirit of God, who calls us always forward.

In Christ,

The Rev. Elizabeth A. Eaton
Presiding Bishop

All Things Annual! Your Annual Meetings Are Right Around the Corner

We suggest that you wrap your annual reports in a beautiful ELCA-provided cover that includes an inspiring message from Presiding Bishop Eaton and litany. The covers are FREE, you pay only shipping.
Order these from the ELCA through their website:
And remember to include in your annual meeting agenda the election of your voting members for Synod Assembly, May 4 & 5, 2019. Don’t forget to include extra for youth & Young adults. If you have any questions about who you can send, contact the synod office.

Did You Know That The Elca Website Offers A Multitude Of Downloadable Resources?

We encourage you to visit the ELCA website often to learn what our church is up to. You are after all, a very important participant of our church! Especially visit the “RESOURCES page.” There you will find a plethora of information including such things as:

  • Tools and graphics and downloadable art files for congregations that help you to invite members and visitors to your worship
  • The ELCA logo for designing your letterhead and branding for your websites
  • Our theology and Lutheran lens on matters of social importance, called “Social Statements.”
  • Administrative Tools and Archiving Guidelines
  • Call process
  • Worship resources
  • and a whole lot more!

Check it out:

Meet the Synod Vicars!

For the past 24 hours the interns, “Vicars” from our synod have gathered with the other interns and supervisors in the ELCA from Illinois, Missouri, and Wisconsin.

Our synod has five Wartburg seminary students serving as Vicars (pastoral interns) this year. We are grateful to the pastors who accompany them where they serve.

Rev. Michael Short & Jon Dolan – First English (Platteville)
Rev. Matt Poock & Maria Bonine – St. John’s (Evansville)
Rev. Mark Williamson & Kate Kieckhafer – Grace (Dodgeville)
Rev. Fred Rilling & Elisabeth Pynn Himmelman – St. John’s (Prairie Du Sac)
Rev. John Twiton & Jason Xiong – Evangelical Lutheran – (Mt. Horeb)

We invite you to include them in your intercessory prayers during worship and then hold them daily in your prayers as they journey in faith!