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!

Webinar: Engaging Service Members, Veterans, and their Families Through Faith-Based Partnerships

Date: November 14, 2019
Time: 1:30 – 3:00 p.m. ET

To register:  https://zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_2ooM86pgQXmuy7KQ9lISAg

Faith-based organizations often serve as a trusted source of help and connection for many Service Members, Veterans, and Military Families (SMVF). An increasing number of faith-based organizations and leaders not only assist with the spiritual needs of SMVF but also provide support with many areas related to readjustment and strengthening resiliency, wellness, and recovery. They are often referred to as “force multipliers” due to their help and support to so many SMVF on the path to positive behavioral health and well-being.

This webinar will provide information that will help participants to engage, educate, inform, and partner with faith-based leaders, non-profit organizations, and communities in support of and responding to the behavioral health needs of SMVF.

Learning Objectives

  • Recognize the spiritual and emotional needs of SMVF and better understand the role that faith-based communities can play in SMVF community integration and transition
  • Facilitate information dissemination for expanding and growing partnerships between communities and faith-based organizations
  • Provide examples and lessons learned for convening faith-based learning events, bringing faith-based, community, and SMVF partners together to help prevent SMVF suicides and address other mental health needs
  • Share relevant resources and tools to faith-based and community organizations in order to support SMVF and their caregivers
  • Identify training events and resources as well as explore opportunities for strengthening partnerships and coordination

If you have any questions about your registration, please contact Phil Paty at (518) 439-7415, ext. 5272, or by email at ppaty@prainc.com.

PREPARE/ENRICH Training and Refresher Training Programs

PREPARE/ENRICH is a customized couple assessment completed online that identifies a couple’s strength and growth areas. Based on a couple’s assessment results, a trained facilitator provides feedback sessions in which the facilitator helps the couple discuss and understand their results as they are taught proven relationship skills.  This is intended for couples that are seriously dating or engaged.

There are several goals of the PREPARE/ENRICH Program.  In order to achieve these goals, there are exercises designed to help couples improve their relationship skills.  The program helps couples:

  • Explore strength and growth areas
  • Strengthen communication skills
  • Identify and manage major stressors
  • Resolve conflict using the Ten Step Model
  • Develop a more balanced relationship
  • Explore family of origin issues
  • Discuss financial planning and budgeting
  • Establish personal, couple and family goals
  • Understand and appreciate personality differences

The next training will be held on Thursday, October 31, from 9-4:00 p.m. and is intended for both first time training and for those wishing a refresher training.  Fee for the initial training is $235 or $50 for a refresher training for those previously trained.   For more information contact:  Dan Feaster, 608-663-0763 ext. 200 or dfeaster@samaritancounselingcenterwi.org.

Apply Now for the 2020 Contemplative Renewal Cohort

Are you looking for ways to be renewed in your pastoral work and sense of call? As you encounter the demands of ministry in a changing and challenging time, would you benefit from time away to deepen your spirit?

The Ecumenical Center for Clergy Spiritual Renewal (ECCSR) hosts a two-year “Contemplative Renewal” for early and mid-career clergy. The cohort of 19 men and women will discover renewal through the rhythms of prayer, Benedictine spirituality and community at Holy Wisdom Monastery, an ecumenical monastery outside of Madison, WI.

Early and mid-career ordained pastors, currently serving half-time or more in a congregational setting, are invited to apply starting October 1, 2019 for the next cohort, to begin in July of 2020. Funded by a Thriving in Ministry Grant from the Lilly Endowment, this unique experience is available at no cost.

For more information:

Co-Director Rev. Jerry Buss (608) 836-1631 ext. 163 or Co-Director Rev. Nancy Enderle (608) 836-1631 ext. 114 or visit: www.holywisdommonastery.org/eccsr.

Clergy Leadership Group

The Samaritan Center of Southern Wisconsin, announces a Pastor Leadership Seminar for all area clergy. The Seminar’s goal is to improve leadership skills for today’s ministry. Clergy present case studies of challenging situations in their churches, which require their leadership. Participants then receive peer feedback for fresh perspectives. Some readings, specifically focused on pastoral leadership will be discussed.

A Family Systems Theory Model will also be utilized. The agenda for the group includes case leadership presentation and book discussion along with other topics determined by the participants.

The leadership seminar will be led by Dan Feaster, executive director, and pastoral counselor and ASSIST provider of the Samaritan Counseling Center. Sessions will be held on Tuesdays once a month, from 11 AM -2 PM (working lunch) for a total of eight sessions. Leadership group will start October 22. Fee for the leadership group is $300.

Some possible topics might include:

  • How do I deal with difficult members?
  • What are some effective ways of resolving conflict without being victimized?
  • How do I continue to pastor when I am running out of energy or becoming discouraged?
  • How can I better accept my limitations as a person?
  • How do I deal with my emotions when ministering in tragic situations?
  • How do I develop cooperative leadership strategies with my co-pastor?
  • What do I do when I am leading but few are following?
  • How do I survive in a system, which is consuming me?
  • How do I retire from a vocation?

For more information or to register contact:
Dan Feaster
Phone: 608-663-0763 ext. 200
E-mail: dfeaster@samaritancounselingcenterwi.org
Samaritan Counseling Center

Pastoral Letter on Retired Pastors

A message from Bishop Viviane Thomas-Breitfeld:

October 16, 2018

“To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under heaven”
(Ecclesiastes 3:1)

Dear Siblings in Christ:

I remember the day when I was ordained, a day filled with joy and humbleness for the calling I had received. It was the day that started a new season in my life. As I entered this challenging and rewarding way to live out my baptismal calling, the axiom was “30 years and out,” but I couldn’t imagine that I would ever want to retire. As I start this new call as your bishop, though beyond 30 years of service, I’m not looking to be out of this wonderous life of serving the people of God.

I imagine that pastors who are retiring, or retired, feel much the same. The challenge is how to graciously move into the new calling God has placed before you – a calling to live as a retired pastor. It is time to engage in ministry in a new way. It is a new season in your life of serving God. I’m certain you loved being a parish pastor engaging in a wide variety of ministries, from visiting the sick, comforting the bereaved, welcoming the stranger, teaching, preaching, administering, strategizing, and loving the people whom God had called you to love. Yet, you have now been called to a new season and a different way of serving, leaving the people that you have grown to love. I know this must be hard. I experienced that difficulty in leaving the congregation that I loved to take this new call as bishop. But leave we must – to every thing there is a season.

Our ELCA governing documents are clear: “A retired pastor should not remain a member of the congregation served at the time of retirement. Transferring one’s membership to another congregation allows the successor pastor to assume pastoral leadership more readily. It also provides an opportunity for the retired pastor to enter fully into the life of a different congregation with clarity about the pastor’s retired role.” (ELCA Roster Manual, p. 37) Our constitution clarifies that pastors are not to exercise any ministerial functions in congregations which they do not serve unless they are invited by the pastor or interim pastor. (SCSW Constitution, S14.19)

In my short time of service as the bishop of this synod, I have become aware that, while these provisions are widely understood, they are not widely embraced, and in too many cases, they are not being followed. Although I recognize that these
guidelines may be viewed as harsh and against the stated desire of many pastors and congregations, I am finding that whenever they are not followed, congregational life and vitality are hindered. My call is to be the synod’s pastor having primary responsibility for the ministries of Word and Sacrament and Word and Service in this synod and its congregations.

As my staff and I accompany congregations in transition, we will be including in our work the clear and firm expectation that retired pastors not retain their membership nor be involved in the congregations from which they retire. I know this is difficult. I know that it involves a painful separation from people we have come to know and love deeply, but I also know that this is a necessary step if our congregations are going to enter the next chapter of their life and ministry on healthy terms.

We will provide resources to assist our leaders (lay and clergy) with the transitions you face. My door is always open to you. I welcome your comments, questions and prayers as we seek to enter into a new commitment to assist congregations to enter into the next season of vitality and healthy ministry.

Blessings and Peace,

Bishop Viviane Thomas-Breitfeld
South-Central Synod of Wisconsin, ELCA

pdf of pastoral letter