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.

2020 Triennial Gathering Tours

Learn more about Phoenix and surrounding areas through specially curated tours offered exclusively by Women of the ELCA.

Join a tour!

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

Accompanist (Fitchburg)

All Saints is seeking a part time pianist to accompany our classic service at 8:30 am, our New Song band at 10:45 am (practice at 9:40am), and on requests for funerals & special services. Position description provided on request.  Send resumes to office@allsaints-madison.org.

Have Yourself a Dairy Little Christmas!

Just one dairy cow can produce as many as three gallons of milk each day. It’s a reliable source of nutrition and income — the total package for a family in need. Your gift comes with a free, limited-edition card to help you give in honor of someone special. Give creative, memorable gifts this Christmas, and share God’s love in Christ with our neighbors in need.
To shop the ELCA Good Gifts catalog and/or order: https://community.elca.org/emailviewonwebpage.aspx?erid=83a45702-17a9-49f3-b218-b53bb65a0884&trid=83a45702-17a9-49f3-b218-b53bb65a0884

Please note the synod office will be closed from December 24 through January 2 for Christmas and New Year’s.

What Matters will be on hiatus until January 8. Please call the synod office for pastoral emergencies for pastor-on-call contact information.
A blessed Christmas to all of our congregations and partners from Bishop Thomas-Breitfeld and your synod staff!

The Synod’s Speaker’s Bureau Announces The Newest Speaker Available To Come To Your Congregation!

Introducing: Dawn Heath
Topic: Human Trafficking & Internet & Social Media Safety
Join the Movement organizes community conversations about human trafficking specifically, internet safety and social media and how it plays into human trafficking. How we as a community can protect our neighbors, friends, children from predators before it’s too late. Human Trafficking is in all 72 counties in the State of Wisconsin. The Traffickers/Predators are becoming more sophisticated right along with the technology industry. Even our laws can’t keep up with the ongoing changes in technology…but, predators are. Law enforcement can’t do it all and they need the help of communities coming together to assist this battle. Dawn has given presentations all over the state and is happy to come to your congregation to build awareness and help you to improve your safety measures.

About Dawn: Dawn is a mom of three sons with 2 daughters-in-law and Nana to 1 granddaughter and 2 grandsons. Her family is her greatest blessing. Her parents are missionaries who serve at a Wisconsin State correctional facility in S.E. Wisconsin. Dawn has spent her whole life advocating for those in need.

Dawn is the Family and Outreach Ministry Coordinator at Sugar Creek Lutheran Church and serves as the current President of the Elkhorn Rotary Club. Her passion is threefold: for her family, her work at Sugar Creek Lutheran Church and for Join the Movement Events, Inc., educating our community on what human trafficking is and how to protect our neighborhoods. She became aware of this great need for Wisconsin at her Rotary District conference 2 years ago. Since that time Dawn has been organizing large group awareness events that are county wide initiatives and small community conversations. She has spoken in churches, hospitals, support groups, community service organizations, youth groups, college campuses, and libraries. Wherever the need is and a request comes to her, Dawn is dedicated to educating ourselves and our neighbors what we should be looking for and what to do when we see it.

Dawn is now the Rotary District #6270 Anti-Human Trafficking Ad-Hoc Committee Chair and brings education to area business leaders through Rotary International. She also founded and is President of Join the Movement Events, Inc. to stop human trafficking, a 501c3 non-profit with a mission to bring community education at the ground level. She also specializes in social media awareness and internet safety. Dawn is an advocate for victims, helping them with the resources needed to make the changes in their lives. She is also a founding member of the Walworth County Anti-Human Trafficking Task Force.

To schedule Dawn to speak in your congregation:
PHONE: 262-374-1491
EMAIL: dtheath16@gmail.com
WEBSITE URL: www.jtme-inc.org
PDF INFO SHEET

If You Have Never Visited the Bold Café Site, You Really Don’t Know What You Are Missing!

About Bold Café
Café is an online magazine and podcast for and with young adult women who identify as Lutheran or not.
Café shares stories written by bold young women who write about faith, relationships, advocacy and more. Readers and writers of Café include pastors, seminary and college students, and other young adult women who use Café as a Bible study resource individually or with a group.
Although many women in their 20s and 30s contribute in every issue, Café can be used and shared by women of all ages. It has wonderful short stories, bible study resources and more. We encourage you to check it out!

https://www.boldcafe.org/podcasts/.

Congregational Conversations December and January

The coming months are an important time for congregational involvement! As you share the love of Jesus & prepare for Advent and Christmas, please also set aside congregational time for important synod-related stewardship conversations:

1. Congregational mission support conversation: Mission support refers to the dollars that congregations generously share with the synod to support our shared ministry of developing leaders, equipping congregations and accompanying global partners.

2. Tools for Holy Conversations About Mission Support: All congregations will be mailed two letters: One was addressed to your congregation’s treasurer from Bishop Thomas-Breitfeld that was mailed last Thursday and one letter to be sent soon from the Synod Vice President, Jane Cahill Wolfgram asking you to consider a specific dollar amount for your 2019 intent. Please carve out time at your next council meeting to discuss the dollar amount your congregation feels compelled to share with the synod through mission support in 2019.

Resources and additional information:

Are you interested in volunteering at YOUR synod office?

It’s easy and fun and you can sign-up below. We need 4 volunteers this Thursday, November 29th, If you have any problems or questions please call Robyn Zimmerman at the synod office, 608.270-0201.
http://signup.com/go/HpzTium

Congregations feel free to share on your church Facebook or web page through Thursday.