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!

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.

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


TEXT GIVE to: (608) 571-1576
or give here:
As we lean into Advent, a time of expectant waiting for the greatest gift of all, Jesus, we ask you to give back to God by giving a gift to your beloved faith community. This year, we are asking you to donate to the Bishop’s Discretionary Fund. This Bishop’s Discretionary Fund is a restricted fund that is intended to give the bishop complete discretion and authority to provide confidential financial support to people in need. In our synod these monies have often been used to assist rostered leaders in times of crisis, such as was done recently to provide emergency funds for travel surrounding the unexpected death of a family member. They are also used for expenses related to the exercise of ministry not otherwise provided in the synod’s budget. Much like a Pastor’s Discretionary Fund in a congregation are disbursed by the pastor, the Bishop’s Discretionary Funds are disbursed at the  direction of the Bishop who is the chief pastor of the congregations, rostered leaders and institutions of the synod.
In the congregation, sources for discretionary funds vary. Some set aside days when loose offerings are designated for the fund. Often clergy deposit monies received from baptisms, weddings and funerals to the fund. As the Bishop does not have these sources for the fund, at times we seek a special offering at an event to replenish the fund. We are at such a time as the Fund has less than a $300 balance.

A gift to the Bishop’s Discretionary Fund is a gift to the Synod and not a gift to the Bishop. The Bishop is to be
considered to be in a position very similar to that of a trustee, managing funds that belong to the synod. On this
Giving Tuesday we invite you to give to the Bishop’s Discretionary Fund. This is one way to be church together
caring for siblings in Christ.

Thank you for your prayerful consideration!

Rural/Small Town Ministry Conference November 18

A Conversation to Take Small Town & Rural Ministry Into God’s Future

November 18, 2018 from 2:00 – 6:00 pm (Registration at 1:30 pm)
Sugar Creek Lutheran Church
N5690 Cobblestone Road
Elkhorn, WI 53121

This event is to introduce a new rural/small town ministry leadership partnership between Wartburg Theological Seminary, the synod and Sugar Creek Lutheran Church – Elkhorn.  The purpose is to offer a training resource for rural and small town ministry that builds faith, relationships, and service.

Join the Director for the Center for Theology and Land, Dr. Mark Yackel-Juleen, Director of Small Town & Rural Ministry for the Center for Theology & Land, on November 18 as he leads us through conversations about:

  • Small town and rural ministry and culture
  • The development and administration of multi-point parishes
  • Care of creation and theology and practice
  • Rural mission development

This conversation is designed to gather 3-4 leaders from each congregation including pastors, deacons and lay leaders.

At this gathering, we will discuss:

  • Congregational joys and concerns.
  • Obstacles and distractions.
  • Future collaboration and mutual support
  • The process and commitment
  • And what rural/small town gathering would be complete without a potluck supper!  Everyone is asked to bring a dish to pass!

Registration 1:30 pm
Program:  2:00 pm
Pot Luck Dinner & Conversation:  5:00 pm

Sugar Creek will provide the hot dishes. Please brung a cold dish or dessert to share!

Event is FREE. We are grateful to Sugar Creek Lutheran Endowment for covering the costs.

Please register by November 9 by calling the synod office at (608) 270-0201


More information will follow in a couple days, but we will need to change this date due to a conflict in the Bishop’s Calendar that we were just made aware of by our ELCA churchwide office.  Please remove the 2nd from your calendars.  We will announce the new date as soon as possible.  We apologize for any inconvenience.

Lutheran World Relief Boxcar Loading this Saturday!

The LWR In-gathering will be held on Saturday, October 13 – 7:00 am – 11:00 am
at the Wisconsin Southern Railroad Yard, 1890 E. Johnson Street – Madison


For instructions on boxing up your kits, please visit the Lutheran World Relief Website at: and click on “Get Involved.”

Additional Drop Off Location:
1025 15th Avenue
Monroe, WI
(one block north of Grace Lutheran Church)

Drop off hours:  Monday through Friday, Oct. 8-12, from 9am to 4 pm
Questions:  Contact Site Coordinator,  Beth Faith at 608-325-9172

Event sponsored by Madison Area Jail Ministry
Event Location with map

Note: Correction to Visitation Location on Tuesday evening for Rev. Mark Molldrem

In the living hope of the resurrection, the South-Central Synod of Wisconsin announces the death of Rev. Mark Molldrem who died Friday afternoon, September 28.

Funeral service will be held at First Evangelical Lutheran Church, 311 West Mackie Street, in Beaver Dam on Wednesday, October 3 at 11:00 a.m.

Visitations will be held at the Cornerstone Funeral Home, 135 Keller Boulevard, Beaver Dam on Tuesday evening from 5:00 – 7:30 pm and two hours before the service on Wednesday from 9:00 – 11:00 am at the church.

Please hold his wife, Shirley, and their family in your prayers.

Attention All Singers and Choir Directors!  Here’s a Learning Op Designed for YOU!

Do you know singers who are feeling a bit rusty after taking the summer off? Do you know adult singers who wonder about changes in their voices as they age?

The Madison Choral Project would like to invite such singers to attend our Master Class Series:

“Active Aging and the Voice: voice changes are not just for teenagers”

As we enter the Third Age* of our lives, we experience changes with our voices. As our larynx and lungs experience the same aging issues that our legs and back do, we may notice a breathy timbre, larger vibrato, narrower range, new breaks, less stamina, and less flexibility. Though the fountain of youth remains a mystery, we can offer practical exercises and medical insights to keep you singing into and through the Third Age.

Educate yourself about what you can do to guide your voice into and through the Third Age. Professional singer/educators from the Madison Choral Project will lead three sessions to help you navigate these changes and keep you singing for life. Led by MCP conductor & artistic director, Albert Pinsonneault; MCP singers/church choir directors Kathleen Otterson and Jen Terhune Streit (Madison Christian Community); and speech pathologist/voice specialist Brienne Ruel, M.A., CCC-SLP, our goals are to help people understand the changes in their voices and increase their confidence to keep people singing as long as possible.

Dates:  October 14, 21 and 28 from 3:30 – 5:00 pm.   Cost:  $60

Register online:

Hymn of Hope for Disaster Situations:  Message from the Bishop

Good Afternoon Church,

As you know, I like to sing.  As we are still dealing with the aftermath of the flooding in our synod, I found a hymn by one of the most prolific contemporary hymn writers around, Carolyn Winfrey Gillette.  I share it with you as a resource as we continue in recovery.

“Oh God We’ve Prayed in Wind and Rain”

As we seem to be on the brink of another pending disaster for our siblings in the Carolinas and Virginia, we are reminded that we are not alone in our struggles due to weather calamities.  Blessings as you continue to do recovery.  Be careful to observe safe practices.

~ Bishop Viviane Thomas-Breitfeld