Webinar: “Document Detention: Justice for Palestinian Children”  

You’re invited to join Churches for Middle East Peace (CMEP) for a LIVE webinar,

Date: Monday, July 30th
Time: 11:00 am-12:00 pm EST

RSVP Required: Please register to receive a link to the LIVE webinar

Link: http://org2.salsalabs.com/o/5575/p/salsa/event/common/public/?event_KEY=87849

Each year, approximately 500-700 Palestinian minors in the West Bank between the ages 12-17 are prosecuted in the Israeli military court system. The widespread mistreatment of Palestinian youth within this system is well-documented: children are denied access to their parents or a lawyer and often sign confessions of guilt in Hebrew, a language they likely cannot understand.

Join on July 30th to hear from Brad Parker and Farah Bayadasi from Defense for Children International-Palestine (DCIP) in a conversation facilitated by CMEP’s Rev. Dr. Mae Elise Cannon. This event will be a unique opportunity to hear from legal experts on the subject of child justice and mistreatment of Palestinian youth in Israeli military detention centers. You will also learn about opportunities to advocate on behalf of Palestinian youth with your congressional representatives. This webinar is part of CMEP’s Summer 2018 joint campaign with DCIP: Demand Child Justice: Document Detention in the occupied Palestinian territories.


“Listening for God – Walking with Jesus” – Synod-Wide Women’s Fall Retreat

Saturday, September 22, 2018
at New Life (St. Matthew’s) Lutheran Church
7564 Cottage Grove Road, on the east side of Madison
Handicap accessible.  Free Childcare Provided.

Please join us and find renewal in this day-long retreat dedicated to listening for the voice of the Holy One in our lives.  Explore what might be when we walk through life with that Voice as the core of all we are and all we do.  Presenter Carla Stanton is a certified spiritual director from the La Crosse area.

Workshop options:  Prayer Practices & Creative Expression; Worshipping through Dance & Movement; or Walking, Strength, and Balance Activities for Health

Come spend the day with your sisters in Christ. This retreat is intended for women of all ages and stage of life. You are welcome to come even if your church does not have women’s group.  Bring a friend.

Registration starts at 8:30 am, Program starts at 9:30, Closing at 3:30 pm
Questions: 608-692-7553  or   sheahan1@sbcglobal.net
For more information: https://scsw-elca.org/event/welca-fallretreat2018/

Watch What Matters for more information in the weeks ahead!

Greetings from Bishop Viviane

Greetings Siblings in Christ of the South-Central Synod,

I am so honored and humbled to be your bishop.  My official start date was July 1st but if you were involved in the MYLE and Youth Gathering 2018 you know I was in place a week earlier.  It was indeed a privilege to start my tenure with a focus on the youth of the South-Central Synod.  Their exuberance and welcome was heartening and brought me great joy.  Indeed, this did change everything!

On July 10th I was called into Bishop Formation, a time of learning and colleagueship with my class of incoming bishops and a group of mentors to guide us along the way.  In these days I’ve often referred to drinking from a fire hose.  Last week was another of those times.  I’m still trying to synthesize it all.  It was there that I learned, due to action from the churchwide, that there are some changes in the responsibilities of bishop.  I’ll share those with the constituencies involved at another time.

Whatever changes come, be assured that I am the pastor to this synod.  Though we don’t have a cathedral where I am in residence as some denominations do, I shall preach, teach and administer the sacraments in our congregations in accord with the Confessions of Faith of this church.  And, for constitution geeks such as myself, a myriad of other duties as enumerated in the constitution of this synod, Chapter 8. Most important of all, I will pray for you, support you and walk alongside you as we do the mission of this church to faithfully care for, connect and equip our congregations to be the heart and hands of Jesus.  I ask you to hold me in your prayers as I accompany you in this ministry.

I am looking forward to seeing you at the Installation Celebration on August 18th, 2pm at First Lutheran in Janesville.  Our journey together continues as we walk together in the Spirit.

Remember, water is thicker than blood.  We are church together!

Blessings and Peace,

Bishop Viviane Thomas-Breitfeld

Youth Director (Part-time) – Cambridge

East Koshkonong is please to offer an opening for a part-time Youth Director to engage and expand the ministry of our church and community. The ideal candidate will develop and implement a comprehensive approach to youth ministry while serving as a leader and role model of the congregational youth.

Farewell from Bishop Mary Froiland

Dear Colleagues,

It has been an honor to serve among you as your Bishop. As I walk through this time of transition, I am experiencing a multitude of emotions. I am grateful for your friendship and I am sad to be leaving the Synod John and I have lived and served in for almost 30 years.

I move on with deep appreciation for the Synod staff, the colleagues I have worked with over the last 5 years. They are good, faithful people, every one of them, committed to this good gospel work.

I leave with a sense of accomplishment in some things and a sense of things left undone in others. Most of all, I am excited and hopeful for what God’s future holds, both for me and John personally as we move into our next ministries closer to family, and for the South-Central Synod of Wisconsin under the very competent and visionary leadership of Bishop Viviane Thomas-Breitfeld.

I am very excited to begin my next call. The good people of St. Mark’s Lutheran Church in North St. Paul, Minnesota, have done me the great honor of calling me to be their next Lead Pastor. I will join Pastor Ivy Huston and many other folks on staff and in the congregation in embracing our call to be the heart and hands of Jesus.  If you are ever up in the Twin Cities area, stop in and worship with us – or just drop by for a cup of coffee. The address is 2499 Helen Street, North St. Paul, MN 55109. It would be good to see you.

I will miss you. It has been my greatest joy to get to know you and your congregations better over the last 5 years. It has been so good to see so many people living together in families of faith, making an impact in our communities and the world for the love of Jesus and the sake of the gospel. Christ’s Church stands as an example of what this world can be, a model of the holy community God dreams. Continue to live in that dream.

God’s peace,

Bishop Mary


By your hands, may love be shared
By your voice, may peace be spoken.
By your eyes, may beauty be seen.
By your ears, may truth be heard.
By your life, may the song of Christ be sung!


St. Luke’s Church of Rome (Sullivan) Wisconsin has developed an interesting way of spreading the Gospel. In the past two years they have made, prayed over and given away 3700 wooden crosses with the simple but powerful truth that: “JESUS IS LORD” painted on them. A message that ALL Christians share and a message to welcome people to the faith. They are made of cedar picket material, stand about 40” tall and are designed to be put on a lawn, in a flower bed, at a grave site or any special place.  Our goal is to produce 3000 crosses for the summer of 2018 and to promote this ministry throughout the Synod, the state of Wisconsin and wherever God wants them.

There are three ways you can take an active part in this ministry.

1) Begin to make and distribute crosses as your own outreach ministry (We can help you get started).
2) Become a distribution point for crosses made by St. Luke’s.
3) Support this ministry by spreading the word through social media.

For more information on how to get involved with this ministry please contact Robert and Nancy Stephan W 1566 Stephan Lane, Sullivan WI 53178, (262) 490-4624

Faith Lutheran featured in article in the Janesville Gazette

Pastor Felix Malpica and Music Director, Cherie Norquay, of Faith Lutheran, make the Janesville Gazette – Sunday, June 3           

Pastor Felix Uses World Music to Build Community

Maybe you heard their sweet voices on a spring morning.  Late last month, Pastor Felix Malpica led pre-school children from the chapel into the parking lot at Janesville’s Faith Lutheran Church.  There, they joyously sang “so the whole neighborhood could hear us,” the pastor explained.

It’s no secret that people of God sing.  But Pastor Felix, as he is affectionately called by church members, is someone with exceptional musical talent…”

For the rest of the story:  http://www.gazettextra.com/news/local/pastor-felix-uses-world-music-to-build-community/article_2fb05572-d1e3-518d-a4e4-a4108102a480.html

 Hmmmm…Your Congregation Probably Has a Story to Tell That Is Newsworthy!  Invite Your Local Paper to Help You Tell It!

Suggestion For Congregational Newsletters as It Relates to Bishop Mary’s Next Call

(from Your Synod Communicator, Deacon Vicki Hanrahan)

The ELCA Churchwide office issued a press release that erroneously noted that Bishop Mary is retiring.  I’ve noticed that many of our congregations have reprinted this press release.  That in general, is fantastic; however, we do want to be accurate that Bishop Mary is NOT retiring.  She will, indeed, end her call as our synod bishop on June 30; however, she has accepted a new call as Senior Pastor at St. Mark’s Lutheran Church in North St. Paul, allowing her to continue to serve in this church that she loves, but also to live in the same place as her family.  If you intend to keep the reprint on your website/and/or newsletters, please make this edit and please keep Bishop Mary in your prayers during this time of transition for her and her husband, John, and their family.  Thank you!

Statement on Family Separation issued by ELCA Presiding Bishop & Faith Leaders

The Rev. Elizabeth A. Eaton, presiding bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), has convened ELCA ecumenical and inter-religious partners in a statement addressing concerns over a recent U.S. government policy calling for more stringent enforcement of federal immigration laws. The policy will most likely result in an increase in family separations.

The letter follows:

Recently, the Administration announced that it will begin separating families and criminally prosecuting all people who enter the U.S. without previous authorization. As religious leaders representing diverse faith perspectives, united in our concern for the wellbeing of vulnerable migrants who cross our borders fleeing from danger and threats to their lives, we are deeply disappointed and pained to hear this news.

We affirm the family as a foundational societal structure to support human community and understand the household as an estate blessed by God. The security of the family provides critical mental, physical and emotional support to the development and wellbeing of children. Our congregations and agencies serve many migrant families that have recently arrived in the United States. Leaving their communities is often the only option they have to provide safety for their children and protect them from harm. Tearing children away from parents who have made a dangerous journey to provide a safe and sufficient life for them is unnecessarily cruel and detrimental to the well-being of parents and children.

As we continue to serve and love our neighbor, we pray for the children and families that will suffer due to this policy and urge the Administration to stop their policy of separating families.

For the list of leaders who signed the letter, see: http://elca.org/News-and-Events/7935

COMMUNICATION MATTERS – New Link for Synod News Sign Up!

Keep Your Members Connected to Synod News! The Old Link is No Longer In Use Due to Changes to our new website.

Please change the link you have published on your websites and in your newsletters to the following text:

Stay connected to exciting events and stories of our faith in action in our synod!  To sign up for synod news, please email Synod Communicator & Event Manager, Deacon Vicki Hanrahan at vickih@scsw-elca.org to be added to “What Matters.”

Thank you for your partnership and we apologize for any inconvenience!