Rostered Ministers Gathering Registration to Open Soon

ELCA rostered ministers are invited to join colleagues at the second Rostered Ministers Gathering, July 20-23 in Phoenix, Ariz., under the theme “Rekindle the Gift Within You” (2 Timothy 1:6).

Let this gathering be an opportunity for you to remember, reclaim, rekindle and revive yourself. Mark your calendars; early registration opens on Feb. 20. We welcome you to take part in this gathering with colleagues across the church for fellowship, renewal, continuing education, worship, Bible study and refreshment of your spirit.

Learn more.


Unpacking White Privilege: The Important Work of Making the Church Less Harmful

For years, the ELCA has been working to educate and inspire Lutherans to promote fairness and racial equity in our churches, communities and country. At the 2019 Churchwide Assembly, the Strategy Toward Authentic Diversity was adopted. This strategy includes a commitment to digging deeper into the history and theology that “ground, clarify, and justify our call and continuing commitment to ethnic diversity and inclusion.” So get ready to dig deeper, be vulnerable, have uncomfortable conversations, learn and grow with the article “Unpacking white privilege” and its corresponding study guide, which were featured in this month’s Living Lutheran.

Read the article and use the study guide.

All Matters Concerning ‘What Matters’

What Matters, now in its 9th year, exists because YOU matter!  Originally published to condense news into a once-a-week communication to our 300 pastors and deacons, What Matters now has a readership of over 2,000 rostered and lay leaders of our 138 congregations and worshipping communities.  Thank you!  We are grateful for that!

Because we on the synod staff and synod council make helping you to be faithful and successful in your ministry our number one priority, we want you to have ample opportunities to participate in the life of the synod and take advantage of all the spaces to learn, grow & walk together.

We know that you want to be connected to each other to share resources and best practices, and to wonder together about new ways of being church.

These goals are why each week in What Matters we connect you to stories of our faith in action, to synod-organized events, congregational events,  important messages from the presiding and synod bishops, prayer requests, grant opportunities, mission and ministry opportunities, job openings, call process updates and more.  You help us do this through your invitations and ads and inspiring us to tell your stories, especially as they relate to work our teams are doing in support of resolutions that you adopted at our annual synod assemblies.  Your weekly offerings support these ministries, so we want you to know that your generosity matters!

So, I would like to thank you for a great year of sharing and connecting!  We couldn’t publish What Matters without your generous invitations and readership!

What’s next for our year together?  Here are some things you can do to keep up the good work!

Share your news.  If you have something you would like considered for publication in What Matters, send it to me at:

We have over 2,000 subscribers now, but with 80,613 baptized members in our synod, we are not content with that.

We appreciate that pastors and deacons can’t always discern what members are best served by an event or opportunity, so our goal is to have everyone in the pews who is interested in staying connected receive What Matters directly.   We encourage you to especially invite those newly elected council members to sign up for What Matters!

To that end, help us to help you!  Here are two easy ways to invite your members to sign up for What Matters.

  • Simply invite your people to send me an email that says, “Sign Me Up for What Matters!” Email:
  • Publicize What Matters in your synod newsletters, on your bulletin boards, Facebook page and website by including this text below and links:

WHAT MATTERS – Stay Connected To Synod Happenings, News, & Events!

Grow in your faith and leadership!  Stay connected to exciting events and stories of our faith in action in our synod!  To sign up for synod news, please email Assistant to the Bishop for Synodical Life, Deacon Vicki Hanrahan at to be added to “What Matters.”

Link to past issues:

  • Remember, when you see the blue “newsletter” symbol, this is a news item that you can put in your congregational newsletters to invite your congregation to an event, consider a job opening, join a ministry, attend a concert and more! Thanks for your partnership.

Congregations can feel free to reprint What Matters pages for your congregational use.
Reprint permission provided by South-Central Synod of Wisconsin, ELCA – 6401 Odana Road, Suite 20, Madison, WI  53719.  Please reference as seen in Synod e-news, “What Matters” in your reprint.  Questions can be directed to Deacon Vicki Hanrahan at the synod office: (608) 270-0201.

We are doing what matters in Jesus’ name and are excited to be church together with you!

Blessings on the new day,

Deacon Vicki Hanrahan
Assistant to the Bishop For Synodical LIfe
Editor, What Matters

Congregational Reports (Forms A & C)

Congregational Reports (Forms A & C) are Due: Congregational Reports A & C – Online Filing Is Open.  Deadline for Submitting is February 15

Congregational report forms were mailed to congregations from the ELCA. You received Form A, Form C, the instructions, and the financial worksheet for your reference. Please make this important work part of your day soon if you haven’t already!

Electronic filing – If you have access to the Internet, you can file the Annual Congregational Report Forms online. To complete Forms A and C, go to and type in your Congregation ID number and Password (found on the top right of Form A). After you have finished entering your data, you should print a PDF copy of both forms for your records. Paper filing – If you do not file electronically, complete the paper forms and mail them to the synod office (the address can be found on the bottom right of Form C).

Since only one copy of each form is included in your packet, we suggest that you make a copy for use as a worksheet before you begin. Remember to copy the completed forms for your records before returning the originals to the synod office. All these tips and more are found in your packets! Questions? Contact Robyn Zimmerman in the synod office at (608) 270-0201 and she will be happy to help you.  You will need your congregational ID#.  Don’t know your congregational ID?  Your pastor has access to the online synod directory and can find it in the front of the directory.  Or feel free to call the synod office and we can provide that to you.  (608) 270-0201

Wartburg Seminary Rural Ministry Conference

Annual Reports to the Bishop from Rostered Ministers

Annual Reports to the Bishop from Rostered are Due February 15

Please fill out this report and email or mail it to Administrative Assistant to the Bishop, Robyn Zimmerman in the synod office by the due date or before if possible or mail to:

Bishop Peter Rogness, South-Central Synod of Wisconsin, 6401 Odana Road, Suite 20, Madison, WI  53719.


Minister of Word and Sacrament – Reports to the Synod Bishop

Minister of Word and Service – Reports to the Synod Bishop

New 2020 News from Portico Benefit Services

New in 2020 for the ELCA-Primary Health Plan

If you have ELCA-Primary health benefits, a suite of new online offerings provides convenient access to care at your fingertips, whether on the go, in your office, or and in the privacy of your own home. Find support to strengthen your emotional resilience, learn new skills, and save on costs:

  • Being is a holistic, faith-based, educational platform offering expert-led videos on a wide range of well-being skills — such as longevity, purpose, resiliency, and more.
  • Learn to Live is a self-directed online mental health support program designed to help participants manage stress, depression, social anxiety, insomnia, and substance use.
  • Text-Based Primary Care is available through a convenient app. 98point6 connects you 24/7 with U.S.-based, board-certified doctors. Receive on-demand consultation, diagnosis, and a treatment plan for $5 or less. Doctors can also prescribe medication (except controlled substances) and order lab tests.

Earning Wellness Dollars in 2020:

Members with ELCA-Primary health benefits can earn up to $200 wellness dollars to help pay for eligible out-of-pocket expenses. Earn $100 wellness dollars each when you complete a physical health assessment or biometric screening, and when you have a conversation with a Portico Financial Planner. If your spouse is covered by ELCA-Primary benefits they can earn $200 as well. Sign in to myPortico to learn more.

Videos for Treasurers and Church/Financial Administrators:

Looking to learn about Portico Benefit Services and the practicalities of managing the benefits for pastors and church employees? Your congregation must have at least one registered EmployerLink user to pay your bill and manage sponsored employees’ benefits. Note: it’s important for the people who play a part in managing your employees’ benefits to be registered on EmployerLink, and for those no longer involved to have their accounts deactivated.

Invite your treasurer or financial administrator to view these educational videos:

Managing Benefits 101 (may be seen without signing in to EmployerLink)

Employer Link Tour

Understanding Your Bill

Bishop Election Process Begins

In 2020 we will elect the next bishop of the South-Central Synod of Wisconsin. The process we will follow for election has arisen from consideration by the Bishop Election Task Force, the Synod Council and Executive Committee, and was originally drafted by Interim Bishop Peter Rogness. Over time, as it was reviewed and discussed, changes were made. It has been reviewed and affirmed by staff at the Office of the Presiding Bishop; it has been presented verbally to the Bishop’s Convocation October 6-8, verbally and in writing at the November 2, 2019, special Synod Assembly. It was formally adopted as presented here at the November 9, 2019 meeting of the Synod Council.

2019 Christmas Message from Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton

“On Christmas Eve there always comes a time when everything is finally still. After all the preparations and Christmas
pageants, after all of the rushing, it’s wonderful just to settle into that stillness and have a chance to think about the miracle of Advent and Christmas…”

Mission Moment: Holy Land Advocacy Group

By Rev. Nick Utphall and Deacon Vicki Hanrahan

This past Sunday evening, a group from seven congregations of people who have participated in travels to the Holy Land gathered at Advent in Madison to rekindle their passion and reinvigorate our synod’s work with the ELCA Peace Not Walls program of Advocacy, Awareness, and Accompaniment. Congregations that have traveled to the Holy Land and attended this reunion were:

• Advent (Madison)
• St. Stephen’s (Monona)
• Our Savior’s (Sun Prairie)
• St. John’s (Evansville)
• Trinity (Madison)
• Grace (Dodgeville)
• Bethel (Madison)

We ate tasty food (including hummus, falafel, olives, and Arabic coffee) while seeing photos from a recent trip to refresh our memories.

We also heard updates on the Lutheran World Federation-run Augusta Victoria Hospital in Jerusalem from Dan Rift, Director for ELCA World Hunger and Disaster Appeal, and on Lutheran schools around Bethlehem from a 2018-2019 ELCA Young Adult in Global Mission (YAGM) Calla Gilson.

Calla shared, “God is doing incredible things through the Global Mission ministries of the church! Young Adults in Global Mission is a leadership development program where young adults aged 21-29 serve a year in solidarity with ELCA companions in 10 different countries.” Calla has visited with the synod staff and with congregations in our synod over the past six months to talk about her personal experience of a year of service in Jerusalem and the West Bank as a YAGM, and how we can support young adult missionaries. Now in its 20th year, the Young Adults in Global Mission program has inspired 30% of its participants to rostered leadership in our church!

If you’d like to stay in the loop and care about issues in Palestine and Israel, contact Nick Utphall ( or Blake Rohrer (