Mission Moment: Synod Prayer Team

South-Central Synod of Wisconsin Synod Prayer Team

 Did you know that the synod has a prayer team that actively prays for our synod?

 In a spirit of love and care for one another as rostered ministers of this synod, a Synod Prayer Team has been created to offer prayer for those times when a rostered minister would like either themselves or their loved ones to be lifted up in prayer. The synod prayer team also prays for our congregations, communities and our world.  We are the body of Christ together, and enfolding one another in prayer is a comforting and sustaining expression of this body.

Recently our team lifted in prayer Chaplain Mark Teslik and the community of Columbia Correctional Institution in Portage.   CCI was recently put on lock-down due to an incident of violence by an inmate against a staff member. 


Rev. Mark Teslik is a rostered leader in our synod, called to serve as a Chaplain to CCI providing spiritual care to this community that desperately needs to hear the good news and feel the presence of God.  Our team swiftly shared the prayer request for this beloved community.


Our team prays for our community leaders during legislative sessions that holy conversations would capture the hearts and imaginations of those participating for just and loving outcomes.

The members of the Synod Prayer Team are: Rev. Nancy Raabe, Rev. Lisa Nelson, Deacon Meg Nielsen, Diane Padrutt (co-chair), Deacon Judy Nolde (co-chair), Deacon Vicki Hanrahan, and Rev. Ken Smith.  If you would like the prayer team to pray for you, either contact the synod office or Deacon Judy Nolde who is coordinating the prayer team, at judynolde@sbcglobal.net (cell 608.219.4556). Deacon Judy then will send a prayer request by email to the prayer team asking for prayers.

Today, our team is holding in prayer the community of Wartburg Seminary on the loss of one of our beloved professors, colleague and friend in Rev. Dr. Gwen Sayler. 


To submit a prayer request, contact Deacon Judy Nolde at judynolde@sbcglobal.net or call her cell:  608.219.4556.

Ignite the Church Conference 2020

Ignite the Church Conference, Feb. 11-13, 2020

Get inspired, encouraged, challenged and warmed up at the Ignite the Church Conference in Orlando, Florida, February 11-13. In addition to large group gatherings on Congregational Vitality, there will be electives on Reaching Younger Generations, Expanding Kingdom Impact, Church Renewal and Discipleship, Renewing Music, Vitality through Mission, Engaging Your Neighborhood, Evangelism, Social Justice, and Raising Up Leaders along with a visit to Orlando’s Castle Church Brewing Community.

A $99 discounted rate, including 2 meals and snacks, is available until November 30th.

All proceeds benefit the ELCA Fund for Leaders. For more information go to www.IgniteTheChurch.net.   #ignitethechurch

Oakwood Village University Woods Seeks Sunday Worship Service Volunteer Group

Oakwood Village University Woods Seeks Sunday Worship Service Volunteer Group – Can You Help?

Oakwood is looking for (3 people) to help on the 3rd Sunday of January, March, May, July, September, and November, starting in 2020.  10:30 am – 12:00 pm.  Families can be an option, with children at least 10 years old.  Help residents in wheelchairs get to and from the service in Oakwood’s chapel; stay with the residents during the service; help collect the offering and/or give communion.  For more information, contact Volunteer Services Coordinator Kim Viney at (608)230-4238 or kim.viney@oakwoodvillage.net.

Seminary Assistance Fund – Opportunity to Give to Our Seminarians

Thank You, Thank You, Thank You, to South-Central Synod of Wisconsin Congregations and Leaders!

It is that time of year when the Seminarians receive a small Christmas Greeting from their synod.  We know how they appreciate everything congregations do to support them through this path to becoming a Pastor or a Deacon.  I am reaching out to the congregations to ask that any donation you are making to the Seminary Assistance Fund for 2019 be sent by November 29th. Donations can be mailed to the synod office and in the memo line write Seminary Assistance Fund. The actual check should be made out to South-Central Synod of Wisconsin and mailed to:  South-Central Synod of Wisconsin, ELCA, 6401 Odana Road, Suite 20, Madison, WI  53719.

Thank you for your generosity in the past and your prayerful consideration of this giving opportunity today.

Janet Lord, Chair, Candidacy Committee

Come. Be inspired. WELCA Triennial Gathering

2020 Triennial Gathering in Phoenix – July 16th-19th

Women from around the synod are encouraged to attend this wonderful event. So far, we have 17 women attending from the South Central Synod of Wisconsin.  When registering, we are Region 5K.

Approximate costs:
$450 – round trip airfare from Madison (O’hare is cheaper but you have costs of getting to & from O’hare)
$325 – Triennial Gathering registration (price goes up to $375 on Jan. 7, 2020)
$235 – 3 nights in a hotel sharing with 1 roommate. If you share a room with 3, it will be $157 each.
$150 – 3 days of meals
$1160 Total

Note: Total does not reflect airport shuttle service on either end of the trip.  Van Galder bus fare (one way) from Madison to O’Hare is $34.  Shuttle service from airport to downtown Phoenix is $39 (one way).

Helpful website: https://www.womenoftheelca.org/new-triennial-event-page

Contact Janna Smith if you would like to attend.  smithjanna55@gmail.com

Celebrating the Life and Witness of The Rev. Dr. Gwen Sayler

From Wartburg Theological Seminary: Yesterday we received news of the death of our beloved colleague, teacher, and friend, The Rev. Dr. Gwen Sayler. Today we are a grieving community as this sad and unexpected news begins to settle in. Gwen will be remembered for her fierce advocacy on behalf of her students, passion for preaching and presiding, quick wit, PowerPoint presentations, deep love of scripture, and her seat in worship – to name a few things.

In this time of grief, we draw near to God who is the source of all life and hope. We draw near to one another as we grieve, remember, celebrate, and hold fast to the resurrection promise. Please hold Gwen’s family and all who grieve her loss in your prayers, as we hold the whole Wartburg Community in prayer in the coming days and weeks.

Read more on Wartburg’s website HERE including updates regarding arrangements as they become known.

Wartburg Seminary President Rev. Louise Johnson Accepts New Call

Dr. Stephen J. Cornils, Chair of the Wartburg Theological Seminary Board of Directors, shared the news this week that the Rev. Louise Johnson notified him of her resignation as President of Wartburg Theological Seminary, effective December 31, 2019. In his announcement to the WTS community, Cornils shared: “In our life together, we champion Wartburg’s mission of forming and deploying valued leaders for God’ s church, whenever and wherever we are called. Our beloved President Louise Johnson exemplifies that mission in her own discernment to accept a new call to serve in Jesus’ name.”
Johnson has accepted a call to pioneer a major new Leadership Development initiative with LEAD.

LEAD is a thriving leadership organization that has grown out of the Texas-Louisiana Gulf Coast Synod and is now becoming a standalone organization. LEAD has a strong and growing footprint in the ELCA and beyond. She will be charged with growing the organization and developing new pathways for leadership. This position puts her on the front lines of experimentation in leadership development – a place she thrives – where God will continue to use her for the work of the church and the world.
Cornils, who has worked in close collaboration with Johnson since she began her tenure as president, shared: “Louise has gifted our seminary with remarkably spirited and effective leadership over the last four and a half years within the Wartburg Seminary community and far beyond. We have no doubt in this new calling through LEAD that her abundant leadership gifts will be leveraged to multiply, equip, and empower new and diverse generations of gifted, passionate, capable, and authentic servant leaders.”

A WTS Master of Divinity graduate, Johnson was appointed the 14th president of the seminary in 2015 and began serving that June. Johnson previously served at the Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia (now United Lutheran Seminary) since 2004 and also as the WTS Associate Director of Admissions from 1999 to 2004. Prior to her departure at the end of December 2019, there will be opportunity to express appreciation to Johnson for her effectiveness as a leader and as a deeply admired pastoral presence and friend to those in and beyond the WTS community.

“I love Wartburg. I have loved it since the day I set foot on the grounds. I will always be a ‘Wartburger,’ called to love and serve the gospel of Jesus Christ, called to address the needs of those ‘who are like sheep without a shepherd.’ Count on my support and advocacy. Count on my prayers for the bright future of our beloved school. Count on my partnership in the ministry of the Gospel.”
– Rev. Louise Johnson

Wartburg and the leaders and students of the South-Central Synod of Wisconsin are grateful to God for Johnson’s leadership in this historic and extraordinary season. News of next steps for the seminary in light of this announcement is forthcoming in the weeks ahead.

For more information on Wartburg: www.wartburgseminary.edu

Mission Moment: Reconciling in Christ Congregations


Following Jesus, who commanded his followers, ‘Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another,’ and believing that all persons are created in the image of God, the South-Central Synod of Wisconsin, ELCA, strives to be fully inclusive for all. This synod welcomes people of every race, background, age, political affiliation, economic and social status, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, and mental and physical ability, while striving to enable all people to participate fully in the life and work of the church and its expressions.

Several of our congregations in south-central Wisconsin have also taken steps to be intentionally welcoming to the LGBTQIA+ community. These congregations are identified as Reconciling in Christ congregations. By having a statement affirming this welcome that specifically names either, “LGBTQIA+ people” or “people of all sexual orientations, gender identities and gender expressions” in their statement, these faith communities are accepted into the Reconciling in Christ partnership with ReconcilingWorks.

We congratulate our latest congregation who just voted to become a welcoming RIC congregation:

Good Shepherd Lutheran Church (Madison and Verona)

All congregations create welcome statements. Here is a beautiful example from Good Shepherd:

“We welcome all to Good Shepherd. Everyone. Without exception. This welcome includes those shunned by society and by churches because of their race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, age, physical or mental abilities, financial resources, and family status, no matter what you have done or has been done to you, no matter what darkness you have struggled with, now or in the past. In this large, beautifully diverse world, we invite you to a community where we all belong. Whether you are a believer, a doubter or a seeker, in Christ’s love, we welcome you. By the power of the Holy Spirit we will work to extend God’s grace, love, justice, and dignity inside and outside our church. You are a Child of God. You belong here with your whole self. Your story and your life are valuable, here at Good Shepherd, and in the world. We welcome you.”

Other RIC Congregations in our synod

Deerfield Lutheran Church – Deerfield
First Lutheran Church – Lone Rock
St. John’s Lutheran Church – Evansville
Luther Memorial Lutheran Church – Delevan
Madison Area
Lake Edge Lutheran Church – Madison
Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church – Madison
Trinity Lutheran Church – Madison
St. John’s Lutheran Church – Madison
Luther Memorial Lutheran Church – Madison
Lutheran Campus Center at UW – Madison
St. Mark’s Lutheran Church – Madison
St. Stephen’s Lutheran Church – Monona
Peace Lutheran Church – Waunakee
Midvale Community Lutheran Church – Madison
Advent Lutheran Church – Madison
Good Shepherd Lutheran Church – Madison

Thank you to the RIC team, chaired by Rev. Nick Utphall, Advent Lutheran/Madison Christian Community (Madison). Several of these team members have led educational workshops at synod events to help us to be more welcoming and to learn how to become RIC congregations.

If your congregation is interested in learning more about becoming an RIC congregation, visit the synod website for more information: For a list of the team members, visit the synod website: https://scsw-elca.org/lgbtq/

Announcing the 2021 ELCA Youth Gathering

June 29-July 3, 2021 / Minneapolis, MN

14 I kneel in prayer to the Father. 15 All beings in heaven and on earth receive their life from [God]. 16 God is wonderful and glorious. I pray that [God’s] Spirit will make you become strong followers 17 and that Christ will live in your hearts because of your faith. Stand firm and be deeply rooted in [God’s] love. 18 I pray that you and all of God’s people will understand what is called wide or long or high or deep. 19 I want you to know all about Christ’s love, although it is too wonderful to be measured. Then your lives will be filled with all that God is. 20-21 I pray that Christ Jesus and the church will forever bring praise to God. [God’s] power at work in us can do far more than we dare ask or imagine. Amen. (Ephesians 3:14-21 CEV)

About the theme: We are bound. Bound by our sin, by the expectations of others, by poverty, by ”-isms” that try to divide us, and by so much more. In a life that often feels like it has young people in a suffocating grip, we want them to imagine the boundlessness of God: boundless love, boundless mercy, boundless freedom, boundless creation, boundless strength. All offered from a gracious and loving God who knows and adores them. All so abundant and endless it cannot be measured. What are the stories of God’s people, both in scripture and modern-day that share the awe and wonder of just how vast our God is? What does it mean, what does it look and feel like to live a life “filled with all that God is”? How can young people find themselves within the boundlessness of Christ’s love?

MYLE, the tAble, and the Gathering are unique opportunities to invite young people into a deeper relationship with a God whose possibilities are boundless. Through one of a kind experiences, this ministry stretches and affirms young people’s gifts and calls. They experience the power of the Spirit within them, that frees them to live in the grace of God’s boundless love in Jesus Christ.

Finally, we are excited by the connections this theme offers to our host city of Minneapolis and the surrounding area. Known as the “City by Nature”, Minneapolis is an earth-minded city in many ways. The Minneapolis Area Synod also names advocacy around care for creation as a top priority, which would allow us to learn from and support the local expression of the church.

Learn more: www.elca.org/gathering and on our synod’s YG page: https://scsw-elca.org/elcayg2021/

Mission Moment: Goodbye Cairo, Hello Passages

Goodbye Cairo, Hello Passages – Message from Rev. Kirsten Fryer


With great joy, I write with two updates.

First, this will be my last Cairo newsletter, as I am now settling into life in St. Paul, MN. I have been called to serve as pastor of Bethlehem Lutheran Church in the Midway. I started on September 15 and am getting settled into new routines, doing lots of listening, and have plenty to learn about St. Paul, our local neighborhood (Midway), and life back in America.
Joanna started preschool and is loving it. She is very excited to see “golden leaves” and experience her first real autumn. We’ll see how she feels when the snow starts to fly. It’s not in the forecast yet! She is also very excited about Sunday school at Bethlehem and looks forward to Sunday each week because “there will be lots of Sundays in St. Paul.” Justin is enjoying time to be a stay-at-home-dad as he figures out what is next for him.

Located a block west of Snelling and University (the busiest intersection in St. Paul), Bethlehem is rooted in the neighborhood and discerning what it means to be church in a changing neighborhood. Construction is scheduled to start in a few weeks on a new six-story residential building on the other side of our alley, and the Minnesota United soccer (I still say football after six years in Cairo!) stadium is across the street.

Like in Cairo, we share the space with others, including Open Hands Midway, a non-profit housed in the building that feeds the hungry through meals, a food pantry, and providing a welcome space. We also share space with House of Mercy, another ELCA congregation, who worship on Sunday evenings. I am excited to see what the Holy Spirit has in store for us and grateful for the opportunity to share some of the things I learned in Cairo with an urban American congregation.

We worship at 9:30 on Sundays. Open Hands serves lunch every Monday from noon until 2:00 pm. If you’re ever in the neighborhood, please stop by!

The second update is that Pastor Christie Manisto, and her husband, Steve Saari, are settling into life in Cairo. Their gifts are a perfect match for St. Andrew’s and I am so glad that they are there, accompanying our beloved siblings in Cairo. Please consider supporting them, as you have supported me–in prayer, financial support, and encouragement!

If you would like to continue to receive updates from Cairo, please email Christie.manisto@elca.org and/or Steven.saari@elca.org to be added to their newsletter list.

Click here for their most recent Passages newsletter. http://bit.ly/PassagesfromCairo

If you would like to receive the StARS newsletter, please email news@stars-egypt.org to be added to the list.
Thank you again for all of the ways you have supported and encouraged me over these six years. I will treasure our time in Cairo always, and look forward to figuring out how the Spirit is calling in years to come.