ELCA Church Council Update

The ELCA Church Council met at the Lutheran Center in Chicago, Nov. 7-10. Twenty-three new members, elected by the 2019 Churchwide Assembly, were welcomed. The council serves as the ELCA’s board of directors and interim legislative authority between meetings of the Churchwide Assembly.

The council took the following key actions:

• Authorized use of ministry rites for pastors and deacons in response to constitutional changes by the 2019 Churchwide Assembly that identified ordination as the entrance rite for ministers of Word and Service. The ministry rites for ordination to the ministry of Word and Service, ordination to the ministry of Word and Sacrament, installation of a deacon and installation of a pastor will be effective Jan. 1, 2020.

• Created an advisory team to receive updates, track progress and provide periodic reports on the “Strategy Toward Authentic Diversity in the ELCA,” adopted by the 2019 Churchwide Assembly.

• Adopted a continuing resolution authorizing the creation of a resource development committee of the council to continue developing strategies related to funding initiatives and future churchwide appeals.

• Adopted the “Memorandum of Mutual Recognition of Relations of Full Communion” among The Episcopal Church, the Anglican Church of Canada, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada and the ELCA as a way to strengthen ties among the two U.S. and two Canadian churches.

• Authorized development of a social message on the vocation of citizenship, civic engagement, and church and state, as requested by the 2019 Churchwide Assembly.

• Received the final report of its Theological Education Advisory Committee, approved the committee’s recommended transition plan and thanked the committee members for their service.

• Approved a 2020 spending authorization of $67,666,652 for the churchwide organization and $21,596,595 for ELCA World Hunger.

• Received an update on the development of the resource “Trustworthy Servants of the People of God,” the replacement for “Vision and Expectations,” which articulates the church’s hopes and expectations for its rostered ministers.

• Adopted the Reference and Counsel Committee recommendations regarding unfinished business from the 2019 Churchwide Assembly.

• Referred to the Domestic Mission unit the Conference of Bishops recommendation that the unit give top priority to this church’s response to the global crisis of climate change.

• Thanked the Rev. Wyvetta Bullock for her faithful service as executive for administration and her many years of service to this church. Bullock will retire Jan. 30, 2020.

In a special order of the day, the council received a greeting from Ms. Rose Simmons, whose father, the Rev. Daniel Lee Simmons Sr., was one of the nine congregants martyred in June 2015 at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, S.C.

The council also received reports from the church’s presiding bishop, treasurer, secretary and vice president, from the ELCA Conference of Bishops, and from the ELCA’s separately incorporated ministries. They also received greetings from ecumenical partners.


Wednesday, December 11
12:00 noon –2 pm (Lunch included)

St. Peter’s Lutheran Church
325 Mill Street, Loganville

St. Peter’s Lutheran Church along with the Farmer Angel Network will be hosting #Farm Neighbors Care.

Farmers, ag business people and anyone interested in supporting the farming community is invited to join us for a light-hearted program featuring Ben Bromley, area newspaper columnist, theater guild actor, and satirist. His often out of the box view on everyday happenings will give all of us a reason to laugh and smile.

Farmer resource contacts from UWEX, Sauk County Public Health, and Wisconsin Farm Center will be available to assist farm families. Soup and sandwich lunch will be served.

Attention Portico Benefits Participants

Dates for ELCA Benefits Plan Annual Enrollment Portico Update from your Regional Representative, Jennifer Prinz:

ELCA Primary Health Plan Wellness Dollars:
Plan members have until Nov. 30 to earn up to $400 wellness dollars that can be used for medical expenses. If your spouse is also on the health plan, they can, too. If you have already started earning, don’t forget to complete your activities. If you haven’t yet started, now is the time to begin. Click here to learn more.

Innovation Brings Low 2020 Health Rate Increase and More Support: If you haven’t read about changes coming in 2020 to the ELCA Benefits Plan, click the link below to find out more.


L.I.R.S. Hope for the Holidays

Bring Joy & Hope to Families in Immigration Detention Through LIRS Hope for the Holidays   

The holidays should be a magical, wondrous time, but this year in America, hundreds of children and families will be spending the holiday behind bars — because they crossed the United States border seeking protection.

You can bring joy and hope to families in immigration detention, and to children who crossed our borders alone, by joining LIRS’s Hope for the Holidays annual campaign to send cards and gifts to families impacted by immigration detention. With your help, LIRS will ensure that every family in immigration detention receives a Christmas gift and thousands of other immigrants awaiting safety and protection in the United States receives Christmas cards. Together we can remind our brothers and sisters that they are not alone this holiday season.

Visit LIRS.org/Hope to:

  • Watch the 2019 Webinar and learn more about the campaign
  • Access the toolkit with details and sample messages for card-writing
  • Donate to purchase gifts for families in detention

Link to website: https://www.lirs.org/take-action/hope-for-the-holidays/

(LIRS.org/Hope redirects to the above link)

Link to toolkit: https://www.lirs.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/2019-Hope-for-the-Holidays-Card-Campaign.pdf

To ensure delivery to children and families in time for the holidays, cards and donations must be sent in by December 6, 2019.

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 per person (subject to change) for Triennial Gathering in Phoenix:
$450 – round trip airfare from Madison (O’hare is cheaper but you have costs of getting to and 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.
$150 – 3 days of meals
$1160 approximate 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.