Apply Now for the 2020 Contemplative Renewal Cohort

Are you looking for ways to be renewed in your pastoral work and sense of call? As you encounter the demands of ministry in a changing and challenging time, would you benefit from time away to deepen your spirit?

The Ecumenical Center for Clergy Spiritual Renewal (ECCSR) hosts a two-year “Contemplative Renewal” for early and mid-career clergy. The cohort of 19 men and women will discover renewal through the rhythms of prayer, Benedictine spirituality and community at Holy Wisdom Monastery, an ecumenical monastery outside of Madison, WI.

Early and mid-career ordained pastors, currently serving half-time or more in a congregational setting, are invited to apply starting October 1, 2019 for the next cohort, to begin in July of 2020. Funded by a Thriving in Ministry Grant from the Lilly Endowment, this unique experience is available at no cost.

For more information:

Co-Director Rev. Jerry Buss (608) 836-1631 ext. 163 or Co-Director Rev. Nancy Enderle (608) 836-1631 ext. 114 or visit:

Mission Moment: God’s work. Our hands. 2019

Many of our congregations are participating in the ELCA day of service, “God’s work. Our Hands.” Some have participated on September 8, which is the day set aside by the ELCA if you wanted to participate when most other congregations were joining in. God’s work. Our hands. reminds us that We are Church, We are Church Together, We are Lutheran and We are Church for the Sake of the World! And our work is for all generations!

Equipping the Saints: 2019 Military Caregiver Resource Directory

Several of our rostered with hearts for the care of Veterans and active duty service members in their communities have participated in Community Clergy Training Programs for caring for our veterans. They continue to gather to learn more about their special needs and ways to serve and support them. We all have service members that we know, so it helpful to stay abreast of the resources that are available to them so that we can be better caregivers and friends. A new resource has been released to do just that and we offer it here for your consideration. A special thank you to Retired Naval Captain, Connie Walker, who continues to support our synod with connections to valuable resources to help us serve this beloved community.

About the Resource:

Service members, families and caregivers, the Department of Defense Military Caregiver Support 2019 Caregiver Resource Directory (CRD) has officially been released and is ready for download. The annual update includes 114 pages of resources, organizations, agencies, and programs that assist and support families and caregivers of wounded, ill and injured Service Members and Veterans. The CRD is an enriched source of information from childcare, education and training, healthcare needs, legal assistance, rest and relaxation, to peer support, mentoring, and so much more. The Directory is essentially a one-stop-shop for questions and concerns about support, assistance, and awareness for those who are new to the change or experienced caregivers.

The resources provided in the CRD have gone through a rigorous review and vetting process to ensure that Service Members, Veterans, and their caregivers are receiving accurate, timely, and pertinent information. The easy-to-use guide uses icons to assist with accessing certain information quicker, such as, DoD programs, non-profit organizations, 24/7 availability, smartphone apps, and resources that are available in Spanish. The CRD is also a good source of self-care programs and awareness for caregivers. With the assistance of Personalized Experiences, Engagement and Resources (PEER) Support Coordinators, it is in their daily routine to provide additional support and navigation to workshops, networks, seminars, education and training that will ease and help understand the challenges of being a caregiver.
In certain situations, caregivers may be given respite assistance or compensation. To get more information on respite assistance or compensation, contact a regional PEER Support Coordinator in your area.

To download a digital copy of the CRD or to request a hard copy, please go to:

If you would like more information, connect with two of the synod’s Veteran’s Support Ministry Team members:

Rev. Todd Iverson – Immanuel Evangelical (Watertown)
Rev. Joe Brosius – Good Shepherd (Madison/Verona)

Clergy Leadership Group

The Samaritan Center of Southern Wisconsin, announces a Pastor Leadership Seminar for all area clergy. The Seminar’s goal is to improve leadership skills for today’s ministry. Clergy present case studies of challenging situations in their churches, which require their leadership. Participants then receive peer feedback for fresh perspectives. Some readings, specifically focused on pastoral leadership will be discussed.

A Family Systems Theory Model will also be utilized. The agenda for the group includes case leadership presentation and book discussion along with other topics determined by the participants.

The leadership seminar will be led by Dan Feaster, executive director, and pastoral counselor and ASSIST provider of the Samaritan Counseling Center. Sessions will be held on Tuesdays once a month, from 11 AM -2 PM (working lunch) for a total of eight sessions. Leadership group will start October 22. Fee for the leadership group is $300.

Some possible topics might include:

  • How do I deal with difficult members?
  • What are some effective ways of resolving conflict without being victimized?
  • How do I continue to pastor when I am running out of energy or becoming discouraged?
  • How can I better accept my limitations as a person?
  • How do I deal with my emotions when ministering in tragic situations?
  • How do I develop cooperative leadership strategies with my co-pastor?
  • What do I do when I am leading but few are following?
  • How do I survive in a system, which is consuming me?
  • How do I retire from a vocation?

For more information or to register contact:
Dan Feaster
Phone: 608-663-0763 ext. 200
Samaritan Counseling Center

Equipping the Saints: “GATHER” Magazine

Gather, the magazine of Women of the ELCA, offers a mix of articles, theological reflections, bible studies, devotions and stories of comfort and challenge that help readers grow in faith and engage in ministry and action. I don’t know why, but it had fallen off my radar until recently wherein I decided to reintroduce myself to what it had to offer. Last week, I received the September issue and couldn’t put it down! Each story spoke to me. There was an article on Grief and the many forms of loss that can cause grief. Practical advice from those who have lost loved ones on what is helpful to say to someone at a funeral and what is not helpful to say was creatively penned in poetic form. I, for one, still want to improve on that myself, so I read this helpful article with great interest. There was a story on emotions, and even how our negative ones like anger, can be a gift, as they provide a window into ourselves that can help us transform into more loving and compassionate servants to our neighbor.
The magazine also includes bible studies. This month’s, “No Hard Feelings?” written by Anna Madsen is chockful of provocative ideas about the value of emotions. She writes about the poetry of the Old Testament, and how the writers of Scripture used language to share a range of emotions—including anger—with God and each other. “Within these old, old texts we will discover that anger was hardly taboo to the Hebrew people, that they recognized both anger’s righteousness and its risk, and that they realized that by venting anger in prayer and communal liturgy, they staved off toxic and dangerous manifestations of it in their personal lives.”

Top all this off with fun stories about the blessings of our furry or feathered companions in our lives and Gather was a true joy to read. I highly recommend!

Gather is published 10 times a year with combined issues in January/February and July/August. A print subscription is $19.95 a year, but right now they are offering a special rate of $9.95 for new subscribers! Digital access (computer, iPad, Android) is free to print subscribers. To subscribe, call 1-844-409-0576 or order on line:

Youth-led Global Climate Strike

Join an interfaith gathering supporting the local event as part of worldwide events on Friday, September 20th. To kick off this historic day, there will be four simultaneous interfaith gatherings near the Capitol, at 10:30 am:

Bethel Lutheran, 312 Wisconsin Ave, Madison
Grace Episcopal, 116 W. Washington Ave., Madison
First United Methodist, 203 Wisconsin Ave, Madison
St. John’s Lutheran, 322 E. Washington Ave., Madison

After an hour of fellowship and sharing at these four gatherings, we will all come together at 12:00 noon, for the Concert for the Climate at the State St. corner of the Capitol Square. From there we will Parade to the Youth who will be at MGE – asking for a commitment to a transition to 100% renewable energy by 2030.

Learning from our Loved Ones: Cognitive Changes and Challenges

“Learning from our Loved Ones: Cognitive Changes and Challenges”
by Pastor Mary Kay Baum
Wednesday, September 18, 6:30 to 7:30 pm – Refreshments Follow

Christ Lutheran Church Invites You!
250 S. Grant Street, Lancaster, WI
(located in Memorial Park)

In 2006 Pastor Baum retired early from her urban ministry work at age 57 due to Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI) and moved to live fulltime in rural Iowa County. In this July of 2019 the Iowa County Land Conservation Committee and Department recognized Mary Kay as “Friend of Conservation” for her commitment to preserving the land, water and wildlife of Iowa County. Mary Kay is the Chair of FORMEMORY, a network of persons affected directly or indirectly by cognitive or neurological challenges. She helped develop “Time for Us”, a five-day camp each summer – now at Bethel Horizons – for youth who have a loved one with cognitive or trauma related challenges. She helped write the book Pathways of Hope: Living Well with Cognitive Changes. Mary Kay, now at 72, trains all ages at congregations to welcome and friend the many of us who experience cognitive challenges. ~A Thrivent Action Team Education Event

Habitat for Humanity of Dane County Volunteer Opportunities for Faith Communities

Sept. 28 – 10:00 am – 1:00 pm
Garver Feed Mill – 3241 Garver Green, Madison

Join Habitat for Humanity of Dane County for interactive, family-focused fun at the recently redeveloped, famous Garver Feed Mill! This event is sponsored by Thrivent Financial. Fun activities for kids will be offered.

Join us and find out how you can get involved and try out several Habitat volunteer opportunities all in one place!

At Habitat, we don’t offer handouts, we offer a hand up to help local families achieve strength, stability and self-reliance to build a better life through shelter.

For more information:

Musicians Retreat and (mini) Clinic

September 28 – 9:00 am – 12:00 noon – St. Stephen’s Lutheran Church (Monona)

As your musicians prepare for another program year, consider joining us at St. Stephen’s in Monona for a Musician’s Retreat and (mini) Clinic on Saturday, September 28th from 9-12. The morning will include time for prayer and reflection, as well as hands-on workshop offerings designed with the interests of volunteer musicians in mind, and time to sing and/or ring. We encourage you to share this event with your choirs, cantors, and handbell ringers, and to join us for the morning. The event is FREE, and formal registration is not required; however, it will help us to plan for the appropriate room setup (and quantity of goodies!) if participants could sign up by phoning our office (608) 222-1241, by dropping an email to Rebecca Redman at (, or by opting in at the Facebook Event Page:

St. Stephen’s is located at: 5700 Pheasant Hill Road, Monona, WI

Equipping the Saints: Quietly Courageous

At a recent meeting, Pastor Mike Lee recommended this book. He said that it was a book that offered sound advice. I ordered the book and have found it to be a great read and recommend it for you. It would be a good book for Councils and church leaders to read and discuss. It is available here on Amazon.
~ Jane Cahill Wolfgram, Synod Vice-President

About the book:
“The changing dynamics of contemporary church life are well-known, but what’s less well-known is how leaders can work most effectively in this new context. In Quietly Courageous, esteemed minister and congregational consultant Gil Rendle offers practical guidance to leaders—both lay and ordained—on leading churches today. Rendle encourages leaders to stop focusing on the past and instead focus relentlessly on their mission and purpose—what is ultimately motivating their work. He also urges a shift in perspectives on resources, discusses models of change, and offers suggestions for avoiding common pitfalls and working creatively today.”