Confessing Christ for the next Generation

October is Pastor Appreciation Month

Brothers and sisters in Christ:

Pastors are an essential part of what church is about. Each of us knows how precious a faithful pastor is not only to the congregation but to each of us as members of a parish. My pastors; Rev. Joseph Fisher and Rev. Chris Raffa, are gr eat blessings to my wife, Lynn, myself, and my mother who is in a nursing home in West Bend. Part of my appreciation is to mention them here as I give thanks for their faithfulness and pastoral care of the Bride of Christ, the church.

Most don't see all that a pastor does in a normal week. Being a pastor involves more than forty hours a week. Each week there is a new sermon to write, perhaps more than one if there is a funeral that week. There are preparations for various meetings and as well as Bible Classes to teach. There are visitations with the sick and shut-in. There may well be counseling sess ions with individuals and couples. There are home visits to make. President Harrison has been talking about the necessity of pastors doing that more. There are circuit meetings and district pastors' conferences to attend from time to time.     
Most don't realize how comprehensive the office of being a pastor is. The list of pastoral responsibilities to God and His people are inexhaustive. We expect our pastor to always have a smile on his face, regardless of how difficult the day has been. We expect him to always have time for us when we call or stop by, regardless of what else has been on his agenda that day. There are things that our pastors do which we will never see. Their witness, the way in which they honor the office they hold, their compassion and dedication are to be commended. 

Pastors also have families; children and a wife, parents, brothers and sisters. As demanding as is the pastoral office, the pastor's family is more important. Does your pastor take the time to care for his family, time to spend with his wife and children?

The emotional, psychological, and spiritual stressors in a pastors' life can be exhausting. I have walked with more than a couple pastors and their families as they have journeyed down that dark valley of exhaustion and depression. It is not a fun place to be. There are organizations that help at times like that: DOXOLOGY. Shepherd's Canyon. Grace Place. We have provided scholarships to pastors and their families to take advantage of what those helping organizations offer.

That said, ordinarily the best place for pastoral care is the local parish. Rev. David Muensch, pastoral care advisor for Concordia Health Plans, describes what that might look like when he writes in a recent article:

It has been suggested that Pastoral ministry involves activity in at least 13 different "task clusters" (i.e. Administration, Care-giving, Rituals and Sacraments, Management, Communication, Preaching, Public Worship, etc.) which require 64 personal competencies. Now, you and I know that Pastors are human, and no one is "excellent" in every one of these specific competencies, but the importance of the work means that your Pastor(s) are making efforts in each of them. Many of these efforts happen in quiet, confidential, and private ways. It could not be otherwise. As a result, there is much which is accomplished in Pastoral ministry of which you are unaware until/unless it intersects with you and your family, and it can be difficult for him to know of the support and affirmation of the people he's called to serve. Please consider regularly providing support and affirmation for your pastor(s), and especially in October-Pastor Appreciation Month.
Here are some ideas to get you started in your planning:
  • Pray for your pastor
  • Authorize the formation of a special committee to "care for pastor"
  • Express appreciation, written and spoken
  • Respect his time, and encourage him to get appropriate rest and renewal
  • Live in peace
  • Discover and encourage him in his personal interests
  • Support a strategy for professional connections, including outside of ministry
  • Encourage him to plan significant and meaningful time with his loved ones
  • Lovingly insist he take vacation, and provide resources for his duties to be covered in his absence
  • If he's married, learn from his wife of the special/unique challenges confronting her, and be sensitive to expectations inappropriately placed upon her.
["Appreciating Pastors" 28 September 2016, by Rev. David A. Muench Director of Minister ial Care]
Definitely some food for thought as God's people care for their pastors. My prayer is that you will care for your pastor(s). In this new world in which we find ourselves that aspect of mercy from God's people demonstrated toward their pastor(s) goes a long way to promote healthy church workers, church worker families, and good relationships.
May our gracious Lord bless you as you are a blessing for your pastor(s).

Rev. Dr. John C. Wille
President SWD 

A word from Martin Luther on Pastors' Salaries: 
I do not say this [Luther has been discussing abuses in the medieval church of his day] so that people would give nothing to the ministers who teach God's Word purely and faithfully. Unfortunately, people now would like to do that, and many are ready to count out every bite their pastors swallow. If they could snatch for themselves the property of the churches and pastors, and by doing so prove that they want to starve their pastors out and get rid of them, they are ready to do so. We would soon see what kind of savagery and misery would follow from this, if the government did not take notice. No, that is not at all my intention. They should be given support, for if they do not have food, drink, clothes, and other necessities, they will be unable to administer their office for long, but they will have to think about how else to support themselves. Then the Gospel will not remain for long, which is what the devil is seeking. Christ Himself teaches that people are obliged to give them support when He says, "The laborer deserves his wages" (Luke 10 [: 7]). St. Paul teaches: "The one who is taught the Word should share all good things with the one who teaches him" (Galatians 6 [: 6]). He adds stern words: "Do not be deceived; God is not mocked" [Gal. 6: 7]. Again: "Let the elders" (or priests) "who administer well be considered worthy of double honor, especially those who labor in the Word" (1 Timothy 5 [: 17]). If we take care of others who are in worldly offices, in which they serve the community, so that they can attend to their service, we are even more obliged to do this for the servants of the Word, for St. Paul says that, more than others, they are "worthy of double honor" [1 Tim. 5: 17]. And if the doctrine of the Gospel is to remain pure in the pulpit in the future, so that our descendants can have and hear it, then we are obliged not only to care for the ministers, but we also are responsible to make very sure that the schools are supplied with qualified persons, whom we should faithfully support.

[Luther's Works, Vol 77: Church Postil III (Kindle Locations 3422-3438). CPH. Kindle Edition.]

The Search for our new SWD Executive Assistant to the President for Missions:
Following the policies of the SWD Board of Directors the following have been appointed and have agreed to serve as the "Call Committee" to search for our next mission executive. They are: Myron Buss who serves as chair of the committee, Bryan Seider who is SWD Board chair, Rev Darrell Bergelin and Al Beyer who are both board members, Revs. Eric Skovgaard and Lance O'Donnell, along with myself.

The actual position title is: "Executive Assistant to the President for Missions". The position description is attached for your information. And we request your participation in the form of nominations. Please read the job description, and if you know of a pastor who might serve in this capacity, please nominate him. Position Description:

The Search Committee has established the following time line for requesting nominations for the position:
  • Deadline for nominations is set as Monday, October 31, 2016.
  • The nomination form is attached should you, as a board member, wish to nominate someone. The form is adapted from congregation usage and requires a signature to be valid. Completed nomination forms are to be returned to the SWD President's office by the deadline. Nomination Form:
  • After that the Call Committee will review the list of nominees, interview those whose abilities fit the position description, conduct an onsite visit, and then bring their recommendations to the SWD Board of Directors.
As I remind congregations and their call committees when dealing with a vacancy, the priority is not the speed of the search; but rather finding the right person, the person whom our Lord has already selected to fill this position (cf. Acts 1). Please keep this search in your prayers. The prayer of the early church in Acts 1 was, "Lord, show us the one you have chosen to take the place in this ministry..." That is my prayer as well! 
SWD Mission Intentions:
Our business manager, Herman Strozier, has prepared and is sending out the 2017 Congregational Intention form to all congregations. The total of what each congregation commits to the support of District and Synod dictates how we can support our SWD and LCMS missions. Each year we send the first 25% every undesignated dollar shared by congregations with the LCMS. The remainder funds the mission and ministry of SWD.

While I would love to raise our SWD commitment with the LCMS from 25% to 30%, the demands of local mission and ministry make that extremely difficult, and presently not feasible unless there is an increase in what we receive from congregations. Our local SWD missions early request more support.

We have an expanding Hispanic mission field in SWD, among various other expanding cross-cultural mission efforts. Pastor German Novelli Jr. is quick to describe how 10 years back we had only one Hispanic mission, Primera Iglesia, in Racine. Now we are blessed with St. Martini and its school, with Grace in Milwaukee, with a Hispanic vicar working in Sheboygan County. Pastor German Novelli Sr. who heads up CPTLN (Bringing Christ to the Nations) monthly goes to Oxford to lead Hispanic services for the incarcerated there. There is expanding work in Hilbert and around St. John's Beloit.

There is the expanding work at the House of Correction in Franklin. Pastor Afam Ikanih is doing fantastic ministry there, even working on planting a church for ex-offenders on Milwaukee's south side.

We support several Hmong pastors, as well as our two deaf missionaries. We support the campus ministry at UW c hapel to the tune of $130,000.00 a year, a ministry which is coming back to life as we partner with Mount Olive Madison with Pastors Zobel and Anderson.

SWD is helping to support the church plant in Waunakee in partnership with Bethlehem Sun Prairie. That is going well. There are from 70-75 in divine service every Sunday.
We support the work of several inner city congregations.

And there is need to plant more congregations, both cross-culturally and traditional plants.
As I write this, I am on my way to the Dominican Republic for the partners meeting. As you know, the DR is our foreign mission field. So much good is happening there; new congregations, new schools, new buildings needed.

The list could go on and on. As you contemplate your mission commitment, please take a look at the Mission Flier which has been prepared by Peg Raabe. It tells a wonderful story of the Gospel being shared in SWD. Please weigh your mission comm itment comparing it to the generosity of our Lord. St. Paul says, "I say this not as a command, but to prove by the earnestness of others that your love als o is genuine.  For you know t he grace of our Lord Jesus Christ; that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you by his poverty might become rich." (2 Co 8:8-9). 
I thank our Lord for your generosity!! I thank you for your generosity!!

Thanksgiving Baskets:
What does $30 buy you these days? How far does $30 go towards your monthly food budget? With the rising cost of food in today's economy, for most people $30 doesn't go very far at the grocery store. With the shape our economy is in, there are too many people out of work, and who are experiencing financial difficulties.
Last year, many individuals and congregations in the South Wisconsin District provided funds for Thanksgiving meals to families living in the central city of Milwaukee. The meal consists of a turkey and all the fixings for a traditional Thanksgiving meal. The goal every year is to fulfill the requests for Thanksgiving baskets we receive from central city Lutheran pantries in Milwaukee. Last year 1058 baskets were delivered to the pantries, and we have the same goal of 1058 this year. Again this year we will partner with Brookfield Lutheran who has purchased, assembled and delivered Thanksgiving baskets to fami lies in the central city for many years.
The letter itself is attached. Please share it with your people; it is part of our m ercy component, a witness that we care for the whole person. 

Passionate Believers Work Conference:
is set for Saturday, February 4, 2017, at Divine Redeemer, Hartland. This year's theme is, "21st Century Lutheranism: What does this mean?" After all, it is the 500th anniversary of the Lutheran Reformation. But that Reformation still as timely today? Is it as appreciated today as it has been in the past? What ought Lutheranism look like as we move into this emerging hostile culture in which we find ourselves? Our keynote speaker is Rev. Dr. Larry Rast, president of Concordia Theological Seminary Fort Wayne, will discuss that and much more.
Please mark the date on your calendar! More information will be forthcoming.
SW D P re-Lent Retreat - Featuring Reed Lessing:
Monday, January 9, 2017 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. @ Pilgrim, West Bend:  Only $25
Participants will explore nine sermons that dig deeply into Job's central message and supporting truths, plus sic adult Bible class lessons that further address the book's major topics and themes.  Participants will come away with sermon manuscripts, textual notes, and orders of service for midweek services.  Send payment of $25 to retreat coordinator Rev. Christopher Seifferlien, 326 Center Ave., Adell, WI 53001 or email (920-=918-7200 text or call) .  Flyer:

Free at Last - ministry support night at Divine Shepherd, Milwaukee:  
Rev. Afam Ikanih extends a warm invitation to join him as the contemporary Christian band,
Heart of Worship, leads you in a night of praise, worship and testimony. A wide variety of contemporary Christian music will be played that brings a clear message of our Risen Savior and his redemptive love.

The service will be on Saturday, October 29, at 6:00 p.m. at Divine Shepherd, 9741 W. Beloit Rd., Milwaukee. This evening will be in support of Free at Last, a ministry devoted to serving those who are, or have been incarcerated, by caring for their spiritual, physical and emotional needs. Refreshments and fellowship will follow.
Rev. Afam Ikanih is the LCMS Chaplain at Milwaukee County House of Correction (HOC). He will share his vision of hope in Jesus Christ as "the only means to turn these earthly ties into eternal life with the Savior of all people."
There will be an in-gathering of Wish List items (please see below). If you have any of these items you are welcome to bring them with you that night or arrange for Rev. Ikanih to pick them up at a future date.    Heart of Worship Flyer:
HOC Wish List:

Equipping to Share:  Everyday Evangelism: 

Learn to overcome fear and to effectively share your faith within three different relationship models: brief encounters, close relationships, and in times of crisis.

On Oct. 29, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. , Lutheran Hour's Mission-U will present MU-101 at St. John Lutheran Church, N7074 County Road V, Horicon (Brown's Corners), 53032. A light lunch will be served and a free will offering is requested.

Sponsored by the Men's Club of St. John's, you are invited to join with our brothers and sisters in Christ at St. John's for this Workshop on sharing Jesus every day. This is a special event for St. John's as they are celebrating their 150th Anniversary this year and are taking the time to remember God's blessings for all these years in this way.
To register please call Pastor Richard Boeck at 920-387-9885, send an email with your name, phone, and number of people attending to, or click here to
Register online:

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Mission Statement:
For Christ and for His world SWD magnifies partnerships, multiplies ministries, and maximizes resources .

Rev. Peter Kelm as he continues cancer treatments
Rev. Brian & Michelle Beardsley and family at the death of their son, Tim after a short battle with cancer
Rev. Alan Kubow as he recovers from a stroke
Roger Laesch as he recovers from hernia surgery
Andy Bailey as he recovers from colon surgery  
The familes of Curt Snow, principal at St. John/Berlin Mark & Janelle Wenzel, Peace/Beaver Dam and Roy and Joanie Peterson, Concordia/Mequon at the unexpected death of Curt's  son-in-law, Adam. He was 28 years old and leaves behind his wife Cassy and 2 a year old daughter.

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LCMS Wisconsin Youth Gathering 
November 3-5, 2017
Stand firm, and you will win life. 
Luke 21:19 
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Lutheran Church Extension Fund (LCEF) offers services that helps support you and your ministry. If you would like to discuss the following services in person, contact Diana Raasch at 414-464-8228 or


Interested in an LCEF Loan?  Our borrowing solutions allow Rostered Church Workers and ministries in need of financial assistance to continue their work of building God's Kingdom.

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Are you saving enough to retire comfortably?  Lutheran Church Extension Fund's (LCEF) Individual Retirement Accounts  can help. LCEF offers a Traditional IRA (contributions may be tax deductible*) and a Roth IRA (contributions grow tax free*). 

*Contact your tax advisor for more information. 
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Completed applications must be received by January 31, 2017.
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Upcoming Events Around the D istrict


  • October 24, 2016:  CUW Pastors Conference:  Why Luther's Worship Reforms Still Matter - Dr. Timothy Maschke - 11:30 am Lakeshore Room
  • October 29, 2016:  Mission U -101 Equipping to Share: Everyday Evangelism @ St. John, Horicon 9-2 (to register call 920-387-9885)
  • November 28, 2016:  CUW Pastors Conference:  From Garden to City: From Genesis 1-3 to Revelation 21-22 - Dr. Harald Tomesch - 11:30 am Lakeshore Room
  • October 20-21, 2016:  Great Lakes/Great Plains COP meeting @ District Office
  • January 9, 2017:  SWD Pre-Lent Retreat- Job's central message  @ Pilgrim, West Bend 9-5 (to register call 920-918-7200)
  • January 23, 2017:  CUW Pastors Conference:  Preaching & Teaching - The Six Face of Forgiveness - Dr. Daniel Paavola - 11:30 Lakeshore Room
  • February 4, 2017:  Passionate Believers Conference - Divine Redeemer, Hartland, WI
  • February 10-12, 2017:  Manitowoc Men's Retreat - Holiday Inn Manitowoc
  • February 27, 2017:  CUW Pastors Conference: The Pastoral Office - Accourding to St. Paul - Dr. Jason Lane - 11:30 Lakeshore Room
  • March 27, 2017:  CUW Pastors Conference:  Disputed Doctrine:  Justification from Luther Out - Dr. Jonathan Mumme - 11:30 Lakeshore Room
  • April 24, 2017:  CUW Pastors Conference:  Not of the World: Strengthening the Faith of Lutheran Youth - Dr. Ronald Mudge - 11:30 Lakeshore Room
Pastor Calls and Vacancies
Calling Congregations
  • Elm Grove -Elm Grove
  • Risen Savior - Franklin
  • Mt. Olive - Milwaukee
  • St. Peter -Immanuel - Milwaukee
  • St. Paul - Sheboygan
  • St. Paul - Sheboygan Falls
  • Hope - Twin Lakes
  • St. Andrew - West Bend

Pastors Accepting a Call

Contact Information

President John C. Wille
Karen Rayner