April 22, 2021
Dear Friends,

As more and more of our congregations and ministries make the decision to gather for in-person, indoor worship I want to share with you guidance that Wisconsin Council of Churches recently published to guide us in our decision making. They have anchored this statement in scripture. From the book of Ephesians 4:1-3: “… lead a life worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, making every effort to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” 

We are making great strides in our vaccination efforts. At the same time, the pandemic is not over. Variants are on the rise. Hospitalizations in Wisconsin have doubled in the last week. We are in a race between vaccination and the virus. Now is not the time to give up on our safety precautions. We need to continue to wear our masks. We need to continue to socially distance.  Please continue to bear with one another in love and make every effort to keep unity and peace. We are all tired, but we are not alone. May the God of peace and love keep you and grant you patience.

Bishop Joy
A Pastoral Word on the Verdict of George Floyd's Murder Trial from Presiding Bishop Eaton
The trial of Derek Chauvin, the former Minnesota police officer charged with the killing of George Floyd, has riveted our national attention these past weeks, and now a verdict has been reached. Together with people around the world, we have anticipated the jury's decision with troubled hearts. As members of the community of Jesus, we affirm that "if one member suffers, all suffer together with it" (1 Corinthians 12:26, NRSV).
No jury verdict can erase the pain of the Floyd family, and we share our condolences and pray for ongoing comfort in their suffering and for all whose lives have been touched by this tragedy. As people of the cross, we believe in the hope of the resurrection. Yet we cannot rush to Easter Sunday without reflecting on the oppression of Good Friday.
The murder of George Floyd is one of the many examples of the ongoing abuse of police authority. The extrajudicial killings of Brown and Black bodies must stop.
We recommit ourselves as a church to continue to fight against the sin of racism and to hold accountable unjust systems and structures that perpetuate injustices, including our own.  In the words of Martin Luther King Jr: "Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny.
Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly." The work of confronting these injustices is long overdue. 
Let us together in our congregations and communities discern how we are being called in this moment to live out our baptismal promise to serve all people and strive for justice and peace.

Items Available for Congregations!
In October Atonement Lutheran Church in Beloit held their final worship service. Since then we have been working on finalizing disposition of the items left in the church building. Synod staff will be present at the former church location at 901 Harrison Ave., Beloit, WI 53511. If you are interested in any of the items on the Inventory List please come at one of the times listed below noting that: 
  • Items can not be held
  • Bring whoever you need to help with the pick-up including appropriately sized vehicles.
  • Donations in any amount can be made to the South-Central Synod of Wisconsin
Saturday, April 24
10:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m.
Friday, April 30
3:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Lutherans Restoring Creation is excited to be offering an online worship service around the season of creation with Presiding Bishop Elisabeth Eaton providing the message! This worship service will use the readings for April 25 (Good Shepherd Sunday) and will premiere April 25 at 9am EST on their YouTube and Facebook pages. You can learn more and also register to use this service in your own congregation by clicking the link below.

Join LIRS on May 23 at 4 p.m. ET for our first annual Stand Up, Speak Up Spring Vigil. Together with hundreds of interfaith communities across the country, we will examine our roles as compassionate friends and justice-seekers through prayer, reflection, and stories from migrant and refugee families.

ELCA Grants
ELCA World Hunger Domestic Hunger Grants accompany congregations and their partners throughout the United States and Caribbean as they draw on the strengths of communities to address local issues such as food security, clean water, housing, job readiness, human rights, policy change, leadership development and more. Together, these ministries are part of a comprehensive approach to breaking the cycle of poverty and hunger — for good.

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, you have served your communities with compassion and creativity, even as physical distancing changed the way we worship and meet.

Congregations are invited to apply for a new Open Doors Grant to support your ministries as we resume in-person worship and gatherings. 

Have an idea? Grant applications now open at ELCA.org/OpenDoors.
Attention Seminarians!

Apply Now for our Lutheran/Divinity Educational Student Scholarships

The synodical Women's Organization will award two ($500) scholarships to students who are pursuing education in Called Ministry (Pastor or Deacon), Youth Ministry in an ELCA congregation or an ELCA Bible Camp Ministry.

Application deadline is August 16, 2021

Free Webinar
“The Truth About Addiction”
April 29, 2021 - 11 a.m. - 12 p.m. (CT)
Presented by Dr. Kate Gaudet

  • Lynn Mehringer, Secretary, St. John's (Johnson Creek)
  • Bonnie Gilbertson, Treasurer, St. John's (Oregon)
  • Members of St. John (North Freedom)
  • Pastor Michelle Elfers, Pastor & Members of St. John (Richland Center)
  • Bishop Matthew L. Riegel, the Staff, and Congregations of the West Virginia-Western Maryland Synod
Churchwide Partners:
  • The Rev. Kevin L. Jacobson, Manager for Relationships - East and Southern Africa, Global Mission
  • The Rev. Benyam A. Kassahun, Director - Africa Desk, Global Mission
We give thanks at this time for the ministry of those who celebrate their anniversary of ordination during this coming week:
  • Pastor Ulrich Rosenhagen, April 28, 2002, Director - Center for Religion & Global Citizenry @ UW-Madison, Living in Madison, rosenhagen@wisc.edu
  • Pastor Brad Pohlman, April 28, 1996, Lead Pastor - Luther Memorial (Madison), pohlmanbc@gmail.com

May these leaders continue to be blessed for service!
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As always we would love for you to continue to share your news. If you have something you would like considered for publication in What Matters, send it to us via email at scswoffice@scsw-elca.org. The deadline for consideration of inclusion in the current weeks e-newsletter is 12:00 p.m. (CT) on Wednesday.
Care - Connect - Equip