August 26, 2021
Lutheran Campus Ministry

Thank you so much for your support of Lutheran Campus Ministry’s Campus Connect project this summer! Because of congregations like yours, young adults all across the country are becoming involved with communities of faith at colleges and universities!

Of the 138 SCSW Congregations, we have made contact with and heard back from 37 congregations on their students for the upcoming school year. Thank you so much for your work together!  

If your congregation would like to participate, you can find more information on our website on how to promote the project and submit your names! 
If you need any help, please reach out to Sami, our student assistant, at You’ll be hearing from Sami again to encourage and help you participate in the Campus Connect Project as the summer comes to a close.

Thank you for your partnership in accompanying students in their journeys of faith. 
As students of all ages are getting ready to go off to college and start their school year Bishop Joy would like to offer this prayer:

Abiding God be with students who return to campuses this fall. Be with those who return and face the uncertainty of returning to dorms and classrooms during the pandemic. Be with those who begin college or school for the first time during this pandemic. Protect and watch over them. Keep them safe from all danger and harm.

As these students grow in knowledge we ask that they might also grow in faith. As they ask questions may they also grow firm in their convictions. As they find their place may they also know that you are right there with them as you have always been.

Abiding God you are where we are not, give us strength and courage as you know to students, teachers and professors. Help us to be strong and cheerful until we are reunited knowing that all is well and all is good in your hands. Amen.
Welcome Peter Beeson to the Synod Staff!
Peter is glad to be joining the synod staff as Assistant to the Bishop for Generosity on Wednesday, September 1st. He will be reachable on Wednesdays and checking email and telephone messages during that time. He is also available for evening appointments, Sunday stewardship visits, and looks forward to being with congregations and conferences in our synod to preach, teach, listen, and talk about stewardship and God’s generosity. Peter will be continuing to serve as pastor at St. John’s Lutheran Church in Madison, where he was called in 2018.

Peter previously served St. Matthew Trinity Lutheran Church in Hoboken, NJ where he was on the Fiscal Management, Administration, and Property Committee for the New Jersey Synod. Prior to that he was on the staff of Lutheran Church of the Reformation in Washington DC where he served on the Stewardship & Mission Support Table for the Metro DC Synod. In his former life he worked in technology project management in higher ed and is excited to have his loves of stewardship, real estate, and celebrating God’s generosity come together to resource congregations in our synod to use all our assets for building the Kingdom of God. Peter and his family live in Madison, where they’ve fallen in love with the lakes and nature spaces.
ELCA Executive Committee Appoints Carlos Peña as Interim Vice President

The Executive Committee of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) Church Council has acted on Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton’s recommendation to appoint Carlos Peña as the ELCA’s interim vice president, effective immediately.
Read more by following the link below.
Rostered leaders are invited to join us as we celebrate being together once again!
 September 26th & 27th, 2021
White Oak Savanna
4352 State Road 23, Dodgeville, WI 53533 
Cost $175 per person.
Deadline for registration is August 29th.

**Please Note: We are keeping a close eye on Covid-19. We are going forward with the event but might need to make adjustments to protocol as we near the event. We want to keep everyone safe and healthy. 
Registration Deadlines Coming Up Soon!
ELCA Youth Leadership Summit Nominations

Nominations are due August 29th

The ELCA Youth Leadership Summit is November 4-7, 2021 in Minneapolis, MN. The South-Central Synod of Wisconsin will be sending along two young adults
(9-12th grade) who will be challenged to take home what they learn, inspire others to action and teach others what they learned in their own synods and youth groups.

The Youth Leadership Summit is a ministry of the ELCA and partners with the Christian Community and Leadership Home Area, the SYMBOL network, the ELCA Youth Gathering, 65 Synods across the United States, ELCA Disability Ministries and ELCA Ethnic Specific Ministries.

Is there a student in your congregation that comes to mind? Nominate them today with the form below.

South Central WI Synodical Women’s Organization (SWO)
September 24-25, 2021
At Lutherdale Bible Camp
Elkhorn, WI - Hope Conference Center

 SPEAKER: Vicar Lily Zeich Brellenthin
Served in South Africa (2015-2016) with Young Adults in Global Mission


Due by Wednesday, September 1, 2021 
• Registrations with babysitting requests
• Registrations with special dietary requests
Due by midnight, Thursday, September 9, 2021 
• All other Biennial Convention/Fall Retreat registrations

One Year to Live Retreat for Men
Not Your Typical Men’s Retreat
Sponsored by Lutheran Men in Mission
September 10-12, 2021 at the MacKenzie Center, Poynette, WI
Space is limited and scholarships are available.

Register by September 1st.
This retreat has been life changing for many attendees! Join with men of all ages seeking to follow the guidance of Proverbs 27:17.
Call or text LMM synod leader, Jim Schieble:
(920) 763-3433 with questions.

Listen to Pastor Matt Poock of St. John’s, Evansville, WI on the impact of this retreat for the men of his church -

Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Services

As a faith-based organization, LIRS believes in the power of meditation, reflection, and prayer. To help guide our time, we’d like to encourage you to download our new interfaith toolkit, Solidarity and Sacred Silence for Afghanistan. This toolkit equips individuals and communities to enter into a time of sacred silence through reflection, guided prayer, and meditation. Additionally, communities can access a Christian and/or Interfaith Solidarity Prayer Vigil to guide communal prayer and reflection in solidarity with our Afghan neighbors.  
One week from today, on Tuesday, August 31st, at 4 pm Eastern Daylight Time, we will be hosting an Interfaith Prayer Vigil to hold space for ourselves and our Afghan neighbors. This special vigil will honor the struggle of our Afghan neighbors, acknowledge the difficult emotions that we face as people of compassion, and help our communities prepare to welcome those who are coming. 
You can download the Solidarity and Sacred Silence toolkit and register for our interfaith prayer vigil at // 
Do You Have an Intern at Your Church?

We would love to know their names, contact information and a bit about what they do so we can spotlight them on the Synod's Facebook page. Please email the information to our communications manager Stephanie at

Are you interested in a little more systems thinking?
On October 27 & 28, you are invited to learn a little more about looking at congregations and leadership through the family systems lens on human behavior developed by Dr. Murray Bowen and applied to congregations by Rabbi Edwin Friedman. The Voyagers, a group of clergy and faith leaders that has been meeting for over 20 years to study systems thinking, is gathering this fall at the DeKoven Center in Racine. 
Clergy, council members, congregational staff, seminary students, congregational members and anyone who is interested in how groups of people work is welcome!
An Introduction to Family Systems Thinking is the topic on Wednesday, from 9:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. Unpacking Pete: The Teaching Legacy of Peter Steinke is the topic on Thursday, again, from 9:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.
You are welcome to attend for one or both days. There also is the option to participate via Zoom.
Our Help is Needed
There are things we can do right now to help the people affected by the earthquake in Haiti, the people in Afghanistan and people affected by the wildfires in the United States. Please use the resources below for yourselves and your congregations!
Lutheran Disaster Response

 We are eager to share what you’ve made possible through our inaugural issue of Thrive.

This report highlights just a few of our responses, but they reflect key areas of our ministry, such as relief, long-term recovery, emotional and spiritual care, and accompanying migrants. By partnering with local Lutheran ministry organizations, ELCA synods and global companion churches, Lutheran Disaster Response is able to carry out this work in 53 countries and 46 U.S. states and territories.
2022 – Lowest rate increase in eight years
A 3% ELCA-Primary health contribution baseline rate increase* — the lowest in eight years! No change to current ELCA-Primary health deductibles, out-of-pocket limits, prescription drug cost-share, and coinsurance. A significant decrease in the contribution cost of ELCA Medicare-Primary health coverage for plan members, and a rate decrease for nearly all organizations sponsoring members with this coverage. You can find 2022 rate and benefit details in our just-published news article here.  * The 2022 ELCA-Primary health plan baseline 3% increase doesn’t yet reflect adjustments related to changes in compensation, age, and health coverage level (that is, whether members enroll their spouse and/or children).

Annual Enrollment
With 2022 Annual Enrollment beginning soon, a few reminders: The window for employers to make their selection this year will be earlier and shorter, Oct. 4 – 15, 2021. Be sure to schedule any benefit discussions ahead of this window. Custom Comparison Reports are available now for all EmployerLink users. A reminder: Starting last year, the ELCA recommends both the Silver+ A and Gold+ health benefit options. If your congregational council is looking for a virtual presentation on the differences of this recommendation, please reach out to Jennifer Prinz, Regional Representative from Portico. She can be reach at

New Vision Care Services
Help manage the cost of prescription frames and contact lenses. While ELCA-Primary health benefits already cover an annual eye exam, Portico will now offer in 2022 a new 100% member-paid vision care services coverage gives sponsored members an affordable way to prepare for additional vision care needs, including prescription eyewear. To learn more click here.
STAR Initiative
The STAR Youth Ministry Initiative began as a dream of youths attending the 2018 ELCA Gathering in Houston, TX, who wanted more opportunities to gather with other Christian youths in the small town and rural communities. The Initiative is a pilot project funded by the Congregational Vitality team at Churchwide and supported by our Synod. Our goal is to build a networking team to coordinate quarterly youth events where they can build community and grow in faith together. 

Rachel Mueller is Youth Coordinator for the Small Town and Rural Youth Initiative. Click below to continue reading the article.
September Webinars
Join us at 2:00 p.m. on Tuesday, September 7th for the Equipping the Saints Webinar. We will have a Dwelling in the Word with Bishop Joy.

Rostered Leaders will receive the Zoom link by email on Tuesday morning. Anyone who also wishes to automatically receive the link for the webinars can sign-up online here.
Join us at 2:00 p.m. on Tuesday, September 21st for a very special Equipping the Saints Webinar where we will welcome ELCA Youth Gathering staff who will share insights and details on preparing your congregation for the Gathering. There will also be time to ask questions and learn from others!
NEW Administration Matters
E-Newsletter from the ELCA

We would like to introduce you to Administration Matters, a bimonthly electronic newsletter for ELCA church leaders. It addresses common, practical issues including finance, governance, risk management, and tax and legal concerns, as well as other topics of interest about day-to-day operations and management in church settings.

If you wish to subscribe to the Administration Matters e-newsletter, go to (see left side of page).
Upcoming Events & Conferences
Three Innovators in Mission Topic of 2021 Scherer Lecture 
When: Tuesday, September 28 • 4 p.m. (CDT)
Who should attend? This event is open to all 
Event cost: Free 
RSVP required? Yes. Register at 
Location: Zoom link provided with RSVP

Virtual or In-Person Conference 

 To give faith communities tools for responding to the addiction crisis.
When: October 7-9, 2021
Where: Bloomington, Minnesota or Virtually
Inspired to Thrive
Join Siebert along with Lutheran pastors and ministry leaders for this complimentary two-day, virtual event! Registration is required.
Wednesday, October 13, 12:00 p.m. - 4:45 p.m.
Thursday, October 14, 8:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.

God‘s healing peace and presence be with Tina Koenig-Ray as she recovers.

Diakonia Team
  • Ken Harris, St. Paul (Beloit)
  • Janean Jones, New Heights (Black Earth)

  • Pastor Barry Hoerz and Members of Vermont, Black Earth, WI
  • Pastor Jim Ranney and Members of West Blue Mounds, Blue Mound, WI

  • Bishop Daniel G. Beaudoin, the Staff and congregation of the Northwestern Ohio Synod

Members Elected by Churchwide Assembly:
  • The Rev. Marcus A. Bigott, Region 4E
  • The Rev. Nicholas M. Billardello, III Region 4D

We give thanks at this time for the ministry of those who celebrate their anniversary of ordination during this coming week:
  • Kenneth Schaub, August 27, 1978, Interim Pastor of St. Paul Lutheran in Mayville, WI
  • Bond Haldeman, August 27, 1995, Pastor of St. John Lutheran in Janesville, WI
  • Roger Koester, August 27, 1973, Retired Pastor living in West Bend, WI
  • Terry Larson, August 27, 1978, Retired Pastor living in Sun Prairie, WI
  • Erich Hartenberger, August 28, 2011, Interim Pastor of Barneveld Lutheran in Barneveld, WI
  • Jennifer Kuhnert, August 28, 2011, Chaplain at Mendota Mental Health Institute in Madison, WI
  • Kurt Billings, August 30, 1987, Pastor of St. James Lutheran in Verona, WI
  • Donald Wendt, August 31, 1975, Retired Pastor living in Surprise, AZ
  • Mark Dressel, August 31, 1997, Pastor of Trinity Lutheran in Lake Mills, WI
  • Robert Voss, September 1, 1974, Retired Pastor living in McFarland, WI
  • Kenneth Halstead, September 1, 1976, Retired Pastor living in Dubuque, IA
  • Heather Hayward, September 2, 2001, Pastor of St. Matthews New Life in Madison, WI
  • Scott Geister-Jones, September 2, 1990, Retired Pastor living Stoughton, WI

  • Kristin Woelk, August 25, 2007, Pastor at All Saints in Fitchburg, WI

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 to Stephanie Bill, Communications Manager at The deadline for consideration of inclusion in the current weeks e-newsletter is 12:00 p.m. (CT) on Wednesday.
Care - Connect - Equip