December 16, 2021
A Christmas message from
Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton
On the night of Dec. 10 and early morning of Dec. 11, an outbreak of at least 30 tornadoes swept through six states. So far, 94 people are reported dead across five states, more than 80 of those in Kentucky. For those unaccounted for, search-and-rescue operations are underway. Homes and businesses were destroyed, and over 300,000 people were without electricity.
Lutheran Disaster Response is collaborating with the Indiana-Kentucky Synod and other partners in the area to assess the damage and develop an immediate and a long-term response plan. Your gifts to support these response efforts will empower our partners to meet survivors’ immediate and long-term needs. Given the extent of the damage, recovery will take years as thousands of homes will need to be rebuilt or repaired. With your support, Lutheran Disaster Response can accompany survivors on the long road to recovery.

Congratulations to Evangelical Lutheran Church in Mount Horeb in becoming the latest Reconciling in Christ congregation!

Your Portico Regional Representative, Jennifer Prinz, has a few important updates and wishes you a blessed Advent and a joyous Christmas. Please reach out to her if you have any questions at jprinz@porticobenefits.org
 
Being Here Podcast – New Episodes
Being Here, a podcast that explores real world issues and topics important to professionals in the faith community, has added three new episodes. Join host the Rev. Melissa Pohlman, as she welcomes three new guests to share their experiences and points of view on navigating retirement; Christian conversations about racial justice; and creative approaches to innovative ministry. Being Here invites us to learn together, listen to each other, grow together, and move forward together — stronger, more resilient as a unique community. https://portico.thebigknow.com/home/audio-series/portico-being-here/overview

ELCA Medicare-Primary Transition to Humana Prescription Drug Program
Steps members should take now:
  • Refill current prescriptions
  • Watch the mail for a new Humana ID card
  • Look up medication with Humana
  • Set up Humana Pharmacy mail-delivery account by calling 1-800-379-0092
  • Ensure local pharmacy is in network

Virtual Workshop Series on Retirement Readiness
Look for more information about 4 new webinars coming in January! 

Important Self-Care after the Holidays
After the holidays, when you have time to catch your breath, provides an opportunity for you to focus on your own self-care. Now is the time to block out some time on your calendar in January to schedule your wellness exam, review your retirement account, schedule an appointment with a Portico financial planner, and refamiliarize yourself with all that your benefits plan has available to you to help you be well in order that you can serve others.   https://myportico.porticobenefits.org/retirement-center/financial-planning
asst-beaded-necklaces.jpg
Call for Art

A Memorial for Survivors of Sexual Abuse in the Church
Open to artists working in the USA who are professional artists, 18+, regardless of race, color, religion, national origin, gender identification, military status, sexual orientation, marital status, or physical ability.

Since the nineteenth century, households and congregations have marked the days before Christmas with many types of Advent calendars. The season of waiting and longing for the “already-but-not-yet” incarnation of Jesus unfolds amidst waning daylight in the Northern Hemisphere, a time of yearning for hope, joy, and peace.
Each day from November 28th to December 24th, join us for a moment of music and reflection.

As winter draws near, the lack of daylight often intensifies other suffering. The weight of depression grows heavier when light is scarce. We get stressed out when our calendars fill with extra social obligations. We fear interactions with family members that have been difficult in the past. The message of Christmas is specifically sent for those in pain and suffering. It is not that “all is merry and bright.” Rather, it is the abiding truth that God seeks to be with us, even in the darkest night.

Tune in for a 30-minute service of prayer, responsive readings and contemplative silence on the Winter Solstice: Tuesday, December 21 at 7:00pm on Zoom. Put together by Samuel Christensen, intern at Common Ground Church.

Meeting ID: 958 9613 9124
Passcode: Psalm27
Not filled with Christmas joy and happiness? The Women of the ELCA are bringing you a Blue Christmas Service that offers a safe place to bring your grief, fear, and loss. Brief readings. Quiet and reflective music. Prayers. All are welcome.
Register now to participate in the Blue Christmas Service. The service (webinar) will take place at 7 p.m. CST on Tuesday, December 21, 2021, via Zoom. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.
We are excited to announce our LEAD event is coming back on February 26th, 2022. This will be a day of learning, worshiping and fellowship.
Do you have a workshop idea that you would like to host for this event?
Do you have a topic you would like to learn more about while attending?
Do you have someone in mind that would lead a great workshop?
Please email Marie (mariel@scsw-elca.org) with any possibilities you may have by December 23rd. 

Cafe Podcast: Called to Wait Expectantly
 
During Advent, we are called to wait expectantly. Listen to the podcast.

Recorded Webinars
Boy Scouts of America Bankruptcy
Question & Answer Webinar recording that took place December 2nd.
We are happy to share the recording of our special webinar: “The ABC’s of Refugee Resettlement” with LIRS that took place on November 16th.
Prayers
Holy Land Advocacy Committee
  • Ann Leon, Bethel (Madison)
  • Rev. Blake Rohrer, Midvale Community (Madison)

Pastors and Congregations in our Synod
  • Pastor Kristen Curtis and Members of Christ Lutheran (Spring Green)
  • Pastor Paula Geister-Jones and Members of Christ Lutheran (Stoughton)
 
Neighboring Synod
  • Bishop Bill Gafkjen, Indiana-Kentucky Synod

Members Elected by Churchwide Assembly
  • Noah F. Roux, Upper Susquehanna Synod
  • Valerie J. Shaw, S.W. California Synod

May these leaders continue to be blessed for service!
Synod Quick Links
View Resources
View Job Postings
Congregations In Transition
Contact Synod Staff
Ministries & Partners
ELCA Youth Gathering
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
stephanieb@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