February 17, 2022
Friends in Christ,

God says, “I am about to do a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?
I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.” Isaiah 43:19

As I walk along Lake Wingra, a lake near my home, I am routinely struck by the snow and barrenness of the landscape. The starkness of winter with its black tree branches and white snow make it seem like spring will never come. Then lo and behold, bright red berries pop out at me followed by the beginning of buds on the trees. It is a reminder that life emerges from fallowness and God is doing a new thing.

In the church it is easy to get lost in the black and white binary; to categorize our congregations in terms of “thriving” or “failing to thrive”. The pandemic has accelerated trends long at play in the world regarding how people gather, form community, and make religious meaning. It’s easy to lose sight of God’s generosity and the way God is doing a new thing. 

As you live through this winter, look for the sparks of life around you. How is God bringing life and vitality – even if the world looks fallow and asleep? How is God doing a new thing in places where it might be easy to get stuck in the binary and fail to notice what God is doing? How is God infusing the world with God’s abundant generosity? As your Associate to the Bishop for Generosity, I am always happy to work with you and your congregations to envision what God is doing and how you might be able to use all of your resources and assets to be part of God’s ministry.

In Christ’s peace,

The Rev. Peter Beeson
Associate to the Bishop for Generosity
Header Image: License details. Creator: MaxPixel's contributors.
Credit: https://www.maxpixel.net/photo-4970339 Copyright: Copyright by MaxPixel
FAITH! Faithful Action in Total Hope!
We are calling for thought-partners as we plan a synod-wide faith space where LGBTQ+ youth and allies can gather in community with others, our draft name is FAITH! If you are a deacon, pastor, or lay-leader, please share the word with your youth or join yourself, but ultimately it is our hope that youth leaders drive the development of this space.

Where and When: 
Join us for our first planning session on Zoom on March 10th, 2022 at 6:00 p.m. Sign-up on the synod website using the button below.

Who are We: 
Marie Leafblad is the Associate to the Bishop for Leadership Support. The younger generation is incredibly important to her and she desires to create safe and welcoming spaces for all. Marie was a youth pastor for a long time prior to her position at the Synod office. 

Vica Steel is a seminary student at Wartburg Seminary where she is studying to be a minister of Word and Service (Deacon). Formerly she taught in the Madison school district. She currently preaches and does outreach work at St. John’s Lutheran church in Madison. She is active on social media. You can find her on TikTok where she gives prayers and reflections each day: @vicaSteel.
New Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) Site
Oakwood Lutheran Senior Ministries is proud to partner with Sankofa Center to provide an accredited Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) program. CPE is an interfaith educational process which serves as the standard training paradigm for healthcare chaplains. Students develop a new awareness of themselves as persons and the needs of those to whom they minister through supervised reflection, collegial feedback, and peer support. Applicants should be enrolled in or have completed a graduate level seminary program (or equivalent as determined by Application Interview Committee).
February Portico News
  • COVID-19 At-Home Tests coverage: As of Jan. 15, health plans are required to cover the cost of certain at-home test kits. Find details on this regularly updated page on myPortico.
  • Retirement Readiness Series: On-Demand: Retirement may feel like (or even be) a long way off. Having a plan for retirement can increase confidence and peace of mind about the future. For those that missed the live Retirement Readiness Series workshops hosted by Fidelity, access to condensed video presentations is available here on myPortico. 
  • Fitness Challenge with Burnalong: ELCA-Primary health benefit members, join the Burnalong Refill Your Cup challenge to reinvigorate your body with online health and fitness classes. Set a goal to complete 100 minutes of classes during the month of February (that’s 25 minutes a week!) to complete the challenge and contribute toward the ELCA community goal of 5,000 minutes.
Portico Questions? Reach out to the Customer Care Center at 800-352-2876 or your Portico Regional Representative, Jennifer Prinz, at jprinz@porticobenefit.org or (563) 650-4122.
2022 Synod Assembly
Friday, May 6 - Saturday, May 7
Kalahari Resort
Wisconsin Dells, WI
Assembly Resolutions & Memorials

As we near this year's synod assembly, please note that all resolutions and memorials need to be submitted no later than March 1, 2022. Email resolution & memorial submissions to knitt1957@netscape.net, chair of the Reference and the Counsel Committee. Information on how to submit a resolution or memorial can be found by clicking below:
Assembly Voting Members Information

Assembly Voting Member Representation from our Synod Constitution
Except as otherwise provided in this constitution and bylaws, the Synod Council shall establish processes that will ensure that at least 60% of the members of the synod assemblies, councils, committees, boards, and other organizational units shall be lay persons; and that at least 45% of the lay members of assemblies, councils, committees, boards, or other organizational units shall be women and at least 45% shall be men; and that, where possible, the representation of ministers of Word and Sacrament shall include both men and women. This synod shall establish processes that will enable it to reach a minimum goal that 10% of its assemblies, councils, committees, boards, or other organizational units be persons of color and/or persons whose primary language is other than English. (S6.04)

All congregations use the following formula to determine the number of lay (non-rostered) voting members they are allowed to register for the assembly. The formula has been created to meet the constitutional expectation that 60% of the voting membership of the assembly be composed of lay persons, and to achieve the goal of an equal balance of men and women.
  • Up to 1000 baptized members = 2 voting members (one male/one female)
  • 1001 - 2000 baptized members = 3 voting members (one male/one female/one either)
  • 2001 - 3000 baptized members = 4 voting members (two male/two female)
  • 3001 - 4000 baptized members = 5 voting members (two male/two female/one either)
  • 4001 - 5000 baptized members = 6 voting members (three male/three female)
  • 5001 - 6000 baptized members = 7 voting members (three male/three female/one either)
  • 6001 - 7000 baptized members = 8 voting members (four male/four female)
Youth and Young Adult Voting Members
In addition to the aforementioned allotment of voting members, in June of 2010 the Synod Council passed a continuing resolution allowing congregations to register additional Youth and Young Adult Lay Voting Members. To be eligible for a youth or young adult voting member registration, the individual shall not have obtained the age of 30 years old at the time of registration.
  • Up to 175 baptized members = 1 youth or young adult voting member of either gender 
  • 176 or more baptized members = 2 youth or young adult voting members (one male/one female)
Synodically Authorized Worshiping Communities
A Synodically Authorized Worshiping Community may register one lay voting member of either gender.
Rostered Ministers

Ministers of Word & Sacrament – All Ministers of Word & Sacrament (pastors) under call in this synod are voting members of the synod assembly. This includes those under call to specialized ministry and under synod call. All pastors under call in the synod are expected to register for and attend the assembly. Each registered pastor has one vote at the assembly, even if they are serving more than one congregation or ministry site.
Ministers of Word & Service – All Ministers of Word & Service (deacons) under call in this synod are voting members of the synod assembly and are expected to register for and attend the assembly. This includes those under call to specialized ministry and under synod call. Each deacon has one vote at the assembly even if they are serving more than one congregation or ministry site.
Retired Rostered Ministers – Retired Rostered Ministers may elect up to 10% of their number to be registered as voting members of the assembly. 
Lutheran Men in Mission 
  • Jim Schieble, Synod Council Rep., Faith, Columbus
  • Jim Edgerly, Good Shepherd, Verona & Madison 
Pastors and Congregations in our Synod 
  • Pastor Michael Mueller & Pastor Jim Johnson and Members of First, Janesville, WI 
  • Pastor Kevin Baker and Members of First, Lone Rock, WI 

Neighboring Synod 
  • Bishop Erik Gronberg, and the staff of the Northern Texas-Northern Louisiana Synod 
Conference of Bishops 
  • Bishop Tracie L Bartholomew, Chair, New Jersey Synod  
We give thanks at this time for the ministry of those who celebrate their anniversary of Ordination during this coming week:  
  • Rev. Bruce Engebretson, February 17,1974, Retired Pastor living in Waunakee, WI bdengebretson@tds.net 
  • Rev. Bryan Lagerstam, February 18, 2008, Pastor at St. John’s in Beaver Dam, WI pastor@stjohnsbd.org 
  • Rev. Robert Fisher, February 18, 1990, Retired Pastor living in Mt. Horeb, WI bobcfisher@hotmail.com 
  • Deacon Bruce Bengtson, February 18, 1984, Retired Deacon living in Madison, WI  
  • Rev. Naomi Garber, February 19, 2000, Interim Pastor at McFarland in McFarland, WI naomic59.ng@gmail.com 
  • Rev. Roger Elliot, February 19. 1984, Retired Pastor living in Beloit, WI jhawk1970@yahoo.com 
  • Rev. O. Rolf Olson, February 21, 1960, Retired Pastor living in Sun Prairie, WI rolfandtrudy@gmail.com 
  • Rev. Lucy Wynard, February 22, 2015, Pastor at St. Paul, Beloit, WI pastor.wynard@gmail.com 
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 Rev. Jason Poole-Xiong, Webmaster & Interim Synod Communications at jasonx@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