February 24, 2022
“ 29And while he was praying, the appearance of his face changed, and his clothes became dazzling white. 30Suddenly they saw two men, Moses and Elijah, talking to him. 31They appeared in glory and were speaking of his departure, which he was about to accomplish at Jerusalem”. 

This coming Sunday we will be celebrating Transfiguration Sunday. Our Epiphany season ends while Jesus is being revealed and affirmed as God’s Son.

Jesus’ appearance was transformed, for a moment the disciples witnessed Jesus’ identity, they understood who Jesus really is, God of true God, light of true light.

Peter, James and John understood that Jesus was the fulfillment of the Law and the prophets represented in the persons of Moses and Elijah. Peter excitement was so great that he wanted to prolong their mountain top experience. “Master, it is good for us to be here; let us make three dwellings, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah”. The disciples wanted to stay there away from the problems and noise of the valley.

We enjoy our mountain top experiences that we would like to stay there forever. We would like to freeze those experiences in time. I remember the time when my first baby was born, when my kids walked for the first time, my wedding day. I also remember the time when people could agree to disagreed, the time when people of different ideologies and political colors could worship under the same roof and work together for the wellbeing of the whole community.

The disciple’s mountain top experience was a pause in their ministry I was not meant to serve as a distraction for the mission waiting for them. Jesus’ mission was down the valley on the road to Jerusalem. The valley represents moments of sorrow, sadness, pain, and loss. It’s down in the valley where Jesus wants His disciples to brink healing and hope to a broken world.

Psalm 23 reminds us that sometimes we will have to “walk thought the valley of the shadow of death’. And that’s why we need to cherish our mountain-top experiences. We need to share them with others, we need to be reminded of them. Sometimes life can be frustrating and discouraging. That’s when we fall back on our mountain-top experiences to be strengthen by them to continue our journey to serve as Jesus hands and feet in our broken world.

Rev. Walter Baires
Assistant to the Bishop, Director for Evangelical Mission
Header Image from Sermon.com. Used by Permission.
2022 Synod Assembly
Friday, May 6 - Saturday, May 7
Kalahari Resort - Wisconsin Dells, WI
**Registration Opens Next Week**
Assembly Information & Registration

Your congregation is invited to be a part of the 2022 Synod Assembly! The Synod Assembly is a time to celebrate and give thanks for our partnership in Christ’s mission. The assembly will include meaningful worship, fellowship and opportunities for learning and spiritual growth as well as decision-making on how we will use our resources and gifts to be partners in God’s work in the world.

Look for an email inviting people to begin registering next week. All registrations will be done online and full information on costs and deadlines will be shared at that time.
Now Is The Time: A Study Guide for ELCA Declaration to People of African Descent
Webinar Invitation
Join a special webinar on March 5, 1-2:30 p.m. CT, to explore “Now Is the Time: A Study Guide for ELCA Declaration to People of African Descent.” Please register in advance for this free learning opportunity.
Participants will explore the new study guide that helps congregations wrestle with the meaning of “Declaration of the ELCA to People of African Descent” and its accompanying explanation.

Immigration Reform and Refugee Support Task Force Changes
After 12 years of Refugee Resettlement and advocacy our task force has decided that it is time for a large change. Because the needs and opportunities for caring for our neighbors have changed, we feel that it is time to disband the present task force and encourage new involvement, new focus, and new energy in the mission of caring for our neighbor in a new immigration task team.

During these years of the task force, we have helped resettle about 700 people in the Madison area. We have worked with dozens of churches and many, many, individuals to make this ministry happen. We are thankful for your partnership and the partnership of Lutheran Social Services. As Lutheran Social Services have shifted their focus, and as the needs have shifted. It is time to surface new leaders, new partnerships, and new goals in this area of caring for the neighbor who is a traveler, a stranger, a new comer among us.

Watch for new opportunities in our synod to serve neighbors and fellow travelers!

Task Force members:
Dan Odden, Lisa Hansen, Tim Hansen, Solveig Carlson, George Carlson, Jean Berg, Nancy Anderson, Kristi Jones, Toni Swandby, Walter Baires
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.
Lutheran Men in Mission
  • Scott Smith, St. Johns, Evansville, WI
  • Paul Beckman, Treasurer, Madison, WI
Pastors and Congregations in our Synod
  • Senior Pastor William Lehman, Associate Pastor Sara Ehert & Visitation Pastor Richard Halom and Members of First, Stoughton, WI
  • Pastor Brenda Crossfield and Members of First English, Platteville, WI

Neighboring Synod
  • Bishop Erik Gronberg and the staff of the Northern Texas-Northern Louisiana Synod

Conference of Bishops Liaisons
  • Bishop Sue Briner, Southwestern Texas Synod
  • Bishop Barb Collins, Upper Susquehanna Synod
We give thanks at this time for the ministry of those who celebrate their anniversary of Ordination during this coming week:
  • Anita Grue, February 25, 2007, Retired Pastor living in Sun Prairie, WI anita51_98@yahoo.com
  • Judy Bergeson, February 26, 2005, Retired Pastor living in Beaver Dam, WI judybergeson@aol.com
  • Robert Vetter, March 1, 1992, Synod Call-Specialized living in Oregon, Wi ravetter@charter.net

Synod Quick Links
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Congregations In Transition
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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