July 15, 2021
A Message from Marie -
Assistant to the Bishop for Leadership Support

Congregations across our Synod (and beyond) are having conversation’s about what will Fall look like if we are able to re-open our building and attempt a ‘new normal’. What will programming look like? Are we ever going to hear our young ones in the hallways and in the sanctuary? Will our beloved teachers come back? If you have asked these questions or one like it, know that you are not alone.

Ruth Sall wrote a beautiful article that I hope can encourage and empower you.
“Here we are again in a moment of change as we try and wrap our hearts and minds around re-entering the church with one another. Let us move forward with joy and care, the same steps we have been taking all these months. What a delight it will be to return to our churches, like a long-awaited family reunion, eagerly anticipating reconnecting with congregants of all ages.” 

~ Join us Tuesday, July 20th at 2 p.m. (via Zoom) for Equipping the Saints where we are going to discuss what others are planning, thinking about, dreaming up, etc.
(More info below)

~ If you are involved with children, youth and family ministry at your congregation-please join us Thursday, July 22 at 10:30 a.m. (via Zoom) to connect with other CYF ministry colleagues.

If you have any creative ways you're reentering into Fall programming, need a listening ear or have questions on how to attend these Zoom meetings please contact me
July 20 at 2:00 p.m.

Living in the new "Normal" now what?
A conversation with colleagues about what congregations are doing,
how they are feeling and what we can do to help.
Fund An Investor Call
Presented by the ELCA Foundation
When: Friday, July 30 | 11:15 a.m. Central time
Where: Zoom webinar
Cost: Free
Deadline to register is July 28.

You will hear representatives from Graystone Consulting, the ELCA Foundation’s investment consultant, and a special presentation about socially responsible investing from Portico, the investment manager for publicly traded funds within Fund A. A question-and-answer session will follow.
This invitation is open to all participants in Fund A and can be attended by one or more individuals representing your organization. Registration for this event is required.
About the Endowment Fund Pooled Trust — Fund A: Designed specifically for congregations, synods, seminaries and other affiliates of the ELCA, Fund A provides a socially responsible, collective, long-term investment option for endowments that support your ministry. Learn more.
Lutheran/Divinity Education Scholarships
Attention Students!
Apply Now for the 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

South Central WI Synodical Women’s Organization (SWO)
September 24-25, 2021
At Lutherdale Bible Camp
Elkhorn, WI - Hope Conference Center
Stay OVERNIGHT or come for either day!
 SPEAKER: Vicar Lily Zeich Brellenthin
Served in South Africa (2015-2016) with Young Adults in Global Mission

Forms can be found on WELCA webpage on synod website: https://scsw-elca.org/welca/
Due by Monday, August 16, 2021 
• Biennial Voting Member registrations
• Women’s Synodical Board (SWO) nominations
• Triennial Convention Voting Member nominations
• Resolutions
• Lutheran/Divinity Scholarship applications
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, early bird discounts 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.

For more information and to view participant testimonial videos click here.

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 - https://youtu.be/xVosynJX2xU
Tune into the ultimate station at the next One Year to Live Retreat
Thank you to all the congregations and adult leaders who gathered at our two 2022 ELCA Youth Gathering Informational meetings. If you were not able to attend and your congregation is interested in learning more about the Gathering, the session from this week was recorded and will be available by the end of this week on the synod Gathering webpage at https://scsw-elca.org/elcayg2022/. Our synod is excited and ready to accompany you and your young people as you discern and begin to plan to attend. If you have any questions, need advice, want to learn more about what the Gathering is, please reach out to our Gathering Synod Coordinator:
Pastor Jason Poole-Xiong
Office: (608) 362-0716, ext. 104
Cell: (847) 893-9226
*Note that Pastor Jason will be on vacation July 18-23*
It is our plan to hold another informational meeting for adult leaders the week of September 12, 2021 focusing on registration related questions and logistics (registration opens September 22, 2021). Watch ‘What Matters’ for details after Labor Day. In the meantime know that we are praying for and with you as you tackle everything that is in store in the ministry of your congregations, your youth, and your preparations for the 2022 ELCA Youth Gathering.
Rev. Jason Poole-Xiong
Gathering Synod
Our Savior’s Lutheran-Beloit
Marie Leafblad
Assistant to the Bishop for Leadership Support
South Central Synod of Wisconsin-ELCA
Brenda Martin
Gathering Synod Day Director
Evangelical Lutheran-Mt. Horeb
What is diakonia®?
  • The diakonia® program consists of 12 different, five week courses. Classes are held via distance learning technology from the convenience of your home with an instructor and other students using your computer and internet connection. Classes meet once a week for three hours.
  • Students may participate in 1 to 6 courses a year. Upon successful completion of all 12 courses, students are invited to participate in a graduation ceremony.
  • Courses are taught by pastors and/or lay professionals particularly skilled in that area of instruction or ministry.
  • Classes combine theological knowledge with practical skills. Assignments and readings aim to be relevant while also developing a solid background on the topic.

Is diakonia® Right for You? Ask yourself:
  • Are you looking for a deeper faith life?
  • Have you been wondering what God has in mind for you?
  • Do you want to be better equipped for Christian service?
If you answered, “Yes” to any of these questions, diakonia® may be just what you’re looking for!

Registration is now open with classes starting in September.

If you are interested in teaching a diakonia course(s) or are a returning instructor please click HERE to indicate your interest and availability for our courses.
  • 2022 Portico Annual Enrollment
Summer is here, yet of course, our ministries don’t stop. And fall will be even busier. Our Annual Enrollment suggestion: Take a few easy steps this summer. That way, you and your other decision-makers will be ready, come fall, to make the health benefit selection that best supports those you sponsor. Bring benefits top of mind for your team. Share the link to this newly released 9-min, “Why A Church Plan Makes Sense”, between an ELCA pastor from North Dakota and Portico’s president. As this pastor discovered, Portico’s approach to pricing uniquely supports the ELCA’s community of congregations – financially and biblically. Know what’s changing for 2022. Later in July, we’ll email you information about an upcoming change to the Annual Enrollment process. In late August, we’ll email you a link to your Decision Guide and custom pricing information.

  • Two ELCA-Recommended Health Plan Options Continues for 2022
At the 2019 Churchwide Assembly a resolution passed asking the ELCA Church Council and Portico to review the ELCA health plan recommendation in the context of a changing church and look for ways to increase flexibility. Following significant analysis, the Church Council’s recommendation in 2021 included not one, but two health benefit options.  If you’re looking for a presentation on the differences between Gold+ and Silver+, please reach out to Jennifer Prinz, Portico’s Regional Representative. She can be reached at 563/650-4122 or JPrinz@porticobenefits.org 
  • Easy Access for Primary Physician Care
Summer is the prime time to get outdoors and enjoy the beauty of God’s creation. Don’t let a minor health concern put a damper on your summer – even if you’re traveling. You can get answers to your health questions on-demand with the 98point6 app. 98point6 makes it easy to start a convenient, text-based visit 24/7 from anywhere. Need even more peace of mind? Portico provides this service to you and your family members ages 1+ with a $0 copay as part of your ELCA-Primary health benefits, so you can address health concerns early and often, without having to wait or weigh the costs. 98point6 physicians are board-certified and treat more than 400 conditions.  
New Facebook Page
We are excited to announce a new Facebook page in addition to our South-Central Synod of Wisconsin ELCA page.
The new page is SCSW - Care, Connect, Equip. This page will be for churches within the synod to share their events, ask questions and communicate with other churches. Please use the link below to join! If your church does not have a Facebook page and you would like your event to be posted please contact me at stephanieb@scsw-elca.org and I would be happy to post it for you!
The Interim Ministry Association (ELCA) will be holding its annual Education Event and Annual Meeting September 20, 2021, from 1:00-4:30 PM EDST (Eastern Daylight Savings Time). On Zoom.
Our featured presenter will be Bishop Tracie Bartholomew of the New Jersey Synod and chair of the ELCA Conference of Bishops.
You are invited to register in advance for this meeting.
Care for God's Creation/ELCA World Hunger Team
  • Bob Lindmeier, St. John’s (Oregon, Wi)
  • Debbie Nelson (Madison, WI)

  • Members of St. Peter (Cassville, WI) 
  • Pastor Kristi Ursin and Members of St. Peter (Fennimore, WI) 

  • Bishop Bill Tesch, the Staff, and the congregations of the Northwestern Minnesota Synod-3D

Churchwide Partners:
  • Rev. Themba L. Mkhabela, Regional Rep, Madagascar, West Central Africa Area, Global Mission
  • Ms. Tammy Jackson, Senior Director, Mission Formation, Global Mission

We give thanks at this time for the ministry of those who celebrate their anniversary of ordination during this coming week:
  • Brenda Crossfield, July 17, 2010, Pastor at First English in Platteville, WI brendacrossfield@yahoo.com
  • Katherine Baardseth, July 19, 1998, Pastor at Midvale Community Lutheran in Madison, WI katieb@midvalelutheran.org
  • Jeffrey Wild, July 20, 1980, Retired Pastor living in Madison, WI
  • Carolyn Schneider, July 21, 1996, Churchwide Call, carolynschneider153@gmail.com
  • Stacy Gahlman-Schroeder, July 21, 2016, Pastor at Norway Grove Memorial, sagschroeder@gmail.com

May these leaders continue to be blessed for service!
Synod Quick Links
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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 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