June 17, 2021

Congratulations to Bishop Elect Felix Malpica!
He was elected this past Sunday to the La Crosse Area Synod
on the 5th ballot! He currently serves at
Faith Lutheran Church in Janesville.

A Deeply Spiritual Act
In her June/July column for Living Lutheran, ELCA Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton reflects on what we’ve learned from the Apostle Paul about the deeply spiritual act of stewardship. Read her column in English at https://bit.ly/3gBIYFR and in Spanish at https://bit.ly/3xqt8ER
Please join the Wisconsin Council of ChurchesFirst Congregational UCC Madison and the Interfaith Peace Working Group for a monthly Evensong service. In response to the needs of the world, we are hosting evenings of prayer, song, learning, and discussion. We hope that these services inspire faithful spiritual, social and political engagement. We welcome people of all faiths or of no faith. 

Join us on June 24th at 7pm with David Schultz leading the homily, Paula Hirschboeck making a presentation, and John Leonard providing music. Prajnatara Paula Hirschboeck is a Soto Zen priest and teacher. She guides Sophia Zen sangha in Madison and SE Wisconsin. Paula was also a Sinsinawa Dominican sister for 25 years and was a member of the Philosophy Department of Edgewood College from 1994-2010. During those years she and Sr. Maureen McDonnell founded “Wisdom’s Well” to offer support for interfaith contemplation and action.
~ Portico’s New Podcast
Being Here is a podcast that explores real world issues and topics important to professionals in the faith community. Hosted by the Rev. Melissa Pohlman, Being Here invites us to learn together, listen to each other, grow together, and move forward together — stronger, more resilient as a unique community. Check out the three new episodes here.

~ Lead Well Employer Webinars
Our Learn to Live mental health benefit partner has created these quick half-hour sessions for employers. Learn to recognize the signs of mental distress in others, and how to talk about mental health, create a culture of well-being, and lift the stigma about mental health in the workplace.
     Register and attend together as a leadership group
  • Supporting Your Team’s Behavioral Health webinar: 6/23
  • Recognizing Potential Behavioral Health Challenges on our Teams webinar: 6/24
  • Access code: PORTICO

~ NEW Retirement Readiness Series debuts June 21
Fidelity has partnered with Portico to offer a virtual webinar series – exclusively for ELCA Retirement Plan members – that addresses the question “What does it take to be retirement ready?”. These workshops, hosted by a Fidelity Virtual Education Consultant, will be attended by a Portico Financial Planner who can answer member questions related to clergy housing allowance exclusion, the ELCA Participating Annuity, and other ELCA Retirement Plan benefit-specific topics. These workshops are kept to an hour long and will be available for viewing (or re-viewing) on myPortico following each live virtual event.

With summer blooming and the country beginning to open up, we understand that benefits may not be top of mind. To help you and other decision-makers get oriented and then prepare to make your benefit selection this fall, we’re offering a few shareable resources this summer – with a focus on the Silver+ A health benefit option. Reminder: Starting last year, the ELCA recommends both the Silver+ A and Gold+ health benefit options.
Holden Village operates through the efforts of more than 500 volunteers each year and the leadership of skilled core employees who offer guidance in the carrying out of Holden's mission and core values.
Whether serving for a week or a year, volunteers and staff are provided room and board and have the opportunity to take part in Holden's vibrant wilderness community. If you would like more information about working and/or volunteering at Holden Village follow this link or see the resources below.

How to Build A Congregational Anti-Racism Team
Online - Tuesday, June 22, 2021
The European Descent Lutheran Association for Racial Justice is offering an online training for congregations on June 22, 2021 at 6:00 p.m.

Faithful Steps: A Step-by Step Guide for Congregations Starting to Engage in Racial Justice. A presentation by Brenda Blackhawk, Congregational Organizer for Racial Justice for the Minneapolis, Synod of a resource she compiled to help congregations get started on doing racial justice work. Click here to register and receive the zoom link: https://bit.ly/2SnNteu
Begin Planning for the 2022 ELCA Youth Gathering
Save the Date!

Are you ready to begin planning for the 2022 ELCA Youth Gathering next summer? Every three years, 30,000 high school youth (those in 8th-12th grades in the 2021-22 school year) and their adult leaders from across the ELCA gather for a week of faith formation known as the ELCA Youth Gathering. Through days spent in interactive learning, worship, Bible study, service and fellowship, young people grow in faith and are challenged and inspired to live their faith in their daily lives.

Registration will open in September and we want you to be ready! We will be holding two informational meetings for congregational leaders introducing them to the 2022 ELCA Youth Gathering and providing insights to begin preparing their congregations. These trainings will be held in a hybrid format both in-person AND via Zoom:

Thursday, June 24, 2021 @ 6pm at Our Savior's Lutheran Church in Beloit
Wednesday, July 14, 2021 @ 6pm at St. Luke's Lutheran Church in Middleton

To RSVP for either meeting please click below:
If you have questions please reach out to our Gathering Synod Coordinator:

Pastor Jason Poole-Xiong
(608) 362-0716, ext. 104
  • Andrew Stevens, Luther Memorial (Madison)
  • George Swamp, Lake Edge (Madison) 

  • Rev. Heather Hayward and Members of St. Matthew New Life (Madison)
  • Rev. Dan Vojta and Members of St. Michael (Hustisford)

  • Bishop Kevin L. Strickland, the Staff, and Congregations of the Southeastern Synod

Churchwide Partners:
  • Mr. Kaleb Sutherland, Director International Leaders Program, Global Mission
  • Ms. Paulina A Dasse, Manager for Relationships, Latin America/Caribbean Area Desk,
  • Global Mission

We give thanks at this time for the ministry of those who celebrate their anniversary of ordination during the weeks beginning June 11 & 18, 2021:

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 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