June 3, 2021
Dear Friends of the South-Central Synod of Wisconsin,

We are a Reconciling in Christ Synod. As a RIC synod we have declared that we welcome all people, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity. June is Pride month. It is a month set aside to recognize the influence that LGBTQ+ people have had around the world. Some might be tempted to think about pride month and bring up images of marches and the abundance of rainbow merchandise that is available at Target right now- but that would be to miss the point entirely. Pride is about welcome and inclusion.

Our presiding bishop, Elizabeth Eaton, was recently quoted in the media to say:

When we say all are welcome, we mean all are welcome, and we believe God creates humanity in diversity,”

Her quote came in response to the election of the first transgender bishop in the ELCA on May 8th, Rev. Dr Megan Rohrer. They were elected to serve the Sierra Pacific Synod and will be installed in September.

God does create humanity in diversity. Our diversity is a beautiful thing. It is to be celebrated. I pray that as a synod and as congregations and ministries of the SCSW we become ever more intentional in our welcome to all. Our welcome is not about boxes, or certain situations, or criteria that needs to be met. Our welcome is the welcome that God extends.  Our welcome is the love of Jesus.

I remind you of the language that we as a synod adopted when we became a RIC synod:

Following Jesus, who commanded his followers, ‘Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another,’ and believing that all persons are created in the image of God, the South-Central Synod of Wisconsin, ELCA, strives to be fully inclusive for all. This synod welcomes people of every race, background, age, political affiliation, economic and social status, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, and mental and physical ability, while striving to enable all people to participate fully in the life and work of the church and its expressions.
May God bless and keep you in the fullness of love!

Bishop Joy
LGBTQ+ Ministry Resources
In honor of Pride month we wanted to share just a small sampling of the resources available to accompany and enrich your ministries to and with the LGBTQ+ community.

  • Our Synod Reconciling in Christ (RIC) Task Force has information on open & affirming congregations in our synod along with links to information on the RIC program. Visit their page here: https://scsw-elca.org/lgbtq/
  • Pastoral Intern Tamara Siburg (She/Her/Hers) is currently serving at Evangelical Lutheran Church in Mt. Horeb and shares a list of resources for those who are interested in deepening your understanding to topics of LGBTQIA+ in regard to religion and faith in honor of Pride month. This list includes a new book called Made, Known, Loved written by ELCA Deacon Ross Murray that is about developing LGBTQ inclusive youth ministry. You can see her entire list by clicking HERE.
  • The Trevor Project was Founded in 1998 by the creators of the Academy Award®-winning short film TREVOR, and is the leading national organization providing crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer & questioning (LGBTQ) young people under 25. Learn more HERE.
  • GLAAD provides an amazing list of online resources on their website HERE. GLAAD works through entertainment, news, and digital media to share stories from the LGBTQ community that accelerate acceptance.
  • Extraordinary Lutheran Ministries organizes queer seminarians and rostered ministers, confronts barriers and systemic oppression, and activates queer ideas and movements within the Lutheran Church. Learn more HERE.
  • The new Lavender Book App is a crowd-sourced app created by the National Black Justice Coalition and Out In Tech, that aims to record safe spaces for LGBTQ+ people of color. The app allows users to narrow down places through various filters -- such as whether American Sign Language is spoken, gender-neutral restrooms are available or if there's a wheelchair ramp on site. Learn more HERE.
Welcome New Synod Staff
Donna Maysack
Administrative Assistant Support

Donna joined the Synod office in June 2021 as a part-time Administrative Assistant Support. She a person willing to lend a hand at the drop of a hat and has never met a baby that she didn’t want to hold, they just make everyone a little bit happier. She also works at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church, Madison & Verona as the Membership, Database & Volunteer Coordinator. Donna graduated from Columbia College Chicago with a BA in Communications. She is very involved in outreach ministries including The Clothes Closet and the Madison Area Jail Ministry. Donna lives with her two youngest children, Charles and Edie, their dog, Peach and cat, Kirby and is really looking forward to working with the staff at the Synod.
Stephanie Bill
Communications Manager

Hello congregations of the South-Central Synod of Wisconsin! I am Stephanie Bill, and I will be the synod’s new communications manager. I have worked in church communications for a total of 6 years, starting out as a volunteer. I am married with 4 children, a stay-at-home, work-at-home, homeschooling mom! I look forward to working with the synod staff and contributing my talents.
We are excited to welcome these new faces to our synod! You can find out how to contact these new staff members by visiting our website at: https://scsw-elca.org/whoweare/staff/
Synod-Wide Worship Premiers This Sunday
Our synod-wide collaborative worship will premier online this Sunday, June 6, 2021 via our Facebook and YouTube channels. You can click on the link below to learn more about this worship project and find links to the service once it is released.

Note that Rostered Leaders will be receiving an email early this afternoon (June 3) with information and links to download the worship service materials and videos ahead of time for use in their congregations.
2022 ELCA Youth Gathering Adult Leader Meetings
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
Boundaries Training for Rostered Leaders
You are invited to take part in one of the three Online Boundaries Training, these trainings are required to be done every three years. With different options the goal is to get all rostered in the synod through training. The first two are being provided by Rev. Ramie Bakken, Region 5 ELCA Candidacy and Leadership Manager, dates, times and links to register are below. We will be closing registration at 30 attendees for each day. You only need to sign up for one of the days not both. You can read more about the training by clicking HERE.
When: Jun 15, 2021 9:00 AM Central Time
Register in advance for this meeting by clicking below:
When: Jun 16, 2021 09:00 AM Central Time
Register in advance for this meeting by clicking below:
After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.
The third option is a fully only self guided training. The cost for this is $22.00 and you can do this at your convenience. Please see the link below for more information:
Opportunity to Engage on Immigration This Sunday
Caring Volunteers Needed
  • Gus Knitt, Christ Lutheran (DeForest)
  • Becca Poock, St. John’s (Evansville)
  • Rev. Lisa Nelson, Pastor & Members of St. Mark (Madison)
  • Rev. Maggie Andersen Peterson, Pastor & Members of St. Martin’s (Cross Plains) 
  • Bishop Tim Smith, the Staff, and Congregations of the North Carolina Synod
Churchwide Partners:
  • Ms. Kanchan Sharma, Coordinator for Finance - Global Mission
  • Mr. Dan Beirne, Program Director for Young Adults in Global Mission Leadership Formation and Alumni Engagement - Global Mission
We give thanks at this time for the ministry of those who celebrate their anniversary of ordination during this coming week:

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 at scswoffice@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