September 9, 2021
A Message from Marie Leafblad - Assistant to the Bishop for Leadership Support

Greetings Friends,

On a weekly basis, I have the great opportunity to meet with Pastors from all over our Synod and hear how they are doing. A few weeks ago, I was meeting with Pastor Shelly Nelson and she made a beautiful analogy to the movie Private Benjamin. At first it made me laugh and then about an hour or two afterwards, I really began to think about what Pastor Shelly said. I asked her to share her devotional with you all in hopes it brings a little light into your week.
“In 1980 the film “Private Benjamin” was released. It is a story about a wealthy, pampered young woman who is facing a personal crisis in her life. Friends and family give her advice but instead of listening to them, she meets an Army recruiter who gives her an alternative—join the Army.  Judy Benjamin is convinced that the Army will give her a new way of life that will include; meeting new people, living in condos on the beach and worldwide travel at no cost to her. So, Judy decides to join the Army as a solution to her crisis convinced that she will be living “the good life”. Family and friends of course try to dissuade her, but she moves ahead with her decision. When in the Army, Judy soon discovers she is “sharing” her room with other recruits and there are rules and regulations she must follow with consequences for failure to do so. One night, as Judy and the recruits are marching penalty tours in the rain with full pack, gear and rifle, Judy laments, “I joined the Army for condos and travel”. And she really seems to hate the whole thing, but she endures.

In ministry, I have sometimes discovered myself in Private Benjamin’s situation. I feel like I’m walking penalty tours with full pack and gear complaining “I joined the Church of love and forgiveness where people get along and cooperate.” I wonder if any others feel this way at times? At the end of the film, Private Benjamin prevails. She learns discipline and self-assurance. I have learned that in all my penalty tours, God is walking with me. Boy I hope I get to the point of self-assurance.”

“…but she endures.” We all have found ourselves in moments of being in the rain, full pack of gear, fully immersed in things outside of our comfort, put in situations that we didn’t think were even possible. I can tell you numerous occasions where I have said out loud “I didn’t sign up for this.” As we endure these ‘penalty tours’, I want to remind you that you are never alone.
This week’s Equipping the Saints Webinar, Bishop Joy led us in a Dwelling in the Word. As I sat to write this article, these verses rounded out my hope for you all this week. Know you are loved, know you are never alone and trust that our incredible, extraordinary God cherishes you. 2 Corinthians 4:7-10 “But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us. We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies.”

Registration Deadline TODAY!
South Central WI Synodical Women’s Organization (SWO)
September 24-25, 2021
At Lutherdale Bible Camp
Elkhorn, WI - Hope Conference Center

 SPEAKER: Pastor Lily Zeich Brellenthin

Due by midnight, Thursday, September 9, 2021 
• All other Biennial Convention/Fall Retreat registrations

Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 886 1188 9453
Passcode: 326653
Upcoming Events at Bethel Lutheran Church
Madison Summit for Homeless Support: New Strategies for Mental Health Support
September 9th from 8:30am-5pm

Join us for the 1st Annual Madison Summit for Homeless Support: New Strategies for Mental Health Support! This Summit will allow us to gather in one place to learn from our talented keynote and breakout session presenters!

For more information and to register:
An Evening with Shane Feldman
September 16th - 7pm

Shane is the visionary behind the world’s largest millennial-led movement Count ME In. He has been recognized by The White House, United Nations, and The Prime Minister of Canada for his achievements in community leadership. He has worked with some of the world’s most dynamic companies, including Google, Microsoft, and The Walt Disney Co.
Get Free Tickets Here:
Lutheran World Relief Ingathering - Boxcar Loading
The date of this years Ingathering boxcar loading will be:
Saturday, September 18th from 7-11am
Madison WI SO Railyard
1890 East Johnson St.
Madison, WI

If you have any questions please contact site coordinator
Bob Topel 608-831-4556

*Please note: They are no longer collecting loose soap or fleece tied blankets.
Bring one form with to the train station and keep one form for your church.
Registration is open with classes starting in September.

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.
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!
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.
Helping Refuges From Afghanistan

“What can I do?” “How can I help?” Members of the Immigration Reform and Refugee Support Task Team of the South-Central Synod of Wisconsin hear these questions often since the evacuation of people from Afghanistan. Those who ask want to help welcome those who worked alongside our military and non-government organizations these past 20 years who fled because their lives were in danger. The team held a special meeting Tuesday, September 7, 2021, to discuss our response.
The U.S. government makes sure the refugees meet strict criteria to qualify for resettlement. The government does no resettlement as such but sub-contracts that work to nine agencies, including Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Services (LIRS). Because the influx of Afghanis has happened so quickly and in such large numbers, the work has just begun. Resettlement agencies await word regarding how many and when they can begin resettling these new refugees.

In the meantime, people of compassion ask, “What can I do?” “How can I help?”
  • As of now, the greatest need is for financial support. Our synod team fully supports monetary donations to LIRS. You can do that online as well as read the latest response from LIRS at
  • Lutheran Social Services of WI and Upper MI (LSS) partners with LIRS to do the hands-on work of resettlement. LSS anticipates resettling several hundred in Milwaukee in the days ahead. LSS welcomes gifts of money to support their work and provides the latest news on efforts in WI at
  • Our synod team very likely will not do any hands-on resettlement in our synod. We hear that Jewish Social Services (JSS) will do some in Madison. We know they do solid work in this area and we support their efforts. JSS provides helpful information on their work and how you can help at
  • Finally, the Afghanis at Fort McCoy right now receive support and help through Catholic Charities of LaCrosse. They have need of various specific donations to give to the refugees who came with nothing or very little. You can find very helpful information at to learn how you can help.

Since changes happen rapidly, our synod task team will make every effort to share new information as it becomes available in an attempt to answer your questions, “What can I do?” “How can I help?” We thank God for your compassionate hearts seeking to share the love of God with people in need.

New Devotional from the
Synod's Prayer Team

The Synod Prayer Team has written a monthly devotional resource for leaders of the South-Central Synod of Wisconsin

Click below for the
Rite of Installation for Rev. Felix Malpica

The Installation of Rev. Felix J. Malpica as the 4th Bishop of the La Crosse Area Synod will be Sunday, September 26, at 4 pm at English Lutheran Church in La Crosse.

Out of love and care for our neighbor, in person attendance is limited to invitation only. You are invited l to share in the celebration digitally through a livestream link which will be shared on the La Crosse Area Synod's webpage. Please be in prayer for the La Crosse Area Synod and Bishop Malpica.

Livestream link will be posted when available.

Stories of Faith in Action 2021 - 2022

Register now!
Ironwood Springs Lutherhostel
October 4 - 8, 2021
Ironwood Springs Christian Ranch, Stewartville, Minnesota
Join us for 5 days of inspiration, relaxation and refreshment. Ironwood Springs is a 200-acre facility along the Root River which invites participants to enjoy the beauty of nature as they are fed spiritually. For more information, visit their website or call us at 800-930-2562.
Lutheran Disaster Response is developing plans to accompany on-the-ground partners, including social ministry organizations and synods, in the areas impacted. Immediate needs are expected to include food and shelter, while long-term recovery could include helping people repair or rebuild their damaged homes.
With your support, hurricane survivors will know they’re not alone. This is an important part of Christ’s call on our church.

Do You Have an Intern at Your Church?

We would love to know their names, contact information and a bit about what they do so we can spotlight them on the Synod's Facebook page. Please email the information to our communications manager Stephanie at
If you haven't already I encourage you to join our new Facebook page 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 click here to join! If your church does not have a Facebook page and you would like your event to be posted please contact me at and I would be happy to post it for you!

Discipline Committee 
  • Carl Anderson, Luther Memorial (Madison)
  • Rev. Katherine Baardseth, Midvale Community (Madison)

Pastors and Congregations in our Synod
  • Pastor Thomas Dowling and Members of Williams Bay Lutheran (William’s Bay)
  • Members of Wiota Lutheran (South Wayne)

Neighboring Synods 
  • Bishop Sue Briner, Southwestern Texas Synod - 4E 

Members Elected by Churchwide Assembly
  • Rev. Bill Callister, Synod 5B
  • Rev. Karn S Carroll, Synod 2D
We give thanks at this time for the ministry of those who celebrate their anniversary of Ordination during this coming week:
  • John Ruppenthal, September 10,1972 - Retired Pastor living in Waunakee, WI
  • Margo Martens, September 11,1994 - Interim Pastor at Hope Lutheran in Mineral Point, WI
  • Mae Jean Zelle, September 11,1994 - Retired Pastor living in Madison, WI
  • Charles Koester, September 12,1982 - Retired Pastor living in Anoka, MN
  • Augusta Barnes Jr., September 15, 2018 - Pastor at Faith Lutheran in Cuba City, WI
  • Carol Baumgartner, September 16,1990 - Interim Pastor at Hope Lutheran in Milton, WI

May these leaders continue to be blessed for service!
Synod Quick Links
View Upcoming Events
View Job Postings
Congregations In Transition
Contact Synod Staff
Ministries & Partners
View Resources
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 The deadline for consideration of inclusion in the current weeks e-newsletter is 12:00 p.m. (CT) on Wednesday.
Care - Connect - Equip