Changing Life
                     February 2014
Dear friends in Christ:


This world is a very evil place. We don't have to look far to see the rottenness and decay sin causes. We can see it all around. We can hear it all around. In the context of life deteriorating in society our Christianity...our faith in our Lord Jesus takes on an even greater purpose. Amid all the evil in this world our Lord has called us to be his people, to make a difference by the way we live, to be salt. "You are the salt of the earth." [Matthew 5:13]

Salt matters. Salt brings out the flavor in food. Salt on an icy road means safe travel. Lives lived in peace and forgiveness instead of bearing a grudge. God's people facing illness with faith and hope instead of despair. Lives lived with the conviction that every life is sacred...that our body is a temple of the Holy Spirit.

            Such a life is a powerful sermon. That's the lesson St. Francis of Assisi once taught a novice who had joined his monastery. He invited the young man to accompany him to town to preach. The young man was honored. As they entered town the two walked up and down the main street...chatting with merchants...Down several side streets they went, talking with passers-by. As they returned home, the young monk asked, "Have you forgotten something? Didn't we go to town to preach?"  "My son," St. Francis replied, "we have preached. Many people watched our behavior today. They closely measured our attitude. Our words were heard and overheard. That's how we preached our morning sermon."

The very same is true of us. Whether or not we know it, those around us pay attention. Our actions, our words, our lifestyles, our values and principles...the way we react to trouble are all being carefully others. It matters if they know we are believers. It matters if they don't know that we are believers. We are being watched not by Big Brother. Rather, our friends, our neighbors, our families are watching because they know that we are Christian. They are watching to see whether the faith we confess really makes a difference in the way that we live our life. Does it matter? What do they see in our lives? What do they hear in our words? What don't they hear? What don't they see? Jesus says, "You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house.  In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.[Matthew 5:14ff]

Sometimes our Christ centered example is received positively. But there are other times the Christian example that we set is rejected. St. Peter says, "They think it strange that you do not run with them in the same flood of dissipation, speaking evil of you."

How others react to what we believe and how we live is beyond our control. What is well within our control is the witness that we give with our words, with our actions, and with our lives. In our our our places of stores and at play our Lord calls upon us to be "Salty Christians".

May our Lord bless your Epiphany!

Rev. Dr. John C. Wille
President- SWD

2014 Congregation Financial UPDATE...PRAISE AND THANKSGIVING

If you follow the fiscal year of the district, you know that with the passing of January 31 we closed out fiscal year 2014. It was in grand fashion!! Once again, as has happened for the past several years now, our congregational intentions outpaced the projections! We projected receiving $2.1million from our SWD congregations, and we actually received $2.128million.


We thanks our Lord, His people and their called workers for their great generosity!!!


Those precious gifts are used to support our common mission and ministry efforts here in SWD, with 25% of the total going to the LCMS in St. Louis.


Again thank you!! And we thank our gracious Lord for blessing us with such generosity and such wonderful people!



Closed/Close(d) Communion, our LCMS practice....

Over the course of the of the past year and half I have published several articles which have been shared with our SWD pastors about "Closed Communion", or "Close(d) Communion" if you prefer. For us in The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod such communion practice is not optional. It is an expectation of membership both for pastors and congregations.


It has been said that Holy Communion is the 'holy of holies" for our New Testament church. A meal for those who share our common faith and our common confession. A meal of forgiveness and life. A meal which our Lord Jesus first celebrated with His closest followers in the upper room on Maundy Thursday. However, if misused, it can be a meal that brings great harm to the soul. The prayer in the old agenda contained a prayer which stated our hope that "no one receive this Holy Sacrament to their damnation."


If you would like to read what was shared with our SWD pastors, click here:



Calling all Lutheran Church Worker Couples!

If you are thinking, 'Wait - I've seen this email recently!' You're correct! 
Here's what you don't know - of the 54 available spots, we have set aside 32 specifically for couples from North or South Wisconsin!  So far, only 2 of the 32 spots have been taken but three couples from other districts have already registered as well. If you want to attend this retreat - Here's your chance! 
Last year, this retreat filled in just 2 weeks! 

Don't delay - register today!
Grace Place, in coordination with the North and South Wisconsin Districts, Thrivent Financial for Lutherans and Heartwood Retreat Center with additional underwriting from The LCMS Office of National Mission, is announcing a wonderful opportunity for Lutheran Church Worker Couples to Be Well and Serve Well:
Lutheran Church Worker Couple's 

Grace Place Retreat

June 9-13, 2014
Heartwood Retreat Center
Trego, Wisconsin


This Monday afternoon to Friday noon continuing education event focuses on skills and attitudes to keep 

you healthy in body, mind, spirit and finances 

  It is anchored around four "pause points" to be in God's Word each day, daily exercise, adventure activities and free time each afternoon, and wonderful, nutritious food and fellowship.


Leaders include Rev. Dr. Darrell Zimmerman, Grace Place Director of Programs, 
and Rev. Dr. Todd and Heather Biermann, Senior Pastor, Faith Lutheran in Gran Blanc, MI. 

Each participant and each participant's congregation receives $50 for participation in this retreat if a member of CPS.

To enroll in the Be Well, Serve Well Program, Click here

Cost:  $250 per couple

                                  For more information and to register, Click here 

Mission & Ministry News


The SOS Center Re-Opens In Milwaukee  

Thanks to our gracious Lord and the generous efforts of several congregations together with the SWD/LCEF, the SOS Center re-opened its doors on Jan. 29. This ministry on the corner of 46th and North Ave. in Milwaukee has already begun to impact the lives of neighboring children and families with God's love. After-school programs are now in place, offering tutoring and safety after school as  well as time in God's Word and Christian fellowship. Plans for more to come in the future are in the  making. We invite you to keep this ministry in your prayers, and to contact the District office if you would like to become involved.



Prison Ministry

Many of you know that Rev. Afam Ikanih and Rev. Elijah Ndon regularly do ministry at the County Correctional Institute in Franklin. Through Bible studies, worship services on Friday and Sunday, counseling and sharing the Gospel "cell to cell," these missionaries are reaching men with the Gospel. At a recent missionary support team meeting, Pastor Ikanih shared that 42 men  were baptized through their ministry in 2013. Praise God! Once these men are released from prison, the Free at Last ministry helps them readjust to society. Men like Patrick Batom help the ex-offenders get their feet back on the ground and keep them grounded in Scripture. The verse that immediately comes to mind is Luke 15:7: "I tell you in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over 99 righteous persons who do not need to repent." 

Patrick Batom, Pastors Ikanih and Ndon in "Free at Last"ministry serves prisoners and ex-offenders  

 Saturday, February 22, 2014

 Divine Redeemer Lutheran Church & School, Hartland

8:00 a.m. - Registration

2:45 p.m. Closing Devotion 

Keynote Speaker - Ted Kober 

President of Ambassadors of Reconciliation


Register Now

Hurry, only 5 days left!

The purpose of this one-day "Passionate Believer's Conference is to provide God's people and their called workers the opportunity to learn and to interact with representatives of the LCMS and SWD, as we share resources which can be invaluable to our various SWD ministries. 

My prayer is that this conference will be a blessing to you 
as it has been to so many in previous years! 

Rev. Dr. John C. Wille
South Wisconsin District, President   


Spring into Savings!
Spring into Savings!

                          Schools Youth & Family


Hearts For Jesus
LCMS District Schools choose Owens' Mission for 2014

The 2014 Hearts for Jesus mission offering will go to Lutherans for Life (LFL) to support a very special project called "Owen's Mission".  The goal of this project is to provide a set of Touch of Life fetal models for every Lutheran elementary and high school in the country, so that students will understand the God-given value of each life from the moment of conception.

If you would like to help our schools support this mission, you are invited to send your donation to SWD-Hearts for Jesus, 8100 W. Capitol Dr., Milwaukee, WI  53222. Or go to Donate and select "other", specifying Hearts for Jesus in the comments box. 

Camp LuWiSoMo 
This summer Camp LuWiSoMo is excited to offer a 7-day camp week (Sunday afternoon to the following Sunday morning) for the same price as the traditional 5-day week!  we have added so many NEW camp experiences to our traditional favorites that it is impossible to fit everything into 5 days; we feel this program is so valuable to our campers that we are adding 2 more days to our camp schedule at no additional cost. 

Make your reservations by March 15 to receive our last early bird discount for the summer.  Click here for more information or to register.

Camp LuWiSoMo will again have Lutheran Band Camp this summer that will be run by the Lutheran High School Association of Greater Milwaukee.

The dates are July 27 through August 2, 2014

Here is the link to their web site. 

SWD logo

Our Mission:


Empowering life-changing
bold, passionate witness
of the
Jesus Christ


Rev. James Keuch who is rehabilitating after brain surgery.


Rev. Dennis Sundell

recovering from heart surgery 


Rev. Chris Gugel
recovering from surgery for a broken ankle


Rev. Randal Poppe recovering from a car accident  


Rev. Tim Benninghoff recovering from a massive stroke and surgery 


Mrs. Judy Scott-Steinberg, wife of Don recovering from a car accident
Rev. Al Kubow recovering from heart surgery
Rev. David Flegel recovering from surgery
Rev. Ed Schafer
who fell and is in the hospital


Upcoming Events Around the District
  • February 22, 2014: SWD Passionate Believers Conference -Divine Redeemer, Hartland. Join us for our leadership conference from 8:00 am-2:45pm 

  • February 24, 2014:  Concordia Pastors Conference - with Dr. Jason Soenksen "Jerome's Commentaries on the Minor Prophets,   starts with complimentary lunch at 11:30 am followed by the presentation in the Lake Shore room at noon.  

  • February 24-26, 2014: Retreat for Circuit Counselors- Holiday Inn Express, Stevens Point  

  • February 28-March 2, 2014: Men's Retreat - "gods at war" Holiday Inn, Manitowoc for more information call Jim Berg 414-462-5871   

  • March 31, 2014: Concordia Pastors Conference - with Dr. Thomas Feiertag "It's a Small World After All:  The Effects of Globalization on Missions", starts with complimentary lunch at 11:30 am followed by the presentation in the Lake Shore room at noon.  
  • June 9-13, 2014: Grace Place Retreat, Heartwood Retreat Center, Trego, WI for Lutheran Church worker couples  
  • July 27-Aug 2, 2014: Lutheran Band Camp at Camp LuWiSoMo 
Pastor Calls and Vacancies
Calling Congregations
  • Divine Savior - Hartford 
  • Divine Redeemer - Hartland
  • Redeemer - Manitowoc
  • Trinity Freistadt - Mequon
  • Hope-Milwaukee  
  • Monona - Monona  
  • St. John, Portage
  • Bethlehem - Sun Prairie  
  • Trinity-Wautoma 
  • Trinity - Wisconsin Dells

Temporarily Non-Calling

  • Gospel - Milwaukee
  • St. Mark - Milwaukee 

Pastors Accepting a Call

  • Timmothy Heath, Sr. - Lamb of God, Slidell, LA to Christ the Life, Waukesha- Installation 2/23/14 @ 3:00pm
  • Tim Seban- St. Paul, Des Peres, MO to First Immanuel, Cedarburg  
  • Micah Wildauer - Hope, Milwaukee toCLET, The Lutheran Seminary, Dapaong, Togo, West Africa
Contact Information

President John C. Wille
Karen Hauser-Rayner