Passionate Believers....Confessing Christ
Changing Life
Late Summer
September  2014

Brothers and sisters in Christ Jesus:


At our June 2012 SWD Convention one of the resolutions that passed was:

RES 4-02 To encourage "Life Together" in the South Wisconsin District through the Unity of Practices Regarding the Lord's Supper.  



The passing of that resolution, along with our historic practice of "Closed Communion", begs a few questions.


Is Holy Communion intended for all believers regardless of what church or church body they might belong to? Is the Lord's Supper a matter of one's individual beliefs, or is there a corporate (community) aspect of Holy Communion? "Closed Communion" is not an open question.


The practice of "closed Communion" rises out of what we learn about the Sacrament from Holy Scripture. The practice of "closed Communion" is consistent with and faithful to our confession of what the church is.  


Someone no less the stature of C. F. W. Walther makes that point strongly as he penned "Theses on Communion Fellowship with Those Who Believe Differently ".  


The first four theses read as follows:

Theses I: The true visible church in an absolute sense, or part of the same, is that church in which the Word of God is preached purely and the Holy Sacraments are administered according to Christ's institution.

Theses II: A Fellowship in which the Word of God is fundamentally denied, or in which a fundamental denial of the Word of God is tolerated, is not a true orthodox church, but a false heterodox church or sect.

Theses III: Every man is obligated to recognize the true visible church, and, if he has the opportunity, to join it.

Theses IV: Every man is obligated to avoid heterodox churches, an in the event he has belonged to a heterodox church, his obligation is to renounce it and separate himself from it. (Page 4 of Walther's document, available from Concordia Theological Seminary Press)


And it is not merely C.F.W. Walther who writes such, Herman Sasse writes this in his 1937 essay entitled "Theses on the Question of Church and Altar Fellowship":


An understanding of the question of church fellowship and altar fellowship is only possible when one has understood the causes of divisions of the church and separation in the Supper. The one church, which is the body of Christ, may be divided by no one. The Table of the Lord, at which the true body and blood of Christ is received, remains ever one and inseparable. As there is only one church, so there is only one Supper. The divisions of Christianity and the separation at the celebration of the Supper have a double cause. They are explained by the sins of lovelessness, which lead to schism and division of the congregation, or by the intrusion of heresy into the congregation, which leads to the formation of sects and necessitates the separation of pure doctrine from false, the church from the sect... 5. Schism and heresy are two allurements which constantly threaten the church. In view of the propensity to schism, admonitions in the NT, such as 1 Cor. 1:1 ff.; 11:18; Eph 4:1 ff., are spoken to Christians and Christian congregations. He who destroys the unity of the Christian congregation sins against Christ. He who causes divisions of the congregation about the Supper celebrates the Supper unworthily and eats and drinks the body and blood of the Lord to judgment. In view of the propensity to heresy (e.g., 1 Tim 4:1; 2 Tim 3:1 ff.), the admonitions apply to be on guard for false doctrine and heretics (i.e., Gal 1:7 ff.; Titus 3:10; 1 John 4:1 ff.; 2 John 10 ff.). For if heresy comes to rule in Christianity, then the church may become the synagogue of Satan (Rev 2:9), and the Lord's Supper can become a sacrifice to idols (Rev 2:20). Thus Christianity has the duty to strictly avoid every church and altar fellowship with heresy, to examine individual believers, to instruct the erring in love, and to most strenuously advance church and altar fellowship within orthodox Christianity. [Sasse, Hermann the Lonely Way: Selected Essays and Letters, Volume 1. Concordia Publishing House - Kindle Edition] (emphasis added)


No wonder that we practice Closed Communion.


May our gracious Lord bless as you stand true to our Confession and practice!


Rev. Dr. John C. Wille, President 

South Wisconsin District - LCMS 


German Fest:
German Fest has made a CD of the complete church service with Rev. Dr. Matthew Harrison available.  The cost is $3 including shipping.  Please make check out to:  German Fest C/O Ronald Kabitzke 6811 Hickory Rd., West Bend, WI 53090  

2014 Annual Sheboygan Chaplaincy/ Rev. Thomas Fleischmann Fundraiser Picnic: At 3 Guys & A Pizza Pie Banquet Hall

Sunday, October 5, 2014 - Doors open at 11:00 am

Chicken and Hog Roast Dinner at Noon

Silent Auction - Bingo
Entertainment by "The Cody Clausen Band" $40.00 Adult Donation $20.00 Donation Children 6-12
RSVP by September 20th
For more information call 920-892-2211 -
See Flyer

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

Reconciliation Training is a terrific way to equip yourself or even a team at your church for responding to conflict in a way remarkably different than the world:

  • A way that leads to restoration and reconciliation rather than seperation and bitterness
  • A way that reflects the love of Christ in our relationships

We have a wonderful opportunity for you!  Coaching People Through Conflict will be presented at St Johns Lutheran Church, North Prairie, WI October 31st and November 1st, 2014   


 Register today!

We look forward to serving you!

In Christ,

Dwight Schettler
Vice President for Advancement

Mission & Ministry News


Did you know?    


There are four congregations in our SWD with Spanish-language worship services. St. Martini, Grace, and Oklahoma Avenue on the south side of Milwaukee and Primera Iglesia (Santa Cruz) in Racine. Edmundo Rosales from Racine  recently began work at the Center for Hispanic Studies at the St. Louis Seminary in a program leading to ordination, and Vicar German Novelli, Jr., will be ordained at Grace on December 14th. Save the date!



We thank God for the Hispanic ministry in our midst, and those who labor in the growing mission field here in the
U.S. For a great little video on the sheer expansion of Hispanic
culture in our country, click on the YouTube clip at the right. (Thanks to Pastor Doug Groll, vacancy pastor in Racine, for sharing this).

 Have you noticed a growing Hispanic population in your community? How can you serve them and share the Gospel with them







St. Martini multicultural celebration     



St. Martini Lutheran Church and School will host a multicultural event on Friday, September 26, at 5:30 p.m. Those attending are asked to bring a dish of food from your culture to share, or just come and enjoy!

If you would like to have your multicultural group represented by a display, dance, or musical number, please contact Pastor Prada at 414-233-0569, or email no later than Aug. 31.

St. Martini is located at 1500 S. Cesar Chavez Dr., Milwaukee, 53204.




Save the date! 

Churches planting churches...    

The South Wisconsin District will be hosting a "Churches Planting Churches" Seminar on Friday, October 17-Saturday, October 18 at Divine Savior, 3200 Highway K South, Hartford. This seminar is led by the Center for US Missions (an LCMS RSO), and is intended for congregational leaders (pastors and lay leaders) whose congregations are interested in beginning the conversation about the possibility of planting a church.

"A great way to work together with my staff and develop an exciting vision for reaching the lost in our community," (said a pastor, MNS).

"It got our group thinking outside the box, thinking of new ways to reach more people!" (said a lay person, IDW).

Even if you aren't sure if your congregation is being called in this direction, the seminar is a great way to explore the possibilities. Why plant churches? So many reasons, but primarily because planting new churches helps us to reach the lost!


Please click here for more information. Registration can be made online (register with a user name and password first), or call Peg Raabe at the District office (414-464-8101).


Small Places, Big Mission--Standing in the Gap  
The LCMSRural & Small Town Mission is holding a National Mission Conference November 6-8, 2014 at the Marriott Kansas City Airport, Kansas City, Missouri, for LCMS congregational leaders in rural and small-town settings. This conference will address the blessings and challenges facing rural and small-town congregations today as well give encouragement for cultivating healthy churches that are eager to bear witness to Christ, show mercy to those in need, and develop a robust life together with their fellow members.  Registration deadline is Sept. 15.  


Passionate Believers Conference 





Saturday, January 31, 2015


Dear Passionate Believer,

Mark your calendars NOW to attend the annual Passionate Believers Conference on Saturday, January 31, 2015.

Watch for emails with updated information.


Once again the conference will be held at:

Divine Redeemer Lutheran Church & School

N48 W31385 Hill Street, Hartland, WI 53029
Lutheran Church Extension Fund
The Young Investors (Y.I.) Challenge will again be offered this school year. Six LCMS churches/schools in the upper Midwest districts will each win $1,000!     


To Participate

Your church/school should register by Nov. 1 (if at all possible) in order to receive communication materials.

Registration should be completed by at least one individual (a team leader) per church/school with a valid email address. REGISTER HERE. 


Registered team leaders will receive Y.I. Challenge materials (inserts, posters, etc.) to help increase their church/school members' awareness and participation. Team leaders will also receive one Leader Board email per week during the three-week quiz period. It will include competition standings which should be shared with your congregation/school to rally support and participation (e.g. "Trinity is currently in the lead! However it's a tight race, St. John is in a close second place with two weeks to go.) 


How the Y.I. Challenge Works


From Jan. 25 to Feb. 14, 2015, a 10-question-quiz with basic stewardship and finance questions will appear online at Congregation members and your school students of all ages take the quiz online. The higher your percentage of participation and correct answers, the better your chances of winning! Note, while you may take the Y.I. Challenge multiple times to improve your score, only one top score from each participant will count toward your church/school's final GPA.


At the end of the quiz period, based upon quiz results, one congregation/school in each participating district will win $1,000 from your district LCEF to use for ministry!


If you have any questions regarding this year's Y.I. Challenge in the upper Midwest, please contact





Learn more, view past winners, and register online at 




Schools Youth & Family




2014 National Distinguished Principal


Congratulations Mike Oldenburg! 

Mr. Michael Oldenburg, principal of Divine Redeemer Lutheran School in Hartland was selected as a 2014 National Distinguished Principal.  The 2014 celebration marks the 31st year that the National Association of Elementary School Principals (NAESP) has presented this prestigious award. 

Leading a one-to-one technology initiative and creating a positive school climate that enriches the life of the community are among the accomplishments of Principal Michael P. Oldenburg at Divine Redeemer Lutheran School. With a goal to enhance the education of students through increased engagement and differentiation of learning, Oldenburg shared his vision for implementing technology with parents and community members and was able to raise donations to afford iPads for all students and interactive whiteboards for every classroom. Learners can view videos explaining material, go on virtual field trips, create presentations, and turn in assignments electronically. Lessons are more interactive and enjoyable, and teachers can use the iPads as personal response systems to poll students on their levels of understanding throughout a lesson, allowing them to review or revise focus "on the fly." Under his leadership, teachers have embraced the technology use and excelled at using the iPads for instruction. Oldenburg has also created a positive school climate exuding a spirit of joy and acceptance. In the weeks before school starts, teachers make home visits, and at-school students are divided into "chapel families" who sit together in the chapel, have an annual picnic, engage in playtime, and complete four projects together over the course of a year. Recently, the 393-student, prekindergarten through eighth grade school began a program where children are placed into groups with older students for bi-weekly team building activities. The church and school's executive pastor praises the principal's committed staff, to which he attributes Oldenburg's creative and exemplary leadership. Oldenburg holds a B.A., an M.A., and an M.Ed. from Concordia College.   
In October, Oldenburg will travel to Washington, D.C., for two days of activities planned to honor and bring well-deserved recognition to the elementary and middle-level educators chosen by the states, the District of Columbia, plus private and overseas schools. 



A graduate of Concordia University, Chicago- River Forest, Illinois, Mr. Oldenburg has served as principal of Divine Redeemer Lutheran School since 1997.

Oldenburg and his wife, Kathy, live in Hartland, and have three children: Matthew (28), Mark (26), and Jonathan (24).   

"At the helm of every successful school is a successful principal, "said Gail Connelly, NAESP's Executive Director.  "Our National Distinguished Principals program provides us with an opportunity to recognize the outstanding leadership of these principals and their commitment to creating successful learning communities.  Because of them, students thrive academically, teachers grow professionally, and the communities are strengthened."


This past spring, Oldenburg received the National Distinguished Elementary Principal by the Lutheran Education Association (LEA) and now serves on the LEA Board of Directors.  He has been a LEA LEADnet member (2003 - 2010), has held positions on planning teams for the Lutheran school's National Administrator's Conference (2007, 2009) and has served on the Board of Directors for both the Lutheran High School Association of Greater Milwaukee (2001-2004) and the Lutheran Special School (1998-2002).  Oldenburg currently serves as a Director on the South Wisconsin District's Board of Directors (2009 - present) and previously served as Commissioner for his district's school accreditation team (2008-2011).







    * * * FREE * * *

          Parent Night Event

"Performing a Balancing Act for our Kids"

Dr. Tim Elmore


Monday, September 22, 2014

7:00 pm

Milwaukee Lutheran High School

9700 W. Grantosa Dr., Milwaukee


Invite your parents from your school and church! Friends and neighbors too! 



SWD logo

Our Mission:


Empowering life-changing
bold, passionate witness
of the
Jesus Christ
Church Musician: 
Anyone looking for a church musician please contact the presidents office @ 414-464-8100


Rev. Tim Benninghoff recovering and rehabilitating 


 The Family of Nicole Kreger, a teacher, who's husband, Rodney, had his foot amputated after an industrial accident   


 Rev.  Marv Ahlborn dealing with blood clots in his lungs



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Then he said to his disciples, 
"The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few;
therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest."
Matt: 9:37 ESV

Upcoming Events Around the District
  • September 22:  Parent Event with Dr. Tim Elmore, Milwaukee Lutheran High School
  • September 23:  Administrator's Conference, Condordia University, Wisconsin
  • September 26:  St. Martini Multicultural Celebration @ 5:30 pm - St. Martini, Milwaukee
  • September 26-27:  LWML Fall Retreat Blue Harbor, Sheboygan, WI
  • October 5: 2014 Annual Chaplaincy Picnic @ 3 Guys & A Pizza Pie Banquet Hall - doors open at 11:00 am
  • October 7-8:  Retired Pastor Retreat - Waupaca, WI 
  • October 17-18:  Churches Planting Churches Seminar - Divine Savior, Hartford
  • November 6-8:  LCMS Rural & Small Town Mission, Kansas City, Missouri  
  • November 14:  Professional Church workers' Conference - Olympia Resort, Oconomowoc  
  • Oct 31-Nov 1:  Ambassadors of Reconciliation Practicum - St. John, North Prairie
  • January 31, 2015:  Passionate Believers Conference - Divine Redeemer, Hartland 
  • February 6-7, 2015:  LWML Winter Getaway (Young Women's Retreat) Racine Marriott
  • April 20-22, 2015: Spring Pastors Conference - Holiday Inn, Manitowoc
  • June 7-9, 2015: District Convention - Concordia, Mequon
  • October 12-14, 2015:  Fall Pastors Conference - Stoney Creek Conference Center, Onalaska,
Pastor Calls and Vacancies
Calling Congregations
  • Immanuel -Brookfield
  • Divine Redeemer - Hartland
  • St. Peter - Lebanon
  • Redeemer - Manitowoc
  • Hope-Milwaukee  
  • St. John - Portage
  • Prince of Peace - Racine 
  • Bethlehem - Sun Prairie 
  • St. Paul - Union Grove
  • Trinity - Wisconsin Dells

Temporarily Non-Calling

  • Gospel - Milwaukee
  • St. Mark - Milwaukee 

Pastors Accepting a Call

  • Thomas Nowak -  Calvary, East Meadow, NY to Monona Lutheran
  • Guy Roberts - St. John, West Bend to Zion, Detroit Lake, MN
  • John Taggatz - St. John, Baldwin, IL to Christ, West Bloomfield & Calvary, Waupaca (NWI)
Contact Information

President John C. Wille
Karen Rayner