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Mission Update
Rev. Peter Kelm, Missions Executive 
South Wisconsin District
414-464-8101 Kelm@swd.lcms.org
Passionate believers... confessing Christ
Upcoming Mission events
Rural & Small Town Mission's National Conference
Ministering to the Hispanic/Latino families
Homeless ministry meeting
  • DEC. 13, 10:00 a.m. at SWD Office
"I have other sheep that are not of this
sheep pen. I must bring them also. They too will listen to my voice..."
(John 10:16)
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November 2014

Have you heard of this? It stands for "Humans of New York." 


Over 8 million people regularly follow HONY on various social media platforms. It's one of the most compelling--and addicting--examples of how social media is changing how we view our world.


If you haven't seen HONY, the concept is simple. A photographer travels around New York City taking pictures of people. And since it is New York City, those people are about as diverse, different and unique as any collection of people on the planet. 


But what is so surprising about HONY is not the diversity of the photographer's subjects, but rather the depth of human suffering, pain, and beauty that he is able to elicit from complete strangers willing to have their pictures taken--and their stories shared--for all the world to see and hear. He does this simply by asking open-ended questions. And amazingly, people answer.


A recent post was of a young, tattooed African American man who shared his struggles to simply talk to people because of the abuse he suffered as a child in foster care. Another haunting post shows two construction workers, and the question posed to one of them was simply, "What do you feel most guilty about in life?" The answer is as simple as it is stunning: "Going to Iraq and killing people."


Not all the posts are so serious. A cute picture of two elderly women shares: "This is my neighbor. She only speaks Mandarin, so we've never had a conversation. But she's brought me a handful of candy every day for 20 years."


Read more  (this time the link works!)   

"Lack of Aggressiveness"

I was intrigued by a recent article by Joe Isenhower Jr. on our Synod's website, lcms.org. In it, President Harrison is reported to have listed three particular reasons for our Synod's decline in recent years.


"He [President Harrison] also expressed concern over continuation of the 40-plus year decline in membership figures for the Synod, which he considers due to factors including members marrying later and having fewer children, lack of aggressiveness in planting churches and reluctance-if not "failure"-to reach out to non-Anglo populations." (see http://blogs.lcms.org/2014/bnm-extends-call)


Now, some of you may know, President Harrison has made mention in the past (sometimes quite humorously) about how our low Lutheran birth rate is a great cause of our decline.


And, his last reason, a "reluctance--if not 'failure'--to reach out to non-Anglo populations" is very near and dear to my heart and my ministry. I couldn't agree more. Though I am grateful to God for the many efforts here in SWD to reach out to non-Anglo populations. The Lord of the Church has blessed our efforts! But the opportunities for cross-cultural ministry are only expanding. Point well taken, President Harrison!


But the particular reason that really got my attention was that middle one about our "lack of aggressiveness" in planting churches.


Nobody could credibly argue that we've been aggressively planting churches in SWD in recent years. We should be more aggressive in planting churches. Much more aggressive.


Thanks for the advice, President Harrison.


If anyone out there wants to get more aggressive with planting churches, please let me know. We should talk.  
Homeless Ministry

Many of you know that Pastor Chris Ikanih and Bethany Lutheran Church have been active in reaching out to the homeless population in Milwaukee. Mr. Jack Wegner, a member of Trinity-Freistadt, has been involved in advocacy for homeless veterans in Milwaukee for many years. These two men invite you to join them for a conversation about working together to serve our homeless population on Saturday, December 13th, at 10 a.m. at the District Office. Join us to talk about ways that we can work together to share the love of Jesus with our neighbors who are homeless! Please RSVP to Peg Raabe at Raabe@swd.lcms.org 
Ministering to the Hispanic/Latino Family

If you're wondering how to minister to the U.S. Hispanic/Latino families in your community, or how to connect with the Hispanic families in your congregation, then this seminar workshop is just for you! "Ministering to the Hispanic/Latino Family in a North American Context" is a special Concordia Seminary Workshop coming to Milwaukee on Saturday, Nov. 8, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Grace Lutheran Church, 3030 W. Oklahoma Ave. Prof. Mark Kempff, of the Center for Hispanic Studies at Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, will be leading this workshop that will provide participants with the biblical basis and sociocultural tools to better develop strategies for outreach Hispanic communities.

For more information, or to RSVP, please contact Vicar German Novelli at 414-366-5299 or
Download flyer and/or bulletin insert
Thanks "giving" mission

Last year, many individuals and congregations in the South Wisconsin District provided funds for Thanksgiving meals to families living in the central city of Milwaukee. The meal consists of a turkey and all the fixings for a traditional Thanksgiving meal. The goal every year is to fulfill the requests for Thanksgiving baskets we receive from central city Lutheran pantries in Milwaukee. Last year 1056 baskets were delivered to the pantries, and we have the same goal of 1056 this year. Again this year we will partner with Brookfield Lutheran who has purchased, assembled and delivered Thanksgiving baskets in the central city for many years. Please let me know if you or your congregation would like to help or consider being a host site in the future.


This is where we need your help. You can help by praying for the mission, the individuals who are preparing, assembling and delivering, and for those who receive them. We also ask for financial help. Your generosity not only provides nourishment, it also shows the love you have for your neighbor. 


Come and help me share our joy and love to others this Thanksgiving!  

Rev. Peter Kelm - SWD Mission Executive.


For additional questions or needed information, please contact Rev. Peter Kelm, SWD Mission Executive at 414-464-8100, ext. 22 or Barb Slak at 414-464-8100, ext. 13. Donations appreciated by Thanksgiving. 
Reach out with a Christmas gift

Every year, Benediction Lutheran Church and the International Lutheran Church of Zion provide Christmas gifts to about 130 Hmong, African Immigrant, and neighborhood children. Not all of these children know Jesus or even what Christmas is about. For many of them it is the first Christmas gift that they have ever received. Other families are struggling to make ends meet, and this is a great help to the parents. In any case, these gifts are given with an introduction to the greatest gift ever, our Savior Jesus Christ. Trinity, Freistadt has been a big supporter of this effort, but the opportunity is greater than just one congregation can support. If your congregation can help provide up to 30 gifts, please contact pastor@benediction-lcms.org.
Deaconess Gail Ludvingson 
LCMS Missionary of the Month    
Deaconess Gail Ludvigson
, who was born in Sheboygan, Wis., serves the Lord as a career missionary through The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod in the Dominican Republic. In this role, Gail writes and teaches courses for the diaconate program at the Lutheran seminary in the Dominican Republic, El Reformador, in consultation with other deaconesses. She helps to promote diaconate ministry in the Dominican Republic and the Latin America/Caribbean region through fundraising and communications. Gail also assists in ministry to people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and serves the local churches as a deaconess in any way that is needed.

More information about the Gail's ministry. 
As You Consider Your Legacy...

. . .you likely have questions, such as:
  • How will I remember those that I love?
  • Will they know which ministries I cherish and wish to support?
  • Are there tax advantages to my plan?                                                    Click graphic above for more about this...

Is this kind of information helpful to you? I invite you to sign up to get more LCEF information from Diana Raasch's monthly e-news. Just email Barb to sign up.  

Need a guest preacher? My calendar opens up in March. I'd be happy to preach for a mission festival or District Mission Sunday...or just to give your preacher a break.  
Rev. Peter Kelm, Missions Executive, Kelm@swd.lcms.org
Peg Raabe, Administrative Assistant, Raabe@swd.lcms.org
You may call us directly at 414-464-8101