Passionate Believers....Confessing Christ
Changing Life

February 2015
Dear fellow believers:


Ever been that weak? Physically or spiritually? Emotionally drained? It happens for a variety of reasons. Not one of us is a super human. We are weak. We grow exhausted and weary. Our bodies wear out. We are sinners. Lent is a time for us to take stock in how sinful we actually are. Listen to Paul as he cries out from the depth of that struggle, "What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death?" Have you ever been that wretched to cry out like Paul? Have you every longed for someone to rescue you from the depths of despair?

Look at who that deliver is. Our deliverer is the same person whose face is in the ground in Gethsemane, the same person who cannot carry the cross. Just consider what Jesus endures because of our sin. As Jesus leaves his disciples behind him the darkness of Gethsemane, St. Matthew tells us, "Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground." The weakness that he endures Jesus himself describes when he says, "I am a worm and not a man, scorned by men and despised by the people." Later after Jesus has been sentenced to death St. Luke tells us that as the Roman soldiers "led him away, they seized Simon from Cyrene, who was on his way in from the country, and put the cross on him and made him carry it behind Jesus." Jesus was so weak that he couldn't carry the cross any further.

Jesus plumbed the depths of our sin. Our Lord experienced the darkness of what we deserve. He knows the loneliness of our despair. He has experienced worse than our weakest moment. What does that mean for us? St. Paul says, "Thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ." That's why David rejoices as well in his many psalms. One of the verses that strikes me every day is that short verse from Psalm 23: "He restores my soul". To restore my soul is why Jesus goes to the Garden. To restore my soul is why Jesus stands before Caiaphas, is mocked and abused. To restore my soul is why our Lord Jesus is crowned with thorns, nailed to the cross, and laid in a cold grave.

That's a powerful picture when we stop to think about. God restores us because we have fallen. God restores us when we continue to fall. He restores us because we cannot do it ourselves. What a precious gift it is that our Lord Jesus purchased for us by His suffering, by His blood, and by His dying.

God's forgiveness is more powerful our sin. God's love for sinners is more resilient than our many imperfections. God's strength is stronger than our weakness. That becomes very obvious in the last words of Romans 8. St. Paul writes, "Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?" Paul answers, "In all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord." That's why Paul tells the Corinthians, "When I am weak, then I am strong." Strong, because as David says, "Surely God is my help; the Lord is the one who sustains me."

God sustains me, and God sustains you. He takes a hold of us with his strength when we are weak. He surrounds us with his love when we are unlovable. He helps us when we are helpless. Where there is sin, he showers us with forgiveness. Where there is death, he gives life. When we locked in despair, he provides us with a hope that does not disappoint.

"Thousand, thousand thanks are due, dearest Jesus unto you."    


God Bless, 

Rev. John C. Wille

President South Wisconsin District - LCMS  

Hispanic Ministry News- New Video for our District
Follow the link below to view an 11-minute video highlighting Hispanic Ministry here in the South Wisconsin District.  We are blessed to have pastors and people who are working hard in the district to share the Gospel with our Hispanic neighbors and friends, especially on the south side of Milwaukee and in Racine.  Please feel free to use this video in whatever context you see fit....after worship, Bible class, confirmation class, LWML, Sunday School, LWML etc.  A great big thank you to Pastor German Novelli, Jr., who put a great deal of effort into the video.     Hispanic Outreach in Wisconsin Video

Waunakee Church Plant: 
Rev. Joel Brandt, the son of Pastor Charlies and Carol Brandt, will be installed as the church planter for the Bethlehem Waunakee satellite of Bethlehem, Sun Prairie on Sunday, March 1, 2015 at 3:30 pm. 

Pastor Joel comes to us from the North Wisconsin District where he served as an associate pastor at Trinity, Wausau.  We give thanks for the passion and the willingness that Bethlehem, Sun Prairie is demonstrating as it steps into the new mission endeavor!

Your mission dollars are helping to make this dream a reality, as this church plant is a partnership between Bethlehem, Sun Prairie, and our South Wisconsin District.  Please keep both of the Pastor Brand's and Pastor Steve Vera and their ministries in your prayers! 
Pastor Joel & Mandy Brandt and Family 
Camp LuWiSoMo and Resolution 3-03a from the 2012 SWD Convention  
By now most have seen the picture or heard the news:  Camp LuWiSoMo has fulfilled all the parameters laid out in the 2012 SWD Resolution 3-03a.  On January 31 the Camp property with all equipment was signed over to the new Camp Board of Directors.  They are now their own 501c3 and and RSO of the LCMS.

The check that james Knoerr is handing to me in the picture is just for effect, for the picture.  Per the convention resolution SWD received no monetary reimbursement for the Camp.  Per the resolution the Camp
paid off its loan and was given the property. 

We wish Camp LuWiSoMo only our Lord's richest blessings as it moves out on its own!

Luke & The Christian Life - on June 15-17, 2015
a continuing education class will be held at Pilgrim Lutheran Church, 462 Meadowbrook Drive, in West Bend, Wisconsin. Dr. Peter Scaer will speak on Luke's particular emphasis of the Christian as a member of home and society. Dr. Scaer's practical exegesis and outspoken witness in regards to the issues of our time will serve well to refresh and energize us for continued work in the Lord's kingdom. Times of fellowship and worship are planned. Registration will be av    ailable in March. For more information contact Rev. Christopher Seifferlein at 

Save The Date-On July 13-15, 2015 a continuing education class will be held at St. John's Lutheran Church, 809 S. 6th Ave, in West Bend, Wisconsin.   Dr. Jeff Kloha, Concordia Seminary Provost, will present a three day workshop entitled, "Gladly Hearing the Word." Dr. Kloha has provided the following description: The Word of God comes to us, shapes us, and goes out to others through us. So we "hold it sacred and gladly hear and learn it." These sessions will focus on how God's Word comes to us as the Word spoken, written, and incarnate. This living and active Word does its work on us, and we live and speak that word out as the baptized and teach and preach it as pastors. Specific texts will be discussed as to how the Word shapes us in our present-day setting, which is at times hostile to the message of the Word.  Contact St. John's at 262-334-4901, or Dave Kellerman at


Concordia University's First Annual Apologetics Conference

Mr. Craig Parton, attorney and Christian Apologist and Dr. Gary Habermas of Liberty University will be the main presenters on Friday evening, April 24 and all day Saturday, April 25 at the Concordia Apologetics Conference. Breakouts will feature professors from Concordia's Theology/Philosophy department. The conference is the project of UPCO (Undergraduate Pre-professional Church-work Organization), an organization of students preparing for full-time church vocations as commissioned ministers of religion. The Conference is supported by the Concordia Bible Institute, the Concordia Center for Bioethics, and the Lutheran Lay Ministry Association. Details are available at this website: . For more information contact or call 262-243-4458.    See Poster 


Lutherland Tour 2016

What better way to get ready for the 500th anniversary of the Lutheran Reformation in 2017 than to visit the sites where so much of the history took place!  Pastor Aaron Koch of Mt. Zion Lutheran Church in Greenfield, Wisconsin will be leading a tour of Germany and Salzburg, Austria September 3 - 18, 2016.  This customized tour includes almost all of the Luther sites you would want to see, from Wittenberg to Worms to the Wartburg, plus the scenic beauty of the "Romantic Road" and the alpine beauty of southern Germany and Austria.  We are traveling in 2016 to avoid the higher costs and the crowds of 2017.  Take advantage of this unique opportunity to study and enjoy our Lutheran heritage.  For more information, contact or visit    Flyer

Concordia University Wisconsin hosts a Luther Heritage Sites Germany Tour

Here is your chance to experience the life of Martin Luther during the 500 year anniversary of the Reformation along with seeing the sights of Germany. Travel with Rev. Dr. Timothy Maschke of Concordia University Wisconsin along with a local travel guide as they share their expertise in this once in lifetime experience. This ten-day trip ($3,095 including airfare) will take place Tuesday, May 17 through Thursday, May 26, 2016, with an option of a three-day extension. Attached you will find a brochure with the detailed itinerary and a registration form.  The commitment deadline is December 1, 2015 so airfare can booked. 


If you have any questions, you can email Rev. Dr. Maschke at or call him at 262-243-4252 or Tempo Travel at 414-774-1080.   Brochure    Registration Form 

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bold, passionate witness
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Jesus Christ


Randy Baganz dealing with cancer  


 Wally Haas  

dealing with cancer    


Rev. William Roser who is in hospice care


Rev. Steve Thomas and family at the death of his mother-in-law  



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To View: February 2015
SWD Board of Directors Meeting Highlights
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Upcoming Events Around the District
  • April 20-22, 2015: Spring Pastors Conference - Holiday Inn, Manitowoc
  • April 24-25, 2015:  Apologetics Conference @ CUW
  • June 7-9, 2015: District Convention - Concordia, Mequon
  • June 15-17, 2015:  Luke & the Christian Life @ Pilgrim, West Bend
  • July 13-15, 2015: Continuing Education with Dr. Jeff Kloha @ St. John, West Bend
  • October 12-14, 2015:  Fall Pastors Conference - Stoney Creek Conference Center, Onalaska,
Pastor Calls and Vacancies
Calling Congregations
  • St. Peter - Arlington
  • St. John - Beloit
  • Divine Redeemer - Hartland
  • St. Peter - Lebanon
  • Trinity - Menasha
  • Hope-Milwaukee 
  • St. James/St. Paul - Necedah/New Miner
  • Good Shepherd - Pleasant Prairie
  • St. John - Portage
  • Prince of Peace - Racine 
  • Bethlehem - Wales

Temporarily Non-Calling

  • Gospel - Milwaukee

Pastors Accepting a Call

  • Joel Brandt - Trinity, Wausau to Bethlehem, Sun Prairie
  • James McCoid - Community of Faith, Spring Grove, IL to Community of Life, Oregon
Contact Information

President John C. Wille
Karen Rayner