Passionate Believers....Confessing Christ
Changing Life

March 2015

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ:

The events of Holy Week are familiar to us. We know what takes. We know the characters involved. Each of the detail our Lord's suffering and dying is well-known. But who would have suspected that things would turn out this way; especially since this Holy Week starts out on such a high note. As Jesus enters Jerusalem on Palm Sunday, the spirits of the people and his disciples are soaring. Thousands of pilgrims line the route into the city. There are palm branches strewn in his way. People take off their outer cloaks and lay them before Jesus. A loud crescendo builds; louder and louder as Jesus nears the gate of the city. Matthew writes in the 21st chapter of his Gospel: "The crowds that went ahead of him and those that followed shouted, Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!"

            But there is something about the scene that doesn't make sense. Look at how Jesus enters the city of Jerusalem. There is no regal chariot. There is no white charger. There are no soldiers decked out in battle fatigues. There are only the disciples; humble and poor. And look at Jesus himself. As Jesus comes into the city, he comes "gentle and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey." There is no pomp or circumstance here. There are no trumpets blowing. No banners leading his way. There is no arrogance here as we often see in the powerful of this world. This is not about earthly kingdoms or earthly power. Instead as the Prophet Zechariah tells us in our Old Testament Lesson, Jesus comes "righteous and having salvation." Jesus doesn't enter Jerusalem looking to expand his kingdom by the force of arms. Instead he comes with a very simple message... Zechariah says that he comes "proclaiming peace to the nations."                      

            That peace is purchased by all that happens to our Lord Jesus at the end of this week, and with the first day of the next week. The crowds that welcome our Lord with Hosannas on Palm Sunday, are crying out "Crucify Him, Crucify Him!" on Friday morning. It's quite a turn of events. It's quite a swing in the opinion polls. In five days from Palm Sunday to Good Friday Jesus' popularity has fallen from all time highs to near zero.

The cause of that is not our Lord Jesus. The problem lies within the broken lives of those around Jesus. Evidence of that brokenness can be seen in the religious leaders who arrest Jesus and condemn him. God had made them the keepers of the temple. They were the ones called to lead the people in God's ways. But listen to what Jesus calls them a bit earlier in the week. As Jesus mourns over the city of Jerusalem, his harshest words are for the religious leaders. In Matthew 23 Jesus says, "Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of dead men's bones and everything unclean." Evidence of the brokenness of sin can be seen in how the crowds choose Barabbas over our Lord Jesus. They ask that a murderer be released instead of someone who had raised their dead.

            But it's not just the Jewish religious leaders; and it's not just Pontius Pilate. It would be easy to lay the blame at their feet. But take measure of the three fingers point back at you and me. It's us. We are the reason for our Lord's terrible suffering. We are the ones responsible. We and our sins are the ones who cause our Lord's back to be torn open by the Roman whip. Because we want to be the kings and queens on our own lives, our Lord Jesus wears that awful crown of thorns. Because we wanted to walk our own way and take things for ourselves, Jesus' hands and Jesus' feet are nailed to the cross. Jesus is condemned to death on the cross because of us. This is the wages of our sin.

            One of our hymns reads, "You who think of sin but lightly Nor suppose the evil great Here may view its nature rightly, Here its guilt may estimate. Mark the sacrifice appointed; See who bears the awful load; It's the Word, the Lord's Anointed. Son of God and Son of man." Jesus is suffers because we are the sinners. Jesus is condemned because we cannot pay for our sin. Jesus is condemned for us, to buy us back from the curse of sin. St. Paul tells the Galatian believers, "Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written: "Cursed is everyone who is hung on a tree." The Prophet Isaiah writes, "We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all."

            Behold, how He love us! "Thousand, thousand, thanks are due, dearest Jesus unto Thee".


May our Lord bless your Holy Week!


Rev. John C. Wille

SWD president


Mark L'Heureux accepts position at Christ Lincoln Nebraska.

            This news brings a measure of sadness to all who have worked with Mark: He is accepting a call to serve as the principal at Christ Lutheran Church and School in Lincoln, Nebraska. Mark has served well and with distinction here in SWD as our Executive Assistant to the President for Schools during the past five years. Our schools and teachers have been blessed by his leadership and his passion.

We thank Mark for his faithful and tireless service of our congregations and especially our schools. He has been a great advocate for school ministry on so many levels, not just here in SWD, throughout the LCMS, and also in Madison with the Choice Program. Plans are that Mark will continue here in SWD till the end of June, and then he will transition to Lincoln.


            Please keep Mark, his family in your prayers as they transition back into parish teaching ministry.   

SWD Pastor's Conference, April 20-23

             A reminder to all that our SWD Spring Pastors' Conference is set for April 20-2 in Manitowoc at the Holiday Inn. The main presenters are: Rev. Dr. Hal Senkbeil and Dr. Beverly Yahnke from DOXOLOGY.

            Pastors' conferences present a wonderful opportunity for pastors to get away, to learn and discuss items that are important to the Pastoral Office. That is especially true with this topic. DOXOLOGY provides a wonderful ministry to help pastors hone their skills and to learn best practices in approaching the pragmatic demands of 21st century ministry.

            DOXOLOGY describes itself with these words: "DOXOLOGY provides training, consultation and mentor for pastors who seek to improve their skills in counseling and the care of souls. DOXOLOGY strengthen pastor so that they can more faithfully pastor others."

            If your pastor comes away from this conference with a desire to enroll in DOXOLOGY, please help him to make that happen. Because DOXOLOGY provides such a needed service to pastors, SWD also provides a modest scholarship to help those in need. Please contact Peg Raabe at the SWD office for that scholarship form.


SWD Convention, June 7-9 at CUW, Mequon.

            It is that time again for the congregations of SWD to come together for our district convention. As in the past the convention will be held at Concordia University Wisconsin, one of our very fine institutions of higher learning. The dates are June 7-9, 2015. Please go to the website for information on registration, housing, and a "draft" of our agenda. The convention theme is "Mercy: Walk Humbly with our God" based upon Micah 6:8.


            Among our special guests:

  • Rev. Dr. Andrew Bartelt, professor at Concordia Seminary St. Louis, a son of SWD, who will serve as our Bible Study leader.
  • Kevin Theriot from Alliance for Defending Freedom who will address and answer questions about our First Amendment rights. That First Amendment has come under increasing re-definition in the last few years.
  • Rev. Dr. John Wohlrabe, who is the Second Vice-President of the LCMS, who will preach at our opening worship service.
  • Rev. Dr. Herb Mueller, the First Vice-President of the LCMS, who will give the first part of the President's Report.
  • Rev. Dr. Matthew C. Harrison, president of the LCMS, will be with us Monday afternoon and evening for the gemutlichkeit. He will be with us Tuesday morning, June 9th, for a time of question and answers

Search for New SWD Education Executive Begins:

            Mr. Bryan Seider who serves as our chair of our SWD Board of Directors along with President Wille are putting together a "search committee" to find a replacement for Mr. Mark L'Heureux. The formula for that committee is in the SWD Board's Policy Manual; the vice-chair of the Board, two appointed board members, two appointed at large members, and the district president. The vice-chair of the Board is Mr. Jay Jahnke from Shepherd of the Hills Onalaska. The two at large members are: Pastor Randy Raasch and Mr. Gene Ladendorf. The board members are: Myron Buss and John Powers.

            Shortly after Easter the search committee will meet to begin their task. This will include reviewing the position description for the Schools Exec, and then opening up the call list for suggestions. The committee will then conduct interviews of the various candidates.

            Please keep this call process in your prayers! Our gracious Lord will bless this search!

Congratulations to Divine Redeemer, Hartland and St. Paul, Grafton!


The National Lutheran Accreditation Commission selected Divine Redeemer and St. Paul as two of five outstanding Lutheran schools in the United States for special recognition as exemplary accredited schools. These schools have demonstrated compliance with (NLSA) accreditation criteria that exceeded expectations related to the educational and ministry standards that are expected for accredited schools. In addition, they have demonstrated innovative leadership through the implementation of Best Practices related to the academic quality and spiritual development of its students.


The following schools were also unanimously selected to receive this prestigious award during the 2015-16 academic year:    


Immanuel Lutheran School, Wentzville, Missouri

St Michaels Lutheran School, Fort Meyers, Florida

St Peter Lutheran School, Arli ngton Heights, Illinois


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


Randy Baganz dealing with cancer  


 Wally Haas  

dealing with cancer    


Rev. William Otto who is hospitalized and undergoing surgery 


Rev. Timothy Sallach and family at the death of his mother Martha Sallach    


Rev.  William Roser as he is in hospice care 



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And He shall reign forever and ever!
King of Kings,
  and Lord of Lords,
for ever and ever. Hallelujah! Hallelujah! 


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
  • United in Christ/St. John - Dellwood/Quincy
  • 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

  • Dustin Krystowiak - Candidate to Our Savior, Burlington (part-time)
Contact Information

President John C. Wille
Karen Rayner