Passionate Believers....Confessing Christ
Changing Life

Brothers and Sisters in Christ Jesus:
Thinking back over the course of the past several Sundays a great deal took place. October 25th was Reformation Sunday. I preached at the 130th anniversary of St. Paul Lutheran in LaValle and the 140th anniversary of Zion Lutheran, a country parish just outside of LaValle. Later in the day was the installation of Pastor Greg Koepsell at Good Shepherd Lutheran Oshkosh, at which I also preached. Last Sunday, November 1st, All Saints' Day, Pastor David Knuth was installed at Pella Lutheran in Waupan, at which I also preached. All Saints' Day closed out as I served on a discussion panel at Peace Lutheran Sussex about the same sex debacle of the SCOTUS. This past week I preached at the 125th anniversary of Bethlehem Sheboygan. The sermon theme based on John 1:16: "Generation to Generation, Grace upon Grace. 125 years".
Debriefing it dawned on me that each of those congregations, anniversary celebrations, and installations is what the Lutheran Reformation continues to be about. Consider this. If Dr. Martin Luther would not have nailed his 95 Theses to the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg, the actions and celebrations mentioned above would have never taken place. The installations and the congregations mentioned, are about the Reformation today.
Visiting Wittenberg last May for the dedication of the new LCMS center at the Latin School, it is obvious that many miss what the Reformation is all about. Modern day Germans consider Martin Luther a Volk hero. The German website "" defines the Reformation: " Authority and personal responsibility, faith and power, freedom of conscience and human rights: these are issues of the Reformation that remain with us today and deserve wide discussion in churches and society."
But those words miss the mark badly, misunderstand what the Lutheran Reformation is at its heart. Anyone who claims that the Reformation is merely about freedom misses the point badly. Luther himself defines the struggle of the Reformation in the first of his 95 Theses: "When our Lord and Master Jesus Christ said, ``Repent'' (Mt 4:17), he willed the entire life of believers to be one of repentance."
Article IV of the Augsburg Confession, the article on which the church stands or falls, states:
Of Justification. 1] Also they teach that men cannot be justified before God by their own strength, merits, or works, but are freely justified for 2] Christ's sake, through faith, when they believe that they are received into favor, and that their sins are forgiven for Christ's sake, who, by His death, has made satisfaction for our sins. 3] This faith God imputes for righteousness in His sight. Rom. 3 and 4.
The Gospel of our Lord Jesus is what the Reformation is all about.
Perhaps, instead of apologizing for and instead of running from our Lutheran identity, it is time for us to embrace our identity as "Lutheran Christians"...time for us to celebrate our identity as "Lutheran Christians". We are not just generic congregations or generic pastors. We are Lutheran congregations and Lutheran pastors with a Lutheran confession that is centered in the Son of God who took to himself our human flesh and blood. What we believe, teach and confess is defined by the Lutheran Confessions. We believe in the total depravity of man, in the grace of God which saves us, in the virgin-born Son of God. We believe in the life giving power of Holy Baptism and in the real presence of our Lord Jesus in the Sacrament of the Altar. We believe that on the cross the Son of God shed His blood to wash away our sin, and there the Son of God died having taken the curse of our sin upon Himself. We believe in the bodily resurrection of our Lord Jesus from the grave. Unapologetically we also believe in the sanctity of human life and the sanctity of marriage, a union between one man and one woman.
As we approach the 500th anniversary of the Lutheran Reformation, it is time in our generation to reclaim our identity, time for us to "Confess Christ for the Next Generation", and we do that by confessing Christ in this generation. It is time for us to once more prioritize the Gospel in all that we do, in all that we say. Consider these words that Martin Luther offers in the preface of his commentary on the Galatians:
In my heart there reigns, and shall ever reign, this one article, namely, faith in my dear Lord Christ, which is the sole beginning, middle, and end of all spiritual and godly thoughts which I may have at any time, day or night.
I love that quote! Next to Luther's confession at Worms, those words are precious because they take us to the heart of the Gospel. The Gospel of our Lord Jesus is the Lutheran Reformation. May our gracious Lord bless us as our Lord Jesus reigns in our hearts and lives!
Serving Him and His church
Rev. Dr. John C. Wille
President SWD
Bach Cantata 70 at St. Peter, Arlington on Dec. 2, 2015 at 6:00 pm:
The St. Peter's choir will be performing the Bach Cantata BWV 70 
Wachet! betet! betet! wachet!
(Watch! Pray! Pray! Watch!). We will be joined by the Camerata String Quartet of Madison. The Cantata will serve as our 1st midweek Advent service. A light meal of pulled pork will be available before the service at 5pm. Please join us and share with your friends and neighbors!

Men's Retreat - Feb. 19-21, 2016:
The 16th annual Men's Retreat will be held at the Holiday Inn in Manitowoc on the weekend of February 19-21. The retreat is organized by three congregations in the South Wisconsin District: First Immanuel in Cedarburg, Our Redeemer in Wauwatosa, and Divine Redeemer in Hartland. The theme for this year's retreat is, "Life Is _________" It is based on a book with the same title, written by Judah Smith who is pastor of City Church in Seattle, Washington. His first book was "Jesus Is _______" and was the #1 best-seller of the New York Times and USA Today. In the book Pastor Smith shows men how to live life to the fullest. He also shows that God's love for us is beyond human logic and shows us the life God intends for us to live in our present day culture. He also shows us how to trust God in any situation life springs upon us and how to be at peace with God and enjoy God's presence in our daily lives.
Last year 127 men from 37 different congregations attended the retreat. Here are some comments from some of the men who attended last year's retreat: My faith was strengthened this weekend; major issues men face today were addressed; this weekend was a faith builder; outstanding breakout sessions; the weekend made me take an inventory of my spiritual life. Come to this year's retreat and learn how to live life to the fullest. If you have any questions about the retreat e-mail Jim at or phone him 414-462-5871 or cell 414-469-0100.

National LCMS Convention: 
The 65th Convention of The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod will be held July 9-14, 2016, in Milwaukee at the Wisconsin Center.
The national convention of The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod shall afford an opportunity for worship, nurture and inspiration, fellowship, and the communication of vital information. The convention is the principal legislative assemble, which amends the Constitution and Bylaws, considers and takes action on reports and overtures, and handles appropriate appeals. It establishes general positions and policies of the Synod, provides overall program direction and priorities, and conducts business in order to provide responsible service for and on behalf of its members.

If you would like to volunteer your time and talent at the synod convention click here.

For more information on the LCMS Synod Convention click here. 
2016 National Youth Gathering:

Held every 3 years, the LCMS Youth Gathering provides thousands of youth and adults the opportunity to come together as a community of God's people to learn more about Jesus Christ, the Christian faith and their Lutheran identity. During the five days of the Gathering, youth spend time together in God's word, worship, service and fellowship with others from across the synod. This event is organized by LCMS Youth Ministry in Saint Louis, Missouri.

For more information about the Gathering in 2016, visit the     Gathering website.
Winter clothing for prison ministry   
Our office recently received a plea from our prison ministry chaplain, Rev. Afam Ikanih, for any help we can give to the House of Correction in Franklin, Wis. They are in desperate need of winter coats, jeans, sweatpants, shirts and sweaters. They have depleted their stock.

If you'd be able to help, please call me and I will get you in touch with Pastor Ikanih.

CPS Retirement Webinars
CPS will be hosting a series of webinars titled "From Mystery to Mastery" for workers that will focus on how to prepare for retirement at any stage.  Individuals will receive postcards at home with information pertinent to their current age.  Samples of the post cards are below.
Below are the titles, dates, recommended audience, and link for registration.   Please encourage your workers to join us.
From Mystery to Mastery:  Tailoring Your Finances
Pre-retirement planning.
When: Thursday, November 19   
Time:      6:30 pm
Recommended Audience: Age 50+

St. Peter Lutheran School - Reedsburg: NLSA Presentation & 150th Anniversary Celebration! 
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.



The goal of this three-week emphasis is to address whole-life Christian stewardship. We first receive with gratitude the generous blessings from our Heavenly Father; then we are called to faithfully manage those blessings; and then we are to share the blessing that God has entrusted to us. Through this emphasis, your members' relationship with their Lord will be deepened, they will better understand Christian stewardship, and they will grow as stewards.  Click here to learn more!

As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God's varied grace:   1 Peter 4:10 ESV 
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Our Mission:
Empowering life-changing
bold, passionate witness
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For Christ and for His world SWD magnifies partnerships, multiplies ministries, and maximizes resources.
Rev. Peter Kelm as he continues cancer treatments  
Rev. Dennis Schueler
as he continues cancer treatments  

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Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever. Give thanks to the God of gods, for his steadfast love endures forever. Give thanks to the Lord of lords, for his steadfast love endures forever; to him who alone does great wonders, for his steadfast love endures forever; to him who by understanding made the heavens, for his steadfast love endures forever; ...
Psalm 136 

Happy Thanksgiving!
Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.  
Upcoming Events Around the District


  • November 14, 2015:  Everyone a Witness Conference - District Office, Milwaukee
  • November 30, 2015:  CUW Pastors Conference- Lucas Cranach, the Elder: Artist, Apothecary, and Aristocrat:                           by Dr. Timothy Maschke
  • December 2, 2015:  Bach Cantata 70 at St. Peter Lutheran Church, Arlington, WI
  • January 23-30, 2016:  National Lutheran Schools Week
  • January 25, 2016:  CUW Pastors Conference - Fine-Tuning "Christ in Every Word":  Reflections on Psalm 8:                            by Dr. Brian German
  • January 30, 2016:  Passionate Believers Conference - Divine Redeemer Hartland ( Watch for more details!)
  • February 19-21, 2016:  Men's Retreat Holiday Inn, Manitowoc
  • February 22, 2016:  CUW Pastors Conference:  Will This by on the Test? The Vocation of the Learner: by Dr. John Oberdeck
  • March 21, 2016:  CUW Pastors Conference:  The Living Voice of Micah:  by Dr. Jason Soenksen & Prof. Jason Lane
  • April 25, 2016:  CUW Pastor Conference:  The Womb to the Tomb:  Growing in Christian Maturity: by Dr. Harald Tomesch
  • July 9-14, 2016:  Synod Convention, Milwaukee
  • July 16-20, 2016:  National Youth Gathering - New Orleans, Louisiana
Pastor Calls and Vacancies
Calling Congregations
  • Messiah - Beloit
  • First Immanuel - Cedarburg
  • Our Redeemer - Delevan
  • Risen Savior - Franklin
  • St. Paul - Grafton
  • St. John - Mayville
  • Hope - Milwaukee
  • Oklahoma Ave. - Milwaukee
  • Immanual & St. Stephen - Random Lake/Batavia
  • St. Paul - Sheboygan Falls
  • Bethlehem - Wales
  • Our Redeemer - Wauwatosa
  • Pilgrim - Wauwatosa

Pastors Accepting a Call

  • Shane Cota - Trinity, Boulder Junction, WI to Trinity/St. Thomas, Town Wilson/Waldo
  • Gregory Koepsell - Alive, Monticello, Minnesota to Good Shepherd, Oshkosh
  • Christopher Lockie - Immanuel, Davenport, Iowa to Prince of Peace, Racine
Contact Information

President John C. Wille
Karen Rayner