New Start Ministries


Synod-Authorized Worshipping Communities (SAWCs) are new ministries that begin in an attempt to create spaces for those who yearn for a connection with God but aren’t finding their way into our existing ministries. These new ministries are leaning into the changing nature of the church, and we are grateful for their witness and partnership. There is much we can all learn together about how to communicate God’s timeless love to more and more people.

Be Still is a weekday ministry that seeks to engage God’s people in secular spaces, providing a place for all to experience coffee, calm and communion with God and others.

The Be Still ministry seeks to build authentic, meaningful relationships with people of all walks of life by encouraging others to speak their own truths in a space where they can find a non-anxious and peaceful presence. Through service to the community, inside and outside of the coffee shop walls, Be Still maintains integrity by upholding the Christian values to love one another as God has loved us first, without the judgment of other beliefs and the encouragement to continue seeking a more spiritually connected union with our Creator.

Breaking the Chains Church (BtCC) is a congregation inside the Milwaukee Felmers Chaney Correctional Center and Kenosha Correctional Center. Both are pre-release centers helping incarcerated persons return successfully to their families and communities.


This ministry is a collaboration between the ELCA, the Wisconsin DOC and Prison Congregations of America. Bible Study and a Eucharist Worship take place weekly. Congregational volunteers from around the Synod join the men for these gatherings. In the first three years more than 200 men have been involved in some aspect with BtCC.


Have questions? Want to learn more? Consider inviting a representative of Breaking the Chains to your congregation or organization to preach or participate in a forum to share powerful stories of transformation. There are many opportunities for anyone to be involved with an aspect of prison ministry – inside the walls, re-entry or advocacy. “I was in prison and you visited me” Jesus says in Matthew 25:36.

The Table gathers as a House Church, meeting in members homes October through April and in Alice’s Garden (2136 N. 21st Street) when weather allows during the Spring, Summer, and Fall. 


  • We see one other, clearly, and fully enter into the other’s humanity
  • We we more deeply explore God’s Word
  • We we are nourished through the sharing of food, the celebrating of stories, the cultivating of our imaginations, the reclaiming of rituals, and the partaking of The Christ Meal
  • We we peel off some of the layers of the modern church, and embrace the intimacy of being Jesus followers in a “1st Century Style Community in the 21st Century.”

Wayfarer’s Faith Collective is a new, developing ministry which began in 2019. The vision is to create a network of small house gatherings who each shape their own collective approach to God and spirituality. Those house gatherings will then be invited multiple times each year to larger, collective gatherings that create space for community, music and holy conversations. The primary goal of this ministry is to create spaces for those who are not already served by our current models of church.

Beginning in the fall of 2019, Wayfarer’s started to meet in several house gatherings.

Parallel to this work, Pr. Michael McAllister gathers twice a week for “Big Questions, Thirsty Souls.” These gatherings are held in local brewpubs with individuals who have big questions and yearn for a place to wrestle together around intriguing topics.

Those interested in this approach to Christian community may choose to connect to either or both types of gatherings.