11:34 pm

WI, United States
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Online registration has now closed. Walk-in registration is available at this event for $12 (does not include lunch.) Walk-in registrants should plan to BRING THEIR OWN LUNCH or to eat in the village of Wauwatosa, a short walk away.

Gather with well over 200 other people from around our Greater Milwaukee Synod to worship, celebrate our partnership in the Gospel, and to learn together on a variety of ministry topics.

Together in Mission is our annual synod event you don’t want to miss. Ministry leaders (rostered and laypeople) of all interests and backgrounds are invited for this one-day event held on Saturday, February 15, 2020 at St. Matthew’s Lutheran Church, 1615 Wauwatosa Ave. in Wauwatosa. 

At registration you will be able to select from a long list of workshops offered in the morning and afternoon sessions. (Workshop Options are listed below.) Topics range from pragmatic matters for congregations (constitutions, healthy boundaries, caring for pastors;) social issues (racism, LGBTQIA+, prison congregations, opioid addiction, issues of mental health and physical disabilities;) our partner churches in El Salvador & Tanzania; churchwide issues (sanctuary, the future of the church;) and much more.

Between the two session times, participants will gather with others in their mission cluster of neighboring congregations for conversation around shared mission; and then enjoy a communal lunch!

Cost for the day is $12/person and includes lunch. Registration will close on Friday, February 7th.



St. Matthew’s has two primary lots located on the west side of the building: the upper lot next to the church and the lower lot which is just across Underwood Ave. For those who are able, please park in the lower lot and leave the upper lot for those with mobility considerations. Additional parking is available in the adjacent United Methodist Church lot, on the street, and on the far side of the fire station by St. Matthew’s lower lot.


Tentative Schedule

Saturday, February 15, 2020
8:00 am   Sign-in & Fellowship Time
8:45 – 10:00 am    Gathering & Worship
10:15 – 11:30 am  Morning Workshop (see options below)
11:30 am – 1:15 pm    Lunch & Cluster Gatherings
1:30 – 2:45 pm     Afternoon Workshop (see options below)

Morning Workshop Options

A1. What Does It Mean to Be a Sanctuary Church? (Bishop Paul Erickson & Mary Campbell)
The ELCA became the first major US denomination to declare itself a “Sanctuary Church” during our 2019 Churchwide Assembly. But, what does it mean to be a sanctuary church? How does the Churchwide decision impact our synod and our congregations? Learn from Bishop Erickson, Mary Campbell (from the ELCA’s AMMPARO program) and other members of our synod’s Immigration and Refugee Task Force about how you and your congregation can provide sanctuary for immigrants and support immigrants in sanctuary.
A2. Embracing Disruptive Changes as Doors to Deeper Mission (Rev. Matt Short)
In this session, we will name together the disruptive changes that are happening in the culture, and in our congregations. We will talk about how to move beyond fear both individually and collectively, and how to begin to embrace these changes as invitations to live into our mission and purpose.
A3. The Care & Feeding of Pastors (Rev. Debra Trakel)
Your Pastor has an unusual work life; available 24/7 and moving between the intense work of hospital and home visits, committee meetings, “drop in” visits, and endless writing. They really do not just “work on Sundays.” Come and explore the work life of a Pastor and discuss ways to help your Pastor care for themselves and their families so that they can best respond to God’s call to serve your church.
A4. Called to Serve? Me? (Revs. Delaney Schlake-Kruse & Paul Mittermaier)
Have you ever considered embracing a call to ministry in the ELCA? Are you passionate about the Bible, communities of faith, theology, or the connection between church and the world? Come spend some time with Pastors Paul Mittermaier and Delaney Schlake-Kruse, members of the Greater Milwaukee Synod candidacy committee, to dive deeply into these discernment questions. We will talk through the process and facilitate a conversation about what it means to follow a call to ministry in the 21st century.
A5. Assessing Resources for Children’s Ministry Using an Anti-Racism Lens (Revs. Fred Thomas-Breitfeld, Kelly Nieman Anderson & Michelle Townsend de Lopez)
We will look at options for providing curriculum that shares the Gospel with our children.
A6. Updating Your Constitution: Best Practices & Best Protection (Rev. Matt Schlake-Kruse. GMS Secretary)
We’ll gather to talk about the practical steps of updating your congregational constitution, issues around good governance, and how to best equip your documents to reflect ministry. We will explore resources and tools you can use to bring your church from stone tablets to PDFs.
A7. Strategies for Conversations Across the Divides (Dr. Katherine Wilson, The Zeidler Group)
How do we build bridges in a polarized and divided society? How do we have difficult conversations while avoiding toxic communication? Based on her research in genocide and work as Executive Director of the Zeidler Group, Dr. Wilson’s workshop will focus on practical tools to foster civil dialogue in the midst of polarizing issues.
A8. Using Finance for Social Change (Rev. Stephen Marsh, The Criterion Institute)
This workshop will explore the intersection between faith and finance, and how finance can creatively be used to search out some of the social justice solutions that many faith-based organizations seek. We will use scripture to gain a different vision of what a new economy (God’s economy) can look like, and be introduced to the 1K Churches Bible Study, a free resource created by the Criterion Institute that is meant to engage congregations and businesses in the same community. We will then look at the field of impact investing, and how the Criterion Institute is creatively engaged in that work. Resources and suggestions will be shared regarding how congregations and individuals can faithfully become involved in using finance for social change.
A9. El Salvador Partnership – Walking Together through Shared Stories, Shared Experiences, and a Commitment to Mutual Understanding (Gretchen Haugse & Sarah Wehmeier de Aparacio)
The Greater Milwaukee Synod is in partnership with the Lutheran Church of El Salvador, a small church with a passionate, prophetic voice.  Our session will explore how this partnership not only enriches ad expands the ways in which we view and experience the family of God, but also how we understand the nature of God.   Come and find out how your congregation can be in engaged in this synodical partnership.
A10. A Trinitarian Approach to Incarcerated & Returning Persons/Families (Rev. Mark Thompson)
Attendees will choose from 3 options: Inside the Walls, led by Breaking the Chains Church; Re-entry Support, led by Project RETURN; or Wisconsin Legislation Initiatives, led by SToP (Synod Task Force on Prison Ministry).

Afternoon Workshop Options

P1. Healthy Boundaries for Healthy Congregations (Bishop Paul Erickson & Rev. Jennifer Arnold)
Come explore what makes for healthy boundaries in a congregation.  What do pastors and leaders need to think about to keep the ministry and its people safe? Using some real-life examples, we will consider moments when our best intentions might actually lead us to unhealthy or unsafe decisions. Resources for best practices will be shared as well.
P2. Embracing Disruptive Changes as Doors to Deeper Mission (Rev. Matt Short)
In this session, we will name together the disruptive changes that are happening in the culture, and in our congregations. We will talk about how to move beyond fear both individually and collectively, and how to begin to embrace these changes as invitations to live into our mission and purpose.
P3. Arms Wide Open: Why Ministry with, and to, our LBGTQIA+ Family is Important (Rev. Bill Beyer)
We will explore and examine WHY ministry to LGBTQIA+ people is important and a central focus of the gospel.  We will look at WHY being a Reconciling in Christ Congregation matters.
P4. Faith, Mental Health & Wellness (Carolyn Karl)
Discover helpful resources for discussing mental health and wellness in your congregation. Explore the relationship between faith, mental health, and wellness through video presentation and interactive round table discussion. Learn what other faith communities are offering around these topics and share what you are doing.
P5. Substance Abuse & the Opioid Crisis: Bringing Hope & Healing – What Your Congregation Can Do (Rev. Molly Doreza)
The Greater Milwaukee Synod Task Force on the Opioid Crisis, formed as a result of a resolution passed at the 2019 Synod Assembly, hosts a workshop which will help attendees understand the history of the opioid epidemic and its devastating impact today. Task Force members, leaders in the field of treatment and prevention, as well as those with lived-experience will share their ideas and stories. Attendees will discuss practical ways to engage congregations in bringing hope and healing to this devastating crisis.
P6. Embodied Prayer: Thawing the “Frozen Chosen” (Rev. Kelsey Beebe)
Open to bodies of all abilities, this workshop focuses on the history of the body and dance within Christianity. We will discuss how this has informed our own congregations. We will workshop how we can use movement and song to help “thaw” the “frozen chosen.” A majority of the workshop time will be spent exploring ways we can use our bodies to channel and connect with the Divine. Participants will leave with the ability to develop their own moving prayer practices and develop liturgical movement that can be taught to a faith community. No prior movement experience required.
P7. Building & Nourishing an Inclusive Church through Disability Awareness & Understanding  (Thom Bodenbach)
The workshop participants will be asked to deal with their views and societies views of persons with disabilities. The participants will be offered the opportunity to participate In a disability activity. There will be a presentation on the history of the disabled movement. Thom Bodenbach has a masters degree in education from UW-Whitewater. He has taught in a variety of educational environments. He is a proud teacher and advocate of and for people with special needs.
P8. Tanzania – Stories with Partners in Prayer & Mission: Shared Goals & Challenges from the Diocese of Meru (Julie Starks)
The Greater Milwaukee Synod’s partnership has grown and developed over the past 20+ years.  Our session will share what we “do” during our visits to the Diocese.  More importantly, we will share what is done for us and how we all have grown after visiting with our partners in Christ.
P9. “OK, Boomer!” Racism, Younger Generations & the Conversations We Aren’t Having (Rhonda Hill)
This session will explore the generational divide when it comes to the topic of racism.  The goal is to encourage open dialogue between generations thereby weaving a more honest collective memory.
P10. Portico Benefits- the What, the How, and the Why of Providing ELCA benefits to your pastors, deacons, and staff. (Jennifer Prinz)
Your pastors, deacons, and lay employees rely on you to help them navigate their ELCA benefits. In this session, discover the resources available to help you effectively sponsor and understand the fullness of your benefits and retirement through Portico Benefit Services.



February 15, 2020
8:00 am - 2:45 pm