Advent resources

Resources for Advent and Christmas

Individuals, congregations and schools can find resources that help us recognize and celebrate Advent and Christmas from Concordia Publishing House, Lutheran Hour Ministries, Lutheran Women’s Missionary League and the LCMS. Explore the many ideas that they have to offer.

Here is a link that will take you there: Advent and Christmas resources


Thankfully Sharing

“And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.”  Colossians 3:17 ESV

On Thanksgiving Day we will offer our prayers of praise, thanksgiving and supplication before we participate in an annual feast surrounded by friends and family.  We will enjoy a great deal of bounty; reflecting on the generosity of our heavenly Father Who has provided and continues to provide in abundance.

Since 2011, Brookfield Lutheran Church and the South Wisconsin District have been partnering together to provide a Thanksgiving meal for families in Milwaukee, Racine and Beloit. Individuals and congregations have shared some of their bounty with others, giving with a thankful heart from the gifts they have received.

The goal this year is to touch the lives of 972 families with baskets containing a turkey, green beans, corn, rice, yams, stuffing, cranberry sauce, pumpkin pie and topping, dinner rolls and apple juice. The members of Brookfield Lutheran Church will assemble and deliver the baskets as they have since 1993. But they need partners to help in this annual day of sharing.

Each basket costs approximately $30, and your generous financial gift will go a long way in sharing some of God’s abundance with others.  A financial donation of any size is appreciated and so are your prayers for the blessings of God upon this effort to share mercy and grace with others.

Information on how to make a donation can be found on the bulletin insert. Please feel free to share this! As always, if you have any questions please speak with your pastor or call the South Wisconsin District office at (414) 464-8100.

Disaster Relief Teams

Another South Wisconsin District Disaster Relief Team is forming NOW to help the recovery efforts in the wake of Hurricane Harvey. This team will be going to Port Arthur, Texas, leaving Friday, March 9 and returning Friday, March 16.

Registration and payment is on a first come basis, and the liability form must be received the week prior to departure.  Once you register you will receive a confirmation email securing your spot on a team which will include a suggested packing list.  All registered participants must be 18 or older (future youth trips are being considered) and each individual should bring an insurance card with them to Texas.This 12-person volunteer team will travel by van and stay at Trinity Lutheran Church in Port Arthur. Work will include site preparation, drywall installation, home restoration, and site clean-up.

Please complete all the fields in the registration and liability forms as this is important information. Please note, a non-refundable $25 background check fee is required to complete your registration. Refunds cannot be issued if you are unable to attend.

Registration and Liability Forms
Open and complete the PDF Registration Form and email it to Click here to pay your $25 fee for a background check (choose “Disaster Relief” from the drop-down menu).

Complete the Liability Form, sign it and mail or email it to the District office one week prior to departure (address below).

The cost is $25 per volunteer for required background checks. Your prayers and monetary donations are also welcome to support the efforts of our relief teams. Contributions may be made on our website, or mailed to:
SWD Hurricane Relief
8100 West Capitol Drive
Milwaukee, WI 53222
Please note in the memo line:
“SWD Hurricane Relief.”

Please contact Rev. Jonah Burakowski at or (414) 464-8101 if you have immediate questions.

Feel free to use this Hurricane Relief Bulletin insert for February 2018 to share with your congregation.

Information for future Disaster Relief Team trips will be coming soon.

Specific Trip Information

Shower facilities: Provided (gymnasium) but bring your own towel and toiletries
Laundry: Available
Accommodations: Gender specific space with cots available but you should bring your own bedding
Meals: Teams will prepare daily meals (food provided) but meals while traveling will be your responsibility
Cost: $25.00 for the necessary background check

General Daily Schedule

6:30 AM Breakfast Preparation
7:00 – 8:00 AM Breakfast and Lunch Packing
8:15 AM Depart for Worksites
Noon – 1:00 Lunch
4:30 PM Depart Worksite
5:30 PM Dinner Preparation
6:30 PM Dinner
7:30 – 9:00 PM Debrief and devotion
11:00 PM Lights out

Team Breakdown
Site Manager
The Site Manager is an experienced resident professional, provided by the Texas District, who will manage the site and provide all of the direction to the team.

Team Leader
The Team Leader is a volunteer responsible for facilitating the group schedule by coordinating daily tasks such as meals, showers, travel, and communication with the Site Manager.  The Team Leader should have some experience with basic construction skills and will work with the Site Manager on assigning Team Members to various work site tasks.  Transportation will be the responsibility of the Team Leader and they will assist the Site Manager in the safe and efficient use of tools.

Team Member
The Team member is a volunteer responsible for working at the site, assisting in preparing daily meals and providing compassion to local community members.

You are encouraged to bring your own tools (travel space is limited), but tools will be provided at the work site. Each member should bring the following:

  • Durable Work Gloves
  • Safety Glasses
  • Hat or Head Covering
  • 2 or 3 N95 Dust/Face Masks or other higher NIOSH labeled Dust/Face Mask of your choosing


130 years of God’s grace!

“St. Martini Lutheran Church and School continue to move forward in its goal of showing God’s love and forgiveness.”  

Rev. Alfonso Prada


On May 13, 2017, St. Martini Lutheran Church celebrated 130 years of ministry.  A special worship service was held with members and past members to thank God for blessings received. Rev. Dr. John Wille, South Wisconsin District President, preached the sermon. “Times have certainly changed since this congregation first began. Times have changed since this area was settled by immigrants from Germany. The new immigrants have arrived. Hispanic immigrants from a variety of countries. And you are reaching out to them through the LUMIN school and through the ministry of this congregation. That is an amazing shift. Amazing! I give thanks for the members who recognized this opportunity a few years ago. I give thanks to our gracious Lord Jesus that a new generation of immigrants is emerging in this congregation…Word and Sacrament. As a congregation, you are ‘Confessing Christ for the Next Generation.’ That is both an awesome privilege and an exciting opportunity.”

Following worship, more than 80 people enjoyed a meal together at St. Martini’s school.

“Recently, after eight months of preparation, 15 members of the Church graduated as new leaders of our Congregation,” Pastor Prada shared. “The goal is to form teams to carry out the planning of special activities, leading Sunday school, making visitations to the sick and new members, and the training of new members.”

In September of 2013 Pastor Alfonso Prada was installed as the new pastor of St. Martini. He is the first Hispanic pastor in the history of the congregation. Previously, Pastor Prada served in Venezuela for seven years at El Salvador Lutheran Church in Caracas. Pastor Prada graduated from Juan de Frias Seminary.

From the very moment of his installation at St. Martini, Rev. Prada has worked to build a solid working relationship with the Principal of the school, Mrs. Julieane Cook. Lutheran Urban Missions Initiative, Inc. (LUMIN) assisted in uniting the efforts of the school and church in order to bring the Word of God to the families of their school. LUMIN provided supportive educational activities and helped with the promotion of the formation of the Hispanic congregation at St. Martini.

St. Martini Lutheran Church and School continuously work together and are realizing great blessings. Since 2013 there have been more than 20 baptisms and 24 new adult members have been confirmed.  Twenty families of the school have been reached with the gospel along with other members from the community. Another initiative was the planning of several workshops. The topics included: Christian living; marriage workshops; building self-esteem; bullying, etc. Pastor also prepares weekly chapels for the school, devotionals and Bible studies; he has counseling sessions with members and visits the sick and shut-ins, along with many other activities.

In honor of the 500th Anniversary of the Lutheran Reformation, St. Martini Church and School have various activities and events planned in August through October. School chapels, religion classes, and morning devotions will detail our strong Lutheran heritage. October 7th there will be a health fair for the community. On October 20th and 29th there will be bilingual Lutheran Church services.

St. Martini has a strong history. The church opened its doors in 1884 with the help of St. Stephen Lutheran Church.  The school also started in 1884 in order to provide quality education to Lutherans and others in the community.  St. Martini has been blessed with 8 pastors:  Rev. Gotthold H.A. Lieberman (1884-1939), Rev. Arthur H. Oswald (1939-1967), Rev. Albert Bahrain (1952-1955), Rev. Martin E. Drews (1962-1994), Rev. Lowell D. Bolts (1986-1997), and Rev. Jerome A. Stecker (1997-2012).

“St. Martini Lutheran Church and School continue to move forward in its goal of showing God’s love and forgiveness.” Rev. Alfonso Prada.

We ask that you keep the ministry of St. Martini in your prayers. If you would like to support the ministry at St. Martini with a monetary donation, click the “Donate” button below to make an online gift (select “2017 Hispanic Appeal”). Or you can contact Barb Slak at the district office at 414-292-0745 for a credit card donation. If you prefer to mail your gift, send it to the South Wisconsin District, 8100 W. Capitol Drive, Milwaukee, WI 53222. Please include “St. Martini” in the memo line of your check. Thank You!

If you would like to visit St. Martini, please contact Pastor Prada at 414-645-4094. All are welcome to worship at St. Martini. Worship times are 10:00 a.m. on Sundays and 7:00 p.m. on Thursdays.

Donate to SWD

College is tough. You need Jesus.

One of the most challenging times in the lives of Christian families is sending their children off to a secular college or university. Not only are these college students learning how to live away from home, but they are also facing numerous challenges that take them outside of their “comfort zones”.

Help them stay grounded and connected to God’s Word for comfort and reassurance! Please share the following LCMS Campus Ministry locations in Wisconsin with the parents in your congregation, or ask them to share their child’s contact information while away from home with one of the campus ministries listed below. As an additional encouragement to the college students and their parents, you may want to use the bulletin insert from LCMS that invites the names and campus locations of those wishing to get connected to the closest LCMS congregation to their school, wherever that may be. Campus Ministries form.

Here is another resource that may be helpful: LCMS Campus Ministry Information Sheet, as well as a link to the LCMS Campus Ministry website. Or call the District Missions office at 414-292-0744.

Wisconsin LCMS Campus Ministries

UW-La Crosse – Rev. Paul Mundinger, Faith Lutheran, La Crosse, 1407 Main St., 54601; 608-782-3696,,

UW-Madison – Rev. Dan Anderson, Calvary Lutheran Chapel, Madison, 701 State St., 53703; 608-215-9526,, get updates at or

UW-Milwaukee; MSOE; Marquette – Rev. Ken Wieting, Luther Memorial Chapel, Shorewood, 3833 N. Maryland Ave., 53211, 414-332-5732;,,

Upcoming event: Meet-Greet-Eat
Date: Sunday September 10
Time: Divine Service @ 9 a.m.; University Study @ 10:45 a.m.; Lunch and Greeting @ 11:30 a.m.
Location: Luther Memorial Chapel  

UW-Platteville – Rev. Thomas Reeder, Apostles Lutheran Church, Platteville, 6732 Highway 81, 53818; 608-348-9901,,

UW-Stevens Point – Rev. Andrew Weden, Peace Lutheran Campus Center, 1517 Maria Dr., 54481; 715-345-6510, Get updates at

UW-Whitewater – Rev. David Emmrich, Living Savior Lutheran, Fort Atkinson, 1661 Janesville Ave., 53538; 920-563-8050,,

Pres. Wille’s report from the Dominican Republic

On Sunday, March 5, as I sat in a worship service in Palmar Arriba, in the Dominican Republic, I was reminded of the words of the Psalmist and our responsibilities in this current generation as the people of God. The Psalmist Asaph writes in Psalm 78:

He established a testimony in Jacob and appointed a law in Israel,
which he commanded our fathers to teach to their children,
6    that the next generation might know them, the children yet unborn, and arise and tell them to their children,
so that they should set their hope in God and not forget the works of God, but keep his commandments.
Here’s the picture…
As you know, we are one of the international partners helping to support that effort to plant Lutheran congregations and a new Lutheran church body in the Dominican Republic. I was in Palmar Arriba, the Dominican Republic, for the FORO meeting (which is the partners’ meeting).
I am robed sitting next to Sergio Fritzler who had served as the president of Concordia Seminary, Argentina. In front of me was Pastor Ted Krey. Next to me were several pastors; one from California, two Dominican vicars, and Pastor Carlos Schuman who is the lead missionary in Chile. We are there for the installation of Pastor David Preus as Pastor of the congregation and seminary professor.
It was a wonderful service! There was the baptism of a baby. There was a confirmation of a young man. There was the installation of a new missionary. And there were children from our Palmar school singing. The video is attached. Please take the time to listen to it. While, like me, you may not understand the words, you will recognize the melody of the songs they sing. And after the children sing, they recite the 10 Commandments.
That is when the words of Psalm 78 began to echo in my thoughts, as well as our SWD tagline, Confessing Christ for the next generation … The words of the Psalmist describe what we are to be about and why…’that the next generation might know [the testimony, the Holy Scriptures], the children yet unborn, and arise and tell them to their children, so that they should set their hope in God.’
The events of Sunday, March 5, 2017, will be branded into my memory for a long time. While you were not there, and I only for a short few days, you are what make that video a reality. The next generation is learning about Christ Jesus and His love because of our partnership with the church plant in the Dominican.
My prayer is that there are similar stories about the children in your community as you and your congregation reach out with the good news about Christ’s love ‘so that they should set their hope in God.’
Thank you for all you do for the Kingdom on so many fronts!! God bless!
Rev. John C. Wille, President SWD