A Message from Pastor Amy
On Jan. 27, I received my first COVID-19 vaccine. As a pastor, I fall into category 1A under Spiritual Care Providers. I was on a list to be called when the hospital had extra, as sometimes happens. I had to rush off our live online Confirmation session to get my shot. As much as I hate interrupting good conversation, I needed to be on time.
Everyday I hear of more people receiving their vaccines and it gives me a lot of hope. It’s inspiring to think of so many individuals doing all we can for our community and our country. It’s faithful too.
I believe that God created us to be creative. God gave us the minds to create vaccines, study disease transmission, and manage public health along with thinking up wind instruments, oil paints, and dance. For me, science and faith are beautifully intertwined, strengthening one another and bringing hope. Many early scientists were people of faith who used their God given talents to help God’s creation. I’m remembering my high school biology lessons on Brother Gregor Mendel who is known as the “Father of Modern Genetics.” I’m also thinking of a member of Trinity, Dr. Chris Chuppa, who lives out her faith in her vocation.
If you have questions or want to learn more about vaccines and how to stay healthy, look to the Jefferson County Health Department. As we wait for everyone who can to receive their vaccine dose, I hope you’ll join me in giving thanks to God for the ways in which God is healing us through science and medicine. I’m continually amazed at God’s work among us.
Installation of Julie Vurva
On Feb. 21, Julie Vurva will be installed in her new position of Visitation Minister. We look forward to seeing how God will use Julie in this position.
We want to thank Julie for her 22 years of service as the director of Sunday School. If you would like to send Julie a thank you card, cards can be sent to the church or brought to the in-person service.
Special Congregational Meeting
We will be having a special congregational meeting on Sunday, March 7 at 11 a.m. via Zoom. The only item on the agenda will be the approval of the 2021 budget. Updated financial reports will be available soon. Please contact Sarah in the office to sign up and receive the Zoom link.
In Case of Inclement Weather
Our weather policy is that if the schools are closed, then we are closed. If you are unsure if Trinity is meeting, you can check the following places:
- Facebook (share the post if you see it)
- 940 WFA
- Channel 3000
Also, don’t underestimate the power of word of mouth! If you know we are not having a service, call those you know to make sure that they’ve heard the news as well.
Please call Pastor Amy if you or a loved one is in the hospital. Pastor Amy is sometimes allowed to make hospital visits to members depending on the condition of the member and status of the hospital. You can call the church
at (920) 563-4145.
Egg Cartons for Food Pantry
Trinity is blessed to have such generous members, eager to support the Food Pantry and the Little Free Pantry. Thank you for your dedication! If you are in the routine of saving egg cartons, please keep in mind that the Food Pantry accepts only the cardboard type.
Volunteers Needed: In-Person Worship
We are in need of volunteers willing to serve on Sundays for in-person services. We need a few more volunteers to be ushers and assisting ministers. If interested in serving, contact Sarah in the office.
Three Congregations Come Together to Fund Full-Tuition Scholarship
ESTABLISHMENT OF THE WALWORTH JEFFERSON SCHOLARSHIP
This article first appeared in the Fall 2020 edition of Life Together, the magazine of Wartburg Theological Seminary.
Congregations have long played a crucial role in the formation of students and church leaders. Wartburg has been blessed this past year by churches in the South Central Synod of Wisconsin coming together in new and creative ways to make a difference for students.
Last year the endowment committee members of Sugar Creek Lutheran Church in Elkhorn, Wisconsin, worked together to make a difference. They were moved to think big, tackling the question of how they could impact ministry in communities like theirs across the country. They decided to support a seminary student with a $6,000 gift to Wartburg Theological Seminary. What they did not yet realize was that the Holy Spirit was working through their gift to inspire others. They soon found themselves building a partnership within the Walworth Jefferson Conference. Sugar Creek Lutheran’s pastor, Pastor Dick Inglett (WTS class of 1989), began spreading word of the gift around the conference in hopes of partnering with another congregation. When asked why Wartburg Seminary, Pastor Dick explained, “Wartburg Seminary is a recognized leader in providing quality education in preparing pastors for our setting, so it seems like a natural fit and partnership. Wartburg has also been a leader in being innovative on how pastors are trained and educated for ministry.
This forward thinking inspired Pastor Linda Winkelman (WTS class of 2007) of Jefferson Prairie Lutheran Church in Poplar Grove, Illinois. She jumped at the opportunity to both partner in ministry and lift up leaders in the church. The Jefferson Prairie endowment committee agreed, gifting $6,000 to the WTS Scholarship Fund. One Jefferson Prairie council member shared: “Part of Wartburg Seminary’s mission is to foster community, which is what we are doing by partnering with other congregations to do ministry.”
The Jefferson Prairie congregation has witnessed this community-building firsthand, as they have hosted November’s “Rural Plunge” students for a number of years. This has been a deeply meaningful experience for students and congregations alike, as many of the students who participated have worked or been formed solely in urban or suburban settings. This rural immersion gives them a broad experience and new understanding of different contexts.
With a total impact of $12,000, Sugar Creek and Jefferson Prairie found themselves in the wonderful position of being able to fund more than a half-tuition scholarship for a Wartburg student in need! This was already great news, but the Holy Spirit was not finished doing God’s work. Pastor Dick and Pastor Linda shared the story of their partnership at the Walworth-Jefferson clergy meeting, asking if any other congregations felt moved to join and support Wartburg Seminary students training to share the Good News. Pastor Amy Waelchli (WTS class of 2014) of Trinity Lutheran Church in Fort Atkinson, Wisconsin, heard the call to bring this opportunity before her council, who voted to gift an extra $5,000 toward the scholarship. The Walworth Jefferson Scholarship at Wartburg Theological Seminary was now ready to provide a full-tuition annual fund scholarship, helping students in need follow their call.
Pastor Amy shared that Trinity was so excited at the opportunity to support a student because this had been their goal for years. “Trinity has an endowment fund for theological education to further Christ’s church in the world. It was unused for many years, awaiting the opportunity to send one of ‘our’ members to seminary. However, all students are ‘our’ members because we are one church in Christ. Using the fund to further someone’s education is a gift of faith to the whole church.” She added that they were particularly excited to support a Wartburg Seminary student because “Trinity treasures leaders who are community minded, theologically sound, passionate preachers, and good teachers.”
Since 2015, scholarship dollars awarded to students at Wartburg Seminary per year have increased by 224%. This year Wartburg will award over $2.2 million in scholarships. This initiative by the entire Wartburg Seminary community has led to a 76% decline in total student tuition borrowing. Partnerships like the scholarship set up by Sugar Creek Lutheran, Jefferson Prairie Lutheran, and Trinity Lutheran have made this reality possible. The Wartburg Seminary community coming together makes all the difference.
“Together we can provide a full scholarship for a student at Wartburg. This is not something that we could do by ourselves,” explained Pastor Inglett of Sugar Creek. A member of the Jefferson Prairie Council agreed: “We motivate and inspire each other. Sharing ideas between congregations helps keep us from getting stagnant. … It’s exciting to be able to significantly change someone’s life by giving them the financial means to learn and then go out into the world to lead God’s people in sharing the gospel in word and service.”
Wartburg Seminary is dedicated to growing relationships with congregational partners and knows how students and congregations can be transformed when they relate to one another. This fall Wartburg will be connecting a student to the partnership. This student will truly know that they are being lifted up by three communities of faith and will have an opportunity to preach at one or more of the congregations when possible.
Wartburg Seminary celebrates our ministry partnership with the Walworth Jefferson Conference and thanks every leader who came together to make such an impact in a student’s life. Each pastor has made it clear they do not see this as the end of the road. The Walworth-Jefferson Conference Scholarship is open to being renewed each year and will continue to encourage other congregations to join the partnership or create their own to support students following their call to seminary.
“Not only will we be building relationships with Wartburg and a Wartburg student,” Pastor Inglett of Sugar Creek explained, “but we will also have a greater opportunity to build relationships with sister congregations. It is also a witness and model for other congregations in the ELCA to work together around shared interests and ministries. All three of our congregations hope that other ministry partnerships will develop and congregations across the ELCA will provide scholarships.”
Devotions for Lent
“A Story to Tell” provides daily devotions for each day from Ash Wednesday to the Vigil of Easter (traditionally known as Holy Saturday). Devotions begin with an evocative image and a brief passage from the Gospel of Mark. The writers then bring their own unique voices and pastoral wisdom to the Mark texts with quotations to ponder, reflections, and prayer.
May this Lenten journey through Mark’s gospel strengthen and inspire you to tell the story of Jesus Christ through all you do and say.
Lent devotions will be available for pickup starting on Feb. 7 at Drive-Thru Communion or in-person services. You may also come to the office during regular office hours to pick one up. Contact Sarah at the office with any questions.
Prayers Requested For . . .
Sandy Anderson, Terry Badura, Wayne Behselich, Jay Blom, Maggie Dostalek, Ralph Draeger, Roger Draeger, Kris England and family, Jim Griffin, Rich Kessler, Bob Kyle, Phyllis Lang, Barb Manwaring, Mike Messler and family, Dan Morrow, Debbie Pierce, Violet Prust, Paul Reed, Harold Rumppe, Shelley Scheurm, Verne Sell, Ruth Smithback, Roger Strege, Kathryn Woods, Donald Zuehlke.
Do you have a prayer concern? Email the prayer force at email@example.com. People will gladly pray for you or your loved one with their whole hearts!