Home mission milestones – fall 2023

WELS Home Missions has provided an update on a number of home mission congregations that experienced major milestones in fall 2023.

Christ the Rock Lutheran Church, Canton, Ga.

Christ the Rock in Canton, Ga., held its grand opening worship service on Nov. 12, 2023. God blessed the church’s outreach efforts with 60 in attendance, including 16 brand-new guests to Christ the Rock. Home Missionary Cale Mead and the core group set up and take down for worship at a local elementary school every Sunday using a “portable church” that can be stored in a trailer from week to week. A different home mission congregation, Living Hope in Chattanooga, Tenn., donated its old trailer to Christ the Rock after purchasing its own permanent facility.

View photos of Christ the Rock’s first public worship service and other home mission activities in the South Atlantic District in the Flickr album.

Amazing Grace Lutheran Church, Dickinson, N.D.

Amazing Grace, a home mission congregation in Dickinson, N.D., launched public worship on Oct. 15, 2023. It was blessed with 29 in attendance, 10 of whom were visitors invited by a family member or friend from Amazing Grace. Home Missionary Joel Prange serves this new mission church that was approved in 2021.

The following weekend, Oct. 22, Amazing Grace dedicated its new building space with members and pastors from area WELS congregations. Church members are currently worshiping in a rented ministry center in a new local market that they were able to customize to meet their ministry needs.

View photos of Amazing Grace’s new church and other home mission activities in the Dakota-Montana District in the Flickr album.


New Start, Marquette, Mich.

Rev. Joseph Lindloff was installed as the pastor for the new mission start in Marquette, Mich., on Oct. 8, 2023. This mission is one of the first new missions approved as part of the effort to start 100 missions in 10 years from 2023-2033. It had its first core group meeting on Nov. 5 with 24 individuals in attendance, including 5 prospects. The church prays to start a Bible information class in the new year.

View photos of the installation service and other home mission activities in the Northern Wisconsin District in the Flickr album.


TheMission – a Lutheran Church, Conroe, Tex.

TheMission, Conroe, Tex., launched its worship services on Aug. 6, 2023. Rev. Jeremy Mattek serves those at TheMission. They are currently worshiping in a rented funeral home on Sundays while working with a local architect to develop plans for a new sanctuary and site plan on land that they purchased.

View photos of TheMission’s launch service and other home mission activities in the South Central District in the Flickr album.



Please keep these home missions in your prayers as they continue to share the pure message of the gospel with more people in their communities. To stay connected with these and the other 145 home mission congregations scattered throughout the United States, Canada, and English-speaking West Indies, follow WELS Missions on Facebook at fb.com/WELSMissions.



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A special gift

Pictured above: Pam with her great-nephew, Shaun, who attends St. Croix Lutheran High School.

Pam with her mother, Esther.

Pam Peterson says her parents, Will and Esther Bauer, were strong Christians who taught her the joy of worship, participating in the congregation, and giving to the Lord. This continued as she grew up, married, and remained active at church. She and her husband were not able to have children, but they were blessed with good jobs, so they supported the Lord’s work at their congregation and through other WELS ministries. They especially enjoyed giving to Christian education, thinking of how their nieces and nephews were blessed through their Lutheran schools.

A couple of years ago God called Pam’s 101-year-old mother to heaven. Pam decided to offer a special gift to honor her parents. She set up a charitable gift annuity with WELS Foundation. Pam shares, “It was one of the things my mom and dad had; they thought it was important enough to do. When my mom passed away in 2021, I took some of the funds that she gave me, and I started that for them in their memory.”

A charitable gift annuity has several benefits. It provides a tax deduction. The quarterly annuity payments that Pam receives are a reminder of her parents’ impact on her life. And Pam appreciates knowing that when she goes to heaven, the remainder of the gift will go to her church and school.

Pam thanks our Savior for the privilege of supporting his kingdom: “I do it because of all the grace the Lord has shown me throughout my life.”

Perhaps a charitable gift annuity is an opportunity for you to support Christ’s work. You can fund a gift annuity for yourself, a loved one, or a friend. And you can direct the remainder of the gift to be used by your congregation, school, synod, area Lutheran high school, or other WELS-affiliated ministry.

Here’s how a charitable gift annuity would work for someone 72 years of age:

Note that this illustration has payments beginning immediately. Payments can also be deferred to a future date. In addition, couples may arrange a gift annuity for both of their lives. You can do a personalized illustration based on your age. Another option is the deferred gift annuity, which provides a tax deduction now while payments start in the future.

If you’re ready to move ahead—or would just like to learn more at this point—your local WELS Christian giving counselor can help. There is no cost or obligation when working with a WELS Christian giving counselor. To get started, call us at 800-827-5482 or e-mail [email protected].

Idalia update from WELS Christian Aid and Relief

WELS Christian Aid and Relief (CAR) has provided a brief update on Hurricane Idalia, which has been downgraded to a tropical storm. Rev. Dan Sims, director of CAR, says, “This was a powerful storm that had the potential to wreak havoc to all in its path, but our merciful God saw fit to minimize damage and loss. Based on communication with our pastors and other leaders, we are pleased to announce that, at this time, our churches and members are all okay.”

As CAR is a church-based disaster relief organization, it deploys volunteers and assistance to areas that have a WELS church, since the congregation serves as base for CAR to support and supply its volunteers. Thankfully, none of the communities where WELS has churches are in need at this time, and CAR will not be deploying volunteers to help with clean-up work.

Sims says, “If you are in need, or have a neighbor in need, please reach out to your pastor and make him aware of the situation. Your pastor will then get in touch with us. Please continue to remember in your prayers all those impacted by this storm as well as all those working hard to help people in need.”


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“Thank you” from the Ukrainian Lutheran Church

The Ukrainian Lutheran Church Synodical Council wished to make a statement of thanks to you, and to the many people who have prayed for them and given gifts. This is what was expressed at their meeting:

We wish to thank the many people who have helped us since the time this war began. In many congregations your help has enabled us to survive. Without your help much of our ministry would not have been possible.

Your aid has helped members and their families, pastors and their families, villagers, volunteer workers, etc. With your help nearly, if not all, requests for aid have been met. Money for vehicle repairs and fuel have enabled pastors to travel and reach out to many people. The ability to get medicines have in fact saved lives. Food assistance has kept some of the elderly from starvation. For all of this we are so very thankful to you. But most of all, we thank our Lord for you.

Thank you for your love and concern for us during this difficult time.


Submitted by Rev. Roger Neumann, WELS liaison to the ULC


Pictured: Members of the Ukrainian Lutheran church with cards from WELS Sunday school students.

WELS is supporting the Ukrainian Lutheran Church with emergency needs as their country is torn apart by war.


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Update on the Ukrainian Lutheran Church – Dec. 13, 2022

As I write this update about the Ukrainian Lutheran Church (ULC), it is day 288 since the war began on February 24. Throughout Ukraine there has been much damage to property—vital infrastructure, hospitals, schools, train stations, to mention just a few. While there are no official figures, there have been many casualties, both soldiers and civilians. But as of today, no ULC members or pastors have lost their lives. Praise be to God!

In the face of war, the ministry continues, relatively uninterrupted. The ministry has actually expanded as pastors and congregations are now helping refugees and members in need, along with their friends and neighbors. Christians are not only speaking of their faith in Jesus, but putting their faith into action. People and communities are witnessing the love and concern Christians have for others in their time of need.

Much of Ukraine now is without electricity or is experiencing periods of blackouts lasting for hours. Some of the effects of this are the loss of heating, charging phones and computers, running refrigerators and freezers, and lights at night. Winter always has a shortened period of daylight time, but without lights it makes the days longer and depression settles in quite easily. Many people buy candles, but now candles are hard to find and the cost of a candle which used to be ten cents is as high as two dollars and 50 cents (American currency). There are very many cases of stress related illnesses among the people. Bishop Horpynchuk says that at present their greatest concerns are heat and food.

Many people have been praying for Ukraine and the ULC since the outbreak of this war. Gifts from CELC churches have enabled pastors and congregations to buy generators, which have been a big help for them. Now there can be at least some heat in the buildings for their worship services. They also are able to buy food, medicines, fuel, warm clothing, blankets, shoes, and hygiene products. They thank you for your gifts that enable to make these purchases.

I’m often asked to pass along, from the members and pastors, thanks for all that people have done for them with their prayers and gifts. They appreciate these very, very much. In times of need, and at all times, Christians work together, laugh together, cry together, but we cherish the truth that we are all one in Christ. Our times are in his hands, and what better place can there be. The ULC extends wishes for God’s blessings for all of you, our fellow believers. Thank you for your prayers.

Submitted by Rev. Roger Neumann, WELS liaison to the ULC

This update was shared from the Confessional Evangelical Lutheran Conference website.


WELS is supporting the Ukrainian Lutheran Church with emergency needs as their country is torn apart by war.


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WELS statement on Roe v. Wade ruling

On June 24, 2022, the United States Supreme Court issued a ruling that overturned the 1973 Roe vs. Wade decision that assured a woman’s constitutional right to an abortion throughout the United States. This ruling struck down many state laws that had prohibited or limited abortions. Tragically, as a result of the 1973 decision, millions of unborn children have been robbed of the opportunity for life.

Contrary to how some have portrayed it, this recent action by the Supreme Court does not make abortion illegal in the United States. Rather, the ruling enables states to enact their own laws on abortion—either banning or limiting the practice or making the practice legal.

The Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod has always been clear in its opposition to abortion and in its pro-life position. While this ruling does not eliminate the tragedy of abortions in our country, it is certainly a long-desired step in the right direction in the effort to protect human life in the womb. We pray that states will now take the opportunity to prohibit the taking of human life when it most needs protection.

The Psalm writer declares in Psalm 139, “For you (God) created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.” God creates life, and it is only God who has the right to end the life he has created. As long as there are still places where abortion is legal and available, it’s important that our synod continues to make its clear confession that it is God who creates life, beginning at conception. We believe that the government has the God-given responsibility to protect life. As important as this issue is, our synod remains committed to its most important mission:  sharing the good news of a Savior who has brought forgiveness and healing for all.

Rev. Mark Schroeder, President
Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod


Synod presidents from WELS, the Evangelical Lutheran Synod, and the Lutheran Church-Missouri synod signed a letter to the U.S. Attorney General regarding the violence against pro-life organizations.

Read the letter


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Pray for Uvalde, Texas

Lord Jesus, there is so much evil in this world. Once again, senseless violence has taken multiple lives – both children and adults. With heavy hearts, we your children come to you asking for your tender care to attend to the needs of so many. Comfort those families whose lives have been devastated and disrupted by death. Bring healing to the injured. Help those who are dealing with images they can never unsee. We thank you, Lord, for the brave public servants who rushed toward the danger, brought the carnage to an end, and cared for the injured. Above all, as we struggle with our questions and confusion, use this, dear Father, to draw us, your children, ever closer to you. We commit all who are suffering to your care, confident of your promises, assured of your presence, and surrounded by your love. Come quickly, Lord Jesus, in your power, in your grace, and in your mercy. Amen.

WELS Foundation: Here to help

On Nov. 7, 2021, Divine Peace, Milwaukee, Wis., held its final worship service after sharing the gospel with its neighborhood for almost 65 years. It was an emotional day filled with memories of weddings and baptisms, confirmations and Christian funerals. Yet there was joy beneath the sadness—joy that only peace in Christ can bring. The members of Divine Peace knew that they are a part of God’s bigger plan for the kingdom.

When Divine Peace was established in 1957, it was built on the outskirts of a growing city, surrounded by farmland. Over the years, farmland gave way to starter homes and apartment buildings. As homeowners began to move to the suburbs and those in the apartments constantly came and went, it became difficult for Divine Peace to build lasting relationships with its transient neighbors and sustain its membership.

As the congregation began to run out of resources, and its pastor took a call to another congregation in June 2021, Divine Peace’s leadership knew it was time to prayerfully evaluate its future. Members also looked at the density of WELS congregations that are now in the area—four churches within a 1.5-mile radius.

After extensive Scripture study and prayer, open forums, and a special sermon series, the congregation determined it no longer could carry out a sustainable ministry. “We believed it was a better use of our time, talents, and treasures to close Divine Peace and redeploy these gifts to other areas of ministry. This redeployment would involve sending our membership to other WELS congregations in our community to support and strengthen those churches,” says Divine Peace church president Brian Gottschalk.

Instead of selling the church and property themselves, congregation leadership turned to WELS Foundation for assistance. After the final service, Divine Peace donated the property to WELS Foundation, who in turn sold the property and distributed the net proceeds to the ministries designated by the voters of Divine Peace. They split the assets of the sale to continue supporting gospel work for years to come: 80 percent to support WELS Missions and Congregational Services and 20 percent to support Christian education at nearby Wisconsin Lutheran High School through its foundation’s endowment.

Jim Holm, Executive Director of WELS Foundation, says, “It was a privilege to work closely with Mr. Gottschalk, church secretary Shelly Fink, and leadership at Divine Peace throughout this process. Even though Divine Peace closed its doors, its legacy of faith will continue.”

Holm continues, “WELS Foundation was blessed to assist Divine Peace as part of our mission of facilitating gifts to benefit WELS ministries, for the spreading of the gospel.”

To contact WELS Foundation, please call 800-752-8940 or e-mail [email protected].