WELS in the News

January 7, 2020

The Academy Kids from Winnebago Lutheran Academy in Fond du Lac, Wis., sang Christmas carols on the local Green Bay news on Dec. 24, 2019.

Rev. Andrew Schroer, pastor at Redeemer, Edna, Texas, was quoted in a Dec. 24 article in The New York Times about the local Walmart closing in Edna.

On Dec. 19, 2019, the Daily Jefferson County Union highlighted two juniors from Lakeside Lutheran High School, Lake Mills, Wis., who were each awarded a Certificate of Merit from Michigan Technological University’s section of the Society of Women Engineers (SWE).

On Dec. 19, 2019, Kenosha News featured an article on Sarah Siegler, the music director at Shoreland Lutheran High School, Somer, Wis., whose original composition was performed at an international band and orchestra conference held in Chicago.

December 17, 2019

The Dec. 12 edition of the Door County Daily News included a story about Rev. John Moll, who has been serving Immanuel, Kewaunee, Wis., during its vacancy besides his own congregation in Algoma.

On Dec. 12, The Journal in New Ulm, Minn., pictured preschool children from St. Paul, New Ulm, presenting their Christmas program.

Rev. John Seelman from Immanuel, Oshkosh, Wis., was mentioned in a NBC15 article about a lockdown at nearby Oshkosh West High School following a weapons incident. Students evacuated and came into the church, and Seelman walked them to a bus to be transported to a safe location to be reunited with their parents.

December 3, 2019

The Nov. 27 edition of the Watertown Daily Times included an article about the live nativity being presented at St. Luke, Watertown, Wis., on Dec. 6 and 7.

On Nov. 26, Local 5 in Green Bay, Wis., interviewed a teacher and a student from Fox Valley Lutheran High School, Appleton, Wis., about FVL Schools, a group of 26 WELS school campuses in that area that serve more than 3,100 students from pre-kindergarten to 12th grade.

On Nov. 26, WEAU-13 featured an article on students from St. Mark Lutheran School, Eau Claire, Wis., putting together care packages for the local fire department.

November 19, 2019

KSTP Channel 5 covered the story on how a semi-trailer truck crashed into Christ Lutheran Church, N. Saint Paul, Minn., when making a delivery.

The Patch featured an article on Nov. 15 on the Veterans Day program at Wisconsin Lutheran High School, Milwaukee, Wis. The school welcomed hundreds of veterans for this annual event.

On Nov. 14, the York News-Times included a story on the international students at Nebraska Evangelical Lutheran High School, Waco, Neb. This year the high school has 15 international students, from countries such as Korea, China, Japan, Vietnam, and Rwanda.

WTMJ4 in Milwaukee took handwritten messages of kindness from third graders at Atonement, Milwaukee, Wis., and surprised strangers on World Kindness Day, Nov. 13. Check out their reactions.

On Nov. 7, The Journal in New Ulm, Minn., highlighted a presentation by retired U.S. Air Force Master Sergeant Michael Tracy at Minnesota Valley Lutheran High School’s annual veterans recognition program. He thanked all veterans who have served as well as thanked the families of those who are serving in the military.

The Nov. 6 edition of the Redwood Falls Gazette did a profile on Joel Westenberg, the new seventh- and eighth-grade teacher at St. John Lutheran School, Redwood Falls, Minn.

Rev. Stephen Melso, pastor at Bethany, Manitowoc, Wis., wrote an opinion piece for the Herald Times Reporter offering ideas of what we can do to help people who are struggling with addiction and the fallout from addiction.

November 5, 2019

Milwaukeecourieronline.com reported on the 125th anniversary of historic Siloah Lutheran Church, Milwaukee, Wis.

Yourobserver.com reported that Risen Savior, Lakewood Ranch, Fla., built a playground as a first step to starting a preschool.

The Columbus Journal shared the story of a group of students from Lakeside Lutheran High School, Lake Mills, Wis., who volunteered to prepare meals for area foster families.

October 15, 2019

On Oct. 9, the York-News Times, York, Neb., reported that Nebraska Lutheran High School, Waco, Neb., received exemplary accreditation from the Board of Directors of WELS School Accreditation.

On Oct. 4, Spectrum News 1, Milwaukee, Wis., interviewed students of Wisconsin Lutheran High School, Milwaukee, about the impact of the new international dormitories on campus.

Hometown Source, Coon Rapids, Minn., shared on Oct. 4 that Bethlehem, Lakeville, Minn., recently moved into a new building. With this change, the church took on a new name: NorthCross.

On Oct. 1, the Baxter Bulletin, Mountain Home, Ark., announced the departure of Rev. Dave Kapler from Trinity, Mountain Home. Kapler accepted a call to serve at Beautiful Savior, Topeka, Kan. Kapler served at Trinity for 30 years.

On Sept. 30, the Richland Source, Mansfield, Ohio, shared the opening of a new WELS church in the city called Risen Savior. The congregation will begin its worship services on Oct. 27.

October 1, 2019

On Sept. 30, Washington County Insider highlighted the record enrollment of 508 students at Kettle Moraine Lutheran High School, Jackson, Wis. This is the first time the school’s student enrollment surpassed 500.

KEYC News 12, Mankato, Minn., interviewed teacher Mrs. Laura Balza on Sept. 25 as part of their Golden Apple awards series for outstanding educators. Balza teaches at St. Paul’s Lutheran Elementary School, New Ulm, Minn.

On Sept. 24, the Columbus Journal, Columbus, Wis., announced Rev. Ben Zuberbier as the new pastor at Zion, Columbus. Zuberbier was installed at the church on Sept. 15.

Daily Southtown of the Chicago Tribune, Chicago, Ill., interviewed Isabella, Sofia, Paige, and Zoe Biesterfeld of Illinois Lutheran High School, Crete, Ill., on Sept. 19. The Biesterfields all play together on the school’s varsity girls volleyball team. Isabella expressed gratitude for the opportunity the four of them have to play together for Christ.

The Sept. 6 edition of the Journal Sentinel, Milwaukee, featured an article on Mr. Eugene Schulz, a member at Atonement, Milwaukee, Wis. The article shared the story of Schulz’s military service in World War II and how he was going to receive the prestigious Legion of Honor in Chartres, France.

On Sept. 1, The Journal, New Ulm, Minn., shared the story of Mr. Michael Wu, a videographer for the public relations student photography team at Martin Luther College, New Ulm. His work will be featured in the promotional materials for the “Equipping Christian Witnesses” capital campaign at Martin Luther College.

September 17, 2019

On Sept. 16, Royal Purple highlighted the WELS campus ministry at the University of Wisconsin–Whitewater in an article about UW–Whitewater’s Involvement Fair.

A Sept. 16 article in the Journal Sentinel reported on U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos’ visit to St. Marcus Lutheran School, Milwaukee, Wis.

RiverTowns.net featured an article on Sept. 15 about Rev. Steven Saatkamp, a 2019 graduate from Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary who is the new pastor at Emmanuel, Hudson, Wis.

MLive Media Group, Mich., interviewed Max Nordlie, multi-sport athlete and multi-activity student at Michigan Lutheran Seminary, Saginaw, Mich. Notably, Nordlie is the starting quarterback for the school and plays piano extensively in his free time.

On Sept. 5, WFRV Local 5, Green Bay, Wis., reported that St. Mark Lutheran Church donated eight boxes of supplies to Beaumont Elementary School, Green Bay. The supplies will help teachers and students begin the new school year fully prepared.

The Caledonia Argus, Caledonia, Minn., interviewed Rev. Tom Schultz on Sept. 4. Schultz is currently filling in as principal at St. John Lutheran School, Caledonia. An official call for the position will be made in October.

September 3, 2019

WBAY, Green Bay, Wis., reported on a texting scheme involving Zion, Morrison, Wis., where someone posing as Zion’s pastor texted members asking for donations.

On Aug. 31, The Journal, New Ulm, Minn., highlighted how local volunteers and contractors are working hard on the large expansion to St. Paul’s Lutheran School so the school is ready to open on Sept. 9.

WFRV Local 5, Green Bay, Wis., reported on Aug. 27 that the soccer and football fields at Fox Valley Lutheran High School, Appleton, Wis., are once again usable after the spaces were damaged by vandalism in the fall of 2017 and the spring of 2018.

On Aug. 27, the Lafayette Nicollet Ledger, Lafayette, Minn., announced the departure of Rev. Dan Witte from Trinity, Nicollet, Minn. Witte is preparing to serve in Zambia where he will do mission work with WELS’ One Africa Team.

The Washington County Insider, West Bend, Wis., reported on Aug. 27 that St. John’s, Newburg, Wis., is preparing to celebrate its 160th anniversary with a mission festival on Sunday, Sept. 8.

On Aug. 26, The Courier, Lake Mills, Wis., noted that St. Paul, Marshall, has opened its enrollment for its weekly Sunday school program.

Redwood Falls Gazette, Redwood Falls, Minn., interviewed Todd Brassow, the new principal at St. John Lutheran, Redwood Falls, on Aug. 23. Brassow previously served as a teacher and the athletic director at the school.

On Aug. 21, the Belle Plaine Herald, Belle Plaine, Minn., announced that Solid Grounds Coffee House, a ministry of The Lutheran Home Association in Belle Plaine, will close its doors on Sept. 18.

August 20, 2019

The Lake Mills Leader, Lake Mills, Wis., noted on Aug. 15 that Lakeside Lutheran High School, Lake Mills, would provide a welcome and orientation to its incoming freshman class on Friday, Aug. 16. Class began for all students on Monday, Aug. 19.

On Aug. 14, KEYC News 12, Mankato, Minn., reported that the construction on Mt. Olive Church and School, Mankato, is nearly finished. The additions include a new kindergarten room, an expanded church space, and new secure entrances.

MLive Media Group, Mich., shared a story on Aug. 12 about the football team at Michigan Lutheran Seminary, Saginaw, Mich. In order to build the energy and excitement before each game, the team sings together. Many team members are part of a musical extracurricular activity.

On Aug. 9, the Columbus Journal, Beaver Dam, Wis., reported that the WELS Wind Ensemble would hold its annual Concert in the Park, Sunday, Aug. 11, in Beaver Dam.

August 6, 2019

The York News-Times, York, Neb., included articles on the 40th anniversaries of two local WELS schools in Waco: Trinity Lutheran School and Nebraska Lutheran High School.

On Aug. 2, the Lake Mills Leader featured an article about the reunion of the first graduating class of Lakeside Lutheran High School, Lake Mills, Wis. About two dozen members of the class of 1962 met at St. Paul, Fort Atkinson, Wis., to reminisce.

On Aug. 1, the Daily Jefferson County Union, Fort Atkinson, Wis., interviewed Dan Bredendick about his role as the new principal and history teacher at St. Paul’s Lutheran School, Fort Atkinson.

On July 31, The Journal, New Ulm, Minn., shared news of the WELS 65th Biennial Synod Convention held July 29–Aug. 1 at Martin Luther College, New Ulm. Special note was made of President Mark Schroeder’s re-election and report.

On July 31, The Tomah Journal, La Crosse, Wis., interviewed Lisa Giertych about Geoffrey Hoffman, former teacher, coach, and principal at St. Paul Lutheran School, Tomah, Wis. Hoffman passed away on Aug. 28 after serving the school for 43 years.

On July 23, Fox 6 News, Milwaukee, Wis., spoke with leaders at Risen Savior, Milwaukee, about their free summer soccer camp. The camp aims to provide fun and learning to neighborhood children in a safe and Christ-centered environment.

On July 20, the Leader-Telegram, Eau Claire, Wis., noted that Rev. Michael D. Hollmann was installed as the new pastor at St. Mark, Eau Claire. Now retired, Rev. Herb Prahl previously served in this position for 46 years.

The Milwaukee Business Journal, Milwaukee, Wis., shared on July 19 that Wisconsin Lutheran High School was approaching completion of its dormitory and apartment construction.

July 16, 2019

On July 15, the Daily Press, Escanaba, Mich., highlighted that women from several congregations in northern Wisconsin and Michigan attended the 56th annual Lutheran Women’s Missionary Society convention in Des Moines, Iowa.

Ahwatukee Foothills News, Tempe, Ariz., shared an interview with Rev. Michael Koepke on July 14, who was recently installed as the pastor at Lamb of God, Phoenix, Ariz.

On July 13, The Herald Palladium, St. Joseph, Mich., reported that Rev. Jesse Knox would be installed as a full-time pastor at St. Paul’s, Stevensville, Mich., on Sunday, July 14.

The Fond du Lac Reporter, Fond du Lac, Wis., interviewed Rev. David Haag on July 9 about his 20 years as the soccer coach at Winnebago Lutheran Academy, Fond du Lac. He explained that he cherishes the opportunity to encourage young Christians through the sport.

On June 28, The Free Press, Mankato, Minn., interviewed Jim Buboltz about his many roles at Minnesota Valley Lutheran High School, New Ulm, Minn. Entering his 26th year in the WELS school system, Buboltz now serves as the school’s dean of students, football coach, and baseball coach.

July 2, 2019

On June 29, the Independent, Marshall, Minn., reported that Christ, Marshall, hosted a summer picnic for local people with developmental or intellectual disabilities. The church’s Jesus Cares ministry organizes this annual event.

BizTimes, Milwaukee, Wis., shared on June 28 that Wisconsin Lutheran College, Milwaukee, will soon begin expanding its science building and athletic facilities thanks to an anonymous gift of $5.2 million.

On June 18, the Redwood Falls Gazette, Redwood Falls, Minn., announced that Dave Gartner will leave his position as principal at St. John School, Redwood Falls, to serve as principal at West Lutheran High School, Plymouth, Minn.

June 18, 2019

The June 15 edition of the Norfolk Daily News included an article about the renovation of the nearly 60-year-old school building of Immanuel, Hadar, Neb.

The Doral Tribune, Doral, Fla., shared on June 11 that Jaxson Landwehr, Junior at Divine Savior Academy, Doral, was awarded the highest honors in the WordWright Challenge, a national literary analysis competition.

Green Valley News, Green Valley, Ariz., reported on June 8 about the upcoming groundbreaking of a new chapel and child-learning center for Grace, Sahuarita, Ariz. The church pursued the project to serve the growing need for licensed childcare in the community.

On May 19, the Herald Times Reporter, Manitowoc, Wis., shared that two students of Manitowoc Lutheran High School, Noah Ungemach and Regina Lou, were awarded exemplary performances at the Wisconsin School Music Association State Festival on May 4.

June 4, 2019

The June 2 edition of the Redwood Falls Gazette highlighted the end of a “fantastic” school year at St. John Lutheran School, Redwood Falls, Minn.

On May 27, the Lake Mills Leader, Lake Mills, Wis., reported that 110 students received their diplomas from Lakeside Lutheran High School, Lake Mills, on Sun., May 26.

The Journal, New Ulm, Minn., reported on May 27 that 53 students graduated from Minnesota Valley Lutheran High School, New Ulm, on Sunday, May 26.

On May 26, WJFW Newswatch 12, Rhinelander, Wis., shared that Rev. Neal Behm was installed at Christ, Merrill, Wis. The church’s previous pastor, Rev. James Weiland, passed away unexpectedly when he was involved in a car accident in January 2018.

Kenosha News, Kenosha, Wis., reported that Shoreland Lutheran High School, Somers, Wis., saw a class of 63 graduate on Saturday, May 25.

On May 22, the Green Bay Press Gazette, Green Bay, Wis., shared the story of Mr. Kyle Gut, principal at St. Mark Lutheran School, Green Bay, who passed away suddenly on May 21. Gut was also a basketball and soccer coach in Pulaski, Wis.

The Free Press, Mankato, Minn., announced on May 19 that Trinity, Nicollet, Minn., celebrates its 150th anniversary this year. A special worship service will be held on Sun., June 9.

The Journal, New Ulm, Minn., reported on May 19 that Martin Luther College, New Ulm, held its commencement service on Sat., May 18.

May 21, 2019

WAOW News 9, Wausau, Wis., shared on May 16 that Northland Lutheran High School, Kronenwetter, Wis., began construction on a new 162-solar panel array on its roof.

On May 16, the Appleton Post-Crescent, Appleton, Wis., reported that The CORE, Appleton, held a vigil for Mitchell Lundgaard, an Appleton firefighter who was killed while responding to a medical call on May 15.

WTMJ Radio, Milwaukee, Wis., shared on May 14 that Jonas Doerr and Magdalen Johnston, two students at Wisconsin Lutheran High School, Milwaukee, achieved perfect scores on their first attempt at the ACT.

On May 12, FOX 9, Minneapolis, Minn., reported that the families of students at Pilgrim Lutheran School, Minneapolis, are exploring plans to sustain the school. The school is currently expected to close at the end of the 2019-20 school year.

The Falls Church Patch, Falls Church, Va., announced on May 8 that Grace Christian Academy, Falls Church, raised $110,000 at its third annual fundraising gala. These funds will support the school’s tuition assistance program.

On May 8, the Sleepy Eye Herald-Dispatch, Sleepy Eye, Minn., shared that St. John’s Lutheran School, Sleepy Eye, will close at the end of the 2018-19 school year.

May 7, 2019

The BizTimes, Milwaukee, Wis., included an article about Wisconsin Lutheran College presenting the Divine Servant Award to David Green, founder and CEO of Hobby Lobby, during a celebration event on April 26.

The Appleton Post-Crescent, Appleton, Wis., interviewed Rev. Mike Novotny on May 3. Novotny spoke about his service at The CORE, Appleton, and his role as the lead speaker of Time of Grace, the nationally syndicated worship broadcast program.

On May 2, The Journal, New Ulm, Minn., reported that Martin Luther College, New Ulm, held its annual “MLC Day” on May 1. The event invites friends and family of MLC students to pray for the school, share news of its ministry, and donate to show their support.

The Belle Plaine Herald, Belle Plaine, Minn., shared on May 1 that Trinity Lutheran School, Belle Plaine, celebrated its 75th anniversary. A special service was held on May 5 to commemorate the milestone.

On April 18, The Newnan Times-Herald, Newnan, Ga., reported that Faith, Sharpsburg, Ga., held a groundbreaking ceremony on April 14, Palm Sunday, for its new building addition.

April 16, 2019

On April 11, The Journal, New Ulm, Minn., reported that Josh Koelpin, senior and athlete at Martin Luther College, New Ulm, was given the Upper Midwest Athletic Conference Scholar-Athlete Leadership award.

The Sauk Prairie Eagle, Mauston, Wis., announced on April 10 that organist Charles Bonow would play a special concert at St. James, Prairie Du Sac, Wis., on April 14.

On April 8, The Journal, New Ulm, Minn., reported that St. Paul’s Lutheran Elementary School, New Ulm, held a symbolic groundbreaking service for its upcoming building addition.

The Lake Mills Leader, Lake Mills, Wis., shared on April 3 that St. Paul, Lake Mills, Wis., began construction on its new sanctuary on March 31. The new space is planned to accommodate more than 600 people.

On April 2, Doral Community Newspapers, Doral, Fla., announced on April 2 that Divine Savior Lutheran Academy, Doral, was named the first SMART Technologies Exemplary School in Florida for its use of unique technologies in its classrooms.

The Washington County Insider, West Bend, Wis., shared the story of five students from Kettle Moraine Lutheran High School, Kettle Moraine, Wis., who traveled to Saving Grace, Mobile, Ala., to assist the church with canvassing and surveying local neighborhoods.

April 2, 2019

WSAW TV, Wausau, Wis., highlighted the upcoming 40th annual NE Regional WELS Handbell Festival, being held April 6–7 in Medford, Wis.

KEYC News 12, Mankato, Minn., reported on March 28 that the 7th and 8th grade boys basketball team at Risen Savior Lutheran School, Mankato, will be playing in national competition in Valparaiso, Ind. The coach and team expressed gratitude for the opportunity to use and share their God-given talents.

On March 27, the Lake Mills Leader, Lake Mills, Wis., shared the story of Mr. Jeff Draeger, a member of Immanuel, Marshall, Wis. In November 2018, Draeger traveled to Panama City, Fla., to help the city’s WELS church, Amazing Grace, and their members in the wake of Hurricane Michael. He plans to return to the area soon to offer additional help.

The Midland Daily News announced on March 26 that the Tri-City WELS Men’s Basketball League will host its sixth annual All-Star Celebrity Game at Michigan Lutheran Seminary, Saginaw, Mich., on April 7. The event will raise money for the Derrick Nash Strong Foundation, which helps families pay medical bills for their acute or chronically ill children.

The Journal, New Ulm, Minn., reported in its March 22 issue that Mr. James Unke, director of athletics at Martin Luther College, New Ulm, was given the Upper Midwest Athletic Conference 10-Year Service Award.

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