February 16, 2017

Just a reminder, I will be traveling to Israel / Egypt with our Wisconsin Annual Conference trip to the Holy Land, beginning on Sunday, February 19 and returning on Saturday, March 4. I am very excited about going on this trip. Last year, I was so surprised on each day of the pilgrimage, how I saw something in the land that inspired me or opened up the scriptures in new and insightful ways to me. It was a life enriching journey. So please pray for the fourteen pilgrims traveling on this years trip. And begin to pray about whether God may be inviting you to come on our Trip for 2018. The Dates for next year will be March 7 - 17, 2018, with more information coming out soon.

I probably shouldn’t be surprised, but I have been surprised at how much our world seems to have shifted in the past month. It is almost on a daily basis I have found myself visiting with new immigrants to the United States, some are our pastor’s, some are church members, some are people from our community. There is such a fear over how some of our immigrants are being treated.

It has been a reminder that our churches can play a crucial role. One of the things we can do is remember our own witness. From our Book of Resolutions, Resolution # 3281, is titled “Welcoming the Migrant to the US”. There is good information here.

Review our document called “Toolkit for Sanctuary Movement.” This is for you if your church is willing to help stand up for Immigrants who may not be treated fairly.

I was very proud of the Dane County Sheriff Department and the Police Departments of Dane County who have signed on to not work with ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) agents to not target Migrants in Dane County for Deportation. I have contacted the local police departments and thanked them for this stance. I know that not all police departments are taking this stance. I was at one SPRC meeting recently, where the Police Chief in the community indicated to the church that he was going to start targeting Immigrants in the community (and that church has a Hispanic Ministry) in response that church is starting the process to look at becoming a Sanctuary Congregation, where Immigrants might be able to seek safety.

That is why I am including this toolkit. Thank you for the ministry you are doing in the midst of these challenging days.

Our denomination is also in the midst of a crucial conversation that will affect our future, of that I am sure. It is my hope that you will join me in praying for our denomination. Not only is there a Commission that has started for our “Way Forward” in these days, but we are often partial to conversations with friends and members about these important issues. It is up to us, as leaders of Churches, to be a part of these conversations well. It is important to remember that our words and witness reflect God. It is my hope and prayer that our words and witness can reflect God’s love for this world and the people of this world. It is my hope and prayer that our words and witness can be respectful of others, even if we disagree with them. It is my hope and prayer that our words and witness can help guide us to not forget the purpose of our churches is to help people connect with God and grow in faith.

We will be having our South West District Clergy Day Apart with the Bishop on March 9 at Sugar River UMC in Verona. It will begin at 9:30 AM. I do invite you to come and join us. This is a very important time to be together with Bishop Jung. Our theme is “Weaving Our Life Together.” Not only will this be a time for us to visit with each other and with Bishop Jung, it will be an important time for us to have conversation about where our denomination is. This day apart is an important day for us to talk together and rebuild our relationships with each other at a time when many would like to pull these relationships apart.

If you have not yet registered for this day, please do so soon. You can register by calling the District Office and speaking with Sherry Malone (608-837-0056) or by emailing Sherry directly at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. The deadline to register is coming upon us quickly (March 2).

It is an honor and a privilege to be in ministry with you. May God help us embrace the opportunities that are before us.

In the hope Jesus offers us,
Rev. Scott Carlson