Wisconsin Federation of Lutheran Altar Guilds

“Celebrating Our 57th Year as Faithful Servants”

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History
 


Background

 

The Wisconsin Federation of Lutheran Altar Guilds was organized by Dr. John F. Johnson during the years 1959 to 1961.  The first annual meeting was held at Immanuel Lutheran Church in Brookfield, on September 21, 1961.  It was this meeting that organized the federation on an on-going basis.  The attached article appeared in the Lutheran Witness during the 1960’s, and its author voices some of the concerns and interests of Lutheran altar guilds of that era.  Some of these concerns still apply today.

In the intervening years, the federation (WFLAG) has had different iterations, but the main purpose has been to advance the knowledge of the members, in a ministry of bringing a sense of beauty and worship to the preparation of the church’s altar area.  Recent meetings have included such wide-ranging topics as an introduction to the new hymnal (Lutheran Service Book), the adoption, by members, of Russian orphans, the history of Wisconsin’s oldest Lutheran church, and an introduction to Rev. Dr. Timothy Maschke’s book, Gathered Guests.

Every meeting includes a tour of the host church’s facilities, with emphasis on the altar area, preparation and storage areas, and banners.  In this way, ideas can be exchanged.  The gatherings also include a service of Holy Communion -  the meal that we are blessed to support in our individual churches.   

Since the beginning of the federation, one or more pastors have served as mentors.  Currently, Rev. Ricky Schroeder of Peace Lutheran Church in Neenah, serves as our spiritual leader, and has sparked interest in meaningful topics.

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Lutheran Witness

This article was written around the time of the establishment of WFLAG, and published in the Lutheran Witness.  It outlines the reasons a federation was thought to be helpful.

 

In My Opinion                                                                                            

 

The Silent Ministry              By Eunice A. Frank

 

     This past April, the altar guild of St. Peter’s Lutheran Church, Joliet, Illinois, observed its 60th anniversary.  The what?  The altar guild?

     Altar guilds have been properly dubbed “the silent ministry.”  Silent, yes, but not dead!  Actually, they might more accurately be called “the overlooked, the forgotten, the neglected, silent ministry.” To many people, the altar guild brings to mind a few kind, elderly women who clean the church every Saturday morning….until death.  Others think, “Oh, they’re the ladies who put poinsettias on the altar at Christmas and lilies at Easter.”  Still others constantly misspell the title as ‘alter,’ thus completely missing the focal point and purpose of the altar guild.

     The term “altar guild” means little to synodical and pastoral groups.  To my knowledge, The Lutheran Witness hasn’t published an article on altar guilds in years.  (She’s right – Ed.)  Concordia Publishing House offers one altar guild manual – revised many times since 1964.  And the subject seems to be non-existent on the agendas of church-related conventions and conferences.

     Pastors, reflecting their seminary training, can scarcely recall lectures on the subject.  They and their boards of elders concern themselves with the selection of hymns, soloists, readings, and other matters relating to worship preparation, but pay hardly any attention to the services of their altar guilds.

     Do even the reports and recommendations of the synodical President’s Commission on Women speak of the opportunities for women’s service in altar guilds?  If there has been anything mentioned on the subject, I’ve missed it.

     With all the hullabaloo concerning what women can and cannot do in the ministry of the church, service in the altar guild, in my opinion, is one of the finest services a woman can render to her Lord and His church.  Because altar guilds (variously known as chancel guilds, Martha Circles, what have you) are already composed mostly of women, there’s no gender hassle to overcome.

     The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod has many priorities – foreign and domestic missions, training future pastors, social ministry, evangelism, communication the mission of the church to its members, etc. – but it dare not neglect another of its top priorities:  the worship and praise of our God.

     Forms of worship on all levels have changed over the years, and they will continue to do so.  Are our altar guilds enlightened and prepared to handle these changes?  Hardly.

     The church needs to provide altar guilds with more guidance and instruction, both of which could come largely through the increased interest and involvement of pastors and boards of elders.

     The church needs to encourage altar guilds to continue their fine services.  Members should be urged to grow in the knowledge of altar guild work, which comprises much more than cleaning and floral arrangement.

     Finally, the church needs to give altar guilds the proper attention and recognition they deserve.  Appreciation – a simple “thank you” – is due the many loyal, dedicated women of all the altar guilds of our beloved church body.

 

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Host Churches

Wisconsin Federation of Lutheran Altar Guilds – Annual Meetings

 

Organizational Meeting – September 21, 1961 – Immanuel Lutheran Church, Brookfield

 

  Date Church City Topics
1.  May 16, 1962 Hales Corners Lutheran Hales Corners  
2. May 15, 1963 Christ Memorial Lutheran Milwaukee  
3. May 20, 1964  Sherman Park Lutheran Milwaukee  
4. May 19, 1965 Capitol Drive Lutheran Milwaukee  
5. May 18, 1966  St. John’s Lutheran West Bend  
6. May 17, 1967 Gospel Lutheran Milwaukee  
7. May 15, 1968 Immanuel Lutheran Sheboygan  
8. May 2,   1969 Oklahoma Ave. Lutheran Milwaukee  
9.

1970 

St. John’s Lutheran Watertown  
10. May 19, 1971 Sherman Park Lutheran Milwaukee  
11. May 17, 1972 Mount Olive Lutheran Milwaukee  
12. May 16, 1973  St. Paul’s Lutheran Grafton  
13. May 15. 1974 Capitol Drive Lutheran Milwaukee  
14. May 21, 1975 St. Paul’s Lutheran  West Allis  
15. May 19, 1976 Trinity Lutheran Sheboygan  
16. May 18, 1977 Divine Shepherd Lutheran Milwaukee  
17. 1978      
18. May 16, 1979 St. Paul’s Lutheran  Oconomowoc  
19. May 20, 1980 Faith Lutheran Appleton  
20. May 20, 1981 Hope Lutheran Milwaukee  
21. May 19, 1982 St. John’s Lutheran West Bend  
22. May 18, 1983 Trinity Lutheran Freistadt  
23. May 19, 1984 Trinity & Grace Lutheran Racine  
24. 1985 Concordia University Mequon  
25. 1986 Records lost in a fire    
26. 1987 Records lost in a fire    
27. 1988 Records lost in a fire    
28. 1989 Records lost in a fire    
29. 1990 Records lost in a fire    
30. 1991 Records lost in a fire    
31. May 16, 1992 Sherman Park Lutheran Milwaukee  
32. May 15, 1993 Grace Lutheran Omro  
33. May 21, 1994 St. Paul’s Lutheran West Allis  
34. May 20, 1995 St. Paul’s Lutheran Sheboygan  
35. May 18, 1996 Immanuel Lutheran Westfield  
36. May 16, 1997 St. Paul’s Lutheran Grafton Transforming Traditions of Worship
37. May 16, 1998 St. Paul’s Lutheran Cascade  
38. May 1,   1999 Our Redeemer Lutheran Eau Claire  
39. May 20, 2000 Hope Lutheran Milwaukee  
40. April 28, 2001 Faith Lutheran Appleton  
41. April 20, 2002 First Lutheran Rice Lake   
42. April 26, 2003 St. John’s Lutheran  West Bend  
43. April 24, 2004 Trinity Lutheran Wausau  
44. April 16, 2005 Trinity Lutheran  Sheboygan  
45. April 22, 2006 Peace   Lutheran Antigo Assisting at Rita and Katrina
46. April 21, 2007  Divine Savior Lutheran Hartford New Lutheran Hymnal
47. April 12, 2008 Faith Lutheran Merrill Adoption of Two Russian Children
48. May 2,   2009 Trinity Lutheran Freistadt 170 Years at Trinity Freistadt
49. May 15, 2010 First Lutheran Rice Lake Color My Worship
50. May 21, 2011 St. Paul’s Lutheran Grafton

Gathered Guests

51. April 14, 2012 Trinity Lutheran Wausau Worship & Multi-Culturalism
52. April 20, 2013 St. John’s Lutheran North Prairie Ecclesiastical Art - Banners
53.  May 17, 2014 St. Paul’s Lutheran Stevens Point Paraments and Stoles
54. April 25, 2015 St. John’s Lutheran Portage Art & Architecture in Worship
55. May 7, 2016 St. John’s Lutheran Wausau Unique Altar Guild Manual = Why?
56. April 22, 2017 Our Savior’s Lutheran Sheboygan Communionware/Stempers/Safety
57. April 21, 2018 Good Shepherd Lutheran Appleton The Message behind the Image

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Officers
 

Year

President

Vice

President

Recording

Secretary

Correspondence

Secretary

Treasurer

Advisor

Assistant Advisor

1961

 

Mrs. M.  Waltersdorf

 

          -

 

Rev. John Johnson

 

1962

 

Mrs. M,. Waltersdorf

 

          -

 

Rev. O. Schreiber

 

1963

Caroline Zutz

 

 

          -

Mrs. A. Kiesow

Rev. O. Schreiber

 

1964

Mrs. Hans Loesche

 

Linda Kiesow

 

Mrs. A. Kiesow

Rev. Mark Wegner

Rev. Edwin Pieplow

1965

Mrs. Hans Loesche

Thelma Schumacher

Linda Kiesow

Etta Granum

Lorraine Buchholz

Rev. Mark Wegner

Rev. Edwin Pieplow

1966

Mrs. E. Lieber

Thelma Schumacher

Mrs. Carl Ladewig

Etta Granum

Lorraine Buchholz

Rev. Mark Wegner

Rev. Edwin Pieplow

1967

Mrs. E. Lieber

Mrs. M. Waltersdorf

Mrs. Carl Ladewig

Etta Granum

Lorraine Buchholz

Rev. Mark Wegner

Rev. Lester Bischoff

1968

Thelma Schumacher

Mrs. M. Waltersdorf

Ruth Krause

Etta Granum

Lorraine Buchholz

Rev. Arthur Haupt

Rev. Edward Krause

1969

Thelma Schumacher

Ruth Luck

Ruth Krause

Linda Kiesow

Barbara Meyer

Rev. Arthur Haupt

Rev. Edward Krause

1970

Betty Mayer

Ruth Luck

Dorothea Guetzlaff

Linda Kiesow

Barbara Meyer

Rev. E. Krause

Rev. Fred Bahr

1971

Betty Mayer

Ruth Luck

Dorothea Guetzlaff

Linda Kiesow

Barbara Meyer

Rev. E. Krause

Rev. Fred Bahr

1972

Betty Mayer

Corinne Lisko

Dorothea Guetzlaff

Linda Kiesow

Barbara Meyer

Rev. E.  Krause

Rev. Fred Bahr

1973

Betty Mayer

Corinne Lisko

Dorothea Guetzlaff

Verna Burmeister

Anna Zagorski

Rev.E. Krause

Rev. Fred Bahr

1974

Barbara Meyer

Corinne Lisko

Norma Wilde

Verna Burmeister

Anna Zagorski

Rev. E. Krause

Rev. Fred Bahr

1975

Barbara Meyer

Corinne Lisko

Norma Wilde

Nancy Anderson

Anna Zagorski

Rev. Fred Bahr

Rev. Roever

1976

Barbara Meyer

Corinne Lisko

Mrs. R. Goldiing

Nancy Anderson

Anna Zagorski

Rev. Fred Bahr

Rev. Elmer Neitzel

1977

Barbara Meyer

Mary Vincevincus

Mrs. R. Golding

Nancy Anderson

Emily Vig

Rev. Fred Bahr

Rev. Elmer Neitzel

1978

Elsa Pretzel

Mary Vincevincus

Lydia Lehman

Nancy Anderson

Emily Vig

Rev. Fred Bahr

Rev. Elmer Neitzel

1979

Elsa Pretzel

 

Lydia Lehman

 

 

Rev. H. Klenz

 

1980

Marion Bergen

 

Lydia Lehman

 

 

Rev. H. Klenz

 

1981

Marion Bergen

Muriel Puls

Lydia Lehman

Marie Grief

Jill Prouix

Rev. H. Klenz

Rev. Clarence Stangohr

1982

Marion Bergen

Muriel Puls

Virginia Bopf

Marie Grief

Jill Prouix

Rev. H. Klenz

Rev. Clarence Stangohr

1983

Marion Bergen

Lorraine Wegner

Virginia Bopf

Joan Klug

Edna Goede

Rev. H. Klenz

Rev. Clarence Stangohr

1984

Ruth Warren

Lorraine Wegner

Virginia Bopf

Joan Klug

Edna Goede

Rev. H. Klenz

Rev. Clarence Stangohr

1985

Ruth Warren

Marion Bergen

Virginia Bopf

Joan Klug

Edna Goede

Rev.h.  Klenz

 

1986

 Records lost in a fire

1987

 Records lost in a fire

1988

 Records lost in a fire

1989

 Records lost in a fire

1990

 Records lost in a fire

1991

 Record lost (fire)

Record lost (fire )

Marion Bergen

Edna Gade

 Record lost (fire)

Rev. Kevin Jones

 Record lost (fire)

1992

Elmyra Martin

Marion Bergen

Jeanette Orth

          -

 

Rev. Kevin Jones

 

1993

Elmyra Martin

Marion Bergen

Laurie Kilgore

 

Edna Gade

Rev. Kevin Jones

 

1994

Elmyra Martin

 

Laurie Kilgore

 

Wendy Staus

Rev. Kevin Jones

 

1995

Elmyra Martin

Lila Bachhuber

 

 

Wendy Staus

Rev. Mark Berg

 

1996

Elmyra Martin

Lila Bachhuber

Lynn Lieder

 

Wendy Staus

Rev. Mark Berg

 

1997

Elmyra Martin

 

Lynn Lieder

 

Wendy Staus

Rev. Mark Berg

 

1998

Vangie Berkhahn   

 

Lynn Lieder

 

Carmen Kuntz

Rev. John Kelling

 

1999

Vangie Berkhahn   

Gail Krueger

Lynn Lieder

 

Carmen Kuntz

Rev. John Kelling

 

2000

Vangie Berkhahn   

Gail Krueger

Lynn Lieder

 

Carmen Kuntz

Rev. John Kelling

 

2001

Vangie Berkhahn   

Gail Krueger

Lynn Lieder

 

Carmen Kuntz

Rev. John Kelling

 

2002

Gail Krueger

 

Mary Finseth

 

Orville Finseth

Rev. Richard Bidinger

 

2003

Gail Krueger

Elmyra Martin

Mary Finseth

 

Orville Finseth

Rev. Richard Bidinger

 

2004

Gail Krueger

Elmyra Martin

Mary Finseth

 

Orville Finseth

Rev. Richard Bidinger

 

2005

Gail Krueger

Elmyra Martin

Michelle Cady

 

Marge Treloar

Rev. Richard Bidinger

 

2006

Elmyra Martin

Bernadine Watson

Michelle Cady

 

Marge Treloar

Rev. H. W. Jordan

 

2007

Elmyra Martin

Bernadine Watson

Pat Tesnow

 

Ida Frizzell

Rev. H. W. Jordan

 

2008

Elmyra Martin

Bernadine Watson

Pat Tesnow

 

Ida Frizzell

Rev. Ricky Schroeder

 

2009

Elmyra Martin

Bernadine Watson

Linda Seidler

 

Ida Frizzell

Rev. Ricky Schroeder

 

2010

Judy Weber

Bernadine Watson

Linda Seidler

 

Ida Frizzell

Rev. Ricky Schroeder

 

2011

Judy Weber

Helen Yogerst

Linda Seidler

 

Ida Frizzell

Rev. Ricky Schroeder

 

2012

Judy Weber

Helen Yogerst

Linda Seidler

 

Gail Siewert

Rev. Ricky Schroeder

 

2013

Judy Weber

Helen Yogerst

Linda Seidler

 

Gail Siewert

Rev. Ricky Schroeder

 

2014

Benjamin Seidler

Helen Yogerst

Linda Seidler

 

Gail Siewert

Rev. Ricky Schroeder

 

2015

Benjamin Seidler

Tim Baumann

Judy Weber

 

Gail Siewert

Rev. Ricky Schroeder

 

2016

Benjamin Seidler Daryl Jaeger Judy Weber  

Gail Siewert

Rev. Ricky Schroeder

 

2017

Benjamin Seidler Daryl Jaeger Judy Weber  

Gail Siewert

Rev. Thomas Schmitt

 
       

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