In the early 1980’s the Lutheran Church in America (LCA) stimulated the idea that the national church could have a witness in certain states with large Lutheran populations and also help local Lutherans to network to have a voice on statewide policy issues that affected people who could not always advocate for themselves. LCA leaders in Wisconsin approached two other Lutheran church bodies, the American Lutheran Church and a splinter group of the Missouri Synod, the American Evangelical Lutheran Church, to form the Lutheran Office for Public Policy in Wisconsin. All three Lutheran bodies merged into the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America in 1988, when LOPPW became a ministry of the ELCA. Thank you to Reverend Ed Weiskotten, one of the founders of LOPPW and retired LCA and ELCA staff person, for assistance with our early history.
LOPPW has always had partnerships with national church bodies, local synods, other Lutheran agencies and ecumenical and interfaith organizations. Since the emergence of the ELCA and its six geographical synods in Wisconsin, LOPPW has worked closely with bishops and other members of each of the six synods. Representatives from across the state make up our advisory council.
LOPPW directors have included Mr. Ted Steege, Reverend Sue Moline Larson, Ms. Amy Johnson and currently Reverend Cindy Crane.
Throughout the history of State Public Policy Offices (SPPOs) more than 20 SPPOs have emerged throughout the country. Because of budget cuts some of those SPPOs disbanded in 2011. Several of the SPPO’s developed new independent ministries or joined with synods or other groups (at least one SPPO joined other groups before 2011) to continue their advocacy voice. The offices in California, Minnesota, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin have ELCA churchwide employees for directors, who network regularly with the ELCA office in Washington D.C. However, all of the SPPO’s network together at special events and share ideas and resources.
The faithful voices of ELCA members across Wisconsin have been at the core of LOPPW’s history. We invite you to be a part of our present and future!