Welcome Pastor Denise Mbise!
Trinity Lutheran Church in South Milwaukee Welcomes New Pastor
Denise Mbise Brings Strong Missionary Background to Role
SOUTH MILWAUKEE – Rev. Denise Mbise has accepted the call as pastor of South Milwaukee Trinity Lutheran Church, effective Oct. 16.
“We are so excited to welcome Pastor Denise to Trinity Lutheran Church,” said Church Council President Dan Soddy. “We had a terrific group of candidates, but Pastor Denise clearly set herself apart with her strong experience in leading varied congregations, her commitment to helping others and her passion for community service, both locally and across the globe.”
Said Pastor Mbise: “I’m very excited to be coming to Trinity. I sense from them a strong community with strong leadership who desires to grow in their faith and build relationships with the community of South Milwaukee that will make a difference in people’s lives.”
Pastor Mbise replaces Rev. William Mains, who retired in 2017. Rev. Michael Mueller served as interim pastor for the last year at Trinity Lutheran (TLC), an Evangelical Lutheran Church of America (ELCA) congregation at 2507 5th Ave. in South Milwaukee.
Pastor Mbise, who comes from Living Faith Lutheran in Racine, brings a rich and unique life experience to the role.
The daughter of missionary parents (her mother a nurse and her father a pastor), Pastor Mbise was born in 1964 in Ethiopia. Her family returned to the U.S. in 1971.
She graduated from William Horlick High School in Racine and received her bachelor’s degree in church music from Carthage College in Kenosha. Pastor Mbise attended Luther Northwestern Seminary in St. Paul, MN for her Master of Divinity. She has also received a Certificate in Non-profit Management from UW Milwaukee’s Continuing Education program.
She has served in the ELCA for 25 years, first as a global mission volunteer in Tanzania before serving as interim pastor at Florist Avenue Lutheran, Good Shepherd Lutheran and Bayshore Lutheran in the Milwaukee area. She also served as redevelopment pastor for St. Peter Lutheran Church in Milwaukee and interim pastor at St. Matthew in Palmyra.
More than 17 years ago, she became the associate pastor at Atonement Lutheran in Racine, developing family and children’s ministries, and reaching out into the community through the schools and food ministries. She also participated in development of a second mission site in Sturtevant.
Three years ago, the church began a consolidation process with Our Savior’s Lutheran, forming Living Faith Lutheran. When the senior pastor retired in April, Pastor Mbise became the solo pastor during Living Faith’s call process.
“I love to teach, all ages,” Pastor Mbise said. “Pastoral care is one of the greatest ways we can walk with people in their faith. I prefer to work collaboratively with leaders and people in my congregations, equipping leaders and disciples for the work of the Body of Christ. I do not believe that the idea of the Body of Christ is some philosophical thought, but is a reality that makes all the difference in people’s lives.”
Pastor Mbise has been married to Exaudh, who she met during her year as a global mission volunteer in Tanzania, for 24 years. They have three children, ages 21, 17 and16.
The Mbise family also formed and helps run the non-profit Mt. Meru Tumaini Health Clinic, which supports Ndoombo Community Dispensary in Exaudh Mbise’s home village in Tanzania. The clinic — the dream of his father, Rev. Moses Mbise — is a two-building campus offering preventative and basic medical care, maternity care, dental care, immunizations and health education for the community.
Pastor Denise’s opening week at TLC will include a cookie reception at 4 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 20 (before TLC’s 5 p.m. service), and there will be refreshments after the 8 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. services on Sunday, Oct. 21. ELCA Greater Milwaukee Synod Assistant to the Bishop Rev. Jennifer Arnold will install Pastor Denise Nov. 17-18.