Illinois Women of the ELCA

Board Members

Jean Scherer



Jean and her husband, Randy, have been members of Grace Lutheran Church in Springfield for 24 years, and married almost 30 years. She was raised in Peoria, attending Salem Lutheran Church. Her son Dan works in Los Angeles, California and her other son, Will, is working on his doctorate in physics at Iowa State University. Jean has been an Occupational Therapist for 38 years, recently semi-retired and is now starting back part-time. She enjoys walking her two dogs. Jean has been active at Grace Lutheran Church serving as President, Vice-President, Secretary and Circle Leader of their WELCA. She has served on Church Council, various committees, altar guild, usher, greeter, taught Sunday school and other duties as needed. She supports Grounds of Grace that assists human trafficking victims. She just attended her first Triennial. Jean was a co-mission chair for the C/SIS for the past 2 years. She enjoys working with other women at Grace Lutheran Church on activities like making fleece blankets, personal care kits or school kits and packing cookies for homebound members.

Miranda Searcy

Vice President


Miranda Searcy is a member of Epiphany Lutheran Church in Carbondale. She is an active member there who teaches a Sunday school class, sings in the choir, helps with or plans many of the church’s events and is active in her church’s WELCA unit. Miranda is a member in the Parent/Teacher Organization at her children’s school. She plays with a local church orchestra in the summer. Miranda and her family are originally from Oklahoma where they were raised in the Southern Baptist tradition. She is an enrolled member of the United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians in Oklahoma. The Searcys have lived in southern Illinois for the past four years. Miranda attended Oklahoma State University and has a background in instrumental music (French Horn) and English History. Rather than finish her degree, Miranda decided to focus on raising her four children and being active in the Church. She currently works from home as an agent for a personal property insurance company.

Penny Madlinger



On July 7, 2007 Penny and Joe were married. Their combined family includes 10 children, 24 grandchildren and 9 great grandchildren. Most of Penny’s working career was in the Human Resources arena. She retired in 2009 to care for her youngest daughter’s children. In 2015 Penny took a part time bookkeeper position at her church, working 8 hours a week. That role has expanded to include Office Manager duties and now she works approximately 25 hours a week. In her spare time Penny likes to knit and scrapbook. She is an active member of her church serving in several roles.


Michael S. Schmidt (Mike)


Mission Chair

Michael and family are life-long Lutherans and members of Christ Community Lutheran Church since 2003 in Columbia Illinois. She worked forty years as a registered nurse and is now retired. She states that she had a wonderful career as a staff nurse, manager, and administrator. Mike has been married for 53 years to Howard. They have three children, 19 grandchildren, and 3 great grandchildren. It is an overwhelming blessing to have such a large family! Mike has been leader of the women’s group at CCLC for six years and just recently passed the role to an energetic younger woman. She has served on the Finance team, Discipleship Team, taught VBS, and is active in the Top of the Hill Gang (over 50 group). The women’s group at our church is called SSALT—Sisters Serving and Learning Together. Several of our projects over the past years have been: SSALT Water Project—this is an ongoing ministry whereby we buy 12 to 16 cases of 40 bottles of water each month and deliver them to a kitchen in E. St. Louis to be distributed to their homeless patrons. We have sponsored two Father/Daughter dances, free of charge, for our parishioners as well as the children in our Learning Center and after school programs. We partnered with Family and Youth Ministry teams to provide welcome baskets for our newborn arrivals at CCLC. We have planned and held retreats at Camp Wartburg for the women of our congregation. Mike looks forward to her new role as Mission Chair and is excited to have already made contact with Toromare in Madagascar to find out needs they currently have. She feels that God has certainly led her to WELCA and looks forward to serving.


Lynn C. Smith



Lynn Smith is a life-long Lutheran, a graduate of Valparaiso University, a retired middle school teacher in Illinois and Florida, as well as in undergraduate and graduate education programs. She completed 29 years of faculty and administrative responsibilities at SIUC four years ago but is still working to finish sorting and shredding the many boxes of files that followed her home! Lynn has been an active member of Epiphany Lutheran Church in Carbondale for the past 33 years, serving in leadership roles and with committee tasks. Currently, Lynn is the Financial Secretary, on the Stewardship and Finance Committees, in the choir and in several worship capacities. She has been an active member of Epiphany’s WELCA unit for 9 years (past-copresident) and serves as the Mission Action contact for the Southern Conference.