Northeastern Minnesota Synod
Online Reflections
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week of July 19, 2015 
Prayer Petitions

Each Wednesday morning the synod staff meets for devotions and prays for the congregations and people of our synod. You are invited to join us.
  • Pastor Ryan Aarestad, retired in Emily
  • Bishop Thomas Aitken
  • St. Paul's Lutheran, Soudan, and Pastor Berhanu Wadajo Alengo
  • Bethlehem Lutheran, Backus and Pastor Bob Alley, retired
  • Prayers for the youth and adults who attended the National Youth Gathering in Detroit, MI

Bishop Aitken's Reflections


Rise Up Together!

Synod Journey pre-trips and ELCA Youth Gathering in Detroit


I spent the last five days in Detroit with 30,000 Youth and Adults from our synod and from this church I love, the ELCA. Our Northeastern Minnesota synod congregations spent time before the National Event at Detroit with journeys into cities along the way that included faith formation and service and both were well organized and filled with growth into the gift of faith. I will tell you that being with our congregations as they joined together in Bible studies, devotions, service, community, worship, and joy was once again a powerful experience for me as Bishop of this synod.


I appreciate, honor and am proud of our youth and the leaders from their congregations. I learn from them and vice versa. Community Day, Justice Day and Story Day all had their particular emphases that helped to exercise our God given faith. It was a privilege to work side by side with our youth in the Detroit Market Garden, to preach and preside at our synod's Story day, and to hang out with so many of our outstanding and gifted young people as we walked from venue to venue, learned together at Community Day and all our worship times together. I will confess, that on those days when the church can complain a little more than it should about this or that - the good work and worship, intentional studying of the faith and intentional learning from others reminds me of what's really important. I heard stories from our youth who will talk about this experience for the rest of their lives.


Our text for the Gathering was from Mark 2 - the incredible story of that group of people who brought the paralyzed man to Jesus in Capernaum and who couldn't get close to Jesus because of the crowds, so lowered him through a hole in the roof they tore out right to the front of Jesus. And he was healed. We talked about hundreds of lessons from that story: Sisterly and brotherly love, God's plan to redeem the whole world, barriers broken down, bridges built from person to person, hope for us individually and hope for the world because of God, and I know that story will stick with us for many years.


Thanks to all who worked so diligently behind the scenes to make this happen, including Catherine Anderson, from our synod staff who worked on behalf of both our Synod and the National Event itself. A huge thanks to the adult leaders who took time off of vacation to simply be with our young people, encouraging, watching over, learning Scripture and theology right alongside of them.


I call us as a synod to focus on the majors, not the minors of life and faith. God is calling and empowering the church to Rise Up Together to be strengthened in faith and to serve out neighbor. Let's put our energies there.


+Bishop Thomas M. Aitken

Northeastern Minnesota Synod, ELCA


Mikka McCracken Promo - Wednesday, July 15


Youth Gathering Closing Worship - Sunday, July 19

PV for Phebe - Solar August


We are excited to announce that the Bishop of the National Lutheran Church in Liberia will be in Minnesota on Wednesday July 29, and you are cordially invited to meet him! Bishop Jensen Seyenkulo will be at the Lutheran Church of the Cross in Nisswa, MN for dinner and a short worship service from 5:15pm - 7pm, Wednesday July 29th. This is a unique opportunity to talk with him about the Church in Liberia, and the impact solar power will have on the life of the hospital and the people it serves.

Don't miss this chance to speak directly with Bishop Seyenkulo about PV for Phebe, and get even more energized for Solar August! Please RSVP by July 21st to [email protected] or 218.587.4753


With Solar August just around the corner, consider having a conversation with your friends and family about how you will be joining in the celebration of this life-giving and life-saving ministry next month! Are you a Thrivent Financial customer? You can direct your Thrivent Choice dollars to RREAL to support Phebe! Check out for more information on this giving opportunity. Have you downloaded the Solar August Giving Calendar yet? Find this fun way to give (and think) a little every day of August and raise up to $50 for renewable energy at Phebe on the Resources page at Or take the Killowatt Challenge! Powering Phebe costs roughly $0.66 per kW/hr. The PV for Phebe project aims to reduce that by 1/3. Consider challenging others to donate $66 to power for Phebe for 100 hours - or match their August electric bill! 


P.S. Let your pastor know that additional texts and hymns are now available online on the Resources page at to help with worship service planning for the entire month of August!


Taylor Stevenson

RREAL Program Development Specialist

Boundaries Workshop
August 18; (9:30 registration) 10a.m. - 2:30p.m.
Lutheran Church of the Cross, Nisswa
Presenter: Pastor Karen Bockelman
Cost: $20/person
Clergy and adults that work with youth are encouraged to attend.
Electronic registration is open at, or by clicking on the registration button below.

Eventbrite - Boundaries Workshop

Pulpit Supply Listing Updated


A new pulpit listing is now on the Synod website. Please use this list instead of any other listing you may have in that it may have pastors on it that are no longer available or interested in serving.


We are in the process of contacting retired pastors to see if they are interested in being on this list, so please check back often to see if the list is updated. Thank you!

Marriage Retreat

August 30 - September 1

Clearwater Forest, Brainerd Lakes Area

Cost: $200/couple rostered in NE MN Synod

Presenter: Pastor Ron Hunt

brochure available on synod website:

Congregational Learning Event: 

September 15


Equip a team from your congregation to use Discipleship Challenge and Practice Discipleship resources in your congregation's ministries. These resources are useful for your entire congregation - not just youth ministry! Contact Catherine Anderson at [email protected] or 218-724-4424

Fall Theological Conference


"Living in the Promise of the Holy Spirit"

September 27-29, 2015

Ruttger's Sugar Lake Lodge


Registration materials will be mailed to rostered leaders and posted on the synod website this summer:

Speaker: Lois MalcolmProfessor of Systematic Theology at Luther Seminary

Youth Ministry Events


Middle School Gathering:

November 20-21 OR 21-22, 2015

Grades 6-9: Cragun's Resort, Brainerd


Cardia Deo: March 4-6, 2016

Grades 9-12: Big Sandy Camp, McGregor


Registration packets will be mailed in August and posted online at

Bulletin Board


Camp Vermilion Bluegrass Festival - Concert and Fundraiser

Saturday, July 25, 2015 - 1:00-7:00 p.m.

Join us for a day of great music, great food, and great family fun in God's great northwoods. This annual concert and fundraiser is an event you won't want to miss!

Free entry to the event. All proceeds from the event go to support the ministries of Camp Hiawatha and Camp Vermilion.

Auction items can be viewed at the Voyageurs Lutheran Ministry Facebook page.

Contact the camp office for more information or to buy raffle tickets: Voyageurs Lutheran Ministry; (800) 331-5148 or (218) 666-5465 - [email protected]


Camp Onomia Golf Outing and Fundraiser

Sunday, July 26th - 2:00 p.m.

Stones Throw Golf Course, Milaca, MN

Gather your foursome and join us for a great afternoon of golf, friendship and conversation! Visit for more information or call 320-532-3767


Aging Faithfully Conference

Thursday, July 30 - 8:00 am-3:15 pm

Elmen Center of Augustana College, Sioux Falls, South Dakota

$25 per person. Registration is required.

We invite you to meet New York Times best-selling author Kathleen Norris, who will join us to discuss how spirituality and well-being are different in the second half of life and how that can be celebrated in daily living. Whether you are an older adult, you work or care for an older adult, or you are simply interested in the topic, register to take part in this day of reflection and discussion. All faiths are welcome.

More information and registration on the  Augustana College website.


CORE Godly Play Sunday School Curriculum Training


August 14-16, 2015
Our Savior's Lutheran Church in Superior, WI
Nancy St. John, Godly Play Foundation Trainer
Registration Brochure

LSS Center for Changing Lives/Northshore Inline Partnership 

Each night, 120 young people in the Northland have no place to call home. LSS is developing the Center for Changing Lives in Duluth which will create new transitional and permanent housing for young people, as well as bring together many of LSS' at-risk youth programs in the area under one roof.

Create or join an LSS team for the Northshore Inline Marathon (September 19th) and raise funds for the Center for Changing Lives! Team members may participate in any of the Inline Marathon, Wheels off half marathon (running event) or Tunnel 10k (running event). Inline skating clinics will be offered across the Twin Ports area for participants who are interested in learning how to skate or whom need skates.

Informational Flyer

Questions? Contact Robin Maxwell at 218.302.6837 or

[email protected]


Save the date! RECHARGE is coming to Duluth!

Mark your calendars for Saturday, January 16, 2016! RECHARGE is a one-day multi-denominational conference aimed to inspire and equip church staff and their volunteers for ministry with children, youth and families. The NE MN Synod is excited to partner with Youth Leadership to bring this premiere training event to our area! More information will be posted this summer at


Notice of Job Posting - Assistant to the Bishop for Youth, Young Adult and Spiritual Formation - SE Pennsylvania Synod

2016 Synod Assembly

April 29 - May 1, 2016 at Breezy Point Resort  

Returning Speaker: The Rev. Dr. Anna Madsen

SAVE THE DATE: God's Work. Our Hands

Save the date and celebrate! On Sunday, Sept. 13, 2015, congregations of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America will again have the opportunity to gather together for "God's work. Our hands." Sunday and celebrate who we are as the ELCA - one church, freed in Christ to serve and love our neighbor. Visit for more information
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Northeastern Minnesota
Synod, ELCA

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The purpose of our

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conducive to healthy,


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their ministries

throughout the world!

Staff Listing
Phone: 218.724.4424


Brenda Tibbetts, AiM - 122

  Assistant to the Bishop

Pastor John Dietz - 125

   Director for Evangelical Mission

   Assistant to the Bishop


   Youth Ministry 





1105 E. Superior St.,

Upper Suite

Duluth, MN  55802


FAX: 218.724.4393    

Online Reflections Editor

Anne Laechel

Latest Youth E-Chat

NE MN Synod 

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Green Tip of the Week


Sunscreen that offers "broad-spectrum protection" can help keep you safe from both UVA and UVB radiation, but poor regulation by the FDA means you must read the ingredients to be sure you are getting true broad-spectrum protection.  Look for effective, less-toxic UVA filters like zinc oxide, avobenzone, and Mexoryl SX listed as "active ingredients" on the label.  Check Environmental Working Group's Skin Deep Cosmetic Database ( for ratings on body care products, including sunscreen.