Northeastern Minnesota Synod
Online Reflections
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week of July 26, 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.
  • French River, Duluth, and Pastor Greg Anderson
  • Trinity Lutheran, Brainerd and Pastor Hans Anderson and Pastor David Holte
  • Pastor Thomas Anderson, retired in Cloquet
  • Pastor Sonja Anderson, On Leave from Call, in Duluth

From our Presiding Bishop

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,

The hard but undeniable fact of deeply embedded racism in American society has come to the fore in painful ways this past year through high-profile occurrences of racial discrimination, hatred and violence - including racially motivated killings. As Lutheran Christians, what should be our response and witness? As members of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, how are we called to confront the sin of racism?


Through our church's social statement - "Freed in Christ: Race, Ethnicity, and Culture" - the ELCA collectively has expressed its calling to confront racism and advocate for justice and fairness for all people. You can read this social statement here. In addition, I have made several public statements on behalf of the church recently on this subject. Those statements are available here.

God's intention for all humanity is that we see the intrinsic worth, dignity and value of all people. Racism undermines the promise of community and fractures authentic relationships with one another. As Christians, though, we live in the conviction that the church has been gathered together in the joyful freedom of the reign of God announced by and embodied in Jesus. That reign has not come in its fullness, but the message of God's "yes" to the world breaks down all dividing walls as we live into that promise


Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton

Evangelical Lutheran Church in America




CHICAGO (ELCA) - In an effort to continue understanding the complexity and implications of racism, the Rev. Elizabeth A. Eaton, presiding bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), invites the 3.8 million member church to participate in a live webcast Aug. 6 at 8 p.m. (CDT).


William B. Horne II, a member of St. Paul's Lutheran Church in Clearwater, Fla., and a member of the ELCA Church Council, will serve as host. Eaton and Horne will have an on-camera conversation about the church's efforts in defining and confronting racism, advancing racial justice and more.


"Talking about race and racism is hard work for most of us," said Horne. "Our Christian witness compels us to confront our sinfulness in all forms from within and outside of ourselves. It is more beneficial if we do it together."


Eaton said the webcast conversation serves in part as "a call to action" to guide members' efforts to address "the sin of racism."  "We are part of the body of Christ, and we belong to each other. As part of the body of Christ, we need to examine how we live in relationship with one another," said Eaton.


In several public statements, the ELCA presiding bishop has called for deep conversations about racism and racial justice, particularly in response to several events across the United States, including Charleston, S.C; Baltimore; and Ferguson, Mo.


"God's intention for all humanity is that we see the intrinsic worth, dignity and value of all people. Racism undermines the promise of community and fractures authentic relationships with one another. We need to talk and we need to listen, but we also need to act," Eaton said in a June 24 statement.


"Each of us and all of us need to examine ourselves, our church and our communities. We need to be honest about the reality of racism within us and around us," said Eaton in a June 18 statement in response to the shooting in Charleston that killed nine people. Local authorities called the killings racially motivated.


Information about the webcast is available at, where a link to the live webcast will be embedded. A live stream also will be available at Twitter handle is #ELCAConfrontRacism. ELCA members are invited to submit a question to be considered during the live webcast at 

Bishop Aitken's Reflections


Ordination of Kimberly Sturtz

Sunday July 26th, 2015


Bp. Aitken, newly Ordained Pr. Kim Sturtz, and intern supervisor, Pr. Peter Jonas

It was an honor to ordain Kim Sturtz into the office of Pastor yesterday at First Lutheran, Duluth. The Gospel reading was Mark 9:33-41, where Jesus teaches the disciples who have been arguing about who is the greatest among them, that "greatest" ones are those who are the servants and then accentuates the teaching by holding a little child and speaking about welcoming such a child in his name.


Kimberly is married to Eric and they have a little girl, Penny, who is three years old. Pastor Sturtz will be serving Grace Lutheran/Sandstone and Immanuel Lutheran/Dell Grove in our Synod.


Kim is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin, Stout in Menomonie, Wisconsin and Wartburg Seminary in Dubuque, Iowa. She served her Internship at Fagernes Lutheran Church in Arcadia, Wisconsin. She did extensive work in Youth and Family Ministry in addition to other areas of interest prior to Seminary. Pastor Sturtz is a compassionate, forward-thinking, grace and gospel filled leader who will serve our synod and this church admirably. Please take time this week in your devotion time to pray for Grace and Immanuel and Pastor Kurtz and her family as they make this transition among us. I also urge you to greet her warmly into our synod.


May this week be a blessed one for you and yours,


+Bishop Aitken

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! For additional details about Bishop Seyenkulo and the event, click here. For questions, contact 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; $300/couple for non-rostered participants

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 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


Salem Lutheran Longville Malaria Campaign Exceeds Goal, Pastor Trisha gets doused.


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


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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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 

Creation Care Team 

Green Tip of the Week


One-third of the natural gas produced in North Dakota's Bakken shale formation is burned off and wasted.  The flares, which produce the greenhouse gas equivalent of 1 million cars, can be seen from space.  Overall, annual U.S. greenhouse gas emissions are at their lowest point in 20 years, but atmospheric carbon dioxide has reached 402 parts per million - the highest level in at least 800,000 years.