Northeastern Minnesota Synod
Online Reflections
synod logo

week of September 6, 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.
  • Family of God Lutheran, Duluth and Pastor Laura Berdahl
  • Grace Lutheran, Hermantown and Pastor Philip Berge
  • Knife River Lutheran, Knife River and Pastor Susan Berge
  • Pastor Daniel Bergeland, retired in Duluth.
  • Syrian Refugee crisis
  • "God's Work. Our Hands." activities during September
Online Reflections Message from 
Vice-President Brenda Wagner
Did you know that there are 4.2 million Lutherans in the country of India? That's about the same size as the membership of the ELCA. India is primarily Hindu (about 80%) with strong pockets of Islam (15%) and several other religions including Jainism, Sikhism, and Buddhism. In this multi-religious context, Lutherans are a small, but important voice speaking loudly on issues of equity and justice. They share the Gospel of Jesus Christ in a country that is home to 1.2 billion people - the second most populous country in the world. And by 2025, it is projected that India will overtake China as the most populous country.
Last March Bishop Tom Aitken, Rev. Brenda Wicklund and I traveled to Chicago for an international consultation with ELCA synods and Lutheran church bodies of India. After the consultation in Chicago, four representatives from the South Andhra Lutheran Church (SALC) came to visit Northern Minnesota. Mark and I were privileged to have them stay in the Grand Rapids area for four days and visit area congregations.

Northeastern Minnesota has had a long Companion Synod relationship with the South Andhra Lutheran Church, although the relationship has been dormant for several years. Our Lutheran brothers and sisters in South Andhra are eager to renew those ties. We are spreading the word to see if people from our synod will step forward to revitalize this Companion Synod relationship with the SALC. If you are interested being part of this rebirth and growth, please contact me. We are hoping to find a small group of people to form an India Companion Synod task force.
"Praise, Participate, Proclaim!" is the mission statement for the South Andhra Lutheran Church. We don't often think of India and Lutherans in the same sentence, but the Lutheran church has deep roots in that country. In fact the South Andhra Lutheran Church will celebrate their 150th Anniversary this year! The Lutheran church of South Andhra is located in the eastern/southern Indian state of Andhra Pradesh. Theirs is a large church - 53 parishes with 500 congregations and 50,000 members. The first congregations in that area of India were started by German and American missionaries in 1865. Many of the first Lutherans were members of the Dalit caste in India, the lowest of the groups in the caste system.
India's caste system, a hereditary social structure that divided people into class categories, is officially abolished, but in reality still governs much of the sociological structure of India. The Dalit peoples were one of the first groups to embrace the Christian faith as the missionaries ministered with those on the margins of society. The stories of Jesus reaching out to those on the edges resonated with a group that was systematically ostracized and discriminated against.
As the South Andhra Lutheran Church celebrates its 150th Anniversary, they have extended an invitation to the Northeastern Minnesota Synod of the ELCA to share in their celebration in November. Mark and I will be traveling to India to partake of their hospitality and join with them in worship and celebration. We are honored to be representing Northeastern Minnesota and honored to share this important event. I know we will be excited to share their stories with you when we return and they are eager to hear your stories too. If you would like to know more about Companion Synods, our brothers and sisters in India, or be part of the India Companion Synod Task Force, please feel free to contact me at [email protected].
Brenda Wagner
Vice-President, Northeastern Minnesota Synod of the ELCA

Macedonia: Stewardship Event


Registration Deadline - September 9th!

You are invited to the upcoming Macedonia Project workshops on Saturday, September 12 and Sunday, October 11. This is a great opportunity for leaders to learn how to grow faithful stewards in their congregation and community. The workshop is free to everyone in the synod.


What: In his second letter to the Corinthians, the Apostle Paul praises the spirit of the Macedonians. He talks about them being enriched in every way for great generosity producing thanksgiving to God.

The Macedonia Project will help you:

            + Embrace the spiritual principles of giving

            + Connect faith with Christ's call to mission

            + Invite people to grow toward a tithe

            + Grow regular giving in your congregation

Find out more about the Macedonia Project at:

For more information about these events, click here.


Initial Session 1

Where: Our Savior's Lutheran Church in Hibbing

When: Saturday, September 12; 9:00 am - 1:00 pm


Follow-up Session 2

Where: Bethesda Lutheran Church in Malmo

When: Sunday, October 11; 1:30 - 5:30 pm


Who: Pastors, AiMs, SAMs, Treasurers, Finance Committee Members (at least two people from each church are encouraged to attend)


How: Register at or by clicking the link below:


Eventbrite - Macedonia Project Workshops - Sept 12 & Oct 11
2015-2016 Discipleship Challenge

What's your story? This year the Discipleship Challenge will help us live out our faith practices through sharing our life and faith stories. All resources for the entire year are now on the website! Check out the STORY acronym tool to help you think of questions to learn the stories of others, monthly Story Starters you can use in your congregation and with ministry leaders/colleagues, and Study Guides to go deeper into learning about God's Story for us!
Learn more and download resources at

PV for Phebe Update

RREAL has received some wonderful news. Jeff Thorson a member of St. Paul's Lutheran in Hackensack, has offered take 5 - 6 weeks off from work  to help the RREAL team with the installation at Phebe. He is a certified electrician with 38 years of commercial and residential experience and he's a certified solar installer. In addition, St. Paul's has offered to help him cover the costs. God is good all the time. All the time God is good. 

Mary Jo Mettler
Eco-Faith Youth Camp
Seeking high school youth and adults to serve on Leadership Team!
The NE MN Synod is partnering with the NE MN Synod Creation Care Task Force to pilot an "EcoFaith Youth Camp" in our synod June 26 - July 1, 2016. This is a week long experience for high school youth to explore the intersection of environmental, economic and racial justice issues in the context of faith.  Nathan Holst, founder and creator of the camp, will work with a leadership team to adapt this experience for our synod.
We are seeking 5-7 high school youth and adults to serve on the Leadership Team for this event. The team will meet monthly to plan and implement the experience. Team members will be selected to bring a diverse voice of experiences and gifts to the planning. Applications are due September 16, 2015. For more information and to apply, visit   

"Provide, Promise, Protect"
Nov. 20-21 OR 21-22, 2015
Grades 6-9
Cragun's Resort, Brainerd
Speaker: Pastor Mike Carlson
Join nearly 1000 middle school youth and their adult leaders for a weekend of fun, learning, worship and friendships! This year's Middle School Gathering will focus on the Ten Commandments, and includes large group assemblies, learning clusters, hotel life, worship and much more. Click here for more information and to download registration forms. Registration opens October 1!
Opening Our Networks
A Gathering Of Region 3 Rostered & Lay Leaders

When & Where: November 12-14, 2015 in Fargo, ND
Who: Any one involved in or interested in: World Hunger, Global Mission, Disaster Response, Campus Ministry, Outdoor Ministry, Synod Stewardship, Synod Mission Interpretation, the ELCA Campaign, Youth and Young Adult Ministry.
Cost: $85 per person including meals, plus housing

Click here for a flyer of additional information.

Click here to register online.

Bulletin Board
Zion Lutheran, Milaca's Lutheran Links Golf Scramble fore Hunger
Sunday, Sept. 13th at Stones Throw Golf Course in Milaca
Registration begins at 1:00 PM; Golf Starts at 2:00 PM
$40 per person - All proceeds to support the Milaca Area Food Pantry and the ELCA World Hunger Appeal
This is a 4 person Best Ball Scramble. Sign up either by signing up the day of the Scramble-Sign up out at the Golf Course prior to the Scramble-or, Drop me an email with your 4 person team and I will add your name to the list.
Rev. Stephen P. Blenkush, Zion Lutheran Church, Milaca, MN

Apply for an ELCA Hunger Grant
Once a month, Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in Bloomfield, Iowa, posts a sign out by the road: "Free meal this Saturday 11 to 1." As many as 95 parishioners, neighbors and friends gather for conversation, connection, and a great meal prepared and served by members of the congregation - and supported by an ELCA Domestic Hunger Grant. Applications for 2015 grants are now being accepted from congregations and synods seeking to creatively educate and mobilize people to address the root causes of and solutions to hunger. Click here to learn how to apply.

Office Manager Position
Lutheran Church of the Cross, Nisswa, MN, is seeking applicants for a full time Office Manager.
Working Conditions: Work duties are performed primarily in an office setting. The position is full time with hours from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. Supplemental Information: This is a position with benefits. The successful candidate is subject to completion of a criminal history background check. Starting salary to be commensurate with skills and job experience.
To apply for this position please complete a job application and submit it to the Senior Pastor ([email protected]). An application may be obtained from the church office (218-963-2564).

National Lutheran Choir Hymn Sing
Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota needs choirs like yours to help strengthen congregational singing at a special Hymn Sing with the National Lutheran Choir featuring the world premiere of a hymn that has been commissioned for our 150th anniversary.
When: Saturday, September 26, 2015 at 3:00 pm
Where: Central Lutheran Church; 333 S 12th St; Minneapolis
The event is FREE and open to the public with free parking available. To learn more and register your choir for reserved seating, go to: .
We welcome you to join us after the Hymn Sing at our annual Celebration for Changing Lives. Registration is available online, and tickets will go quickly! Please register at

October 10, 2015 - Gloria Dei Lutheran, Duluth, MN
The promise of earth renewal in scripture and practice with Prof. Barbara Rossing. 8:30 am-2:30 pm at Gloria Dei, Duluth, co-organized by the NE MN Synod Creation Care Team and Lake Superior Conference WELCA. Dr. Rossing is Professor of New Testament at the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago. Known for her scholarship on the Book of Revelation, Rossing believes the scriptural witness speaks of God not abandoning the earth but of a vision of renewal where the New Jerusalem and the Tree of Life provide inspiration for ecological civilization. An active theologian for the Lutheran World Federation, Rossing also sees the 500th anniversary of the Reformation as an opportunity for Lutherans to embrace an Eco-Reformation for our times. Free will offering for lunch.
This free event coincides with the Lake Superior Conference WELCA Fall Gathering, but is open to all.

The ConNext Summit: A Progressive Vision for Children and Family Ministries
October 11-14, 2015 - Buffalo, MN
Deadline for early registration at reduced rates is September 1.
The key note presentations are by David Csinos, co-author of Children's Ministry in the Way of Jesus, around the topic of "Faith Formation in the Postmodern Matrix" -  plus there are many workshops and lots of time to get to know other leaders in children's ministry. 
See the registration link below for fees and schedule.

Two Faith Inkubator Events in One Weekend!
Life-Long Cross+Gen Faith Formation
Holding Your Family Together
With Speaker Rich Melheim
October 23-24, 2015
Grace Lutheran Church, Hermantown Friday evening begins with a visioning session for pastors, key leaders and spouses. Saturday morning. The training sessions listed above will be held Saturday. A free Family Comedy Event will be held Saturday night.
Sponsored by Grace Lutheran Church, in partnership with Thrivent Financial and the Lake Superior Conference.
Overview Flyer and Paper Registration
Online Registration
Contact Pastor Phil Berge for more information.

NE MN Synod Women of the ELCA Summer Gathering/Convention
June 9-10, 2016 (Thursday-Friday)
Sugar Lake Lodge, Grand Rapids, MN

2016 Synod Assembly
April 29 - May 1, 2016 at Breezy Point Resort  
In This Issue
Quick Links
Join Our Mailing List
Northeastern Minnesota
Synod, ELCA

synod logo

The purpose of our

synod is to nurture a

Christ-centered climate

conducive to healthy,


congregations and

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 
Creation Care Team 
Green Tip of the Week
The U.S. has 80,000 to 250,000 retired mines whose rocky tailings - the pulverized rock left when the valuable ore deposits are gone - can leach poisons like lead and arsenic into waterways for centuries.  But these retired mines could be ideal sites for big renewable energy projects.  Their large, flat surroundings are ready-made for the installation of wind turbines or solar collectors, and the mines' tunnels can serve as hydroelectric reservoirs.  The roads to them are already built, and in some cases, power lines that could carry megawatts back to a nearby city are currently in place.

Story Starter 
Question of the Week

What was the coolest new school item you ever had?