Northeastern Minnesota Synod
Online Reflections
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week of September 13, 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.
  • St. John's Lutheran (Cedarbrook), Aitkin, and Bethesda Lutheran, Aitkin, and Pastor Sandra Berg-Holte
  • Littlefork Lutheran, Littlefork, and Pastor Andrew Berry
  • Jesse Lake Lutheran, Talmoon and Suomi Lutheran, Deer River, and Pastor Brian Birk, Interim.
  • Pastor Barbara Birkeland, retired in Cloquet.
  • Pastor Paul Birkeland, retired in Cloquet.
  • Syrian Refugee crisis
  • "God's Work. Our Hands." activities during September
Bishop Aitken's Reflections

Jesus took a Child
This coming Sunday's texts
I think about that child, the 3 year old Syrian boy, Aylan Kurdi whose body was found washed up on the Turkish shore when I read the gospel text for this coming Sunday. I think about our 3 month old grandchild. I think about all the children at children's sermons I have given over the years; their wide eyes, their vulnerability. A pastor in our synod shared with me Thursday, that a group of churches (their claim to fame being Bible Believing ones) in his community have formed a coalition to keep Somali families and their children out of town. And I think of sex-trafficking of kids, which has become such big and profitable business here in our country.
We should remind each other - as we take Jesus' words seriously this week-end - that in Jesus day, childhood was a time of terror. 30 % of live births didn't make it. 60 % of teenagers died by the age of sixteen. Disease and poor hygiene were responsible for much of it. Middle Eastern culture usually put children's interests on the low priority list -minor children had pretty much the status of a slave. That doesn't mean that they weren't loved, but the overall context needs to be understood in order to hear the radical punch of Jesus point in teaching the disciples. When Jesus insists that being great means extending hospitality to children, the disciples realized that the rest of culture around them would laugh at this odd new thought.
Arguing over who was most important, those disciples wondered: Who was first, who second, who third among them? Jesus took them by surprise. He went out in the street; he brought in a small child with those wide open eyes, and snotty nose. He put her in front of them: "Whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me, and whoever welcomes me welcomes not me but the one who sent me." He says elsewhere that the greatest among us will be the servant of all. Isn't this radical (back to the root) and wise teaching what we need to hear today? Especially in view of our broken immigration policies, ISIS, our own obsession with investment in war, in view of thousands of immigrants who are NOT being invited into our country, in view of our obsession with our Gross Domestic Product and our lack of medical care and housing toward the orphans, widows and homeless teens of our day? Here in our gospel lesson is Jesus, whom we call Lord, demonstrating quite concretely what his brother (2nd lesson) says to us, "Who is wise and understanding among you? Show by your good life that your works are done with gentleness born of wisdom...the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits..."
When Jesus' lesson was over that afternoon, I wonder what those disciples thought. I wonder how Jesus finished his point. Did he send the little girl around to each of them to look squarely into her eyes? Did they dare look at her? At him? At each other? Do we?
+Bishop Tom Aitken

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

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
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).

Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service
The conflict in Syria has caused one of the largest refugee exoduses in recent history and has forced more than 4 million people, more than half of whom are children, to flee their homes in search of safety. Our faith compels us to care for those in need, including our brothers and sisters fleeing persecution in Syria. Urge President Obama to stand with people of faith in welcoming these vulnerable refugees into the United States.

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 
"On Earth As in Heaven: Scripture and Hope for Healing Our World" and 
"A Kairos Moment: Pope Francis, St. Francis, and the Lutherans"  
Informational Brochure
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.

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.

KAIROS/School of Lay Ministry
Luther Seminary, St. Paul, MN
Dates: Nov. 30-Dec. 2, 2015 - 10 contact hours
1) "No Other Name: The Power of the Good News According to Acts" w/James Boyce
2) "Luther's Small Catechism for Today: Part 2" w/ Dirk Lange, Steve Paulson and Walter Sandberg
Tuition:  $100
Course Hours: Monday 1:00-5:15pm; Tuesday 9:00am-4:00pm, Wednesday 9:00-11:00am

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  
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Northeastern Minnesota
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The purpose of our

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Christ-centered climate

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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

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NE MN Synod 
Creation Care Team 
Green Tip of the Week
There are over 15,000 magazine titles in the U.S. with only about three percent regularly using recycled paper.  With deforestation accounting for 25 percent of global carbon emissions caused from human activities, it's vital that single-use magazines be printed on paper with the highest recycled content.  The latest magazine to increase its recycled paper content is National Geographic Magazine, National Geographic Kids, and National Geographic Little Kids.

Story Starter 
Question of the Week

What is your first memory of Sunday school?