Northeastern Minnesota Synod
Online Reflections
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week of October 4, 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.
  • Zion Lutheran, Grand Rapids, and Pastor Benjamin Buchanan and Pastor Paul Leslie
  • Essentia Hospice, Grand Rapids, and Pastor Lisa Buchanan
  • Paul Buettner, retired in Ely
  • Gloria Dei, Duluth and Pastor David Carlson
Bishop Aitken's Reflections from Chicago
I'm at the Conference of Bishops right now. We are at the Lutheran center in Chicago. As many of you know this is a twice a year gathering of all 65 Bishops, the Presiding Bishop, the Vice President, Treasurer, and Secretary of our church, plus guests. While it is a six day period of intense conversations and information sharing in the form of presentations by leaders of our church, it is also a time where we work together with concerns, vision and strategies for our church, our ELCA. It is a group I've come to cherish, just as I cherish each one of our congregations and their leaders in our synod.
We share our hopes, successes and our failures, the reality of what it means to be church together. There are hopeful signs of new life in this church, and some of our conversations, especially around race and ethnicity, power and privilege are difficult. And vital. We spend a fair amount of time on gender violence and violence in general and how we as ELCA Lutherans can respond to it.
Two new Bishops were welcomed into the Conference: Bishop Tim Smith, (North Carolina Synod) and Bishop Matthew Riegel, (Western Maryland and West Virginia ). Because I'm on the Roster Committee, I spend a fair amount of time working with Rostered Leaders requests for extensions for On Leave from Call, or to calls in unusual circumstances, some of which may be forging new territory in this church. Our Presiding Bishop, Elizabeth Eaton, gives us her Report, and other Bishops and Leaders present their work and seek our input. Mission support conversations took place with honesty. A new Candidacy Manual and new Rostered Manual will be forthcoming so we discussed that. Beyond all that, and far more important, were brave and bold conversations about race and gender, about truth telling as baptized-into-Christ sisters and brothers.
Bishop Aitken's Reflections
Eleven-hundred ordinary good neighbors, most of them ELCA Lutheran, gathered September 26 at he Minneapolis Hilton to celebrate and support the ongoing life-changing work of Christ through Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota. I was grateful to be there as well. The room was filled with the palpable Spirit of God , moving in and through those gathered as we shared God's Story, our Stories, and our neighbors stories of redemption and wholeness. 
With joy we listened to Christ's call in our lives, and in the work God has given us to do in serving the neighbor. Jodi Harpstead, CEO of LSS has led this 150 year old  Lutheran outreach of Christ's love for several years now with grace and  with a powerful Biblical challenge to continue with joy in serving our neighbor - whoever that neighbor is: The marginalized, refugees,immigrants, people with disabilities, senior citizens- many of whom are largely forgotten in our culture, homeless youth and adults, people in financial debt they can't see their way out of. The Duluth "Center for Changing Lives" homeless youth center, a brand new building that will offer a safe housing, comprehensive counseling and life skills was mentioned often. This is the ministry project many of you took on in the past year with your cardboard cut-out houses in the narthex and bible studies with your congregation. Please watch the videos below, and continue to challenge one another to see our way to the completion of the Center for Changing Lives on our Synod's territory.
You may contact Bob Sherman, LSS Capital Campaign Director (or myself) for more ways to help complete this work of love in Christ's name.

Catching Youth at a Crossroads
Catching Youth at a Crossroads

The Many Faces of LSS
The Many Faces of LSS

The History of LSS
The History of LSS

Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton's Reflections

What is 'Lutheran'? Presiding Bishop Elizabeth A. Eaton asks this question in her October column for The Lutheran. What we eat, what hymns we sing, what jokes we tell, what color we are ... none of this binds us together or makes us Lutheran, she says. Our theology must define us. And it's all about God's grace. Reader her column at

Boundaries Workshops

Did you miss out on the August 18th Boundaries Workshop? Here are some additional workshops throughout the state to help you meet your every-three-years requirement:

October 29, 2015 (Thursday) - 9:00 am-4:00 p.m.
House of Hope, New Hope, MN
Cost - $25
Note: Their online course option does not meet the requirement.

November 5, 2015 (Thursday) - 9:00 am-3:00 p.m.
Faith Lutheran Church, Spicer, MN
Cost - $40
Presenters: Aaron Suomala-Fokerds, Karen Bockelman and Rick Loseth
Further information and registration to come
Skip the Grid: PV for Phebe

Try cooking dinner tonight with all the power off in your house, and a headlamp. Now imagine conducting surgery under the same conditions. Doctors at Phebe Hospital in Liberia commonly don headlamps before surgery in case the electricity fails. RREAL and our partners aim to change that!
Exciting momentum continues to build around project "PV for Phebe" Hospital in Liberia. Liberian Bishop Jensen Seyenkulo visited Minnesota at the end of July, kicking off the ELCA Solar August campaign, which has been raising funds for PV for Phebe all over the country. Our collaboration with the University of St. Thomas Renewable Energy and Alternatives Laboratory for PV system design comes to a close at the end of August, with all materials specified for a system covering daytime hospital use. This project is shovel-ready!
Now we need your continue help and prayers to make it happen. God bless all of you for the work you have done and are doing on behalf of this mission.

Mary Jo Mettler

LSS Center for Changing Lives

Our heartfelt thanks goes to all who have contributed to the campaign to build the Center for Changing Lives in Duluth. The private giving portion of the campaign has passed the halfway point. We need your continuing financial support to make it a reality in 2016!

Even if you have already contributed to the campaign, please consider an additional gift before the end of 2015. A one-time gift of any amount or a multi-year pledge would be deeply appreciated. We do have a shot at ending youth homelessness in northeastern Minnesota, but we need your help to do it.

Make a gift online or contact Bob Sherman:

Jodi Harpstead
CEO, Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota
Churches' Week of Action on Food

The ELCA, supporting World Council of Churches, is observing World Food Day on October 16.  It offers a chance to become more aware of issues related to food security.  It provides an opportunity for Christians and others to act together for food justice. See the attached link for resources.

Youth Ministry News

"Provide, Promise, Protect"
Nov. 20-21 OR 21-22, 2015
Grades 6-9
Cragun's Resort, Brainerd
Speaker: Pastor Mike Carlson
Early registration deadline is October 19!
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 or more information and to download registration forms. Registration opens October 1!
Lunch and Learn!
October 22, 11:30am - 1:00pm
Lakeview Covenant Church, Duluth
FREE! Lunch included!
Come be encouraged and equipped by Tiger McLuen, President of Youth Leadership! Network with local children, youth and family ministry leaders and get a preview of the January 16, 2016 Recharge event coming to Duluth! For more info and to register, visit

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 ( An application may be obtained from the church office (218-963-2564).

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  
In This Issue
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Northeastern Minnesota
Synod, ELCA

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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
Conventionally raised cattle in the U.S. eat feed that is mostly made up of GMO corn and soy.  88 percent of the U.S. corn crop and 94 percent of the U.S. soy crop is GMO (genetically modified), and the vast majority of both goes to feed animals, especially cows.  You can avoid GMO meat and dairy by eating products from organically raised cows which are fed 100 percent organic grains, or by switching to grass-fed and -finished beef.

Story Starter 
Question of the Week

What was your favorite (or least favorite!) family vacation?