Northeastern Minnesota Synod
Online Reflections
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week of October 18, 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 William Christ, retired in Schroeder, MN
  • Pastor C. Owen Christianson, retired in Decorah, IA
  • St. Andrew's Lutheran, Grand Rapids and Pastor Megan Crouch and Pastor David Anderson
  • Bethany Lutheran, Duluth and Lutheran Church of the Holy Trinity, Duluth and Pastor Gregory Daher
Bishop Aitken's Reflections
This Tuesday, October 20th, our Living Waters Conference, will be the last one to participate in Chili with the Bishop and Re-Affirmation of vocational promises. My two Bishop's Assistants, Pr. John Dietz and Brenda Tibbetts (AiM) will have gone with me to all of our Conferences, to share in leading the Worship, making chili (or soup) along with me, and presenting how Rostered Leaders, congregations and members of our congregations become responsible stewards of the promises of God in their life and for the sake of the world. You can go to Northeastern Minnesota Synod Facebook page and see pictures of all of these events.
One of the ways we "steward" God's promises is for Rostered Leaders to remember what we have been called to do. Here is the list of responsibilities, for example, that pastors are obliged to fulfill as found in the Constitution of our church:
  • Preach the Word
  • Administer the Sacraments
  • Conduct public worship
  • Provide pastoral care
  • Speak publically to the world in solidarity with the poor and oppressed, calling for justice and proclaiming God's love for the world.
  • Offer instruction, confirm, marry, visit the sick and distressed, and bury the dead
  • Supervise all schools and organizations of this congregation
  • Install regularly elected members of the Congregation council
  • With the council, administer discipline
  • Strive to extend the Kingdom of God in the community, in the nation, and abroad
  • Seek out and encourage qualified persons to prepare for the ministry of the Gospel
  • Impart knowledge of this church and its wider ministry, through distribution of its periodicals and others publications
  • Endeavor to increase the support given by the congregation to the work of the churchwide organization of the ELCA and of the Northeastern Mn Synod of this church
I've bolded several of these responsibilities - because they are the least well known of our pastors' responsibilities. Most everyone knows all the others. At each Conference, I Re-Affirm my own vocational promises before everyone else. This has been an important part of my life this Fall, and I remain blessed to be your Bishop.
Share Christ in your deeds this week,
+Bishop Thomas M. Aitken
Northeastern Minnesota Synod, ELCA
"There is a growing awareness that scientific and technological progress cannot be equated with the progress of humanity and history, a growing sense that the way to a better future lies elsewhere."
- Laudato Si', Pope Francis Encyclical Letter, 2015
NE MN Synod Team in Honduras

Please keep in your prayers the mission team from NE Minnesota that is in Honduras this week. The team is working in partnership with our brothers and sisters of the Iglesia Cristiana Luterana de Honduras (ICLH) as they hold a Worship and Learning Workshop for Honduran Lutheran lay leaders, visit worshipping communities, distribute water filters, visit homebound members of ICLH churches, and spend time with the preschool students and staff at the Lutheran Pre-K in the community of La Canada. If you are interested in learning more about the synod's Companion Synod relationship with the Honduran Lutheran church or in being part of a future team, contact Brenda and Mark Wagner at or 218-246-3179.
Pre-Retirement Webinar Series

You're invited to participate in a brand new opportunity for plan members age 50+ or within 15 years of retirement. We're converting our popular day-long pre-retirement seminar into a convenient online webinar series. We're offering this series for the first time nationwide this fall.
The four webinar sessions will cover a variety of retirement topics, from retirement budgeting to estate planning. Each one-hour session will feature live presenters from Portico and Ernst & Young, as well as live Q&A - all at no cost to you. Sign up for all four or as many as you can. As this is a series, you will receive the most benefit from participating in all four sessions.
Session 1: Retirement Planning and Healthcare
Oct. 22, 3 - 4 p.m. (Central)
Explore these retirement planning questions and more:
  • What might my budget look like in retirement?
  • How might my retirement lifestyle affect my income needs?
  • What health care options do I have in retirement?
Register for session 1.
Session 2: Investments and Accumulations, 
Oct. 29, 3 - 4 p.m. (Central)
Explore these investment questions and more:
  • How can I manage my investment risks?
  • What investment options are available in the ELCA Retirement Plan?
  • What resources are available to help me determine which investments are right for me?
Register for session 2.

Session 3: Income in Retirement, 
Nov. 12, 3 - 4 p.m. (Central)
Explore these retirement income questions and more:
  • What distribution options do I have from my ELCA Retirement account?
  • What strategies should I know so that I can maximize my Social Security payment?
  • How might I use different sources of retirement income to fund my retirement?
Register for session 3.

Session 4: Estate Planning
Nov. 19, 3 - 4 p.m. (Central)
Explore these estate planning questions and more:
  • What steps should I take today so that I can leave a legacy?
  • Why do I need a will?
  • What benefits and assets might my beneficiaries receive from Portico Benefit Services after my death?
Register for session 4.

We hope you can join us!

Grace Pomroy                                         
Financial Education Specialist
Portico Benefit Services 
P.S. Still not sure if you want to participate? Check out the feedback we received from those who participated in the webinar series pilot this summer:   
   "I'm pleased you offered it to us. It provided affirmation to my spouse and me on how we are preparing for retirement."
   "Appreciated the overview with each of the topic areas . . . Easy to follow. Personal. Educational."
   "I learned a lot I didn't know about the ELCA/Portico options at retirement."
   "Help[ed] to shape the questions that I need to do more work on, and resources for following up with those questions." 

Creation Care Event
Dear Friends,

As we transition to fall, climate change and global warming continue to make news headlines. Faith leaders, including the Pope, have issued statements about the potential consequences of inaction. But how do we, as local faith leaders, interpret the many messages in the media today and inspire our congregation members to play a role in creation care?
We invite you and your congregation to join faith leaders and experts in the fields of climate science and weather on Saturday, November 7, from 9 to 11:30 a.m., at the Shepherd of the Lake Lutheran Church in Prior Lake. Creation Care - The Intersection of Faith, Climate Change, and Weather assembles a panel of distinguished, nationally-recognized experts to help us explore how God calls is to respond in our changing world. Download materials here to invite your faith community to participate in this free event.
We hope to see you there!
Pastor Laila Barr
Pastor of Lifelong Learning
Shepherd of the Lake Lutheran Church
PS - Childcare will be available. Please register in advance so we can plan appropriately.

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
Youth Ministry News

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

"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!
Bulletin Board

October 23-24, 2015
Green Lake Bible Camp, Spicer, MN

Communications Coordinator Opening at Lutheran Church of the Good Shepherd Duluth
We are seeking a creative individual with strong communication skills and a passion for the mission of LCGS to join our staff as the Communications Coordinator. The position at 20 hours a week offers a flexible work schedule with some ability to work from home. The Communications Coordinator ensures the publication of the following: weekly worship bulletins, monthly newsletter, weekly electronic news alert, social media and website updates. Looking for candidates who are comfortable creating relevant and inspired communications on a variety of platforms to share our mission and events. Apply by sending a cover letter and resume to Patti Hallback, by October 30, 2015.

Office Administrator Position
Kenwood Lutheran Church in Duluth MN is seeking applicants for a part time (20 hrs/wk) Office Administrator.
To apply for this position please send a cover letter and resume to Kenwood Lutheran Church or email to
Kenwood Lutheran Church, 2720 Myers Avenue, Duluth MN 55811, (218)724-9291.

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.

Women's Refresh Retreat at Camp Onomia November 6-7!
WOMEN'S REFRESH retreat is scheduled for November 6-7, 2015. It begins Friday at 6 PM and ends Saturday at 4 PM. Experience twenty hours under the theme of "SACRED SPACE." Exodus 20.8 will form the basis for our Bible study time plus you can expect fun, laughter, and lots of coffee! One night, two meals for only $58 per person. Sign up before November 1st either online (Online Registration) or send us your information and a check by mail.
Bring a friend...Let us be your personal escape next month!

National Lutheran Choir Events
"Blessed Are They" - A Concert for All Saints by the National Lutheran Choir  -  Sunday, November 1, 4:00 p.m. at St. Andrew's Lutheran Church in Mahtomedi and Friday, November 6, 7:30 p.m. at St. Bartholomew Catholic Faith Community in Wayzata. -  For more information, or to purchase tickets, call Brown Paper Tickets (800) 838-3006 or order online at Tickets will also available at the door on the day of the concert. The box office opens one hour prior to the concert. 
National Lutheran Choir Christmas Festival - "The Spotless Rose"  -  Friday, December 11, 2015 - 4:30pm & 8pm and Saturday, December 12, 2015 - 8pm  -  Basilica of Saint Mary (88 N. 17th Street, Minneapolis, MN 55403) - Call Brown Paper Tickets (800) 838-3006 or order online at

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.

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

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
Choose a refrigerator with a freezer on top instead of a side-by-side unit.  On average, the energy savings amount to 20 percent.

Story Starter 
Question of the Week

What makes you proud of your family?