Northeastern Minnesota Synod
Online Reflections
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week of November 1, 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 John Dietz, Assistant to the Bishop, Duluth
  • Pastor Bruce Dissell, retired in Hibbing
  • Bethlehem Lutheran, Grand Marais, and Pastor Mark Dirmanson
  • Pastor Gerald Eisele, retired in Grand Rapids, MN
Bishop Aitken's Reflections
Yesterday in the congregation I preached in I was asked to be involved in a baptism as well as preach and preside at Communion. What a joy, each week to be out and about with our congregation's members and pastors and take part in the holy sacraments God has instituted!
The congregation warmly greeted me; the pastor was upbeat, friendly and filled with obvious joy. Her voice and tone, her mannerisms, her care to include everybody, to lift up the power, mystery, and joy of the sacrament of baptism that gives the newly baptized and all of us new life framed her leading of worship. This is huge, folks. To be congregations that welcome one another, articulate faith, and embody the resurrection joy - this shapes an entire faith community.
As joy can shape congregations, so does the opposite of joy - misery. When congregations form their identity around a dour, gloomy and sullen demeanor, I often wonder who or what has taken over? Is there a bully or two that has gained the upper hand, and holds that congregation hostage to their own unhappiness and dysfunction? I'm not speaking here of real sorrow and tragedy, something that sooner or later affects all of us, but rather a kind of over-riding congregational personality trait that runs counter to the joy the gospel and our participation in it brings.
I thank God for people in our congregations who serve as reminders each week of God's goodness to the whole world. They lift up the ministries of their congregation, synod, and wider church. These are folks - you know who they are - who point away from themselves to God's love that transforms us as together we live out our faith (Philippians 1:25) and  live into its joy.
God has called you into the joy of the gospel!
+Bishop Thomas Aitken

The Opening Our Networks event scheduled for November 12-14 in Fargo, ND has been cancelled due to a low number of registrations.
Common Call Process Questions
Brenda Tibbetts, AiM, Assistant to the Bishop
When I began this new journey as Assistant to the Bishop/Call Process Administrator on July 1, 2015, our synod had 29 pastoral vacancies (some were multi-point parishes.)  There has been a large turn over, many due to retirements.  It has been enjoyable traveling all through the synod meeting with councils and call committees to walk with them through this process!  And, I am happy to say that since July, six Pastors have been installed! Thank you to my predecessor Pr. Vicki Taylor who began some of the good ground work for that to happen.  Plus, three more congregations have named Candidates of Choice and will be voting to call in the coming weeks.
So what are the most common questions being asked?
1.  What is the synod doing?  
2.  What do Bridge Pastors and Intentional Interim Pastors do? 
3.  When will we get a new Pastor?  

For answers to these questions and more, click here.

"Provide, Promise, Protect"
Nov. 20-21 OR 21-22, 2015
Grades 6-9
Cragun's Resort, Brainerd
Speaker: Pastor Mike Carlson
Last call for Friday night registrations! 
Registration closes November 9, or when we fill!
Please note: The Saturday night event is already full.
If you have questions regarding your registration or housing, please email registrar Marilyn Hull or call 218-724-4424, ext. 124. It is helpful if you contact Marilyn before sending in new group registrations or additions to verify there is space. For more information, visit
Got Fleece?! Middle School youth will have the opportunity to tie fleece blankets for homeless youth during the Gathering. If you have or would like to donate fleece for this project, please email Catherine Anderson or call 218-724-4424, ext. 124.
Other Upcoming Events:
January 16, 2016 - Duluth
February 5-8, 2016 - Anaheim, CA
Important Dates in Preparing for Synod Assembly 2016
  • Those who are responsible for submitting reports to be included in the Bulletin of Reports, please note the earlier deadline of March 1, 2016.
  • Resolutions have a much, much earlier deadline of April 1, 2016. There will be no acceptance of Resolutions until 8 pm Friday evening of the Assembly with 25 signatures as in previous years. Late Resolutions will only be dealt with using parliamentary procedure, which means being brought to the Assembly floor for a suspension of the rules; requiring a two-third majority.
  • Registration mailing will be sent in the mail January 15, 2016. Early Bird deadline is March 15. Registration closes March 31.
  • The Bulletin of Reports will be posted on the Synod website on Friday, March 18, 2016. Additional reports will be posted to the website by Friday, April 1.
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 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

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:

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
Bulletin Board

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 [email protected]
Kenwood Lutheran Church, 2720 Myers Avenue, Duluth MN 55811, (218)724-9291.

Organist/Pianist Position
Family of God Lutheran Church in Duluth is seeking applicants for a part-time Organist/Pianist. To apply for this position please send a cover letter and resume to Family of God Lutheran Church, 
4097 Martin Rd, Duluth MN 55803,or email to [email protected] (218) 724-9210. Click here to view job description.

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!

Creation Care - The Intersection of Faith, Climate Change and Weather
Saturday, November 7, from 9 to 11:30 a.m., at the Shepherd of the Lake Lutheran Church in Prior Lake (3611 Shepherdspath NW)
This event 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. 
PS - Childcare will be available. Please register in advance so we can plan appropriately.

National Lutheran Choir Events
"Blessed Are They" - A Concert for All Saints by the National Lutheran Choir  -  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

Meeting in Thin Places: Spiritual Friends and Companions on the Dementia Road
Serving persons who live in an altered state of consciousness is one of the most challenging areas of ministry. Join Dr. Susan McFadden is professor emerita of psychology (University of Wisconsin - Oshkosh) and Rev. John McFadden, memory care chaplain at Appleton (WI) Health Care Center, for one of three learning events hosted by Essentia Health being held in our synod: Virginia-November 17th; Grand Rapids-November 18, and Duluth-November 19th. Click here for more information and for registration 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

Vibrant Faith Training Event and Year Long Coaching
Luther Crest is hosting this event, May 1-5, 2016 in Alexandria, MN.  Come for the week of intensive ministry training for all church ministry people, including lay and rostered.  Then experience a year long coaching agreement to live out your ministry goals.  Check out Luther Crest's website for more detailed information,
Tuition is $2,000 for the event and the year long coaching agreement.  Flexible payment options available.  Sign up today!

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
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 ancestor of the modern cow was the Auroch, described as fierce, intelligent, self-reliant, wild creature that lived, as bison do, on grass, and contributed to the health of plains and prairies by sequestering carbon in the soil that grew perennial grasses.  Modern cows, raised mainly in confinements, eat annual cereals, such as corn, which instead puts net soil carbon into the atmosphere every year.  Eating organic, grass-fed and -finished beef is healthier for you and for the earth.

Story Starter 
Question of the Week

What is a tradition or ritual you have for deer opening weekend?