Northeastern Minnesota Synod
Online Reflections
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week of November 8, 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 Steve Ellerbusch, retired in Baxter
  • Pastor S. Jerome Elness, retired in Duluth
  • Pastor John Engstrom, retired in Moose Lake
  • Pastor Gerald Erickson, retired in Duluth
Bishop Aitken's Reflections
Yesterday, I was honored to preach and preside at Communion in a congregation where financial pledges for the coming year's ministry were brought forward and placed in baskets at the offering time. I was reminded how intentional, how holy such a moment is in the life of our work together as the Body of Christ and as congregations of the ELCA. Pledges for congregational ministries go far beyond paying the bills.
The congregational and pastoral leadership of this congregation did good work preparing people for understanding generosity based on God's narrative of generosity and love, not the narratives of fear of others and obsession with wealth, fame and bone-head spectacle we hear daily in this country and around the world.
Disciples of Jesus can model what it means to trust God for all of life, join Jesus in standing up for justice and in the reconciling work he has given us, and give generously and joyfully of our resources to God's dream of peace for all people and respect for all of creation.
God bless you and your congregation as you offer the world this alternative narrative and vision.
+Bishop Aitken

Online Evangelical Mission

Last weekend (Halloween/ Reformation) our synod hosted a combined first call rostered leaders and candidacy retreat. Thirty of us spent twenty-four hours together at Camp Onomia, one of the great outdoor ministries in our synod. Our gracious host Jim Schmidt and the staff, Tim and Cheri, at Onomia welcomed us to the very comfortable, modern, and spacious retreat center. The rooms, the meeting spaces, and the meals were excellent. If you are looking to host a retreat, you really should consider

Catherine Anderson, the synod's Coordinator of Youth Ministry, led a lively hour of introductions based on the newest Discipleship Challenge resources, followed by Assistant to the Bishop Brenda Tibbetts, AiM, preaching at evening prayer. A great supper, meaningful small group conversations, and a boisterous social hour rounded out the evening.

On Saturday morning, Bishop Aitken spent an hour speaking to the entire group made up of new pastors, candidates for rostered ministry (pastoral and diaconal candidates), synod staff, and members of the candidacy committee about the joys and challenges of public ministry. Bishop's insights from his 30 years of ordained ministry were practical, humorous, and encouraging. We were also glad to welcome Terri Endres, diaconal minister, from Portico, who spent time helping the entire group understand the wide range of Portico's benefits and services ( Following a meal together and small group time, the retreat ended with the celebration of the Holy Communion with Bp. Aitken presiding at the table and Pr. Peter Kowitz accompanying on guitar. It was an excellent (first) combined retreat and we look forward to the ways in which something like it will take shape in the future.

It truly was a blessing to get a number of people in one place to focus on these two very similar topics: entering public ministry and beginning public ministry. We shared meals, we worshiped together, we got to know one another, and we had fun! We were able to have time in our smaller groups to talk about those things that are unique to our situation in ministry or discernment. Our bishop and his staff, together with representatives from Portico and Camp Onomia, were able to meet and spend time with our newest and future pastors and deacons. This is good news!

I am so proud to be a member of the ELCA, this synod, and this synod staff. It is a great pleasure and privilege to serve you in this office. The work we do and get to be a part of is inspiring and encouraging and that is why I want you to know about this last week's retreat: it is just another example of how we are church together, in the most healthy, joyful, Christ-centered way.

Pr. John Dietz
Assistant to the Bishop
Director for Evangelical Mission
Northeastern Minnesota Synod | ELCA
Global Mission/World Hunger Event
November 12-14, 2015

Are you passionate about the mission and ministry of ELCA Global Mission and/or ELCA World Hunger? Are you looking for ways to deepen your engagement in these ministries?
2015 Region 3 Gathering
November 12-14, 2015
Faith Lutheran Church, West Fargo, North Dakota
You're invited to join others from your synod and region for worship and devotional time, network specific conversation, synod specific planning, idea sharing and informal fellowship. This year we will also explore practical tools to engage new people to grow your ministry.
Please join us if you are interested or already involved in these ministries and areas of work:
  • ELCA Global Mission/Companion Synod ministry
  • ELCA World Hunger and local congregationally-based hunger and poverty ministries
  • ELCA Young Adults in Global Mission (YAGM) alumni and any interested young adults
If you know other individuals who would be interested in this event, are engaged in these ministries or are trying to find a place to engage in work within this church, please share this invitation.
Registration Details:
  • Registration fee: $0 - the on-site meals and event expenses will be covered
  • Accommodation: You are on your own to locate and pay for your accommodation. The Ramada Plaza Suites (701-277-9000) has a guaranteed rate for our group of $109/night. Ask for "ELCA Region 3" when you call. Rooms are available on a first come first served basis.
  • To register for the event, please contact Jessica Fairfax ([email protected]) or 773-380-2713. You will need to provide the following information: Full Name; Address; Phone; Email; Congregation; Dietary Needs
ELCA Grace Gathering
August 10-13, 2016 - New Orleans, LA

The 500th anniversary of the Reformation is an opportunity to rejoice in the life-giving, liberating power of the gospel. As part of the observance, we invite you to attend the Grace Gathering, in partnership with the 2016 ELCA Churchwide Assembly. This will be an opportunity to experience the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) when gathered as the ELCA Churchwide Assembly, prepare for further observances of the 500th anniversary and reflect on how the Reformation can continue to guide us today.

Grace Gathering Invitation
Grace Gathering Invitation

"Provide, Promise, Protect"
Nov. 20-21 OR 21-22, 2015
Grades 6-9
Cragun's Resort, Brainerd
Speaker: Pastor Mike Carlson

Registration closes TODAY! Any additions to your existing registrations OR new Group Registrations (Friday only) MUST BE POSTMARKED NOVEMBER 9th! Please note: The Saturday night event is 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
Four, $100 scholarships are available through the NE MN Synod to assist leaders in getting to the Extravaganza! Please contact Catherine Anderson by December 1 to request a scholarship.

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.
PV for Phebe Update

Thank you for your generous support in bringing solar power to Phebe Hospital. To date donations received at the synod office amount to just over $133,000. We are closing in on our commitment of $200,000, but I think we can exceed that. With RREAL expenses at $52,500, we have $81,000 on hand.
To reach donors beyond the church, a *fun* crowdfunding campaign started November 1st with a goal of $35,000; the cost of one month's fuel bill at Phebe. Here is the link to the crowdfunding campaign.  Please share this with your family and friends, and let your light shine so others may have light. If we can reach 60,000 people who donate just $10 each, we will have the funds to begin phase one. Together, we have the power to make a difference for Phebe Hospital!
Please follow the project on Facebook. The Facebook page is titled Skip The Grid

Mary Jo Mettler
Bulletin Board

Executive/Theological Director Position
Lutheran Braille Evangelism Association seeks an Executive Director and a Theological Director to lead the transition, continuation, and growth of this 63-year-old ministry for blind and sight-impaired individuals. Responsibilities include producing a monthly devotional magazine and other communications, developing and distributing biblical and catechetical resources, maintaining financial records, encouraging donations, and providing new direction in which the ministry might grow. We encourage interested parties to explore our website,, and respond via email to [email protected]

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.

National Lutheran Choir Event
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

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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
Conventional plastics can pollute the environment and leach harmful chemicals.  Avoid plastics labeled #3 (PVC), #6(polystyrene), #7 (polycarbonate).  These plastics are difficult to recycle, and are particularly harmful when used for warm or hot liquids.  When using plastics, choose those labeled #1, 2, 4, 5.  Be aware that even the best plastics have chemical leaching concerns associated with long storage or heat.  Avoid using plastic containers or cling wrap in the microwave.

Story Starter 
Question of the Week

What do you find meaningful about gathering with friends or family around the Thanksgiving holiday?