Northeastern Minnesota Synod
Online Reflections
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week of December 6, 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 Terry Frovik, retired in Lake Shore, MN
  • Trinity Lutheran, Hovland and Pastor Kristin Garey
  • Pastor Kent Garlinghouse, retired in Alexandria
  • First Lutheran, Duluth, and Pastor Gregory Garmer, retired - under contract and Pastor Mark Holman
Bishop Aitken's Reflections
Our Synod Council and Advent

At the four Synod council meetings each year, your dedicated Synod Council faithfully meets on your behalf between Synod Assemblies, like your congregational council does between annual meetings, to make thoughtful decisions about our work together. You have insightful Synod Council members who've been elected from our five Conferences. They do good work. Last Friday (the last meeting of 2015) we opened as usual with devotions given by one of the synod council members. She shared from her experience, her heart, and her mind. It was powerful. She spoke of Advent, of the daily news, and of the cultural reality of violence in words and in deeds we hear about or experience so often one way or another.
While the rash of recent gun shootings gets top coverage in the media, there are thousands of ways of practicing violence. One of those ways is through our words. Words can kill someone's spirit, just like bullets can kill the body. Harsh and condemning words come from a variety of people, our devotion leader reminded us, even from those who call themselves Christian. But when they originate from followers of Jesus they carry an especially painful blow, often because they are couched in terms of "care" for the other but are in truth just plain judgment often born of fear or ignorance, something Jesus came to address - quite boldly you might recall.
Advent moves us from sleep-walking through life, to ultimate truths that our Scripture lessons point to including the warning signals (complete with signs in the heavens!) of a world off kilter, people living outside of God's ultimate dream and purpose. Today this includes the killing of others with guns and words and the condemning whole populations because of ethnicity, gender, race, sexual orientation - sure signs of our complicity to the off-kilter kingdoms of this world, rather than God's. Christians this time of year move beyond sentimentalism to embrace Jesus, Prince of Peace (and justice) who came into the world to boldly challenge evil and heal us even if it would cost him his life.
May Advent continue to include for you this whole story, the only one that gives us true hope.
+Bishop Aitken
Save the Date! 
A Retirement Party for Marilyn Hull!

Sunday, January 3, 2016
Our Savior's Lutheran Church, Duluth
Open House from 2-4pm. A short program will be held at 3pm.

More details to come!
Job Opening Northeastern MN Synod
Office Communication and Support Person
All of you are aware that Marilyn Hull will retire Dec. 31, 2015. This creates a new job opening, with a new job description, worked out by our Personnel Committee. I post this position below so that if you or someone you know is qualified, they make contact me at 218-724-4424. - Bishop Thomas Aitken
Reports to: Bishop

Office Support
Answer telephone providing information, responding to inquiries and/or requests, directing phone calls
Greet synod visitors and provide hospitality for meetings
Office support/secretarial tasks to assist other synod staff as needed
Serve as point person for synod mailings, both electronically and through the USPS

Prepare brochures and flyers as needed
Maintain website, social media, and Constant Contact as needed
Arrange event preparation as assigned by the bishop, working with location liaisons (including Synod Assembly)
Assemble the Bulletin of Reports for the Synod Assembly

Maintain and update Pulpit Supply list
Maintain current rosters of all synod committees and task forces
Process information submitted by committees to the synod office
Arrange annual meeting of the Nominating Committee as directed by the bishop
Prepare nomination information for the Nominating Committee and Bulletin of Reports
Terms of Employment
This is a half-time position for 4 hours/day five days a week. Additional hours need to be pre-authorized by the Bishop. Hourly rate is according to synod guidelines for hourly support staff and commensurate with experience.
Vacation time, personal days, and holidays are granted according to Personnel Policy of the Northeastern Minnesota Synod of the ELCA in accordance with guidelines set forth in the Synod Compensation Guidelines.
A Message from Presiding Bishop Eaton
The unsettled season. In her December column for The Lutheran, Presiding Bishop Elizabeth A. Eaton reflects on Advent. In some ways, the season creates a certain restlessness, she says. But in the incarnate Christ, God comes to us, finds us and gives our restless hearts rest.Read her column at
"Confronting Racism: A Holy Yearning" Webcast

As racism remains an enduring crisis in the United States, the Rev. Elizabeth A. Eaton, presiding bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), is continuing her call to the 3.7 million member church to address the complexity and implications of the issue in "Confronting Racism: A Holy Yearning" - a live webcast Jan. 14 at 8 p.m. (CDT). This is Eaton's second live webcast on the topic of racism.

Among other topics, the January webcast will raise the question of the racial disparity in the U.S. criminal justice system, emphasizing the ELCA's commitment to pray for the incarcerated, their families and communities, and those wrongly convicted, as well as to pray for law enforcers and those who work in the system. The webcast will also underscore the denomination's declaration to name racism as a sin and highlight the ELCA's ongoing work to eliminate racial, ethnic discrimination in the church and society.

Information about the webcast is available at, where a link to the live webcast will be embedded. A live stream also will be available at Twitter handle is #ELCAConfrontRacism. ELCA members are invited to submit a question to be considered during the live webcast at [email protected].

Eaton's public statements are available at

The ELCA's social statement "The Church and Criminal Justice: Hearing the Cries" is available at and its accompanying study guide.

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.
PV for Phebe - Do It In the Dark

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

LSS Resources for your Congregation
Happy New Year! Looking for study group resources for your congregation in the coming year? Check out The Lutheran church has done so much to support our ministry, now we want to support you as a faith leader in your community. Our small group studies focused on youth homelessness, aging abundantly and the Muslim faith are available for your congregation's use - free of charge. Download at the link above! 
EQ-HR Workshop
January 4-8, 2016 - Joy Ranch, Florence, SD
The Center for Emotional Intelligence & Human Relations Skills EQ-HR Workshop is an intensive five-day session that revolves around the five keys of emotional intelligence: Self-perception, Self-expression, Interpersonal, Decision making and Stress management. For more information about this and other EQ-HR workshops, click here.

Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary Events
Praxis: Lifelong Education for Faith and Practice - Online Continuing and Community Education - Spring Term begins January 18, 2016

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

Did you know that Minnesota has a solar resource similar to many southern states, yet we import the sources of 85% of our electricity? Thanks to the work of groups like Minnesota-based Fresh Energy (, Minnesota passed a new solar energy standard that will cause a 30-fold increase in solar energy generation over the next six years. This will enable both individual and community solar projects to proceed with far fewer hoops to jump through.

Story Starter 
Question of the Week

What gets you into the "Christmas spirit"?