Northeastern Minnesota Synod
Online Reflections
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week of December 27, 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.
  • Trinity Lutheran, Princeton and Pastor Marty Hancer
  • Pastor Richard Hane, retired in Duluth
  • Trinity Lutheran, Cook and Pastor Bruce Hannem
  • Pastor John Hanson, retired in Bigford
  • Bethlehem Lutheran, Askov, and Pastor Debra Hanson-Carlson
Bishop Winter Pastoral Letter

As we approach the Holy Season of Christmas, I commend you for your faithfulness this past year and share an understanding of ourselves as our Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton likes to frame it:
  1. We are the church We aren't just another service organization; at the center of our life is the one who was born to a peasant family, but who changed the world with love!
  2.  We are Lutheran We have a distinctive voice that is filled with God's overflowing grace and a theology of the cross that sends us out to serve our neighbor.
  3. We are church together We do not live in isolation from each other, but work as congregations together in our synod and wider church to do ministry we could never do alone.
  4. We are church for the sake of the world It's not just about us. We have not been redeemed just so we can sit at home and think wonderful, lovely thoughts about Jesus. From worship we are sent out into the world to introduce people to Jesus and his love.
Events in the Life of Our Synod
Bishop Thomas Aitken
Details about these events will be shared as usual through the weekly Online Reflections. You can sign up for weekly Onlines by going to our synod website:

+ Bishop's Convocation
Lutherans: Reformed and Reforming (open to anyone!) An Educational Offering for the whole synod as we gear up to the 500th Anniversary of the Lutheran Reformation. Keynote speaker is Bishop David Zellmer (South Dakota Synod) who will present: "How the Heck Did We Get Here Anyway?" with workshops on creation care, immigration, the School of Lay Ministry, and Lutheran theology among others.
Two dates - back to back - identical presentations:
     - Saturday, April 2, 2016; 1:00 - 4:00 pm
       at Our Savior's Lutheran Church, Hibbing
     - Sunday, April 3, 2016; 2:00 -5:00 pm
       at First Lutheran Church, Aitkin

+ 2016 Synod Assembly
April 29 - May 1, 2016 at Breezy Point Resort
Theme: "Living Forgiveness"
Keynote Speaker: The Rev. Dr. Anna Madsen
Dr. Madsen is soliciting questions about forgiveness and forgiving ahead of time so that she can present with these practical questions in mind. You may send your questions to Bishop Tom Aitken at [email protected].

 + Bishop's Confirmation Visits
Remember Bishop Aitken is available to come to a cluster of congregations to do a teaching and to anoint confirmands with oil as a sign of Christ's claim on their life. You can call him or the office any time to set up a date for this. Many have chosen to use one of the regular Wednesday nights for this, and invite other congregations to join them.

 + Marilyn Hull's Farewell Party
    Transition in the Synod Office
Remember you are invited to a Farewell Party at our Savior's Lutheran Church in Duluth on Sunday afternoon, January 3, 2016 from 2:00 - 4:00 pm (program at 3:00 pm). At this point we are still taking applications for an office Support Staff person going forward. Contact Bishop Aitken at [email protected] or 218.724.4424.

 + "Renewing the Promise"
The Renewing the Promise Task Force has met with ELCA Campaign Director, the Rev. Ron Glusenkamp, and is working on how we can do both the ELCA "Always Being Made New" Campaign right along with our own Mission Partner Campaign "Renewing the Promise" here in the synod. Our synod campaign includes: Companion Synods Honduras, Russia, and India; Lutheran Campus Ministry; Luther Seminary; Seminarian Debt Reduction; School of Lay Ministry; Seafarer's Ministry; Lutheran Advocacy of Minnesota; and MN Council of Churches.  Chair: The Rev. Dennis Paulsen.

+ 500th Anniversary of the Lutheran Reformation
2017 is the 500th Anniversary of the Lutheran Reformation. Check for information. A task force has formed in our synod to help facilitate some ideas for congregations. Look for news in the Online Reflections that come out each week.

 + Nominations
The Synod Nominating Committee is seeking nominations for one synod council position and four positions on the Committee on Discipline. Please distribute information to people in your congregation that you feel might be qualified for these positions. Information was mailed to you recently, or contact the synod office for additional copies.

An Open House in Honor of Marilyn Hull!

Sunday, January 3, 2016
Our Savior's Lutheran Church,
4831 Grand Ave, Duluth

2:00-4:00 pm - Open House with light desserts
3:00 pm - Short Program

Come celebrate Marilyn Hull as she retires from 26 years serving the Northeastern Minnesota Synod!
Your presence is the only gift that is needed. However, if you do wish to honor Marilyn with a gift, she has requested donations be made to the Center for Changing Lives "From Here On" campaign. You can make a donation directly to the LSS website at (there is a place to mark "In Honor of") or send checks to the NE MN Synod, 1105 E Superior St., Upper Suite, Duluth, MN 55804 (mark "In Honor of Marilyn Hull" in the memo line).

$25,870 Grant awarded to the "Laurentian Youth Leadership Project"
Twelve Lutheran churches of the Laurentian Conference of Northeastern Minnesota Synod have been awarded a $25,780 grant from the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America (ELCA) to launch a collaborative and innovative senior high ministry program in the area. This program, the "Laurentian Youth Leadership Project" (LYLP), will foster leadership development for the sake of faith formation by offering ministry and leadership training to high school youth and adult leaders. Students will meet regularly in clusters across the region, initiate and lead service projects, and travel together on faith-filled volunteer and adventure trips.
The charter member congregations of the LYLP are Evangelical Lutheran Church of Babbitt, Faith Lutheran Church of Hoyt Lakes, First Lutheran Church of Hibbing, Gethsemane Lutheran Church of Virginia, Grace Lutheran Church of Ely, Hope Lutheran Church of Embarrass, Messiah Lutheran Church of Mt. Iron, Our Savior's Lutheran Church of Aurora, Our Savior's Lutheran Church of Hibbing, Our Savior's Lutheran Church of Virginia, St. Mark's Lutheran Church of Palo, and United in Christ Lutheran Church of Eveleth. The churches and parishes have each invested $100 into the partnership this year and welcome additional congregations to join the collaboration through a similar contribution.
The LYLP will contract with Lyle Griner of Peer Ministry Leadership ( to work with youth and adult leaders from each congregation throughout the coming year. Through several training sessions and events, youth and adult leaders will learn skills and strategies "to equip, engage and empower young people" so that the youth of our churches and communities will "be active vital participants, sensing meaning and purpose in [their] congregation." (Lyle Griner,
The LYLP also will collaborate with Voyageurs Lutheran Ministry (VLM) and Camp Vermilion to host events and regional "clusters" to continue the conversations and build friendships across congregations.
Each church is invited to identify 2-4 senior high youth leaders from their congregation and 1-2 adult leaders to participate and engage in the trainings and to help lead the LYLP.
Upcoming Events:
  • Sunday, January 10 at 2pm- LYLP Lock-In Planning Session at United in Christ in Eveleth (Both youth and adult leaders are needed!)
  • Sunday, February 14-Monday, February 15 - LYLP Lock-In (Gr. 9-12)
  • Sunday, April 3 - Peer Ministry Training Session (Location TBD)
  • Wednesday, September 14 - Confirmation Kick-Off Event 6:30-8pm at OSLC in Hibbing (Gr. 6-12)
For more information or to get involved, contact LYLP Chairperson Pastor Evelyn Weston at 218-827-2659.

Lutheran Disaster Response -- 
Southern India Flooding

Those of you who view the synod's Facebook page have probably seen pictures of the recent flooding in southern India. Historic amounts of rain have flooded the city of Chennai and the surrounding areas. Chennai is home to 4.3 million people and much of the city lies at or below sea level. The Lutheran seminary in Chennai was also inundated by water, yet the faculty and students are reaching out to their neighbors in need.
A little less than 100 miles northwest of Chennai, the area of our Companion Synod, the South Andhra Lutheran Church, has also been affected by the flooding. Many of the people suffering in southern India are those who are on the margins, those living in inadequate housing ... the poorest of the poor. Lutheran Disaster Response is on the ground helping right now. Your gifts will go to help our Companion Synod and the people in their communities as well as the areas around Chennai. If you would like to help, you can donate through Lutheran Disaster Response of the ELCA. To give online, go to You can also donate via check. Make checks payable to "Lutheran Disaster Response" with the memo "Southern India Flooding". Checks can be sent to the synod office at 1105 East Superior St., Upper Suite, Duluth, MN 55802 or to Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, ELCA Gift Processing Center, P.O. Box 1809, Merrifield, VA 22116-8009. For more information, contact Brenda Wagner at [email protected]

"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
"One of the greatest skills in ministry is taking other people's experience and ideas and making them work in your context.
Stealing and copying is lazy. Stealing and adapting is genius. Learn from Recharge's workshop presenters-steal their ideas-make it work in your ministry.
A vital part of Recharge is the wide variety of workshops available.  You will be equipped, inspired and energized by these relevant, practical workshops. Experienced ministry leaders will share useful and motivational ideas to help you and your team be ready for the challenges of leadership and working with kids.  Some workshops are designed for a specific area of ministry while others will be applicable whether you work with children, youth or families" Click here to register. Registration deadline is January 13th.

February 5-8, 2016 - Anaheim, CA
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.
Bulletin Board

Part-time Organist Position
Concordia Lutheran, Duluth is seeking a part-time organist. Please contact the church office a t 218-728-4229 or [email protected] for more information.

Youth Director Position
Lutheran Church of the Cross (LCC) in Nisswa, MN, is seeking a full-time Director of Youth and Family Ministry to revitalize the ministry to youth in grades 7-12 and their families. We seek someone who has the skills for relational ministry to both youth and their parents. This person will also be part of a team that works on an integrated birth-to-graduation children's and youth ministry structure at LCC. Our congregational mission centering on the six marks of discipleship (prayer, scripture reading, worship, service in Christ's name, stewardship and hospitality will be a central part of all youth and family ministry programming. Most importantly, a love and passion for Christ and youth ministry is essential. The person in this position will work closely with the Director of Children and Family Ministry and Associate Pastor.
For more information or questions, please contact Pastor Andy Smith. Resume can be sent to: Lutheran Church of the Cross, Attn: Pastor Andy Smith, PO Box 29, Nisswa, MN 56468. Deadline is Friday, January 22 or when the position is filled. 

ELCA Good Gifts
Do you ever feel like you're shopping for people who already have everything they need? Or that you want to give and receive something a little more meaningful?  
Rethink the tradition of holiday gift-giving with ELCA Good Gifts. With more than 50 gifts to choose from - from goats and chicks, to clean water and education - there's something for everyone on your list And if you've given ELCA Good Gifts before, you might want to check out some of our new gifts. Might we suggest the latrineGiving is fun and easy. With each donation, we'll send you a free card with information about your gift to help you share the news. Print them online anytime. Please join us in celebrating God's greatest gift by sharing God's love with others. Thanks, and happy shopping. 
Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

Year-End Report Time!
The links are up for the annual reports to the bishop for rostered leaders.
There are two places where these forms can be found.  
Under the second link you need to use the "Synod" tab.

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

If everyone in the U.S. used one less package of paper napkins a year, we'd save a million trees. Make your own cloth napkins from gently worn shirts by cutting out 12-inch fabric squares. Pull out vertical threads with the help of a seam ripper to create a inch fringed border.

Story Starter 
Question of the Week

What is the best toy you ever got for Christmas?