Northeastern Minnesota Synod
Online Reflections
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week of January 10, 2016  
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.
  • Our Savior's Lutheran, Bena and Deloris Hillstrom, SAM
  • Hope Lutheran, Moose Lake and Wendy Hjelmberg, AiM
  • Pastor Cynthia Hjerpe, On Leave From Call
  • Pastor Erik Holleque, retired in Shoreview
  • Our thoughts and prayers are with Pr. Dennis Paulson, (retired, Duluth) in the death of his mother Mille Lowe who died December 19, 2015 
Bishop Aitken's Reflections

I am so pleased to introduce to you our new Office Support/ Communication Staff member, Tammy Segel-Crilly. Tammy joined our staff last week and will be getting to know you in the months ahead. She is married to David and they have three children: Ryan, Donna and Kaitlyn (The girls are identical twins!) The Crilly household also has 3 cats. Tammy is a member at Immanuel Lutheran in Proctor and serves as their Secretary and Website Administrator. In addition, she has served six years on Council there and has been a voting member to our Synod Assemblies. She brings considerable experience to the office in terms of communications and social media and will be re-working our Synod Web Site among other responsibilities.
If you get a chance, come in and meet Tammy!

Online Evangelical Mission
Evangelical Mission
New members and new pastors in a congregation realize very quickly how much we live in a culture of assumption. By that I mean, we (the people who are already involved in the congregation) assume that everyone else (including visitors and new members, staff, and pastors) know - or should know - what we do and how we do it.
This is why we don't print things out in the bulletin but simply expect people to know when to sit, stand, kneel, clap, etc. This is why we use acronyms like WELCA, LCM, VLM, and LWR without any explanation. This is why we read bulletin announcements that say things like: "Talk to me if you want to volunteer for the food shelf ..." where the "me" is never named because you should just know who is in charge of the food shelf!
Being still relatively new in my work, I encounter this a lot. In a recent discussion, someone mentioned the MIF. Thankfully, I had already figured out what MIF stands for: Mission Investment Fund. But I realized, even though I knew what MIF is, I wasn't totally sure what the MIF does! I am passing on this really helpful explanation with frequently asked questions about the Mission Investment Fund of the ELCA so you can learn more about this ministry of our church and share it with members and leaders in your congregation and ministry.
Click here for information about MIF Capital Campaign Services.
Pastor John Dietz
Assistant to the Bishop
Director for Evangelical Mission
Introducing! Companion Synod Corner
There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to the one hope of your calling, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is above all and through all and in all.
Ephesians 4:4-6
What is a Companion Synod?
The church bodies that merged together to form the ELCA had always had strong ties to global mission in various countries. When the ELCA was formed, this emphasis on global mission was strengthened in new ways and the Companion Synod program was established. Companion synod relationships are a concrete expression of the body of Christ. For this reason, ELCA Global Mission continues to support, nurture and strengthen relationships between ELCA synods and international companions, using the accompaniment model for mission. This global perspective and companionship enlarges the world views of all the participants. Global connections help us see the world's challenges in a new way and examine our own problems and joys through new eyes. These connections also strengthen God's mission in the world as we walk side by side in faith.
Do all ELCA synods have Companion Synods?
All 65 ELCA synods participate in at least one companion synod relationship. Because many synods have more than one relationship, more than 120 companion synod relationships exist. The Northeastern Minnesota Synod has three companions: the Ingrian Lutheran Church of Russia, the Lutheran Church of Honduras, and the South Andhra Lutheran Church of India.
What do we do with Russia? Honduras? India?
Companion Synod relationships are built on the principle of ACCOMPANIMENT. The primary goal of accompaniment is building relationships. Companions may choose to work together on projects, but these follow relationship. Accompaniment is about walking together in a solidarity that practices interdependence, respect, and mutuality. For more about the principle of accompaniment, go to
What's Companion Synod Corner?
Each month in our Online Reflections, there will be a feature article about one of our Companion Synods. Folks from our congregations have been to Russia, Honduras, and India and are eager to share their stories with you. If you would like to learn more about the Companion Synods, upcoming trips, or would like to arrange a speaker on one of our Companions for your congregation, WELCA group, youth group, or other gathering, contact Brenda Wagner at or 218-341-1831 and she will put you in touch with the right person! And be watching next week's Online Reflections for our first Companion Synod Corner.
"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

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.
Celebration of Service & Retirement!
Thank you to all who attended my farewell/retirement party last Sunday and for the many cards, emails, and Facebook messages I've received. Your words have spoken volumes of the amazing people I have had the privilege of working with over the years. What began as a job certainly evolved into a call to serve God and our synod. My faith has grown and flourished over the years as have I. I thank you and pray God's blessings on you.

Marilyn Hull

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.

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,

I invite you to the Grace Gathering to be held in partnership with the 2016 ELCA Churchwide Assembly in New Orleans Aug. 10-13. Grace Gathering will bring people together from across the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. Participants will see the church in action, worship with Churchwide Assembly voting members, engage in experiential learning, and attend a variety of workshops that will equip congregations and synods with tools to prepare for the 500th anniversary of the Reformation in 2017.

And, you know that when you get a couple thousand Lutherans together the singing will be great!
As a synod bishop, I was always delighted by the wonder and excitement of first-time synod assembly attendees. People were happily surprised by the scope of the work we do as the ELCA. They found the worship inspiring and were energized by being around so many other Lutherans. So I thought, why not make it possible for people to have the same kind of experience at a churchwide assembly.

The partnership of the Grace Gathering and the 2016 Churchwide Assembly will provide a place for all members to prepare for the Reformation anniversary - which is an opportunity to rejoice in the life-giving, liberating power of the gospel - by connecting, reflecting on and discovering ways the Reformation continues to guide us today.

Registration for the Grace Gathering opens today. Learn more and register at

I hope to see you there!

God's blessings,

Rev. Elizabeth Eaton
Presiding Bishop

Grace Gathering Invitation
Grace Gathering Invitation

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
Notice of Death

Rev. Chester E. Hoversten, former member of our synod and pastor of Trinity Lutheran, Brainerd, passed away Monday morning, November 16, 2015, at Three Links Care Center in Northfield at the age of 93. A service to celebrate Chester's life was held November 21, 2015, at St. John's Lutheran Church, 500 W. 3rd Street in Northfield, Mn.
Pastor Hoversten accepted his first call to start a mission congregation in Russellville (Portland) Oregon. He subsequently served parishes at Moose Lake (6yrs.), Barnesville (6yrs.), and Brainerd (24 yrs.), all in Minnesota
Bulletin Board

Full-time Organist Position
French River Lutheran Church is seeking a dynamic, enthusiastic person to fill our full-time organist position. Please contact Sue at 218.525.5659 or for more information. FRLC is located at 5310 Ryan Road between Two Harbors and Duluth, MN.

Part-time Organist Position
Concordia Lutheran, Duluth is seeking a part-time organist. Please contact the church office a t 218-728-4229 or 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. 

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

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NE MN Synod 
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Green Tip of the Week

Take Control of Office Equipment - Explore tips on leasing, recycling, and manufacturer take-back programs to keep your equipment waste costs down.

Story Starter 
Question of the Week

What ministry in your congregation excites you the most?