Northeastern Minnesota Synod
Online Reflections
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week of January 17, 2016  
Bishop Aitken's Reflections

On Saturday, February 27, from 9:30-11:00, First Lutheran in Duluth is hosting the Rev. Robin Brown, Asst. Director of ELCA World Hunger and Disaster Appeal for a special event. Many thanks to Pr. Greg Garmer and the people of First for hosting this event that is free and open to all in the conference, lay and clergy alike. We hope you and others from your congregation can attend.
Most will probably not need a primer on ELCA Hunger and Disaster relief - in fact several pastors just had a good review at our monthly conference gathering in December. Robin's 2.0 presentation will take participants to a deeper level, focusing mainly on what projects and programs are being conducted currently through the ELCA in hunger and disaster work and how our gifts make a difference - specifically in regard to the refugee crisis in Europe, Syria, and North Africa.
This is a rare opportunity for us to have an ELCA representative from Chicago with whom we can converse and learn first-hand how we as a church are participating in hunger and disaster relief around the world today.
Please share this opportunity with your congregations through your bulletin and newsletter announcements in the coming weeks. Hope to see you there!
+Bishop Thomas M. Aitken
Northeastern Minnesota Synod, ELCA
Peace Not Walls
NE MN Synod Young Adults Justice Pilgrimage to the Holy Land
July 7-17, 2016

Going to the Holy Land has been one of the most significant experiences of my life.  Walking the streets in Jerusalem, Bethlehem, the Old City, the West Bank, places where Jesus himself walked, and conversations with the average person in Palestine and Israel, as well as with our own Lutheran sisters and brothers there gave me perspective I'd never had before. Some of you know this because I couldn't help but include many experiences in my sermons over the past few years.
I want to lift up this Young Adult Trip (for ages 18-30ish) and encourage you to sign up with our own former YAGM (ELCA's ministry of Young Adults in Global Mission) Laura Mills Anderson and her husband Bjorn. This couple will help you both experience the beauty and the challenges of Palestine and Israel and will focus on peace and justice, worship and conversations with local people. This is a Pilgrimage - one that will be move beyond merely "sightseeing" and "tourism." It will be powerfully spiritual and deeply meaningful to your own life as you discern how faith, love, peace and justice belong together. It will renew your faith and enlarge your understanding of God's love for all people.
+Bishop Thomas M. Aitken

For more information, click on the links below. Questions may be directed to Laura or Bjorn Anderson at

Informational Flyer

Application Form

Football Playoffs & Call Processes
Brenda Tibbetts
Assistant to the Bishop

It struck me last Sunday as I watched the Vikings' dream of advancing in the playoffs "go left", that the Call Process has many similarities with the game of football. Every congregation dreams of winning it big with their Candidate of Choice! But there is a lot of yardage that needs to be covered before they get to that point.
Rostered Leaders submit a form called an RLP (Rostered Leader Profile). The Call Committee submits a form called the MSP (Ministry Site Profile.) Each of those forms list 5 Top Priorities and 5 Top Strengths/Skills. My job, as the NEMN Synod's Call Process Administrator, is to read through the MSPs and RLPs matching up priorities and strengths between potential candidates and congregations. It is my responsibility to coach the Call Committees as well as the Candidates encouraging all to be in prayerful discernment as well as conversation with each other. Not all five priorities need to be matched to have a good match. It is also my responsibility to follow through with background checks when a Candidate of Choice is named.
Companion Synod Corner
January 17, 2016 - India
Brenda Wagner
In 1865 a German Lutheran missionary named August Mylius traveled to the southeastern part of India, the part that is now southern Andhra Pradesh, to share the Gospel. Just a couple months ago, 150 years after Mylius took a 6-month journey to reach that area, Mark and I traveled 20+ hours by air to reach the very same area. We traveled as guests of the South Andhra Lutheran Church and representatives of Northeastern Minnesota Synod for the celebration of their 150th Anniversary. During the time we spent with our Lutheran brothers and sisters in south Andhra Pradesh, I pondered how amazed August Mylius would have been to see the fruits of his labors 150 years later as men, women, and children filled the pews and raised their voices in song.
Mark and I were overwhelmed by the incredible hospitality and welcome we received at the Lutheran churches we visited. Southern India has a tradition of honoring guests with the draping of a shawl and a garland of flowers. The smell of jasmine and roses from the garlands filled the air as we listened to speeches, worshiped together, talked and laughed, met old friends and new, brought greetings and gifts from northern Minnesota, shared stories, sang hymns, shared meals, and drank many tiny cups of hot milky tea, the Indian version of the ubiquitous Minnesota Lutheran cups of coffee. It was surreal to be in a setting that was in so many ways very foreign and yet in others so very familiar.

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.

Cardia Deo Logo
Cardia Deo
March 4-6, 2016 - Big Sandy Camp, McGregor
Cardia Deo is a retreat for high school youth in grades 9-12 and their adult leaders. As Christians, we are Called, Gathered, Equipped and Sent to be the Heart of God (Cardia Deo) in the world. Bible Studies led by the LYO Board, servant learning, worship, mystery event, camp life, and an adult track led by the retreat chaplain all make this event a deeply meaningful, fun and faith-nurturing event.
Registration is open! Early-bird registration deadline is February 1st. For more information and registration forms:

EcoFaith Youth Camp
June 26-30, 2016 - Duluth, MN
Do you have high school youth interested in exploring the intersection between environmental, economic, and racial justice in a faith context? The NE MN Synod, in partnership with the NE MN Synod Creation Care Task Force and Peace United Church of Christ, invites you to be part of a new opportunity this summer.
The EcoFaith Youth Camp - This week-long day camp will begin on Sunday, June 26 and will end on Thursday, June 30. Our week will be spent exploring our role as God's people and understanding our call to care for all of God's creation and people. Throughout the week we will be in conversations with local indigenous communities and local farmers, learn the history and story of the St. Louis River, and explore the complexities of our food systems. Our week will also involve one night of camping, a morning of canoeing, and time to learn, play and grow together!
More information can be found at

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

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 at 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  
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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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