Northeastern Minnesota Synod
Online Reflections
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week of January 31, 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.
  • Trinity Lutheran, Brainerd, and Pastor David Holte, Pastor Hans Anderson, and Jordan Gades, intern.
  • Kenwood Lutheran, Duluth and Pastor Jeffrey Holter
  • Pastor Bill Ingvoldstad, retired in Nisswa
  • Emmanuel Lutheran, Two Harbors, and Pastor Scott Jacob
The Reverend Norbert Mokros
Reverend Mokros passed away Monday, January 25, 2016 at St. Mary's Hospital in Duluth. He served as Pastor at Concordia Lutheran in Duluth for a short time. He then served as Chaplain and Director (1969) to the Twin Ports Ministry to Seafarers. He retired in 2011.
A complete obituary and other information will be posted when available.
Eternal rest, grant him, O Lord!

Bishop's Online Reflections

Out and About Our Synod
Yesterday I preached and did a Forum with a congregation that is in transition between pastors. These folks were truly welcoming - just as I found them in previous preaching occasions. Ironically, I found them doing great ministry with New Pathways, an organization that helps families who are in transition themselves between job and homes. New Pathways partners with area congregations so that families with children will have a safe place to stay at night. During the day the families go to work, school or to the New Pathways family day centers where they work on their plan to get back into a home of their own. Three members independently of each other came up to me during coffee and told me the same thing: "Bishop this ministry to families is good for us - not just them!"
How true it is that following our Lord in his work of preaching good news to the poor, setting the captives free and announcing the year of the Lord's favor is not some sort of new law that we must begrudgingly obey, but the very nature of the "good life" and "abundant life" that Jesus offers each and every one of us. It reminds me of his other saying, "Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me: For I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light."
Live into the good life - the life of our Lord - this week.
+Bishop Aitken

Seminarian Debt Relief Fund Eligibility
For new leaders who have graduated from a Lutheran seminary and are serving in the Northeastern Minnesota Synod of the ELCA. This would include musicians and youth workers with advanced degrees as well as rostered leaders.
This fund ($20,000 as of February 2015) is to be utilized to help individuals who have amassed a large debt at seminary and who receive a call or who are serving in the synod. Individuals may apply yearly up to four years.
  1. Individuals who are serving in a congregation or specialized call in the Northeastern Minnesota Synod and who are no more than six years past their graduation date, including pastors, associates in ministry, deaconesses, diaconal ministers, youth workers, and musicians with advanced degrees from a Lutheran seminary.
  2. Individuals may apply annually for up to four years.
  3. Individuals must be serving in the synod when receiving the funds.
  4. Debt must be incurred while in seminary.
  5. The synod council of the Northeastern Minnesota Synod will make the determination of allocations at the September council meeting.
  6. Application deadline is August 1, 2016. Applications are available from the synod office or online at
  1. Recipients will be anonymous, but the number of individuals receiving funds will be published each year.
  2. Fifty percent (50%) of the available funds will be allocated equally amongst the number of applicants in a given year.
  3. Funds will be dispersed directly to the financial institution to which the debt is owed.
Seminarian Debt Relief Eligibility 2016
Seminarian Debt Relief Application 2016

2016 Bishop's Convocation

Lutherans: Reformed and Reforming - an educational offering for the entire Northeastern Minnesota Synod as we gear up to the 500th Anniversary of the Lutheran Reformation.

There will be two identical opportunities to attend this year's Bishop's Convocation:

Saturday, April 2, 2016 from 1-4 pm 
at Our Savior's Lutheran Church, Hibbing
Sunday, April 3, 2016 from 2-5 pm 
at First Lutheran Church, Aitkin

Keynote Speaker: Bishop David Zellmer, South Dakota Synod
"How the Heck Did We Get to the Reformation?"

malaria campaign
ELCA Malaria Campaign Farewell Letter
Dear readers,

When the ELCA Malaria Campaign was launched to the whole church in 2011, 2015 was a distant, far-off year and difficult to imagine. $15 million was a goal that seemed just as far away. It's hard to believe that 2016 is here, and that we have successfully reached the other side of both of those goals. Now, 2015 is a memory and $15 million is a milestone that we celebrated months ago!
It all seemed to pass by quickly, but we know that in between the campaign's start and the campaign's end was a lot of hard work by a lot of dedicated people.  There were many things that we enjoyed about working on the ELCA Malaria Campaign, but seeing the creative, meaningful response of ELCA congregations ranks high on the list. Watching the support from the ELCA grow and the number of malaria deaths fall has been an amazing thing to witness. And we know that ELCA Lutherans were not the only ones working hard against the scourge of malaria. Across the ocean, our Lutheran companions in Africa were implementing prevention, education, treatment and sustainable livelihoods programs because of the direct support of the ELCA.

Click Here to continue reading...

Hunger/Justice Committee Report

Always Being Made New
2016, the Year of Hunger Emphasis
The Synod Hunger Committee invites all congregations to lift up hunger as an emphasis this year of 2016.  Beginning with Lent, ELCA World Hunger is making available many additional resources to bring the urgency of poverty before us.  The goal is to raise $2 million during Lent.
Register for "40 Days of Giving" at  Participating congregations will receive 40 day Lenten devotionals along with a study guide and a devotion-of-the-day e-newsletter.
Valentines are available from ELCA World Hunger using the theme of pigs, bees and seedlings.  And of course, there will be the emphasis on "Buck a Chick" during Easter. 
It's Not Too Early - Assembly Marketplace & Quarters
It's not too early to encourage quilters and crafters to make items for the Synod Assembly Silent Auction to benefit World Hunger.  Also, any special collections that are taken for world hunger can be brought for the "Quarter Collection" (in check form) to the Assembly.

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

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
Bulletin Board

Luther Seminary Kairos Courses
Are you hungry to learn, dig into scripture, engage in lively and deep faith discussions as well as meet some wonderful people who enjoy learning?  If so, you might like to try a Life-Long Learning Session at Luther Seminary.  
Plans are now set for the March 7-8 School for Lay Ministry/Life-Long Learning program at Luther Seminary. The classes are open to any who enjoy learning.  You do not need to be enrolled in the Northeastern MN Synod School of Lay Ministry to register for these classes. Topics include:  "Corinthians - What in the world was going on inthat church?" w/Dr. Sarah Henrich, Professor Emeritus of New Testament; and "Faith and Firearms" w/Dr. Michael Chan, Assistant Professor of Old Testament. Tuition:  $70 
Class times:  Monday, 12:30-5:45 pm Tuesday, 8 am-2:45 pm
FYI:  There are some congregations who have brought high school students to this event in the past and plan to bring some youth again this year.  Rostered Leaders please note that Dr. Chan will be our keynote speaker speaking on a variation of this topic for the 2016 Fall Theological Conference.
For more information or to register online:

Peace Not Walls 
NE MN Synod Young Adults Justice Pilgrimage to the Holy Land
July 7-17, 2016
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. For more information, click on the links below. Questions may be directed to Laura or Bjorn Anderson at 
Informational Flyer
Application Form

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 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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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

Fresh Energy, a Minnesota-based group formed 23 years ago, consisting of a diverse group of academic, business, policy, and nonprofit leaders, has played a leading role in the successful passage of dozens of local, state, regional, and national energy policies.  As a result, five coal-burning power plant units in Minnesota are slated for retirement, clearing the path for an energy system that is good for our economy and our children.  Visit for more information.

Story Starter 
Question of the Week

What is your favorite hang-out spot in your community?