Northeastern Minnesota Synod
Online Reflections
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week of February 7, 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.
  • Mr. Robert Jalonen, AiM, retired in Ely
  • Pastor Paul Jensen, retired in Pequot Lakes
  • Pastor Daniel Johns, retired in Tower
  • Pastor Bernard Johnson, retired in Maple Grove
  • Pastor Larry Johnson, retired in Hinckley
Bishop's Online Reflections

Lifting up Lutheran Reformation Principals
As we move toward the 500th Observance in 2017
One of the reasons we can be proud of our Lutheran heritage is that Martin Luther was no slouch when it came to biblical and theological training. He was a passionate learner and demanded that students had rigorous teaching as well as faith commitment when it came to positions of leadership in the church. Lutherans come from a heart-set of grace and a high bar when it comes to theological and Biblical education. 
The Region 3 Lay Preacher and Worship Leader Training program that some of us were on the ground floor of creating offers education and formation for lay leaders who are selected by their pastors and Bishop (not self-selected like the School of Lay Ministry) to serve in pulpit supply, as occasional worship leaders, and in some cases as Synodically Authorized Ministers (SAMS are always appointed and for a year at time by their Bishop). This program is administrated by the Region 3 Coordinator, the Rev. Dr. Paul Baglyos in consultation with the nine bishops of our region and answers the need for accountable and theologically trained lay leaders. Congregations invest in the cost of their training.
A range of six courses taught by pastors in Region 3 cover aspects of preaching, Bible, Lutheran Confessions, church administration, pastoral care and worship as they relate to the particular responsibilities of those who are selected. One of our pastors, Rev. Marty Hancer taught the preaching course last year. The courses are taught at Joy Ranch in Watertown, South Dakota in a retreat setting. I have tapped a number of our synod folks who have attended several of these courses. I am encouraged by the results.
+Bishop Aitken
Parochial Reports & The Call Process

It is that time of year again. The time when the reminders to "Submit your congregations' Parochial Reports" come out. While these reports may take some time to fill out (and now the process goes much quicker than it did in the "old days"), these reports filled with congregational statistics: of baptisms, confirmations, deaths, membership transfers, average worship attendance along with mission support and asset information, are vital for the Call Process.
When a pastor announces the decision to resign a call, our synod office has already been notified in advance. The information from these reports enable us to begin some preliminary work for searching out and lining up an appropriate Intentional Interim with a minimal amount of vacancy time. These reports will greatly assist your Transition Team and your Call Committee's work as they fill out the Ministry Site Profile (MSP) in preparation for interviewing pastoral or rostered leader candidates.
It may be hard to believe but we do have some congregations in our synod which have not filled out a Parochial Report for a number of years. If your pastor, SAM or other called or appointed leader has not filled one out for your congregation, I want to encourage you to strongly encourage them do so! Take a look at 2015. Use what statistics you have in an honest fashion. Be sure to keep a hard copy on file. It is not too late to start submitting an annual report but we do need them submitted as soon as possible.
The Parochial Report really is a valuable tool for the Call Process. A record of your congregation's or parish's average worship attendance, offerings received, mission support sent out assists in determining the staffing needs for your congregation. Without this important information, your Call Process may take longer than normal as you scramble to come up with the necessary information.
In addition to the importance of turning in Parochial Reports for the Call Process, Pastors and other Rostered Leaders are also expected to turn in an annual confidential report to the Bishop. These annual reports enable our Bishop to serve as the Pastor's and Rostered Leader's pastor. The financial compensation information also serves as a tool when the rostered leader discerns it is time to fill out their RLP (Rostered Leader Profile) in search of a new call.
The Parochial Report serves as a valuable tool for the lead pastor when they have resigned their call as they need to "sign off" that the membership list is in order before they leave.
Thank you to all the congregations that faithfully submit your Parochial Reports year after year.  We look forward to receiving the "new" Parochial Report if you are from a congregation that has lapsed in filling them out. You can do it!
We are all about God's grace. We are church together and together we journey into Lent, reminded of why we walk together as a synod, why we reach out in service to our neighbor and the world, why we work together in a spirit of love - as we follow our Lord Jesus Christ's journey to the cross, the grave and the empty tomb. God's grace and peace be with you all.
Brenda Tibbetts
Assistant to the Bishop
Year-End Report Time!

Annual Rostered Leaders to the Bishop

Synod Nominating Committee
Nominations requested for Synod Council and Committee on Discipline. See form below for details.

Congregation/Parochial Report
Congregation ID and Password are found on the paper form sent by the ELCA

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?"

Foundations of Faith Community Nursing Preparation Course

The Parish Nurse Ministry Program of Concordia College in Moorhead, MN is offering a foundations of faith community nurse/parish nurse course February 22- 26, 2016 (deadline is February 5th) at Luther Seminary in St. Paul, MN. Based on the 2014 IPNRC curriculum, the program topics include: the role of the faith community nurse, biblical healing and the Church's ministry, spiritual care, integrating faith and health, health promotion, and working with persons experiencing issues across the lifespan. In addition, there is a pastor/nurse panel, mentoring session, Service of Healing, and Service of Dedication.
The program cost is $525 (includes a manual and most meals for the week!) Lodging is available for an additional cost at Luther Seminary. It is open to registered nurses interested in starting health and healing ministries. Please see our website to locate resources, the site For additional information, please email Dr. Jean Bokinskie, RN, PhD, PNM Program Director, at [email protected] or call 218-299-3825.
The Arrowhead Parish Nurse Association (located in Duluth andserves the 7 county NE MN Region)has Scholarships Available for those RN'swho wish to complete this health ministry to provide this for his/her congregation - Contact Pam Franklin if you would be interested in this opportunity. 218-722-5451 (church office number)/ 218-310-0613 (cell)

LYO Board Applications
Open to youth currently in grades 9-11
Applications Due February 15, 2016
The LYO Board is a leadership development opportunity for youth and adults who are already leaders in their congregations, and are ready for that next step of leading on a larger and deeper level with more responsibility and opportunities to share their faith. The LYO Board has HIGH expectations of its members, and requires full participation in its training camp, meetings and events. Why? The synod relies on the LYO to provide quality, faith-filled events for 1,000 middle school youth and 200 high school youth each year - it's a big responsibility!
For job descriptions and expectations, meeting dates, and application forms, visit  Applications and recommendation forms are due February 15, 2016!
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. 
It's not too late to register! 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

The Gustavus Academy for Faith, Science, and Ethics. June 24-30, 2016
You know our youth are hungering for conversations that take science and faith seriously. The Gustavus Academy is limited to 45 outstanding high school students who will be selected this spring through an application process. I ask for your help in two key ways: a) please spread the word of this opportunity to the youth in your synod and b) please take a moment before February 8 to nominate a couple of outstanding students. All students nominated will receive a letter from us inviting their application.  Please see the below email for more information and to nominate your students today. The deadline for students to apply to the Gustavus Academy is February 29. Some scholarship funds are available to help youth who might need assistance with transportation expenses. 
Quilts and the Marketplace Donations Requested for Synod Assembly

At Synod Assembly each year, congregations are given an opportunity to help support World Hunger by donating quilts and other handcrafted or donated items for the Marketplace. Consider the possibilities. What could you donate? Who could you ask to donate a quilt or something for the Marketplace this year? We all know people who create wonderful things that they would be willing to share. Ask them! Are there quilters in your congregation who enjoy making beautiful quilts? Ask them! And be thinking about what you could donate yourself. 

Suggestions for the Marketplace could be woven items like placemats or towels, pottery items, liturgical items like stoles, embroidered dish towels, gift baskets with themes (baby, babysitting, movie night, coffee lovers, chocolate lovers, etc.) baptismal blankets and gowns, canoe paddles, experiences such as dinner for 6, retreats, a spa day, a message, - and the list can go on and on. What can you think of to donate for World Hunger? 

Bring your donation to Synod Assembly at Breezy Point Resort on April 29. Come and shop on Saturday, April 30, even if you are not a voting member. Invite your friends to come with you. Come and support World Hunger. 

Assembly Quarters
Special collections that are taken for world hunger can be brought for the "Quarter Collection" (in check form) to the Assembly.
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

Bulletin Board

Sunday, February 14, 2016 - 10:00 am & 1:30 p.m.
Messiah Lutheran Church ELCA - Mountain Iron, Minnesota

NE MN Synod LMM Men's Retreat
Friday & Saturday, April 1 & 2, 2016
Bethlehem Lutheran, Brainerd, MN
Speakers: Rev. Dr. Paul Nelson & Dr. David Cherwien

Antiphons for Lent
Psalm antiphons for the seven Sundays in Lent, plus Maundy Thursday, are available from David Tryggestad, free of charge. Lovely, lyrical, and accessible for the congregation. Contact him at [email protected]

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

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NE MN Synod 
Creation Care Team 
Green Tip of the Week

Biofuels can provide a clean, low-carbon alternative to fossil fuels if they are produced from the right resources at an appropriate scale.  While using food crops such as corn, sugar, or vegetable oil for fuel accelerates the expansion of agriculture into tropical areas, driving deforestation that releases a huge amount of heat-trapping carbon into the atmosphere, non-food energy crops can avoid these problems.  Visit to learn how perennial grasses require less fertilizer and pesticide than food crops, and can store more carbon in the soil.

Story Starter 
Question of the Week

What is a time you have felt your community gathered together?