Northeastern Minnesota Synod
Online Reflections
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week of February 14, 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.
  • Upper St. Croix Parish, Granstburg WI and Pastor Kristin Johnson
  • Pastor Noah Johnson, On Leave from Call in Nashville, TN
  • Bethlehem Lutheran, Two Harbors, and Pastor Brendan Johnston
  • Salem Lutheran, Longville and Pastor Trisha Jorgensen
  • Pastor Jack Koch, retired in Pine City
Bishop's Online Reflections

Reformed and Reforming
A Dialog with the Rev. Dr. Henry French
The Rev. Dr. Henry (Hank) French - interim pastor in our synod and teaching theologian in our church, has agreed to engage me in questions about Luther, the Reformation, and its importance for the church today. You are welcome to join in our questions and conversation which will be ongoing  at 
Bishop Tom
Hank, in an age of the "nones" and "dones" - those who claim to be spiritual but not religious, and those who are "done" with church - what might be two or three things you see as being vital for Lutheran Christians to talk and think about with regard to Martin Luther and the Reformation that began this church?
Bishop Tom, thanks for starting the conversation with a question that gets at the heart of the ennui facing the contemporary church-the boredom and sense of irrelevance that so many feel towards institutional religion. Let me join the conversation with what might, at first glance, seem a strange response-I think it is vital that we think and talk about "incurvature." 

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?"

Companion Synod Corner

NE MN Synod and Iglesia Cristiana Luterana de Honduras
Companions in Mission
In October 2010 Bishop Tom Aitken and Pastor-President Martin Giron signed the official Companion Synod document in Tegucigalpa, Honduras. This agreement was then ratified in May 2011 when a delegation from Honduras was hosted at the Northeastern Minnesota Synod Assembly. Our mission together with the Lutheran Church in Honduras is based upon the principles of accompaniment: mutuality, transparency and sustainability. It has been a delight to experience the growth of this shared mission over the years. We are privileged to be invited into the soul of this beautiful country, which is currently one of the most violent and impoverished in the world. Our Synod is humbled to receive profound gifts from our brothers and sisters in Honduras: the example of faith shown in worship and mission in extremely challenging circumstances; sharing in a powerful model of lay ministry; and participating in an integrated wholistic expression of ministry that touches spiritual, social, health and justice concerns.

From the beginning of our partnership the top priority of our accompaniment with ICLH has been the spiritual strengthening of their leaders. To this end we send teams to Honduras twice a year (usually in May and October) to share in a spiritual nourishment workshop for leaders, visit each of the 12 worshiping communities of ICLH, and join in pastoral care within those communities. We also are blessed to support a kindergarten ministry in the village of La Canada that educates the children, equips and trains the mothers and families of the students and enhances the nutrition of the families. We also provide resources for the distribution of water filters as an expression of the full health ministry of these communities. Our Synod has been blessed to welcome visitors from ICLH in 2011 and 2015.

You are invited to be involved in this ministry by:
  1. Praying for the communities and mission of ICLH
  2. Supporting this accompaniment through financial gifts large and small
  3. Traveling to Honduras on one of our teams
Thank you for your wonderful support of our Companion Synod relationship with Honduras through the years. We are excited by what God is doing through this partnership!
Your Synod Honduras Leadership Team

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. 
Camping & Retreat Opportunities at Luther Crest

Elementary Retreat "UNLOCKED!"
March 18-20
Junior High Retreat "UNLOCKED!"
April 1-3
Creative Retreat
March 18-20
Youth and Family Ministry Training
with Vibrant Faith!
May 1 - 6
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

Job Opportunities with ELCA Churchwide

Associate Director for Philanthropy for the Fund for Leaders
This position increases the financial support for Fund for Leaders through major and transformational gifts. Working in a team effort and consulting with key leaders, its focus is on strengthening giving to the work of building ELCA Seminary Scholarships and the Endowment for that purpose through the ELCA.
This position could be a deployed position with the professional working from his/her home office, and may not require relocation to Chicago. The position requires up to 60-70% travel.
Download the Position Profile:
Applications and inquiries may be directed, in confidence, to Gaye Lindfors: 651-490-9550; [email protected].
Manager for Donor Relations for the ELCA Campaign
This position secures gift revenue in support of the priority fundraising objectives of the ELCA as outlined in its case statement for Always Being Made New: The Campaign for the ELCA. It is responsible for identifying, cultivating and soliciting individuals with capacity for leadership gifts to the ministries of the ELCA, and will maintain a portfolio of major donor prospects.
This position could be a deployed position with the professional working from his/her home office, and may not require relocation to Chicago. The position requires up to 60-70% travel.
Download the Position Profile:
Applications and inquiries may be directed, in confidence, to Gaye Lindfors: 651-490-9550; [email protected]
Bulletin Board

Lutheran Social Service Sunday
Looking for ways to serve those in your community and throughout Minnesota? Host a Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota Sunday in your congregation!  150 years ago, LSS of MN began when one small community of faithful believers saw a need and acted in love. As we launches into our next 150 years of service, LSS of MN is looking to spread the word in churches about the work we do throughout the state. We would love to provide you with materials to share about services we provide, or if you would rather an LSS of MN staff member present at your church, we would be happy to join you! Email [email protected] or call 651-969-2334 to request a speaker or with any questions you may have. Thank you for your partnership!

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]

Theological Director Position Available
Lutheran Braille Evangelism Association seeks a Theological Director to team with our newly called Executive Director to lead the transition, continuation, and growth of this 63-year-old ministry for blind and sight impaired individuals.  Responsibilities include producing a monthly devotional magazine and other communications, developing and distributing biblical and catechetical resources, maintaining financial records, encouraging donations, and providing new direction in which the ministry might grow.  This is a part-time position.  A theological degree is preferred but not required.  We encourage interested parties to explore our website,, and respond via email to [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

Latest Youth E-Chat
NE MN Synod 
Creation Care Team 
Green Tip of the Week

The Clean Air Act of 1970 has saved millions of lives and protected rivers, lakes and forests from untold damage.  Since the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) began implementing the Clean Air Act, emissions have dropped by 55%, while the economy has more than tripled.

Story Starter 
Question of the Week

How does your congregation serve your community?