Northeastern Minnesota Synod
Online Reflections
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week of February 21, 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.
  • Bethlehem Lutheran, Proctor, Immanuel Lutheran, Proctor, and Pastor Peter Kowitz
  • Pastor Richard Lafer, retired in Brainerd
  • Pastor Elden Landvik, retired in Duluth
  • Crosslake Lutheran, Crosslake and Pastor Gregory Larsen and Pastor Kristin Oltmann
Bishop's Online Reflections

The Fire at Gloria Dei Lutheran, Duluth MN
As you probably already know, Gloria Dei Lutheran in Duluth had a fire in their building last Thursday morning. It pretty well destroyed the old Gothic Sanctuary and the basement below it. As I walked around the building that morning while firefighters were still there finishing their work, I was able to talk to Gloria Dei's pastor, the Rev. David Carlson. The fire was a devastating blow to him and the congregation, and also to the community Gloria Dei has served so well over the years. At the Prayer Vigil that night, it was overwhelming to see the community come out to pray with us. A church burns and people want to know, what can we do?
  1. We can remember that while God's church is the people, not the building, church buildings play a huge role in allowing for the gospel to be heard, the Sacraments celebrated, and space for ministries of all kinds to be done for the sake of the community. We can remember that many people hold deep and affectionate ties to place; human beings need tangible signs, and the building holds memories of how God's love got communicated to them. So allow for grief and we grieve with those who grieve.
  2. We can pray. There is a holy mystery to prayer that we will never fully understand. We do it out of obedience and love, providing intercessions for Gloria Dei's pastor, David Carlson, its Council, its leaders, its members and the community it serves.
  3. We can encourage Gloria Dei's members into God's future. Notes on Gloria Dei's Face book or hand written ones are powerful at a time like this.
  4. We can also give financially to them via the Donate option on their Website:
Gloria Dei began in 1870, with Swedish Lutheran roots. It started two other Duluth congregations: Lutheran Church of the Good Shepherd and Bethany Lutheran both in Duluth. The Sanctuary that burned was built in 1906 and so has been an historic landmark. Gloria Dei has served its immediate neighbors, the Hillside Community for years - one example of that is the monthly breakfast served for the last ten years. The congregation was in on the ground floor of the 43 year old Ecumenical Ministry called CHUM (Churches United in Ministry) that serves the poor and homeless, a solid supporter of LSS, and also of the Steve O'Neil apartments for low income families. These ministries will continue - that's how the leadership of the congregation expresses their confidence in Christ and the gospel. How proud I am of congregations near and far who have asked how they can help and have offered space for worship. Gloria Dei worshiped at Faith Lutheran, Duluth yesterday. They have opened their church building for Gloria Dei to worship in as long as they need while they sort out options for the future. Leaders are working now with the Insurance Company and Adjuster.
Let us continue to remember them in our prayers, words, and deeds of love. 

+Bishop Aitken

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?"

Topics of 2 Workshop Sessions:
  • Lutherans and Creation Care
  • Lutherans and Immigration
  • Lutheran Teaching at School of Lay Ministry
  • Lutheran Theology: God at work in the world (Led by LYO Youth)
  • ELCA Today: Grounded and Changing
  • The Global Lutheran
  • Lutheran Philosophy at Portico Benefits for Rostered Leaders (Saturday session only)
  • Picture the Reformation: Luther, Cranch and the Power of the Visual
Reproducible Poster

Eventbrite - 2016 Bishop's Convocation

Grace Gathering

The 500th anniversary of the Reformation is an opportunity to rejoice in the life-giving, liberating power of the gospel. As part of the observance, we invite you to attend the Grace Gathering, in partnership with the 2016 ELCA Churchwide Assembly. This will be an opportunity to experience the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) when gathered as the ELCA Churchwide Assembly, prepare for further observances of the 500th anniversary and reflect on how the Reformation can continue to guide us today.

Grace Gathering Invitation
Grace Gathering Invitation

Ready to Retire Webinar

As you inch closer to retirement, you may be feeling overwhelmed. Will my plan hold up over the long haul? How do I put it into action? Are there options I haven't considered? Let's make retirement planning easier by doing it together. Join us for Portico's Ready to Retire webinar, Tuesday, March 8, 1-3 p.m. (CST). And, as a plan member, it's free!)

Click Here to Register!
Synod Creation Care Retreat
April 8-9, 2016 - Camp Hiawatha

"The Next Reformation: Gracefully Engaging Disciples for the Whole Earth," at Camp Hiawatha, from Fri 4:00 pm to Sat 3:00 pm.  The theme of the 4th annual retreat explores creation care in light of: Reformation 2017, the concept of Graceful Engagement, the Marks of Discipleship, and Holistic Systems Thinking. Participants will discover exciting creation care initiatives undertaken by congregations who received grants in 2015, will talk with other congregations practicing earth stewardship, will learn from Lutheran Advocacy MN about state and local decision-making for a more sustainable future, will encounter the 2016 Season of Creation (scriptural & liturgical resources for worship), and understand how to start or strengthen a congregational team to engage an earth-honoring faith in your context. 
Cost of $60 ($30 student) includes lodging, meals, and materials.

World Hunger Fundraising at Synod Assembly

Dear Church Leaders:

Please post the information below in your bulletins and newsletters. Our success in raising funds for ELCA World Hunger during the Synod Assembly is driven by the willingness of creative people in your congregations who are willing to share their talents and gifts. If you are aware of congregation member(s) who are gifted in making hand-crafted items, please make a special effort to invite them to participate.  We are seeking people to make wooden items, doll clothes, table runners, gift baskets, needlework items, home décor items, and more. Sometimes it helps to be identified and encouraged! If you are aware of member(s) who offer unique and in-demand services such as fishing charters, massage, lessons in languages or more, please invite them to participate, too!

Darlene Munneke

Being Creative is Not a Hobby.  It is a Way of Life.
People who are creative are often driven by the joy of their crafts - quilting, woodworking, needle working, and more. Here's a chance for you to bring joy to the world: By sharing your gifts with the Silent Auction held during the Northeastern Minnesota Synod Assembly at Breezy Point Resort, you will help provide funds for ELCA World Hunger efforts!
The Marketplace & Quilt Silent Auction will be held on April 29 to May 1, during our Synod Assembly.
The Silent Auction has become a much-anticipated event in which people can enjoy bidding on beautifully hand-crafted items donated from members of the 138 congregations in the Northeastern Minnesota Synod. All proceeds - 100 percent - will benefit the ELCA World Hunger Appeal.
Are you gifted in making hand-crafted items? We are seeking people to make wooden items, doll clothes, table runners, gift baskets, needlework items, home décor items, quilts and more.  Are you able to provide special services such as fishing charters, massage, language lessons or more?  Donated services are also welcome!
Interested in providing crafts or services? Contact Pastor Sandy Berg-Holte ( or Dorothy Dybvig ( Interested in providing a quilt? Contact Amy Loken, 218-525-3933.

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. 
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;
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;
Bulletin Board

Hand Chimes Wanted
First Lutheran in Brainerd is in need of expanding our Hand chimes. Hand Chimes are different than Hand bells.  We need chimes from G4 down and G6 up, an octave or two in each direction would be ideal.  If a church has a full set, including G4 -G6, we could purchase the full set. Contact: Jeff Lewis, 
First Lutheran Church, 
424 South 8th Street, 
Brained, MN 56401 or

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 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

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

In 1970, President Richard Nixon created the EPA, and a bipartisan Congress passed the popular Clean Air Act.  Without this Act, power plants (the major source of 2/3 of the nation's sulfur dioxide, over 30% of carbon dioxide, and 45% of mercury) would emit 50% more pollution than they do now.

Story Starter 
Question of the Week

Who in your community has made a positive impact in your life? How?