Northeastern Minnesota Synod
Online Reflections
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week of February 28, 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.
  • Grace Lutheran, Mora and Pastor Douglas Larson and Pastor Kate Schruba
  • Pastor John Lee, retired in Duluth
  • Zion Lutheran, Grand Rapids and Pastor Paul Leslie and Pastor Ben Buchanan
  • Pastor James Limburg, retired in Longville
  • Augustana Mercy Health Care Center, Duluth and Pastor Karen Linné
Bishop's Online Reflections

This is a reminder that Rev. Dr. Anna Madsen, our Keynote Speaker at Synod Assembly (April 29-May 1) is soliciting your questions about forgiveness. She will use them for her presentation. Below are the questions you have sent in so far. Note: additional questions can be posted on the Synod Assembly page of our website: (lower left side of the page) or to submit an anonymous and you may send them to me at [email protected]. I encourage you to ask your question and join the conversation. You can also comment on the questions that have been asked.

Why do we say "forgive us our sins as we forgive others" in the Lord's Prayer? Does this mean we get forgiven ONLY if we forgive others? That kind of scares me.
How do you forgive someone who never changes? Who keeps hurting me? Who never takes responsibility for her actions?
Recently I have been hearing that forgiving someone who hurt you is not for their sake, but for your own sake. Doesn't this cut out the heart of forgiveness itself? It seems like it shouldn't be all about yourself.
How do you forgive someone who has abused you mentally and emotionally? Especially when you are out of the situation yourself, but know they are now continuing to abuse others. How does one address the guilt they feel for not being able to help the other people in the abusers path? Who exactly needs forgiveness? The abuser; the victim for the tremendous feelings of guilt, or both?

I once heard a pastor say we don't repent so we can be forgiven; we are forgiven so we can repent. It intrigues me but something seems missing.
I believe that no one is truly forgiven, who doesn't repent or feel badly for what they have done. Am I wrong? The Bible is full of the word, repentance. Forgiving someone who hasn't repented or asked for your forgiveness it seems does nothing to really help that person or you, especially if she or he does it again to you. 

Bishop Thomas 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 ([email protected]) or Dorothy Dybvig ([email protected]). Interested in providing a quilt? Contact Amy Loken, 218-525-3933.
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.

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
Seminarian Debt Relief Fund
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 [email protected]

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

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

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

Scientific evidence is mounting that genetically engineered foods are dangerous to human health, animals and the environment.  The respected website, has published evidence from scores of independent, peer-reviewed scientists sounding the alarm.  Millions of Americans want labels on these GMO foods so they can defend themselves from these pesticide-drenched (Roundup resistant) or pesticide impregnated (Bt spliced) foods, as well as from inhumane, chemically-intensive, drug-intensive factory farm foods.

Story Starter 
Question of the Week

What is something special about your community?