Northeastern Minnesota Synod
Online Reflections
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week of March 13, 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.
  • Pastor Warner Luoma, retired in Wadena
  • First Lutheran, Pine River and Pastor Mary Marotke
  • Bethlehem Lutheran, Brainerd, and Pastor Sarah Marshall and Pastor Mark Skinner
  • Waters of Life Lutheran, Duluth, and Pastor Timothy Martenson
  • Bethany Lutheran, Cromwell and Bethlehem Lutheran, Wright, and Pastor Patrick McCormack
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

Stewardship is not a new word for the church. Nor is stewardship limited to dollars and cents. It is also related to common sense and well-being. That is why your help is needed! If you are a rostered leader in the Northeastern MN Synod, a church employee with benefits from Portico, or a covered spouse, we need you to complete your Portico Health Assessment Challenge. In doing so, you are being a good steward of mission support dollars: a) in order to earn a 1% discount on ELCA health contributions for our synod; b) you are being a good steward of your physical, spiritual and emotional health; and c) congregations will all benefit by having their rostered leaders take care of themselves in order to lead and serve. Oh, and did I mention with full participation of our rostered leaders the Northeastern MN Synod would be eligible for a 1% discount on health contributions?!
Please ask your Pastor or other rostered lay leader if they have taken the Portico Health Assessment Challenge for 2016! The deadline for doing so is April 30th. Help us earn the 1% discount. Thank you to those who have already taken the challenge. Together we can strengthen our health and the health of our faith communities and lower some of the costs for health care. That, my friends, is indeed good stewardship.

NE MN Synod Men's Retreat
Friday & Saturday, April 1 & 2
Bethlehem Lutheran in Brainerd, MN 

Featuring Rev. Dr. Paul Nelson and Dr. David Cherwien
Breakout Sessions and displays include info about aviation, robotics, Social Media, Caring for creation, Classic cars, home-brewing, wildlife photography, metal art and woodworking. Click below for copies of the Retreat Poster and Brochure. 

Online registration now available at
Pre-register by March 24th to double your chances of winning a Whitecap Custom fishing rod or metal art by Ironwood Designs.

2016 Synod Assembly
April 29 - May 1 at Breezy Point Resort
Theme: Living Forgiveness

Synod Photo Directory

Hello Ordained Ministers, Associated in Ministry, and Deaconesses!

Bishop Aitken would like every Rostered Leader to have their picture taken (free of charge) for an updated Synod Directory. It's been seven years since the last one and we are overdue.

The Synod Pictorial Directory helps us all stay connected. Plan on taking a few minutes and getting your picture taken. Collars on pastors are encouraged.

Lifetouch Studios will be holding 2 photo sessions during the Synod Assembly. Friday from 2pm-5pm in the Pelican Room. Saturday 8am-6pm in the Pelican Room.

Please stop by and have your photo taken. You will receive a free 8x10 photo. No Appointment Necessary. Take a 5 minute break and get your photo taken.

What do we need from you? Your smiling face of course! Also, the name, location and address where you serve, phone number and email. We will have a list on hand, you will need to verify for accuracy.
Now is the Time to Reinvest in our Camps
Over the last century, the congregations of the NEMN synod invested in the future of our church - by investing in the future of our camps.
These amazing pieces of property come to life as the Spirit moves through the relationships between children and their faith mentors. Flashlight conversations in bunkbeds, paddling through challenges together, and songs of praise lifted up from campfires help give our children the faith language they need for the future. These youth are unleashed on their congregations with faith filled energy.
Healthy camps have a symbiotic relationship with healthy congregations. When camps and churches work together the result are ministries that are:
  • spiritually healthy
  • financially healthy
  • emotionally healthy
  • and physically healthy
It is our role as a synod, the people and the local congregations, to support the work of OUR outdoor ministry sites through our response to annual support requests, sending campers, canoeists, and retreaters, and investing in capital and equipment improvement initiatives. We are living in an age of abundance, the dollars are in our pockets. God has great resources to effectively support our churches and our camps in time.
The camps are extensions of our own places of ministry and how we invest in them today will determine how ministry will happen in the future. The opportunity is here. Right now there are Christ-centered foundations being built:
  • New dining halls and retreat spaces to gather all ages at Camp Vermilion and Camp Hiawatha
  • New youth cabins for kids to gather in community at Luther Crest
  • Remodeled gathering centers for people to relax and focus on their faith at Camp Onomia
  • Upgrading camping gear, retreat and hermitage housing at Camp Amnicon.
The timing is right for our church to continue to offer great services and opportunities, however the facilities to support those great programs need renewal. Your investments in these projects are essential to successful ministry.
So please join me and my wife Beckie, in making a generous and joyful gift. It is an investment in the health of our whole synod by participating in the capital campaigns and annual fund work of our camps.
+ Bishop Tom Aitken
Connect with and invest in your camps today! Watch them Flourish Appeal to complete the Tend and Nourish Campaign and open up camp to all ages and all abilities. Joel Abenth, [email protected] Help people relax and focus in the Northwoods Room and the Garden of Eatin'. Jim Schmidt, [email protected] Positively impact the physical and spiritual lives of campers through the Prepare the Way Campaign. Dave Holtz, [email protected] Invest in the staff that invest in our kids by supporting the new Staff Housing construction! Alana Butler, [email protected]
+Bishop's Visitation to Confirmation Students
Bishop Aitken continues to invite you to do a Visitation/ Teaching/Anointing on a Wednesday night (or whenever you meet) for your Confirmation Class. He encourages parents to come that night as well so he can meet them and include them in the teaching time. Pastors and Confirmation teachers are welcome of course to be there, but he will teach about Christian Vocation, the role of the Christian in our world, our call in Christ and end with Communion and Commissioning for service with Anointing oil from Palestine. It's best to gather a cluster of congregations for this - that has worked well in the past.

You are invited to take the NE MN Synod Youth Ministry Survey!
NE MN Synod youth ministry teams will be doing some re-visioning work in the coming months in order to continue to support synod congregations in faith formation with middle school and high school youth. Your input in this process is invaluable! Leaders from all of our synod congregations are invited to fill out the survey. Whether your congregation is large or small, has a vibrant youth ministry program or if you wonder what youth look like - we need your story to have a complete picture! More than one leader from a congregation can take the survey - the more perspectives we have, the better! The survey closes April 6, 2016.
The survey is in a Google Form at:
Please share this URL with others in your congregation. If you have trouble accessing the online form, email Catherine <[email protected]> for a hard copy. Thank you in advance for sharing your congregation's youth ministry story with us!

EcoFaith Youth Camp
June 26-30, 2016 - Duluth, MN
Grades 9-12 (at time of registration)
Cost: $100 per person if postmarked by April 1st.
$125 per person if postmarked April 2nd or after

The EcoFaith Youth Camp is a week long day camp for high school youth and their adult leaders that explores the intersection between environmental, economic, and racial justice in a faith context. Each day will include field trips, activities and conversations with different local groups including organic farmers, canoeing the St. Louis River, and meeting leaders from local indigenous communities. There will also be one night of camping along the north shore as we visit an "off the grid" home!
The EcoFaith Youth camp is sponsored by the NE MN Synod, in partnership with the NE MN Synod Creation Care Task Force and Peace United Church of Christ. For groups outside the Duluth area, free housing options at local congregations are available. Contact Catherine Anderson for more information.
More information can be found at
Year-End Report Time!

Annual Rostered Leaders to the Bishop

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

Bulletin Board

Lyle Griner leading PLAN-IT Workshop
Sunday April 3, 1-7pm - Messiah Lutheran, Mountain Iron, MN
Brought to you by the Laurentian Youth Leadership Project
This guided day of planning will result in a 12-18 month outline for your youth ministry. Begin planning using three vital ministry lenses, learn from proven planning techniques, receive helpful program templates, and find plenty of time and space to work on your ministry design.
Bring a team of adult and youth leaders, a laptop, and the "sacred dates" you need to plan around (school, community, church, even your own family!) Borrow, exchange, even steal!- ideas from other participants. Learn tools you and your leaders can use again and again.
Workshop & meal are free for all Laurentian congregations.
Other churches are welcome: $25 if your church has one ministry professional, $50 if two, $75 if three (pastors, youth directors, etc), regardless of how many of you attend this workshop. RSVPs needed by Wed March 23. Fill out thisGoogle Forms registration for you and your group. For more info, contact Pastor Evelyn Weston ([email protected]

Honduras Trip Openings
The next synod-sponsored Companion Trip to Honduras will be May 25-June 2, 2016. This team of 8 people will be representing NE MN at the ordination of Rolando Martinez and visiting some of the congregations of the Iglesia Cristiana Luterana de Honduras as well as the Lutheran kindergarten in La Canada. Also on the agenda are home visits to some of the congregation members and the distribution of water filters. Cost of the trip is $1,600 which includes airfare, housing, transportation and meals while in Honduras. For more information or an application form, contact Brenda Wagner at
[email protected]or 218-341-1831. An initial deposit of $100 is due with the application. We'd like to have commitments from team members by March 31.

Campus Ministry Pastor Position
Campus Ministry Pastor position open at Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma, Washington and we are asking you to let all of your clergy know about it. It's open to all interested ELCA pastors with a current RLP.
The PLU Campus Ministry Pastor position is now open and the Ministry Site Profile is posted on the Synod website for your review at
Clergy, if you are interested in this position, please submit your updated Rostered Leader Profile on the ELCA portal for activation no later than March 15th and notify our office of your interest at 253-535-8300 or [email protected]. No RLPs will be accepted after March 15th. Do not contact PLU or their faculty about the position. All inquiries must be made through the regular ELCA channels through the Southwestern Washington Synod Office at [email protected] or 253-535-8300.

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. Creation Care Retreat Brochure

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]

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
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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

Buy in Bulk!
Bulk foods reduce the amount of waste going into landfills and take less energy and other resources to produce. - Save money! By not paying for all that individual packaging, labeling and advertising, you're getting more bang for your buck!

Story Starter 
Question of the Week

What ministry beyond your congregation gives you hope for the future?