Northeastern Minnesota Synod
Online Reflections
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week of March 20, 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.
  • Hope Lutheran, Walker and Pastor Matthew McWaters
  • Immanuel Lutheran, Hillman, Bethel Lutheran, Little Falls, and Bethany Lutheran, Cushing, and Pastor Jean Megorden
  • Lutheran Church of the Good Shepherd, Duluth, and Pastor David Mesner and Pastor Timothy Berdahl
  • Salem Lutheran, Deerwood, and Mr. Gregory Meyer, AiM and Pastor Glen Bickford, Interim
  • Pastor Marshall Moen, retired in Duluth
  • It is with sadness that we share the news of the death of the Rev. Karl Lunder. Pastor Karl served three congregations in the NE MN Synod during his 38 years in ministry. A celebration of life was held March 17 in Red Wing, MN. Click here for a full obituaryPlease hold his family in your prayers. Thanks be to God for the power of the Resurrection!
Bishop Aitken's Reflections - Holy Week
Beckie and I are down in Louisiana, spending time with our daughter, son in law and granddaughter. We went to worship yesterday at their congregation, a warm and welcoming Methodist church. It was our granddaughter's first Palm Sunday! The sermon was down-to-earth but not in any way dumbed-down theologically. I'll remember it for years.
The pastor chose the metaphor "back door" to speak of Jesus' entry into Jerusalem as the start of Holy Week. We sometimes imagine that the entire city of Jerusalem went out to greet Jesus, that fanfare for him was everywhere. In reality, the traditional fanfare took place as Pilate representing Empire entered from the "front door" a more prominent gate of Jerusalem that day. Jesus does not follow conventional understandings, neither secular nor religious. And on Palm Sunday he chose very carefully - as you can tell from the texts - where he showed up from. He shows up in places we don't expect, mostly because we aren't looking in those places for him - only in pre-conceived places that we have come to think are "normal" because of the environments we all live in.
As you enter Holy Week, with opportunities to meet our Lord through the various worship and studies your congregation offers, be mindful of how Jesus acts, what he says, how different and unconventional his message always is, on the road, in the Temple, at the table, from the cross, and finally in the most unexpected place of all - in resurrected form - where the most unexpected happens; life triumphs over all darkness and death. Let us open ourselves up to the unexpected places we may find our Lord this week - and to the unexpected ways he will transform us for our witness to the world.
+Bishop Aitken
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.
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

ALT Year OpportunityFor Young Adults, ages 18-25
Sites: Toledo, OH and St. Paul, MN
ALT year is an intentional, Christian gap year for young adults to discern what's next for them vocationally and how they want to live out their lives as Christian disciples in a changing culture and a changing church. Participants live in intentional community as a full-time commitment for 9 months while they experience Service, Mentorships, Community Faith Practices (Bible Study, Spiritual Practice, Worship), Common Content around monthly themes (conversation about texts, speakers and visits to community organizations and cultural centers), and Community-Based Focus Areas utilizing local resources, mission opportunities, justice issues, and interfaith and ecumenical partners. ALT Participants will gain a greater self-awareness, lifelong learning practices, leadership skills for fully engaging community, and an ability to see and invite others into God's mission in the world. - Applications are due April 15. For more information: 

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 <> 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
Bulletin Board

Immanuel in Brunswick is spring cleaning! 
We have found a supply of hymn books. We hate to recycle them if someone could use - we realize that getting to a new location is costly but we are willing to work with them. Available hymnals:
*Hard brown cover - The Hymnal - about 36 copies
*Hard red cover - Favorite Hymns of Praise - about 40 copies
*Soft burgundy cover - Christian Hymns - about 40 copies
*Soft purple cover - Maranatha Music Praise Chorus Book - 100 copies
*Hard green cover - Lutheran Book of Worship - 50 - 55 copies
Please let us know by April 1st if you would like any of these books. Contact Gladys Nelson at Immanuel of Brunswick at or 320-679-2015

PV for Phebe February Activities Report
Here are some other things you might be interested in:
**To date $173,177.11 have been received at that NE MN Synod office of that  $111,116.36 came from churches, conferences, individuals and WELCA synod offerings
**RREAL has received $47,357.66
Expenses to date are $93,360.27
RREAL has been awarded a 2 yr grant from Wheat Ridge Ministries in the amount of $40,000. 

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 (

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

QAI (Quality Assurance International), a certifier of organic and gluten-free products with 26 years of experience, projects that by 2023 organic food supply will fuse with food safety and other "product integrity" programs, which will add more disciplined food safety practices that are audited and certified at even the smallest of farms and plants.  Increased organic acreage and processing facilities will make organic food more accessible to schools, hospitals, food banks, convenience stores, and in mainstream American homes.

Story Starter 
Question of the Week

Beyond your family and congregation, who has most influenced your faith?