Northeastern Minnesota Synod
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week of March 20, 2016  
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

Companion Synod Corner

By Rev. Michael Wittkamper

I was shocked recently to learn of my friend Bertha Caceres, murdered in Honduras. She was a charismatic leader of resistance, advocate for her Lenca people, advocate for land reform and critic of the government. She and I were part of the international team of election observers at the last presidential election in Honduras. She was personally a wonderful lady, politically a rallying point for so many and a thorn in the side of the government. She brought hope to her native Lenca people for land reform and justice. As I thought about this person of hope, a light to all who had the privilege to meet her, I also remembered Arnold Peralta, an international soccer star, and Maria Jose Alvarado, a Miss World contestant, also both recently murdered. These highly visible Hondurans brought hope to the lives of a people beset with poverty and little opportunity for advancement.
Sadly, in four short months three icons of hope have been murdered and the government of Honduras is not only not addressing this, but many believe may also be complicit in these murders. I am deeply troubled by these losses for a people who live in constant oppression and fear. Those of us that make missionary journeys to Honduras consistently hear from our beloved friends of threats, false accusations, taxation by intimidation from gangs, beatings and worse.
There was a glimmer of hope that came several years ago, but ended in what the world leaders now call a "coup". The U.S. was complicit in the coup ending the reforms that might have come. The last elections are a proven sham. Election observers were mortified as we documented the fraudulent count in 2013 while the U.S. government was already congratulating the winner. Sadly there was nothing to be done once again. Hope lost out. It appears that our government does not want to bother with the growing pains of a democracy close to home, but to let it stay relatively "stable" and not be a bother - without regard to the pain of the people.
Our Companion Synod relationship with the people of this troubled country is so important. Our mission of accompaniment is so valued. We walk along with our brothers and sisters in Honduras, feeling their fear and their pain and their hope. And we share together our common witness to our Lord, as we pray, sing and together learn his promises. In the midst of oppression we share the hope we have in Christ.
Sadly, I also note that in our current political activity in this country, hope is being taken away as our youth struggle to move ahead in this very difficult world. And the question comes back to me - and to each of us - if our hope is in Christ, are we conveying that to the world? What am I doing to bring hope to the young people I meet? What am I doing to bring hope to my area, my country, my world? My Lenten prayer cannot simply be "Please God, let things will get better" - i.e. Please God make things better in Honduras. No, my prayer must be, "Gracious God inspire me, teach me, direct me to do your will in Honduras, my church, my neighborhood, my state." We say "yes" to God's work, my hands! Listen to what God is calling you to do.
Rev. Michael Wittkamper
Honduras Companion Synod Steering Committee
Bulletin Board

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
mbwagner965@gmail.comor 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.
Russian Deacons Visiting Apr 21 - May 5

This spring we are very pleased to welcome two Deacons from the Ingrian Lutheran Church of Russia as guests of our 2016 Synod Assembly - Evgenij Raskatov from the central office of the ELCIR in St. Petersburg, and Sergei Anikin from the Lutheran parish in Saratov, Volga Deanery.
During their two-week visit, they will be giving a greeting at synod assembly, speaking at congregations in different parts of our synod about God's work in and through the Ingrian Church, learning about the ministry of the Northeastern MN Synod, and visiting Luther Seminary.
Our Synod is funding all of their travel expenses, which amount to approximately $2,200. The Task Force welcomes any gifts from congregations, conferences, or individuals sent through the Synod Office and so marked in the memo, to help cover their costs. Dates, times, and locations of their presentations will be announced soon.

Pastor David Carlson, Chair
Evangelical Lutheran Church of Ingria in Russia (ELCIR) Task Force

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

+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.
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

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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 





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FAX: 218.724.4393    

Online Reflections Editor

Anne Laechel

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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.

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Question of the Week

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