Northeastern Minnesota Synod
Online Reflections
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week of March 27, 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 Dennis Morreim, retired in Cloquet
  • Faith Lutheran, Duluth, and Pastor Carolyn Mowchan
  • Pastor Bob Munneke, retired in Aitkin
  • Pastor Roger Munson, retired in Duluth
  • Zion Lutheran, Finland and Lutsen Lutheran, Lutsen, and Pastor Thomas Murray
Bishop's Easter Message
Jesus came back from the dead. God raised him into new and transformed life. And the first thing Jesus did after the Resurrection was to speak with his followers, granting them hope and strength for the future of this world. Their world back then was violent and fearful. People and institutions vied for power and control and weren't reticent to kill for it. Jesus' resurrection was a sign of a new kind of Kingdom in the midst of an old one. In his post-Resurrection appearances, Jesus spoke clearly about the future and the disciple's role in speaking to the world with conviction and grace about God's peaceful and just intentions for this world.
Does that sound familiar? Are we not disciples of Jesus in a polarized, fearful and angry world today? Fighting doesn't work. Neither does retreating with anxiety or cutting ourselves off from those we disagree with. Instead, as with those first disciples we are called by the risen Lord from spectator mentality to engagement, but not in the ways we see played out in our culture, where so often love and listening are totally missing. No, we are empowered by the Risen Lord Jesus to speak the truth in love, to do the hard work of talking with those who share our values, and those who don't.
Are we not all connected in a Divine way? With each other? Through the Savior? With the rest of Creation? And is God not actually out and among us, working in spite of our brokenness? Isn't Easter a cosmic truth about God reconciling the entire world rather than a safer, diminished and watered-down version that prefers to speak only about myself and my family? And isn't it a power, not just an idea that can help us engage the uncertainty of our age, not as experts in every field, but as ambassadors of the One who can set us all free?
There's a phrase I'd like to share with you as Easter people: It's the one used by the Chair of our Conference of Bishops as he ends his prayers: In the name of Jesus, crucified and risen, for the life of the world.
+Bishop Thomas M. Aitken
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 (now both Saturday & Sunday!)
  • Picture the Reformation: Luther, Cranch and the Power of the Visual
  • Faith Outside: Engaging the future of the Church

Eventbrite - 2016 Bishop's Convocation

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

Dr. Anna Madsen wants your Questions!

Members of the NE MN Synod are invited to submit questions about forgiveness to Rev. Dr. Anna Madsen for her to address at our 2016 Synod Assembly. To submit a new question, visit the link below and "Start a New Topic", or comment on one of the questions that has already been asked.

Congregation Observers at Churchwide Assembly
Churchwide Secretary, Rev. Wm. Chris Boerger

Each congregation of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America may register one congregation observer for the Churchwide Assembly prior to May 31 in the year of a Churchwide Assembly. 


a. Provision shall be made for such an individual to have reserved seating in the observers section of the plenary hall. Such congregation observers will receive a copy of the report of recommendations for assembly action and also materials distributed on the plenary floor to voting members, advisory members, and non-voting members during the assembly. Such observers shall have neither voice nor vote in plenary sessions of the assembly.

b. A registration fee shall be established by the secretary of this church for registration and related costs, including enabling observers to receive the same meals as are provided for voting members. 

c. Transportation costs, housing, other meals, and related expenses shall be the responsibility of the registered observer or sending congregation.


The registration fee for congregation observers is $100. Please note the meal package is not included in the registration fee, but may be purchased separately when registering. Online registration will open in April at Please contact the assembly hotline at 800-638-3522 ext 2911 or the registrar via email to if you have any questions.

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
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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

Consider reducing your waste by using a reusable water bottle, eating leftovers, home composting and thrifting!

Story Starter 
Question of the Week

If you were to tweet one word or sentence on what it means to be Lutheran, what would you say?