Northeastern Minnesota Synod
Online Reflections
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week of June 5, 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.
  • First Lutheran, Hibbing, and Pastor Benjamin Schori
  • Grace Lutheran, Mora, and Pastor Kate Schruba
  • Pastor Donald Schultz, retired in Edina
  • Deaconess Dianna Schumacher, retired in Cohasset
  • Zion Lutheran, Cloquet, and Pastor Linda Schumacher and Pastor Loren Schumacher
Bishop Aitken's Reflections
This past Sunday I was at First Lutheran, Pine River, to preach and install Pr. Jacob Burkman as their new pastor. Pastor Burkman's last call was in California, but grew up in the Park Rapids, Minnesota. It was a joyful Sunday! Loved doing the children's sermon too!! A word of gratitude to First Lutheran's Call Committee and Council, to our own synod staff member, Brenda Tibbetts and to Pr. Burkman for their careful and prayerful discernment of call. One way we can benefit as a synod, is to remember our newly installed Rostered Leaders, during the week following in our daily prayers.
I will be on Sabbatical for the months of June and July. I will be ordaining three candidates into the office of pastor, participate with the other 16 voting members from our synod at the Churchwide Assembly in New Orleans, and make a trip with others from out Synod to our Companion synod in Russia during my Sabbatical. I'll also take time to visit several ministry settings in our church, catch up on my reading, and allow for rest and renewal. Your very capable synod staff will assist you when you call, and support you in your various ministries.
Carry on with the gospel of Jesus Christ, crucified and risen for the sake of the world.
+Bishop Thomas M. Aitken
Northeastern Minnesota Synod, ELCA
Making a Difference

This past week I saw a program on MN Public TV where they simply allowed people to tell their stories. One story in particular, caught my attention and cut me to the quick. It was a mother in the Twin Cities talking about her son who had been recruited by ISIS. "He had always been a good boy who wanted to make a difference in the world," she said. By the time he realized what the ISIS agenda entailed, he was sent to Syria and died on the battlefield...for the "wrong side."

Too often our society (and sometimes even our congregations) do a grave disservice to our young people by assuming that "they" don't care about the world. What young people care about - and passionately so - is making a difference in the world. Isn't that what we as Christ-followers are called to do? Isn't that the mission of every congregation no matter the context they are located in?

I wonder. How is it that this mother's son did not know that there are believers in God who individually and collectively i.e. congregations, synods/conferences and for us, as the ELCA, can and do make a difference in the world? Through lives of compassionate service and caring for one another as well as caring for "the other", we bring good news of hope, we build relationships, we share our resources to provide housing, clean water, quilts, food and education to those in need. Is that word getting out? Are we sharing this news with our congregations and communities of the wonderful work we accomplish by working together?

Every community is touched by stories similar to that grieving mother's. We are called to listen to their stories and to care for them. Those wanting to make a difference in the world are not all drawn in by terrorist recruiters. But some are lured in by sex traffickers, drug dealers, making poor choices because they have not heard or experienced that God loves them. They have not witnessed first hand the Body of Christ in action - or perhaps they have but no one has helped them understand who Jesus is and why he matters and why we are church together for the sake of the world. Sometimes they have been hurt by the very church that is called to nurture them in faith. May we truly be the Body of Christ that reaches out to all people in love.

Please take the time to read through the synopsis of the 2016 Synod Assembly on the website to learn more about these wonderful stories and the amazing ways in which your congregation (and you!) are working to make a difference in the world...and then, please share that good news with someone!

Brenda Tibbetts, AiM
Assistant to the Bishop

As you start planning for the 2016-2017 program year (and beyond!), make sure these dates for synod events are on your calendar!
Events for Youth:
November 18-19 or 19-20, 2016
Grades 6-9
And there is still time to register for the EcoFaith Youth Camp!
June 26-30, 2016
Grades 9-12

Survey for ELCA Youth:

As the ELCA considers future priorities and directions, ELCA youth are invited/encouraged/asked to take part in a brief survey to share their thoughts in the process. Please pass this link on to youth in your congregation!

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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
   Director for Evangelical Mission
   Assistant to the Bishop
   Youth Ministry 

   NE MN Synod, ELCA
1105 E. Superior St.,
Upper Suite
Duluth, MN  55802

FAX: 218.724.4393    
Online Reflections Editor

Anne Laechel

Online Reflections is a semi-weekly e-newsletter from the Northeastern Minnesota Synod.

Online Reflections Part 1 is published on Monday of each week and contains articles from Bishop Thomas Aitken, Synod Staff, and information from the ELCA.

Online Reflections Part 2 is published on Thursday of each week and contains late breaking news, information about events occurring in the congregations of the NE MN Synod, and job postings.

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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.