Northeastern Minnesota Synod
Online Reflections
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week of June 26, 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.
  • Immanuel, Brookston; St. Peter's, Canyon; First, Meadowlands; Faith, Saginaw; and St. John's, Saginaw, and Pastor Michael Soppeland, Interim
  • Pastor Otto Sotnak, retired in Aitkin
  • Swan Valley, Motley and Maple Hill, Pine River, and Pastor David Stevens
  • First, Brainerd, and Pastor John Stiles
  • Zion, Cloverdale and Zion, Markville and Pastor Janeva Stromberg, Interim
Along the Way

"Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight and the sin that clings so closely, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of our faith, who for the sake of the joy that was set before him endured the cross, disregarding its shame, and has taken his seat at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such hostility against himself from sinners, so that you may not grow weary or lose heart." - Hebrews 12:1-3

This past weekend (June 18) I was one of the many thousands of spectators at Grandma's Marathon in Duluth who cheered, clapped, whistled (and who wanted "More Cowbell!") on the sidelines encouraging all of the racers to persevere. This is the third time members of my family have been runners. Each time I have watched the group of amazing runners coming in all sizes, shapes, colors, ages, and running attire, this passage of Hebrews comes to mind.

At the last mile mark, this band of assorted humanity continued toward the festive finish line. Some looked as if they could have run on indefinitely. Some struggled mightily but with an intensity to finish. Some walked with a definite limp. And some were being physically assisted by their running buddies. All looked thirstily to that finish line with every fiber of their being.
There is a deep, satisfying sense of unity post-race as the runners don their finisher race medallions over their brand new Grandma's Marathon or Garry Bjorklund tee-shirts. You can see it in their faces as they stroll through town, walk into a restaurant hungrily replenishing their body, ever looking around to see who else ran that same race with them.

Every racer has a life story. Each person is dealing with different issues. While some family unit of runners may have a physical resemblance to each other, each one is unique and loved in the eyes of God. The only thing that really unites these 18,000-20,000 people is the race itself and the desire to run it. A band of people united in one purpose.

Is this not a wonderful picture of our spiritual journeys as well? We never know at what point in our lives we may be met at the finish line by our Lord and Savior. But we can trust that we have not run the race alone, unaided or without being surrounded by that great cloud of witnesses to encourage us so as not to grow weary or lose heart. Sometimes by people we don't even know.

And yet, there is always the temptation to categorize people - human beings made in the image of God. The recent tragedies of Orlando, Charleston, San Bernadino, Aurora, Newtown, were also gatherings of people with common purposes when the unthinkable happened. This is indeed a time for reaching out to all people with love and compassion, rather than fear or judgment.

As the Body of Christ, as people and congregations united by the power of the Holy Spirit, we are called to be those clouds of witness surrounding - others with God's love and light, offering comfort and hope, encouragement and peace to all who may be struggling to persevere. And maybe we could even cheer them along the way with just a bit more "Cowbell"...

May God's compassion and strength empower us all to reach out and share God's love.
Ms. Brenda Tibbetts, AiM
Assistant to the Bishop
synod logoOnline Evangelical Mission
Welcome to the Synod
Welcome to the Synod is an opportunity to meet other people who are relatively new to service in the synod, the bishop and the synod staff, your conference dean, and others involved in the mission of the church in the Northeastern Minnesota Synod. Welcome to the Synod is a time for leaders to introduce themselves, their work, and the many ministries of the synod including: outdoor ministries, campus ministries, hunger, justice, rural life, creation care ... and many more! Following lunch, there will be an open house at the synod office across the street from First Lutheran Church: come to take a tour of the building or to sit down with a staff member to begin or continue a conversation!   
If you are within the first five years of serving in the synod as a rostered leader; within the first five years of serving as a synodically authorized minister; the dean of your conference; a lay youth and family minister working in a congregation of the synod; or a candidate/ seminarian/ intern in the territory of this synod, then you are invited to the 2016 Welcome to the Synod event!
Join us at 9:30 am - 1:30 pm, Tuesday, August 16, 2016 at First Lutheran Church - Duluth (1100 E. Superior St, Duluth, MN 55802). Please call the synod office (218-724-4424) or email Pastor John Dietz at [email protected] to let us know we will be seeing you there! (Please RSVP by August 7 so we can order food - and let us know of any dietary restrictions at that time!)
Find more information on this link:
Pastor John Dietz
Assistant to the Bishop
Director for Evangelical Mission

One of the things that people have requested is a map to locate the churches in the Northeastern Minnesota Synod. 
When you are on the map page, if you use the scroll on the right side of the page, and scroll down, you can see the physical locations of the individual churches. Please note these are physical locations and not the mailing addresses. Many have PO Boxes for mail delivery.

Heartland ConferenceKettle River Conference
Lake Superior ConferenceLaurentian Conference
Living Waters ConferenceAll NE MN Synod Churches
Directory Photos-Submissions

If you were unable to get your photo taken at the Synod Assembly and wish to submit at photo for the directory, please use the following guidelines:
  • Photo should be professional looking, collar preferred for Pastors.
  • Photo should be no smaller than 3.5x5 at 300dpi, preferred, in .jpg format. - Candids in low resolution and small size are not acceptable. They will pixelate and look blurry in print.
  • Submit photos to [email protected], with your name in the subject line. Submission Deadline July 1st 2016.
Note: there is a $10 fee per photo associated with submitting photos that Lifetouch did not take. Please remit payment to NEMN Synod with directory photo in the memo.
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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
   Call process
   Director for Evangelical Mission
   Assistant to the Bishop
   Youth Ministry 
    Communications/Office Support

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

FAX: 218.724.4393    
Summer Office Hours

This summer the synod office will have amended hours to accommodate the overlap of staff vacations. Staff will still fulfill their designated hours June-August, however, the phone will be answered by voicemail, and the office will be closed to meetings and drop-in visits on Fridays.

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.

Latest Youth E-Chat
NE MN Synod 
Creation Care Team 
Green Tip of the Week

It is well known that pollinators such as honeybees, butterflies, and many others, are responsible for many of our fruits, vegetables, nuts, and oils, creating over $20 billion worth of crops each year.  Habitat loss due to land-use change, pesticides/herbicides, parasites/diseases, monoculture, and climate change all play a role.  We can help by buying local honey, and avoiding imports from China and other places that actually substitute cheap syrup for a portion of the produce.  We can also help by avoiding chemicals on our lawns and allowing plants such as clover, mints, perennial oregano, and others that pollinators love, to grow in our lawns.