Northeastern Minnesota Synod
Online Reflections
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week of July 3, 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.
  • Grace, Sandstone and Emmanuel, Sandstone, and Pastor Kim Sturtz
  • Light of the Cross, Garrison, and Pastor Juli Sutton-Deem
  • Pastor Arnold Swanson, retired in Sandstone
  • Pastor James Swanson, retired in Onamia
  • Our Savior's, Virginia and Pastor Susan Swanson
Evangelical Mission 

Many of us spent this last long weekend celebrating our nation's independence. The national holiday is more than just an occasion to grill hotdogs and watch fireworks; it is an annual commemoration of this young nation's fight for freedom and a time to recommit ourselves to defending these liberties we enjoy for others and for future generations.

I see that same spirit of independence that so many value in our nation alive in many of our smaller congregations. There is a sense of pride in being able to "make it on our own." It seems to be very important for some congregations to call their own pastor rather than share one with another congregation, or to remain a single congregation rather than joining a multi-point parish. They have a sense of importance, accomplishment, of moving forward. Unfortunately, in some cases, I see a lot of energy and resources that end up being used to remain independent rather than remain faithful to our mission as church.

In our churches, we recognize the real strength of interdependence. Jesus showed us from the very beginning as he relied on Mary and Joseph to care for him and nurture him into adulthood that no one - not even God - can make it on their own. For the same reason, Jesus called disciples to help him in his work, calling people from various walks of life to proclaim the good news to the world.

Sometimes, working together makes all the sense in the world ... on paper. But when we sit down and have the conversations about how to share a pastor, or how certain bills will be paid, or what building we will meet in, sense can be overrun by emotion. I have seen kind, well-meaning Christians retreat into a stance of stubborn independence that will surely end in the death of their congregation for fear of having to work together in a symbiotic relationship with other kind, well-meaning Christians.

A fierce sense of independence can actually bind us to ineffective models of ministry, completely out of touch with the needs and expectations of the un-churched (and even the churched) people in our Twenty-first Century mission field. What young adult or family new to your area will want to join your church if the church's main goals are keeping the doors open and paying a pastor? Will they not be drawn to a congregation where the sense of community is enhanced by their interdependent relationship with another congregation, where both are focused on helping each other out, and more importantly, reaching out to people with the gospel?

If your congregation decides it is time to explore your interdependence, whether that means consolidating, merging, sharing ministries or ministers, or forming a multi-point parish - start with a call to your synod staff. Let the bishop know that this is something you would like to explore - not just to keep the doors of your building open, but to strengthen the gospel's work in your community. Let us partner with you in this important work!

Pastor John Dietz
Assistant to the Bishop
Director for Evangelical Mission
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
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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.

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Green Tip of the Week

Find a local business that does printer cartridge recycling, or contact the manufacturer of your current toner cartridge and ask about a cartridge recycling program.