Northeastern Minnesota Synod
Online Reflections
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week of July 3, 2016  
Synod Office Summer 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.

Today we hear Jesus' story of a "Challenging Samaritan." Dr. John J. Pilch, author of many books on Middle Eastern culture and the Bible, reminds us that we benefit from understanding the Mediterranean context before we read the stories of the Bible. Jesus' encounters with so many were meant to prod us into new ways of thinking and doing that bring us closer to God's dream for the world. It is the same in this story of the Good Samaritan. Questions posed by someone in Jesus' day were often meant to expose shame and/or honor. The question of the lawyer in today's gospel was no different. In fact it was clear he was "testing" Jesus about the Law of God. But Jesus ends up "testing" him instead about the deeper implications of the Law. While the lawyer could correctly quote Leviticus 19:18 and its charge to love the neighbor as the self, Jesus reveals a deeper reality that moves beyond "quoting Scripture" to the deeper realities of love upon which the Law was founded. How to become a neighbor to anyone in need goes beyond cultural norms and conventional prejudice. That is the purpose of the Law.

Move me O Christ into your perspective, your grace and your mercy. Amen.

Thomas Aitken
Bishop, Northeastern Minnesota Synod, ELCA 
Bulletin Board

Choir Robes
Faith Lutheran, Duluth has 30 blue choir robes available for free. If interested, contact Kathy Wimer at or 218-724-4424.

As the 2016 Churchwide Assembly nears, you are invited to participate in 6 weeks of prayer prior to the Assembly, Daily Prayers for each day of the Assembly, and a Prayer for the Sunday after the Assembly.

The prayer for Week 1 (July 3) is:

O God, you open the hearts of your faithful people by sending into us the light of the Holy Spirit.  Direct the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America by the light of that Spirit, as this church prepares to gather in assembly, that we might have a right judgment in all things and rejoice at all times in your peace;  Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

National Geographic awards Great Energy Challenge Grant to Minnesota nonprofit, Rural Renewable Energy Alliance

BACKUS, MN, June 30, 2016 - National Geographic has awarded a $100,000 grant to Backus-based Rural Renewable Energy Alliance (RREAL). Grant dollars will be used to demonstrate a scalable energy model to reduce and stabilize energy costs for healthcare facilities in West Africa through installing solar microgrids.

In collaboration with the Northeast Minnesota Women of the Lutheran Church ELCA, RREAL has been developing a program to help resolve some of the healthcare infrastructure challenges faced by critical rural hospitals in West Africa. A reliable electricity supply is necessary for high quality healthcare delivery, yet many hospitals and health clinics throughout the world rely exclusively on expensive diesel fuel, or have no electricity whatsoever. This effort will reduce energy poverty and demonstrate a community-based energy model by providing solar energy microgrids to healthcare institutions in areas hit by Ebola in West Africa, while building local capacity for renewable energy economic development through training in solar system design, installation, operations and maintenance.

Project PV for Phebe will bring a solar energy microgrid to a large, rural hospital in Liberia while building local installation capacity through hands-on installation training.  Phebe Hospital spends almost half a million dollars each year on diesel fuel to power its operations. In 2015, Liberia ranked as the fourth poorest country in the world. Ironically, the cost of energy in West Africa is 60-80 times higher than the cost of energy for a resident of New York or London. Generating electricity with diesel fuel is costly, polluting, and unreliable. Sustained economic growth is correlated to access to electricity, and this project will illustrate a sustainable means of development with solar energy.
Events Around the Synod

We have recently changed the policy regarding the inclusion of congregational fundraising events in the Online Reflections. If you would like to have your event included, please send a brief press release, including the Who, What, Where, When & Why of your event, in an email to No PDF flyers please
. Only the text information will be included.

Laurentian Conference Fundraiser for Gloria Dei
The Laurentian Conference Congregations invite you to a Fire Recovery Benefit for Gloria Dei Lutheran Church ELCA, Wednesday, July 13, 2016 at Messiah Lutheran Church, Mountain Iron. Starting at 5:00p.m., with a Picnic Supper and Live Music featuring The Hutter Bunch and Casey Aro. $10 suggested donation for wraps, chips, veggies, bars & beverage.  Concert Vespers at 6:30p.m. featuring Grace Notes Handbells, Our Savior's-Hibbing Worship Band, Laurentian Conference Choir and MORE. Guest speaker Gloria Dei's Pastor David Carlson. With a Thrivent Action Team grant, 100% of the proceeds from the picnic and freewill offering at the concert will be given to Gloria Dei's fire recovery fund.
Special Invitation to sing in the Combined Conference Choir, singing Go into the World! by Natalie Sleeth. Rehearsal 4:30-5:3p.m. July 13; Music available in advance on request (

Oak Lake Lutheran Church Country Fair
Saturday July 16, 2016 from 10am -2:30pm.
53131 Shadow Oak Road, Kerrick, MN 55756 218.485.8710
Silent Auction, Horse drawn wagon rides, Antique car and tractor show, Face Painting and kids games, Cake walk, Food, Crafts, Quilt Raffle, Health Booth, Petting Zoo, Music and Farmers Market.

"Viva la Justicia"- Witness for Peace summer fundraiser, July 28th - 
The annual Witness for Peace fundraiser will be held this year on Thursday evening, July 28th, at the Red Herring Lounge, 208 E. First St., Duluth. From 6:30 - 8:30 pm there will be light refreshments and a cash bar available, along with music, presentations about Witness for Peace with a focus on our work in Honduras, a display of art produced by local artists inspired by the movement for eco-justice and indigenous land rights in Honduras, and a silent auction. Donations to support WFP's work with our partners in Latin America are gratefully appreciated. - After 8:30 pm, there will be a concert performance by the popular local music group "Chase Down Blue," with a cover charge for those coming only for the concert. Please come and support the work of Witness for Peace as we celebrate the struggle for justice and human rights in the Americas. - For more information, contact Lyn Clark Pegg at

125th Anniversary at Bethlehem Lutheran, Aitkin.
Bethlehem Lutheran Church of rural Aitkin, Minnesota, is celebrating its 125th Anniversary on Sunday, July 31, 2016
. Everyone is invited to join the festivities. The day begins with worship at 9:30 a.m., a picnic lunch at 11:30 a.m., and a program at 1:30 p.m. Many pastors preached at Bethlehem while they were students in college and seminary, all are welcome to attend. Bethlehem is located at 36696 320th Street, Aitkin, MN  56431; phone 218-927-3935.
Employment Opportunities

Children and Family Ministry Director
Lutheran Church of the Cross, Nisswa is seeking a Children and Family Ministry Director. This position is a part time position, 20 hours weekly, providing leadership for developing and implementing a Christian based ministry with children and their families. Director is responsible for the recruitment, training and supervision of the volunteer staff of teachers and assistants required for a successful ministry. In consultation with the Associate Pastor the Director annually coordinates and evaluates School, weekly Wednesday Program for 5th and 6th graders, Vacation Bible School, and other special events. Compensation rate for this position is commensurate with experience. To apply for this position, please submit a written letter of interest, together with a resume, no later than July 14, 2016, addressed to Lutheran Church of the Cross, P. O. Box 29, 5064 County Road 13, Nisswa, MN 56468. Completion of a criminal history background check is required upon offer of employment and acceptance of the offer.

Director of Youth, Families & Christian Education
Faith Lutheran Church in Staples, Minnesota is seeking a full time position as Director of Youth, Families and Christian Education. The position includes coordinating high school, middle school (including participation in Confirmation) and elementary school groups and vacation Bible school and Sunday school as well as providing intergenerational opportunities for the entire congregation. It is desired that the applicant be prepared to take initiative, become involved in sharing the faith with youth and their families at church, school and in the community, and be a vital participant in the life of the congregation. Support and mentoring will be available for a person filling this position. For a complete job description and application form you may contact our church office at: Faith Lutheran main office (218-894-1546); For other question or more information about the job and compensation, please contact: Joyce Anderson (218-894-1574);

High School Ministry Leader
St. Mark's Lutheran Church in North St. Paul, MN is looking for a High School Ministry Leader! This position encompasses leading a ministry of accompaniment, compassionate action, and faith formation with high school youth. You must be able to coordinate a year round ministry to foster an atmosphere of faith and learning with a diverse group of young people and dedicated adult leaders as well as collaborate with other staff on inter-generational events. Part-time-25 hours/week. For more information contact Pastor Ivy Huston at 
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Northeastern Minnesota
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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 
 Kathy Wimer - 126
Tammy Segel-Crilly - 127
   Communications/Office Support

1105 E. Superior St.,
Upper Suite
Duluth, MN  55802

FAX: 218.724.4393    
Online Reflections Editor

Anne Laechel

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