Northeastern Minnesota Synod
Online Reflections
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week of August 14, 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.

Editor's Note: In the past we have listed the prayer names using he last name of active & retired rostered leaders. Unfortunately an unintended side effect has been that churches with more than one pastor are included more often, and churches without a rostered pastor or worship leader may have been left off the rotation. This week we begin the new rotation, and NE MN Synod congregations, Pastors and other rostered leaders will be listed separately, so each church and pastor/rostered leader will be included once during the rotation.
  • Bethesda Lutheran in Rossberg, Aitkin
  • Bethlehem Lutheran, Aitkin
  • Pastor Ryan Aarestad, retired
  • Mrs. Shirley Adolpson, SAM
  • Bishop Thomas Aitken
  • Pastor Berhanu Wedajo Alengo
Bishop Aitken's Reflection - 
by way of Pastor Paul Leslie, Zion Lutheran, Grand Rapids
(Pastor Leslie was a Voting member to the Churchwide Assembly in New Orleans last week - these are his words to his congregation when he returned, and with his permission to our whole Synod)
Since last Sunday, I was busy on your behalf, and am pleased to report that much was accomplished. I helped arrange for you snowbirds to become official associate members of those congregations you join in the winter. I helped the Catholic and Lutheran churches move closer to being able to take communion together. I moved forward a strategy to help those immigrant children who have crossed our boarders without families. With a bunch of people we created the office of Deacon in the ELCA. As clergy have the ministry of Word and Sacrament, the Deacons will be called into the ministry of Word and Service. With a bunch of determined, good-willed people, we took action to stand between Israel and the Palestinians and insist that they, "Cut it out!" In reaction to recent events, I worked with your ELCA brothers and sisters to extend a hand of friendship and support to churches that are historically black. I helped push forward a full ELCA effort to provide a solar panel energy system for the Mission Phebe Hospital in Liberia, Africa. I also gave permission for the ELCA to do 65 million dollars' worth of ministry on your behalf next year. Please know that I worshiped every day this past week with 1,000 other Lutherans. I openly wept every time. Karen and I had the honor of being voting members at the ELCA church wide assembly this past week in New Orleans, Louisiana. It was an honor of a lifetime
+Bishop Thomas M. Aitken
Northeastern Minnesota Synod, ELCA

"Welcome to the Synod" Event
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!
Find more information on this link:
Pastor John Dietz
Assistant to the Bishop
Director for Evangelical Mission
Greetings Rostered Leaders of the Northeastern Minnesota Synod!

I realize this is peak summer season but I am really needing your input in a survey that will not take more than 5 minutes to complete. I am currently creating resources to be used as tools for clergy groups or individuals to use to move in positive directions in dealing with some of the common struggles of ministry.

I know the subjects that I coach pastors on most frequently but I would appreciate your help in prioritizing the subjects that you would most appreciate resources on. I sincerely thank you for the gift of your time in completing this short survey!

If you are interested in seeing the results of the survey, feel freeto go to my website and sign up for my newsletter. I will sendout the results in August. Thank you!

--Barbara Solsaa
Feel free to contact me with any questions!
Celebrate 50 Years of Serving Youth and Families at Camp Amnicon
Camp Amnicon, located just east of Superior, WI, has been inviting youth and families for 50 years to leave the concrete wilderness they are accustomed to and come to the green wilderness where the can experience authentic community through wilderness tripping, family camp, and retreats. Amnicon is inviting you to join them in celebrating with a party on their property, 8450 E Camp Amnicon Rd, South Range, WI 54874, on Saturday, August 20 at 11:00 am.
Camp Amnicon was launched in 1966 by Central Lutheran Church in Minneapolis, with amission to build community with inner city, multi-cultural youth and families. Many ofthe youth faced peer pressure, drug culture, poverty, violence and distressed familysituations.
Today's young people, from all walks of life and circumstances, struggle with thesesame issues. They need experiences that will challenge them to discover more aboutthemselves and their community.
Camp Amnicon welcomes and encourages people to be real about who they are asindividuals, be challenged to discover who they can become in Christian community,and be changed through that experience and the transformational power of Jesus Christin their lives.
Amnicon wants you to join them in celebrating 50 years of experiences andrelationships that have shaped and inspired young people. On Saturday, August 20 at11:00am the festivities begin and go until 7:00pm. People of all ages are welcome.
Lunch and dinner are provided, as well as, games, canoeing, swimming in Lake Superior, tours of the site, historical displays and lots of other fun activities. There will also be transportation coming up from Central Lutheran Church leaving at 8:00 am on Saturday, that you are welcome to ride. Please reserve your seat.For more information or to RSVP, you can visit, call Amnicon at 715-364- 2602, or email [email protected]. Please RSVP.
Youth Ministry News

NE MN Synod Youth Ministry Fall Resource Packet
The NE MN Synod Fall Resource Packet, with information for 2016-2017 Youth Ministry Events has been mailed to congregations. You can also download the packet contents on the NE MN Synod Youth Ministry Resource Page

Links to the individual pieces are:
Discipleship Challenge
Fall Theological Conference
Brochure and Housing

Middle School Gathering
November 18-19 OR 19-20, 2016
It's not too early to start inviting youth for the Middle School Gathering! More information and registration forms can be downloaded at
2016 Bishop's Fall Theological Conference

Dear Rostered Leader and Congregation Council,

Thank you for your good and faithful work as leaders in this synod and in this church, the ELCA. Each year Rostered Leaders (Pastors, AiMs, and Deaconesses), Synodically Authorized Ministers, and Interns are expected to be in attendance at continuing education events, even as professionals are in any other vocation. Directors of Youth & Family Ministry are also invited to participate. Christian education is life-long for all of us who are disciples of Jesus; and, it is especially so for those who have leadership roles in 21st century congregations.

All Rostered Leaders (spouses are welcome to attend as well) are urged to attend the Fall Theological Conference held September 25-27, 2016 at Ruttger's Sugar Lake Lodge near Grand Rapids as one way to fulfill this expectation (see our Northeastern Minnesota Synod's 2016 Compensation and Professional Expense Guidelines for background information on Rostered Leaders' Continuing Education expectations on pages 11-12). The Fall Theological Conference is a component for First Call Theological Education requirements. This annual event is rich in conversation, renewed encouragement, meaningful worship and fellowship as well as deep and practical theological education. If you have not already done so, please consider fully funding this conference for your Rostered Leader(s) and their spouse(s).

Please note that all program costs are covered by your synod budget and grants. Participants are asked to pay only for meals and lodging. In the past, some congregations have asked if their local Women of the ELCA or some other group/individual might be in a position to help defray costs. In some cases, these wonderful gifts have included the extra step to provide child care so that both pastor or other Rostered Leader and spouse may attend.

This year's theme is a timely one; "Faith and Firearms" presented by Dr. Michael Chan, Assistant Old Testament Professor at Luther Seminary. Dr. Chan's presentation, along with our conversation, will assist leaders in practical and biblical ways for listening and engaging our people in difficult conversations regarding faith, firearms, politics, etc.

Thank you for your attention to this important matter. Your congregation will benefit greatly from sending your Rostered Leader to participate in this event. I look forward to being with you at the September 25-27, 2016 Fall Theological Conference!

Carry on with the gospel of Jesus Christ, just as you've been taught (Colossians 2:6-7),

+ Bishop Thomas M. Aitken

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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 
    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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Creation Care Team 
Green Tip of the Week

The American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) reports that as of 2015, Minnesota is seventh in total wind power generation, producing 3,235 megawatts (MW) of electricity.  Minnesota produced 17 percent of its electricity from wind power in 2015, helping to reduce a variety of health-harming air pollutants.  Each new wind turbine typically avoids over 4,200 metric tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) a year, the equivalent of nearly 900,000 cars' worth.