Northeastern Minnesota Synod
Online Reflections
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week of August 21, 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 the 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. A new rotation has begun, 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.
  • First Lutheran, Aitkin
  • St. John's in Cedarbrook, Aitkin
  • Pastor Bob Alley, retired
  • Pastor David Anderson
  • Pastor R. Brooks Anderson, retired
  • Pastor Thomas Anderson, retired
2016 CWA Reflection

As I look back upon the time I had the privilege to spend as a delegate to the 2016 Churchwide Assembly in New Orleans, there are many ideas and experiences on which I could ruminate. The multitude of opportunities for worship, the numerous speakers, and the fact that the week was spent in community with nearly one thousand other ELCA Lutherans called for the same purpose as I was would all be viable candidates for elaboration. Additionally, extensive energy could be exerted describing the hospitality of the people of New Orleans who hosted our Assembly graciously, or I could get long-winded about the allure of the city of New Orleans itself. I have opted, however, to focus on the business accomplished by the Assembly.

One of the functions of the Churchwide Assembly is to debate and vote upon the many resolutions brought forward by the synods for consideration by the Church as a whole. Of the
resolutions up for consideration, there were two in which I was particularly invested. Both of these statements resolve to call our Church into action in order that we might work toward a just peace for all inhabitants of the Holy (and Broken) Land. These resolutions recognize the dichotomy of power which currently exists in the land where Jesus lived and preached, and will hopefully spur the ELCA to continue to follow Christ's example of reaching out to those who are marginalized and oppressed. In an effort to have these statements adopted by the Assembly, I was able to experience grassroots organizing at its finest. In conjunction with a tireless group of like-minded individuals referred to as Isaiah 58, and several ecumenical and interfaith groups, we built awareness among voting delegates of the situation on the ground in the Holy Land. I felt the presence of God most at this Assembly while organizing, praying, and being in community with these remarkably committed individuals. Ultimately both Resolutions passed overwhelmingly and I hope that they will lead to further, more direct action in the future.


Bjørnstjerne Anderson
NE MN Synod Churchwide Assembly Voting Member
More Reflections
-From our Northeastern Mn Synod Voting Members to the 2016 Church Wide Assembly in New Orleans

My last journey to a Churchwide assembly (what we called "national church convention") was 1976 in The ALC. Although a pastor, I was a "young adult voting member" in today's language.  Perhaps some who were my elders looked at me and others younger than 30 to evaluate the leadership of the church in coming years. I didn't go to New Orleans with that question on my mind. But I came home certain that God has placed the church in good hands. I'm grateful for current and future leaders of this church! Thank you, God.

Craig S Carlson MDiv ACC
Spiritual Care Coordinator
Essentia Health
St. Mary's Hospice
Where Does Your Offering Go?
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

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!
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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

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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 Solar Sanctuaries Act was signed by Governor Dayton into law on May 31, 2016, which establishes voluntary native vegetation and habitat management practices for solar developers and local governments alike to maximize habitat creation for birds, pollinators, and other small wildlife.  When they sign the "Pollution Pledge," commercial solar installations help create pollinator habitat that is then verified by the new law, whose standard and technical guides were created by the Minnesota Board of Water and Soil (BWSR) and the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR).