Northeastern Minnesota Synod
Online Reflections
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week of August 28, 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.
  • Bethlehem, Askov
  • Our Savior's, Aurora
  • Pastor Greg Anderson
  • Pastor Hans Anderson
  • Pastor Sonja Anderson
  • Mr. Michael Anderson, SAM
2016 CWA Reflection

My time as a youth voting member at the church wide assembly changed my life in amazing ways. I have come home with many amazing friendships I will have for the rest of my life. I grew in faith and confidence during our stay in New Orleans. The other youth showed me how I can voice my opinions and people will listen. All the people I met there were so kind. Experiencing the culture and cuisine of some where I had never been before really helped me to realize how big this wonderful earth is that God has created for us. I grew in my faith life by being surround with people with the same beliefs as me, as well as being informed on what is going on around the world. The worship services were very powerful and i felt a strong presence of God especially in those times. I am very thankful to my synod for electing me to represent the youth. Something I feel we could change at the synod level would be to try and get more youth voting members at the synod assembly. From what I saw it appeared I was the only voting member there under the age of 18. Considering what my friends said at one plenary session at church wide, youth are crucial in the continuation of the church. They need to feel welcomed and that their opinions are valued. That is one of the many things I took away from that wonderful experience that I will remember for the rest of my life. I hope I will get the honor of going again. 

Thank you all. Peace be with you.

Adrianna Carlson
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

When I reflect on my week in New Orleans, I have an overwhelming feeling of gratitude. Gratitude for the opportunity:
  • To participate in the legislative body of our church. 
  • To learn about the many ways God's people care for each other and our environment.
  • To see God's grace in action in ways I had never even thought of before.
  • To hear the Word spoken by so many people, in so many voices, and in so many ways. 
  • To experiences worship in a context different from a typical Sunday morning as a part of a small congregation. (The music was awesome, as were the sermons)
  • To experience praising God through singing with over 900 people! (Wow!)
  • To get to know people from around our synod, around our country, and around our world. (And to find common ground as well as to embrace our diversity)
  • To experience the culture and cuisine in a part of our country that I had never visited before.
God is Good!

Sheri Fossen
NE MN Synod Churchwide Assembly Voting Member
The Mission We Share

Here in the Southern part of the Kettle River Conference we have decided to do some mission planning together. The four ELCA churches in Kanabec County have been meeting and talking about ways that we can reach out to our community. We have taken time to listen to God, each other and our community. From that we have developed a plan and some activities to reach out.

Our group noticed that food insecurity was an issue for many who live around us so our plan was to help people with a number of different events that would help feed people. September of last year we started off with a free picnic lunch on God's Work Our Hands Sunday. We got together and provided a free meal on Thanksgiving Day. We hosted a Kids Against Hunger food packing day and of the meals we pack a percentage went to our local food shelf. We also worked together on our local CROP Walk, of the donations collected a percentage also were given to our local food shelf. 

Working together we motivate each other to start and keep projects going that we wouldn't by ourselves. This has become a shared mission and all because we got together to talk.

Pastor Dean Oelfke
Dean, Kettle River Conference
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

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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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1105 E. Superior St.,
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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

According to the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) 2015 report, Minnesota is expected to move from 25th to the top 10 states for annual solar installation in 2016.  The Minnesota Department of Commerce expects the state's solar capacity to increase by more than 500 megawatts (MW) in 2016, a 15-fold increase from 2015.  Since Minnesota has to import all its fossil fuel-based energy, this development has resulted in the creation of several thousand good-paying jobs in our state, as well as decreasing carbon emissions and other toxins from coal fired power plants.