Northeastern Minnesota Synod
Online Reflections
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week of September 25, 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.
  • Effie Fredheim Lutheran, Bigfork
  • Grace Community Church, Bigfork
  • Pastor Laura Berdahl
  • Pastor Timothy Berdahl
  • Pastor Susan Berge
  • Pastor Philip Berge
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Network of ELCA Colleges and Universities issues statement condemning hate threats
CHICAGO (Sept. 21, 2016) - The board of directors of the Network of ELCA Colleges and Universities has issued a statement condemning hate threats made against Bethany College in Lindsborg, Kan., and its president, William Jones.
Earlier this month, racist messages written in chalk were discovered on the Bethany campus. Following the incident, Jones received threatening phone calls from someone claiming responsibility for the messages and drawings.
The Network of ELCA Colleges and Universities comprises the 26 Evangelical Lutheran Church in America-related institutions of higher education. The network's board of directors is made up of the institutions' 26 presidents and an executive director.
The statement said:
"The Network of ELCA Colleges and Universities has watched with grave concern recent incidents at Bethany College. As the association of the twenty-six institutions of higher education related to the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), we are compelled to speak in support of Bethany College, our member institution in Lindsborg, Kansas.
"We have learned that threats from a hate-group appeared earlier this month in chalked messages on campus walkways and in messages conveyed by telephone. These racist messages focused on the family of Bethany College's new president, William Jones, and the two bi-racial children of the president and his wife. An increased presence of persons of color in the student body was also the target of this hate speech.
"We are diverse institutions in the Lutheran tradition, but we stand as one against these threats. With President Jones, we deplore these despicable actions that are, as he has shared, 'disgusting and completely contrary to our core values and intellectual identity.'
"The ELCA Network of Colleges and Universities condemns the racist attacks and threats of violence made against the president, his family, and members of the Bethany College community. Such behavior is antithetical to human, Christian and American values. All people of good will should stand with us against the racism, bigotry and hatred that is at the root of these recent attacks."
Online Evangelical Mission

A year ago, Laurentian Conference of NE MN Synod applied for a grant from the Campaign for the ELCA, and was approved for a $25,780 grant for innovative and collaborative youth ministry across our conference, focusing on leadership development. The Laurentian Youth Leadership Project grant was one of 21 grants approved, of 86 applications.

Since then, LYLP has been busy. Our senior high trip to Gustavus' SleepOUT retreat helped us understand and experience a taste of homelessness. At our Launch Party, we learned about local efforts to help youth currently experiencing homelessness, and took part in team-building activities by VLM staff. Car pooling helped more Laurentian churches send youth to Cardia Deo. A PLAN-IT workshop helped congregation teams plan a balanced year of youth ministry. Two Laurentian youth now serve on the Synod LYO Board. On our summer servant trip, youth volunteered with DenUM, the Food Bank of the Rockies, and ARC Thrift Stores to learn about issues of poverty in the Denver area. This fall's annual Confirmation Kick-off featured Lyle Griner talking about WHEAT and Spirit nudges.

LYLP currently is gearing up for a Senior High Peer Ministry Retreat over MEA weekend, and a Confirmation-age Peer Ministry Retreat over MLK weekend, both led by Lyle Griner at Camp Vermilion. Toward spring, we plan to sponsor an Interfaith Urban Plunge in the Cities.

We give thanks for Spirit nudges that inspired writing the grant. We give thanks to God for the gift of youth and adults in our Conference. We give thanks for Synod staff who advised, supported, and celebrated with us. We give thanks for the amazing blessing of resources given through the generosity of many throughout the ELCA.

Pastor Evelyn Weston 
Laurentian Youth Leadership chair
A Note from the Editor - 
Contact Information Change

Due to upcoming changes in employment law, I will no longer be checking my [email protected] email address on evenings and/or weekends. Because I do the work of editing these Online Reflections during those off-hours, I have created a new email address to be used for correspondence that is not related to my primary job at Lord of Life Lutheran in Baxter.

Beginning immediately, please contact me at [email protected] with items related to the weekly Online Reflections, NE MN Synod Assembly and/or WELCA Summer Gathering.

Thank you for your cooperation,

Anne Laechel
Online Reflections Editor
In Our Words: The Courage of Living with Mental Illness - An Informational Forum 
[Note Change of Title]
Sunday, October 2nd at 1:30 p.m., Messiah Lutheran Church, Mountain Iron, MN

For more formation check the September 22 or September 29 Online Reflections.

Discipleship Challenge!
How are you WONDERING together this fall? This year's Discipleship Challenge invites you to WONDER together for at least 10 minutes every time you gather, and we have new resources posted to help you do this! The Practice Discipleship curriculum, Wonder, has been adapted to use as five minute devotions, 10-15 minute discussions, 30-45 minute session, or use the original curriculum for a one hour discussion/study. Webinars from the curriculum can be paused for group discussion as questions are posed. Or use the writer videos to initiate discussion. So many options to WONDER together! Find out more and get these resources at
Youth Ministry News

Middle School Gathering
November 18-19 OR 19-20, 2016
Cragun's Resort
Early Registration: $65 if postmarked on or before Oct. 17
Standard Registration: $75 if postmarked on or after Oct. 18
Join nearly 1000 youth and adults in November for a weekend of faith formation and fun at the Middle School Gathering! With the theme iBelong, we will wonder together about the Apostle's Creed and how it shapes our identity as children of God and draws us into relationship with God and each other. Speaker Kari Lyn Wampler will inspire us, learning clusters will challenge us, family time will connect us, hotel life will give us time to play with new and old friends, and worship will send us out to let others know they belong to God as well!
Registration opens October 1st! For more information and to download registration forms, go to

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Northeastern Minnesota
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The purpose of our

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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    
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

Recycle your motor oil. One quart of motor oil can contaminate 250,000 gallons of water.  If you get your oil changed, make sure they will recycle your oil.  If you change the oil yourself, take it to a gas station or oil-changing outlet that recycles oil.  They will take yours, but you will have to pay anywhere from a quarter to a dollar (the cost of having it picked up).