Northeastern Minnesota Synod
Online Reflections
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week of November 13, 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.

  • Trinity Lutheran, Cass Lake
  • Faith Lutheran, Chisholm
  • Pastor Liz Cheney
  • Pastor William Christ, retired
  • Pastor C. Owen Christianson, retired
  • Pastor Megan Crouch
Bishop Aitken's Reflection
A Warm Welcome to Pastor Amy Odgren!
The Rev. Amy Odgren has accepted the call as Director for Evangelical Mission and Assistant to the Bishop of the Northeastern Minnesota Synod.  Most recently, she has served as Senior Pastor of Spirit Lutheran, a consolidated congregation of the former First and Our Savior's Lutheran Churches in Eau Claire, WI.  From 2007-2013, Pastor Odgren served as an Assistant to the Bishop and Director for Evangelical Mission in the Northwest Synod of Wisconsin, where she helped guide several congregations in strengthening their missional framework, as well as giving leadership to strategic planning processes.  Pastor Odgren encourages congregations in thinking more deeply about God's transformational power within existing ministries and raising awareness to what God might be calling them to become in the future.  This work has included the formation of ministry partnerships, consolidations, and collaborative structures, as well as the development of new starts and renewing ministries. In addition, she has forged ecumenical relationships, sometimes posing new opportunities for effective ministry. Her synodical work also included a focus on Evangelism, Outreach, Generosity and Candidacy.  Before being called to the synod staff in Northwest Wisconsin, Pastor Odgren served over four years as the Associate Pastor of First Lutheran Church in Eau Claire.  Her first call in ministry was as a Mission Developer, cultivating and bringing together a new community of faith in the La Crosse Area Synod.  As a parish pastor, she has given particular attention to cross-generational ministry and faith development. She believes that all the baptized are Ministers of the Gospel - and that practicing discipleship is a life long journey strengthened by participating in a community of faith.
Pastor Odgren is a native of Iowa and a graduate of Gustavus Adolphus College and Wartburg Theological Seminary.  She entered ordained ministry after a 16 year career of administration in the field of supports and services for people with disabilities in the state of Massachusetts.  She and her husband Steve are the parents of three grown children.  They are the proud grandparents of one amazing grandson - and they share their living quarters with two very large, but loving Newfoundlands.  Pastor Odgren is thrilled to be in ministry in this neck of the woods of God's kingdom on earth, as she has vacationed her entire life on family owned property on the south shore of Leech Lake - the place her 90 year old parents now live year round. Trusting in the Holy Spirit, she is open to this call and the will of our Lord!    She begins her work here with us in the Northeastern Mn synod on Nov. 15th and I so look forward to working with her on our growing number of congregations undergoing intentional Mission Plans during the 500th Anniversary year of the Reformation!!
Welcome Pastor Odgren!

+Bishop Thomas M. Aitken
To the Northeastern Minnesota Synod, ELCA
+Bishop Thomas M. Aitken
Congregation Constitutions and Bylaws
Is it time to review them?
I am Rev. Rollie Bockbrader.  I am the person in our synod who reviews constitutions and bylaws for congregations.  My answer to the question above is, "Yes, it is time!"
At the ELCA Churchwide Assembly in August, the assembly voted on a number of changes to the ELCA governing documents including changes to the Model Constitution for Congregations of the ELCA.  It is a great time to review your congregation's constitution and bylaws.
The changes to the Model fall into three categories.  The first category involves the changes made to the rosters of the ELCA and synod.  There are now two rosters: ministers of Word and Sacrament and ministers of Word and Service.  The second roster combines the previous three lay rosters of Deaconesses, Associates in Ministry, and diaconal ministers, into one.  There are many changes to the Model Constitution because of these roster changes.

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Cardia Deo
March 3-5, 2017 Cardia Deo Logo
Big Sandy Camp, McGregor
It's not too early to start inviting youth in grades 9-12 to Cardia Deo! This weekend retreat is led by the NE MN Synod LYO Board, and includes small group Bible studies, service learning, mystery event, worship, camp life and much more. Find out more at
Bishop Aitken
Bible and Brew Study Retreats
Believing and Having Faith
Bishop Aitken is open to leading a Bible and Faith Study for men's, women's or mixed men and women's Retreats around the theme Belief and Faith. He uses the Gospels as well as other Biblical texts around the meanings of trust, fidelity, faith and believing. You could arrange with one of our Camps (where he has done these already) or at a location of your choosing. He presents a Biblical understanding of what faith and belief really are, and in particular, as a Lutheran Christian.
You may contact the synod office to make arrangements with him.
+Bishop Thomas M. Aitken
Northeastern Minnesota Synod, ELCA
Greetings from the Northeastern Minnesota Synod:
Things are changing, as they often do. You may have found it difficult, in the past, to find a church, Pastor or Dean, you want to contact. We have a great new section on our website. It is under the heading of pictorial directory. On that page is a listing of the congregations in our synod by conference. The conference deans are listed first followed by the congregations, alphabetical by city. Most have their photos there too. We would like all to have all the leaders photos listed, so if you have not already submitted a photo, a placeholder is there in the form of the synod logo. Here is the link
A new project is a "splash page" for your congregation. Currently we have congregations with links to their respective websites listed. What we would like, is to have a web presence for even the smallest church; that may not have a website, to get exposure in order to be able to grow and flourish. What we need is a photo of the outside, the sanctuary and the Pastor, Deacon or SAM who lead Worship, the Worship times and any other information you wish to share - keeping it simple - bible study times, Sunday school or Confirmation classes times, etc. To see an example, go to this link.
Any questions, submissions of information or photos (jpg format only please) feel free to Email: [email protected]
In His Service, Tammy Segel-Crilly 
Communications/Office Support NEMN Synod
Middle School Gathering
November 18-19 OR 19-20, 2016
Cragun's Resort
Final Update to Registered Groups!
The Family Time Discussion Guide and the Adult Leader Notes are now posted on the Middle School Gathering website at under "Gathering Information." Hard copies will also be in the packet you receive at the registration table.
We are only able to take same-sex substitutions at this point. If you have registration questions, please contact our Middle School Gathering Registrar Marilyn Hull at [email protected] or 218-724-4424, ext. 120. Email is preferred and will get you a quicker response!
Pizzas! If you pre-ordered pizzas, payment is due when you arrive at registration, Pre-ordered pizzas are $6 each. Checks can be made to "NE MN Synod LYO Gathering Account." Pizzas not paid for at registration will be released for general sale. A limited number of pizzas will be available for purchase on site for $7 each on a first come, first served basis. Primary Leaders can pay at registration, or individuals can purchase during Hotel Life while supplies remain.
February 11, 2017
Duluth, MN
Recharge is a multi-denominational, one day conference to inspire and equip church and staff and their volunteers serving in children, youth and family ministry. This conference has volunteers as its primary audience, and shares practical tips and tools for ministry that you can take home and begin using immediately. The Super Early Bird Rate ends December 15th! Start inviting leaders today!
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Northeastern Minnesota
Synod, ELCA

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The purpose of our

synod is to nurture a

Christ-centered climate

conducive to healthy,


congregations and

their ministries

throughout the world!

Staff Listing
Phone: 218.724.4424
Brenda Tibbetts, AiM - 122
   Assistant to the Bishop
   Call process
   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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