Northeastern Minnesota Synod
Online Reflections
synod logo

week of December 11, 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.

  • Bethany Lutheran, Cushing
  • Bethany Lutheran, Deer River
  • Pastor Richard Erickson, retired
  • Pastor Richard Lloyd Erickson, retired
  • Pastor Jerome Evavold
  • Pastor Timothy Faust, OLFC
Bishop Aitken's Reflection

Bishop Aitken's Reflections
Jesus to be born
This past Friday and Saturday, Pastor Kari Williamson (Lutheran church of the Cross, Nisswa) and I were at the quarterly Board Meeting of Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota. We are both on the board representing you, the Northeastern MN Synod. We deliberate with board members across the State on the down-to-earth work of love LSS is called to do for youth, young people, people with disabilities, and older adults. This work helps to provide safety, dignity and hope in the name of the One born on Christmas. The many services include: Adoption, disaster services and Camp Noah, employment services and financial counseling, refugee services, group home and community based homes and Camp Knutson. I want to highlight, in particular, the Center or Changing Lives being built in Duluth. It is a Homeless Youth Ministry that will serve youth who sleep in cars, ice fishing houses or couch surf. They have no support system at home. 90% are living at poverty level. 80% have a background of abuse, including sexual abuse, and 85% have parents who are chemically dependent. I thank you for your faithful support. 84 Congregations of Northeastern Minnesota Synod's territory participated in funding this incredible ministry - intended not only to serve Duluth's homeless youth - but serve as a model for other communities across our state. This center is being built daily, and I have the unique opportunity to drive by it each day on my way to the office. It is only 3 blocks from 1105 E. Superior Street - our synod office address. Below is what it will look like when completed in June of 2017!


Next Sunday, the 4th Sunday of Advent, we will hear what happened to Mary and Joseph, in the middle of their lives, in their home town. They were called on by the Holy Spirit - to give birth to and nurture Jesus. They opened themselves up to God's call right in the middle of their context. There's a story about a well-known Bible Scholar, who was honored in his old age by a bunch of his former students and friends. One of them asked why he, famous for knowing so much of the Bible, had never visited the "holy land" the place where the Bible was written. His answer went something like this: "Because I did not want to risk making the mistake of trying to find Jesus in another environment than the one in which I daily live with him right here."
Mary and Joseph listened to the Spirit and said, Yes. That same Spirit is talking to us today, in our world, asking that Jesus be born in us, and granting us the faith for it to happen right in our own home towns.
+Bishop Thomas M. Aitken
Northeastern Minnesota Synod, ELCA

Reformation 500 Kick-off

The 500th Anniversary year is coming soon!

The Northeastern Minnesota Synod is hosting a Bishop's Convocation to commemorate this special anniversary year: on Saturday January 21st from 1:00-4:00 pm at Our Savior's in Hibbing and on Sunday January 22nd from 2:00-5:00 pm at First Lutheran in Aitkin.
We will offer several options for workshops (pick 2) and Bishop David Zellmer from the South Dakota Synod will speak about "How the Heck Did We Get to the Reformation?"

It promises to be a great time! The event is free and all are welcome. We do require registration to allow for the number of materials and refreshments needed. Please sign up at: or call the Synod office to register. 218.724.4424 x127

Solar for Phebe

This Christmas, as we celebrate the LIGHT OF CHRIST coming into the world, we invite your congregation to join the challenge to give a $100 Congregational Gift to Solar Power for Phebe in response to the National Geographic Matching Grant received by Rural Renewable Energy Alliance (RREAL) Challenges will be accepted electronically (church or personal credit cards are accepted). Go to RREAL's homepage ( and click the Phebe100DONATE button at the BOTTOM RIGHT OF THE PAGE or go to to accept the Phebe $100 Christmas Challenge. Thank you in advance for accepting this monetary challenge to meet the needs of God's people in another land.
Where Does Your Offering Go? - Updated

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
Online Pictorial Directory
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
In His Service, Tammy Segel-Crilly 
Communications/Office Support NEMN Synod
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!
More Info at
In This Issue
Quick Links
Join Our Mailing List
Northeastern Minnesota
Synod, ELCA

synod logo

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
Pastor Amy Odgren - 125
    Director for Evangelical Mission
    Assistant to the Bishop
Deacon Brenda Tibbetts - 122
   Assistant to the Bishop
   Call process
   Youth Ministry 
    Office Administrator
    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.

Latest Youth E-Chat