Northeastern Minnesota Synod
Online Reflections
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week of January 15, 2017
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.

  • Good Shepherd Lutheran, Duluth
  • Holy Cross Lutheran, Duluth
  • Pastor Judy Gustafson
  • Pastor Paul Hadland
  • Pastor James Hagen
  • Deacon Thomas Hamilton
Bishop Aitken's Reflections 
(Ephesians 2:8-9)
Martin Luther and Martin Luther King Jr
As you now know, THERE'S MORE ROOM FOR YOU THIS COMING WEEK-END - at the Synod Reformation Kick -off Event! You may still register online, or call our synod office (218-724-4424) to let us know you are coming to either Saturday (Jan 21) at Our Savior's in Hibbing, or Sunday's identical event (Jan. 22) at First in Aitkin. It is a FREE event open to anyone! +Bishop David Zelmer (South Dakota) will do the Key Note presentation on "How the heck did we get to the Reformation?" and then you are free to choose workshops after his presentation. (See Info on Website, or below)
Part of why I am glad to be a Lutheran Christian is the powerful assertion by Luther that God's relationship to us is a gracious, loving one, given to us as a gift and that gift creates faith in us. God gets to work on us and grants the trust that allows us to live in faith, loving God and loving neighbor. This is the life of wholeness or salvation. It was this kind of salvation and faith that Martin Luther King Jr. lived out courageously. Yes, he exhibited enormous courage in speaking up for God's children who were black: people who were maligned, marginalized, and murdered. Yes, he spoke out with conviction against the evils of racial prejudice and yes, he led marches with courage, he put his very life where his convictions of God's love held him. Why? When you don't have to wonder and worry about God's love for you, you can take all that energy you might have wasted trying to be good enough for God, and use it on serving your neighbor. Luther said in essence that Christians are passive in terms of faith (It's all God's doing) and active in terms of love (It's what we do naturally out of the faith we have been given.) It's actually how we were created to be.
Prayer for this week:
Thank you God for Martin Luther, and for Martin Luther King Jr. and countless others whose lives were a courageous witness your love, even in the face of incredible push-back. Grant me to live out the faith you've given me so that I may do the same in my time, in my way, in my world.
+Bishop Thomas M. Aitken

Reformation 500 Kick-off - 

Please pre-register to help us prepare accordingly
but at-the-door registrations will be accepted.

Join us for one or both of two identical events:

Saturday January 21 from 1:00-4:00 pm
 at Our Savior's in Hibbing 

Sunday January 22 from 2:00-5:00 pm
 at First Lutheran in Aitkin
Bishop David Zellmer from the South Dakota Synod will speak about "How the Heck Did We Get to the Reformation?" then we'll break out into workshop sessions (pick 2).

The event is free, all are welcome, and it promises to be a great time!

Pre-registration is strongly encouraged to help prepare the number of materials and refreshments needed. Please sign up at: or call the Synod office to register. 218.724.4424 x127, or click the link below!

Eventbrite - Reformation 500 Kick-off
Companion Synod Reflection - Ingria Russia
Companion Synod relationships are complex. Sometimes things go as planned, such as when a team from Northeastern Minnesota traveled to Russia last June, and relationships are developed. Other times our Synod has graciously welcomed guests from Russia, Honduras, or India into our congregations and homes. Those are the times we celebrate as the work of companion synod relationships. Alex and Nadia
But other times we are called to be companions in challenging situations. Language, translation, and interpretation can become stumbling blocks. There can be theological differences between the ELCA and other Lutheran bodies worldwide. And national politics play a role in how we interact globally.
Right now I ask for your prayers for our companion synod relationship with the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Ingria in Russia. We were in the final stages of planning to welcome Pr. Alexi and Nadia Krongolm from Petrozavodsk, Russia for an extended visit to the States and our Synod this month. For a multitude of reasons on the Russian side of our relationship, this visit has been postponed. Although this is sad news for our synod, it gives us pause to reflect on why we have companion synod relationships at all. We are not in relationship with Lutheran bodies in Russia and Honduras and India because of politics or international goodwill. We are not in relationship with these church bodies to help them be more like us in the ELCA. We are companions because Pr. Alexi and Nadia and all the other people of the churches in Russia are brothers and sisters in Christ. For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female - for all of you are one in Christ Jesus (Gal 3:27-28).
And so, as companions with our Russia brothers and sisters in Christ, we continue to pray for the ministry that is happening in Russia. And we pray for the well-being of our friends across the seas. And we look forward to the next face-to-face visit, whether it be here in Northeastern Minnesota or again in Russia. In the meantime, you and your congregation are invited to participate in the ongoing companion relationship with our friends in Russia. Congregations here can establish "friendship relationships" with Russian congregations. Individuals can support the work of the companionship through a gift to the Renewing the Promise campaign. Or you can invite one of us from the Russian task force to give a presentation to your small group, adult forum, Sunday school, or youth group. Contact Pr. Peter Kowitz or Pr. David Carlson, co-chairs of the Russian Companion Synod Team, or the Synod office for more information.
Pastor Peter Kowitz
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
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Staff Listing
Phone: 218.724.4424
Pastor Amy Odgren - 125
    Director for Evangelical Mission
    Assistant to the Bishop
Deacon Brenda Tibbetts - 122
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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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