Northeastern Minnesota Synod
Online Reflections
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week of February 5, 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.

  • Waters of Life Lutheran, Duluth
  • Grace Lutheran, Ely
  • Pastor Larry Hendry, retired
  • Pastor Chris Hill
  • Mrs. Deloris Hillstrom, SAM
  • Deacon Wendy Hjelmberg
Year-End Reports are due now!

Congregation ID and Password are found on the paper form sent by the ELCA or by contacting Kathy Wimer at the Synod office.
Free to Love and Serve Neighbor: A Stewardship Perspective
Reflections from Pastor Amy Odgren, Director for Evangelical Mission and Assistant to the Bishop
As asked by Bishop Tom, your synod staff continues to reflect on the Reformation and what it means to us to follow Christ from an ELCA Lutheran perspective.
This past week, I had the privilege to speak to the graduating seniors at Wartburg Theological Seminary in Dubuque, Iowa about the importance of being stewardship leaders in the church. This was my fourth year to have the opportunity to be in conversation with some of the brightest, hopeful and eager-to-serve future rostered leaders in the ELCA. I always come back energized after having learned as much from them as from the panel of "practioners" who shared insights about the ins and outs of encouraging congregations to live as generous followers of Christ.
What is always vivid for me during these visits is that as members of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, we share a living, daring confidence in God's grace. This faith gives us the courage to proclaim the good news to a world that is longing to hear it - and it sets us free to love and serve our neighbors. And how do we respond to God's call to serve and love our neighbors? We faithfully steward the gifts God has so abundantly given to us.
Although some think of stewardship as only a financial response to God's love, stewardship encompasses so much more than money. It is about how we use all that God has entrusted to our care - our time, our talents and our treasures - to love God and our neighbors, both inside and outside of the church walls and our homes.
What is the first thing that comes to mind when you hear the word "stewardship?" Budgets and spreadsheets? Money? Pledge cards? Well...what about love? The ELCA is a church that is energized by lively engagement in our faith and life, and we have an important message to share: stewardship is about so much more than money - stewardship is about love.
Martin Luther summarized stewardship like this: "I have held many things in my hands and I have lost them all. But whatever I have placed in God's hands - that, I still possess." For each one of us, stewardship should be a way of life. It applies to time and the talents God has given, as well as to money and possessions. Stewardship includes: time management, doing everything possible to stay in good health, caring for the environment, money management, financial generosity, and planning for legacy charitable gifts. Some say the church talks a great deal about money. That's because money and possessions play such a large part in our life. How we handle money is a good barometer of our relationship with God. One great theologian said, "A bank statement is a theological document-it tells you who and what you worship." Further, it has been said, "Stewardship is the act of organizing your life so that God can spend you."
In our baptisms, we are called to boldly share and witness to the love of God in Christ Jesus. Love God and love neighbor...we do so with the blessings that God has entrusted us with. We do so individually and we do so as a community in Christ. Budgets and spreadsheets? Money? Pledge cards? They are extremely important! The students at Wartburg Seminary couldn't wait to hear about how the "practioners" finessed such things in congregational life as well as at the synodical level.
Many of us have heard that the faith practice of making a regular financial offering to your congregation is grounded in a "first fruits" philosophy. The Apostle Paul encouraged the fledgling churches of his time with this idea of giving from what we have - not from what is left over. We might think of this giving as "business as usual." You pay the rent, you buy groceries and you contribute regularly to help carry out God's mission in the world. Your generosity isn't an afterthought or coming from what's left over - it's part of your day in-and-day-out joyful response as a child of God. These offerings first help to support local ministries, outreach and more. Your congregation then shares a portion of your offering-mission support-with your synod and the synod then sends on a portion to our churchwide expression. Mission support is critical because it enables us to do God's work with our hands.
Ask your congregational leaders if your congregation has sent in their Intent for 2017 Mission Support:
Faithfully stewarding the gifts that God has so abundantly given to us is what our mission and ministry together is all about. We need each other. And through our generosity, we witness to the love of God as we love and serve our neighbor in this world that God loves so much.

2017 Northeastern Minnesota Men's Retreat

Join us February 17 & 18 at Lord of Life, Baxter MN. Friday, February 17 from 4:30 pm to 9 pm and Saturday, February 18 from 8 am to 4 pm. Featuring Bp. Thomas Aitken and Richard Bruxvoort Colligan. Register with the attached form or by email to Bob Nelson at $40 for repeat attendees and $30 for first time attendees (includes registration and meals). $65 for attendees who need lodging (includes double occupancy, registration and meals). Please register by February 14.
Youth Quick Links

Ministry Recharge! - February 11, 2017
Recharge is this Saturday, February 11 in Duluth! The last day to register online is Feb. 8. This is an inspiring, encouraging, practical day of learning and networking for anyone who volunteers and works with children, youth and family ministry!
AND a special incentive for congregations in NE MN Synod who have participants at this event! The Synod will have a drawing from our congregations in attendance to offer a $250 gift certificate for Youth Leadership's Children's or Youth Ministry Certification program!

LYO Board Applications Due - February 15, 2017

Cardia Deo Retreat - March 3-5, 2017

Discipleship Challenge

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
New Reformation anniversary website launches
Do you have the Reformation anniversary resources you need or know how to submit your event information?
The new, more user-friendly is the go-to information hub. It provides tools for understanding and commemorating the Reformation in worship, learning, ecumenical conversations, personal devotion and more. And, it's the central point for sharing information about and learning how to participate in events.
The refreshed With New Voices invites all to hear the Small Catechism and be renewed in one's own voice as a witness of Jesus Christ. The easily accessible materials are useful year-long, particularly for the upcoming Lenten season.

In This Issue
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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
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.

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