Northeastern Minnesota Synod
Online Reflections
synod logo

week of February 12, 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.

  • Hope Lutheran, Embarrass
  • United in Christ Lutheran, Eveleth
  • Pastor Cynthia Hjerpe
  • Pastor Erik Holleque, retired
  • Pastor Daniel Holm, retired
  • Pastor LeRoy Holmes, retired
Bishop Aitken's Reflections

Bishop's view: Step up for refugees fleeing violence, threatened by death
People of faith always have been called by God to welcome the stranger and to build bridges rather than walls with others, especially those who flee violence, rape, the threat of death, separation of families and impossible living conditions. In anxious times, there always have been those who use fear and degradation to summon the worst impulses we may have rather than the greatest power, the power of love and understanding.
As a bishop in the Lutheran church, I stand with my church, the Scriptures, and all those who welcome refugees and migrants no matter what their language or faith.
We are facing an unprecedented worldwide crisis with 65 million human beings fleeing from bloodshed, war, rape, the separation of families, and fear of death. From Syria alone, there are 5 million refugees; 51 percent of whom are children.
Many faith traditions - including my own, the Evangelical Lutheran church in America - have welcomed refugees since World War II and even before, attending to the basic needs of others and helping to create the kind of reciprocal love and understanding, decency and kindness our world needs so badly. Stories of how this has helped shaped a better America can be heard by those who were welcomed.
It doesn't help to demonize those who disagree with us - no matter who we voted for in the presidential election. There will always be differences of opinion by well-meaning people, and it helps to ask questions rather than cast judgment on those who voted for someone you or I didn't.
But it's vital for the sake of all to stand up for courageous and loving action. At a breakfast table in the home of one of our congregants recently, a mother texted me about how her family read Scripture and discussed what it means to follow Jesus. They used passages from both the Old and New Testaments, which reminded them that God intends for us to bless others with practical, down-to-earth love, no matter who that person is and without expecting something in return.
I hear stories like this all the time. Millions of people from all political backgrounds and from both non-religious and religious persuasions are stepping up with courage and compassion right now. They are moving from talking to acting on what they know is life-saving for refugees fleeing persecution no matter where those refugees come from. Seeking out the truth, checking the facts, opening our hearts and homes, and speaking the truth in love is what is needed today. The rigorous refugee-screening process should be known and understood in the midst of our conversations. Backbiting, fear-mongering, spreading half-truths, and imagining the worst from those who may differ from our own opinion diminish us and divert us from actually living into the joy of God's love.
In times like we are experiencing today, Christians do what we always were called to do: love our neighbor as ourselves; put the best possible construction on our neighbor; stop the oppression of widows, orphans, aliens and the poor; stand up against injustice; and bear witness to God's incredible love for all people.
Thomas M. Aitken of Duluth is bishop of the Northeastern Minnesota Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.

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.
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 [email protected]. $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

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
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