Southwestern Minnesota Synod
News & Events - February 24, 2014
SW MN Synod Equipping Congregations Day 

+Bishop Jon V. Anderson  Thank you to the Equipping Congregations Board for your planning, Willmar congregations for volunteering, and Vinje Lutheran Church for hosting this day.

On the door of my office I have a sign that says, "The Equipment Room." A synod and the synod's staff are called to do many different things, but I want to be reminded every day that we are called to be "equipping the saints" for ministry and mission in Jesus' name.

We are so thankful for all who came and participated in Saturday's Equipping Day in Willmar. The weather complicated things but did not get in the way of the work that has been going on for almost a year to prepare for this day. From Dr. David Lose, our keynoter, to the Equipping Board chaired by Karen Koeder of Waverly of Trimont, to all the workshop leaders, to the Willmar congregations who all helped make this event happen, and to the hosting congregation, Vinje, I want to say that I give thanks to God for you and for your offering that contributed to the building up of God's Church as lay leaders and pastors gathered to pray, imagine, listen, be affirmed for their initiatives, and build energy for serving in the coming year.

Equipping happens in all kinds of ways. Conferences have been hosting events on formation and other key work of being church effectively in our time. Equipping happens in call process and conflict/reconciliation ministry. Equipping happens in conference gatherings and text studies. Equipping happens in first-call colleague groups and in pastor-to-pastor gatherings. Equipping happens as council members and volunteers apprentice the next generation of leaders in congregations across this synod.

God's Holy Spirit is blowing life into each of us as baptized ones and into our communities of faith in a way that is more powerful than the blizzard of last week.

When people ask what the synod is good for, just smile and say, "One thing our synod does is equip sinner/saints for lives of ministry and mission."


Presiding Bishop Eaton's Visit to the Circle of Faith Parish
+Bishop Jon V. Anderson
A video crew and Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton visited the Circle of Faith Parish this past weekend. They were there to film the story of this parish and Waverly Lutheran of rural Trimont's relationship with Gloria Dei Lutheran Church in St. Paul. The film shot will be part of the stories shared in the churchwide video that is shared at all 65 synod assemblies this spring.
The Circle of Faith Parish has been in existence one year. Waverly Lutheran of rural Trimont, Trinity Lutheran of Welcome and St. Peter's of Ceylon came together out of a three year long conversation. Their task force was called Discovering Hope. The book by that name was a resource in the dreaming that led to this new partnership.

I was able to spend some time with them between other commitments this weekend. I was thankful as I listened and learned more about what God has been up to in this new parish in the southeastern corner of our synod. Pr. Anthony Christoffels, Pr. Eric Midthun and the lay leaders in the parish did great work hosting our Presiding Bishop and celebrating what God is up to in their lives and our world. Presiding Bishop Eaton was learning about farm life and rural congregations.
We all wanted to share this good news with the synod earlier, but the video was being shot with a mission to tell the congregation and parish's story. So the focus was on the local congregation and not having many show up to hear Presiding Bishop Eaton. We will share the whole video with you all later.
I am thankful that the story of this rural parish will be shared and I kept thinking of all the places I wish I could take a film crew and the Presiding Bishop to learn about your ministry. Each of your parishes are mission stations doing important work of equipping and sending people to live out their faith and many callings in everyday life.
Conference of Bishops Gathering
+Bishop Jon V. Anderson
I am traveling to Chicago for the Conference of Bishops gatherings. This is a weeklong meeting because of a retreat we have added on to our normal work. I will return to our synod's office on Wed. March.5th. I invite your prayers for our gathering as we make assignments to synods of this year's seminary graduates. We also will be working through challenges and opportunities facing our church body. It is a gift to be able to go to worship, learn, work and serve with my colleagues from the 64 other synods and our churchwide team. It is also a time of intense informal work filling in the spaces around the formal session time.

Last fall I was elected to serve on the Executive Committee of the Conference. I also chair the Theological and Ethical Concerns Committee of the Conference. These two committees give me a different set of lenses to see into the life of our church body. I am thankful and also aware of the responsibility. I want to thank our entire staff for carrying the weight of our local work while I serve in this sphere of our church body's life.

One final thing, I want to thank all of you who have completed your rostered leaders reports. I have responded to about one tenth of them at this point. I will be reading all of those who have been turned in by Sunday. I intend to continue to respond to them individually as I have time in the weeks ahead. 
Prayers for Our Churchwide Staff
+Bishop Jon V. Anderson
I would ask that this week you hold the churchwide staff in prayer as they grieve and mourn the sudden and shocking deaths of two members of their team.
Pr. Peter Perella has been serving as the leader of our churchwide team. Peter has had a long battle against cancer. It returned recently and took his life quickly. He died Monday. We give thanks to God for him.
Pat Dever worked in the Mission Investment Fund area. She died suddenly last week. "She was at her desk and passed out. She never regained consciousness."
Pr. Peter Perella
Pat Dever

When people talk about our churchwide organization they cannot see the people and the community of sinner/saints who faithfully seek to steward our churchwide work. I have the privilege of working with them and knowing many deeply because of our shared partnership.

Today that community is mourning and grieving.
I invite you to hold them and Peter and Pat's family in prayer.
ELCA Web Update
+ Christina Jackson-Skelton, Executive Director of Mission Advancement
ELCA Churchwide Update Continuing to improve the website is a top priority for staff members in Digital Media and Information Technology. As a batch of changes and enhancements become ready to implement, they are grouped into "releases" (site updates) every couple weeks.
Last week, an improvement was pushed out for the "Find a Person" function (the link is in the footer of every page). The current version is much improved over the one the new website launched with, but it will continue to be improved and future enhancements will be released as they are developed.
LMM Spring Retreat Early Registration Discount End March 1!
The 2014 Lutheran Men in Mission Retreat will be held Saturday, March 15 with a pre-retreat Friday, March 14, both held at Green Lake Bible Camp in Spicer, Minnesota. This year's theme is
"It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, to prepare God's people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up." - Ephesians 4:11-12
The pre-retreat Friday evening will be a program about Relational Leadership by Laura Praske, Tentmakers Ministry, an interactive and participative workshop to integrate faith-based leadership skills into your personal and professional life. Saturday's retreat will be focused on Building Men for Christ by Jeff Mason, Lutheran Men in Mission Region 3 Board Director.
PIE (Prosper-Invest-Endow): A Recipe for Generosity

The PIE workshop, based on Psalm 1 was developed by our SW MN Synod, addresses legacy gift planning. It is not  a "sales pitch." You will not be pressured as often is reported at "Estate planning" events.  You will not be asked to sign up for anything or buy a product. Rather, P.I.E. informs!  It shares a healthy "recipe," through the use of music, scripture, stories, and gift planning resources, how "to pass stories, values, and assets to the next generation in a way that brings glory to God."  Again, there is NO cost.  No products will be sold. The event is paid for through a grant from the Macedonia Project.

"PIE: A Recipe for Generosity" is now nationally recognized by our ELCA for its ministry value to families!  Perhaps you are part of a family system where family members no longer speak to one another because of the way "assets" (both titled and non-titled) were shared at the death of a loved one.  Unfortunately, those stories are plentiful in today's culture! Those sad stories, told by family members, nursing home chaplains, and pastors, make us believe "PIE: A Recipe for Generosity" will be meaningful to you, your family, and God's World in Christ!  This is about being "told" not "sold." You will be "told" plenty that can help you in your generosity.  We believe this is time well spent!  We believe you will find it a great "investment" in your family legacy. Come for PIE!


Click here for event times and locations!

Click here to register! 

Mark your calendar!  
Below is a list of all the upcoming synod events. For more detailed click here. 
  • March 15 - P.I.E. (PROSPER INVEST ENDOW): A Recipe for Generosity
  • March 22 - P.I.E. (PROSPER INVEST ENDOW): A Recipe for Generosity
  • March 14-15 - Lutheran Men in Mission Retreat
  • March 18 - Together in Ministry Prairie Conference
  • March 28-29 - Sr. High Youth Gathering 
  • April 12 - Multiple Area Parishes (MAP): Framing Our Unique Ministry
  • April 25 - P.I.E. (PROSPER INVEST ENDOW): A Recipe for Generosity (morning)
  • April 25 - ELCA Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton (afternoon)
  • April 25 - Pastoral Staff Support Time (PPST) Healthy Staff Relationships Retreat (evening)
  • April 26 - P.I.E. (PROSPER INVEST ENDOW): A Recipe for Generosity
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