2019 Equipping Congregations Day
February 23, 2019 - 8:30am - 3:30pm 
Vinje Lutheran Church & Bethel Lutheran Church, Willmar MN
Early registration is extended to Friday, February 8, 2019!

We have something for everyone!
Throughout the day you will have time to attend your choice of 3 different workshops, in addition to our keynote speakers, Beth Lewis and Benjamin Winchester. 
You will be able to choose 1 workshop from groups A, B & C.
Below is group C. Click here for a full list  of workshop descriptions.

Watch for more emails confirming your event location and registered attendees.
Enjoy the following group C:
(You will not register in advance for your workshop choices.)

What Can the ELCA Federal Credit Union Do For Me and My Ministry?

Presenters: Luis Reyes, Chief Operating Officer and Greg Truex, Director of Operations
We will discuss the founding of the ELCA Federal Credit Union, our progress and our goals. We will cover how we help leaders, congregants, and churches achieve their financial goals. There will be a Q&A session, so please bring your specific questions.

Creating Space for God's Story
Presenter: Rev. Heather Roth Johnson, St. John's Lutheran Church, Lakeville
What happens when you cross worship with education? You get a phenomenal Sunday morning experience! Join me for a one hour workshop about how to integrate God's story into the life of your congregation. This workshop is created for pastors, children, youth and family ministers, musicians and other key leaders who are looking for fresh ways to approach ministry collaboratively. You will leave with practical skills and resources for implementing a one-story integrated approach to energize the Sunday morning experience. The result is people learning God's story, knowing God's story, and then equipped to share the story.

Suicide Awareness and Prevention
Presenters: Brian Skogen, LSSW, CCISM, Canby Public Schools
Suicide has its roots in mental health. Providing an effective front line response to warning signs of suicidal behavior is key to prevention. He will cover risk factors, warning signs, and statistics and take a look at the importance of protective factors.

Fandoms: A Model for the Future Church? Version 2.0
Presenter: Rev. Courtney Young, LuMin in St. Cloud Pastor
There is a lot of talk about the church changing but not as much talk about what a renewed and reformed church in the 21st century and beyond could actually look like. In this session, Pastor Courtney Young (LuMin in St. Cloud) will lift up fandoms, the communities of people who gather online and in person around stories like Harry Potter, Star Trek, or The Lord of the Rings, as a potential model for the future church. In a playful conversation, we will take a look at the defining characteristics of fandoms and consider what the church can learn about gathering together and being shaped by our story from these groups. If you came last year, we will be going over the same material, but with a sharper focus on what different fandoms are celebrating exactly and implications for lay leadership and worship.

Congregational Vitality: Living God's Dream
Presenter: Bishop Jon Anderson
What is congregational vitality? How we imagine God's promised and preferred future impacts how we live out our life in Christian community. We will explore marks of healthy and vital congregations. God calls people deeper in faith, hope and love as resilient gracious disciples. Research from the ELCA Congregational Vitality project will help you think about at least one thing you might do to deepen your spiritual life and invite others in your congregation as well. You will leave with greater clarity of your own definition of congregational vitality and a planning tool or two to take back to your congregation.

Safety and Security at Church: One Congregation's Experience
Presenters: Safety & Security Team from Bethlehem Lutheran Church, St. Cloud
Is your congregation ready to respond to a security threat during worship? Learn how one congregation prepared a Safety & Security Plan that can be adapted for use in your congregation. Bethlehem Lutheran of St Cloud formed a Safety & Security Team after attending a training called "Worship without Worry; Safety and Security for Places of Worship" by Tina Rowe, a former police officer and US Marshall. You will learn how the Safety and Security Team used this training to develop and implement a plan specific to Bethlehem. Some topics covered: why develop a plan, the role of the worship leaders in emergency situations, what it's like to use your plan the first time, developing safety & security procedures, and facility updates.

Respectful Conversations
Presenter: Justin Lewandowski, ISAIAH of Central MN
In a time when we seem more divided than ever, having conversations can seem like a daunting task. In this session you'll learn a set of skills on how to engage your personal networks and communities around dialogue meant to build bridges, reduce prejudices, and connect communities.

Keynote Speakers:

Beth Lewis
Grow. Hold. Fold
One of the perils of any organization is that there is no shortage of good ideas. There are, however, good ideas that outlast their usefulness! It is often very difficult to stop doing things because they get imbedded into our organizations' traditions and cultures.

Benjamin S. Winchester
Rewriting the Rural Narrative
It seems the rural story has already been told. Small towns keep getting smaller. Churches, schools, clinics, businesses, and now post offices, have closed their doors as the lucky few migrate out to the big cities. This deficit framework dominates how we discuss and envision our rural communities. However, the story of rural America since 1970 is rich and diverse, with positive trends occurring under the radar. Learn how these important
positive changes have been occurring across the rural landscape that require us to rewrite the narrative of rural community change.
Registration Information

We will be using the buildings of both Vinje and Bethel Lutheran Churches in Willmar, to accommodate up to 1000 registrants. Both locations will have the same program elements, the schedules will just be in a different order. The keynote speaker and workshop leaders will move between the two church buildings.

After filling out the online registration, your congregation's contact person will receive a confirmation email containing your event location.

If the total number of members attending changes after you register, contact Maggie Berggren at the synod office. You will be asked to confirm your registration about 2 weeks prior to the event. We do not need the names of the people attending, just a total count. Please watch your email for event details. 

ECD Childcare and Kids Day Camp!

Registration for Childcare and the Kids Day Camp is separate.
Parents will register with their children. Please do not include them in your congregation's count. Parents will attend at the same location as their children. 

Childcare and Kids Day Camp Important information:
Childcare will be at Vinje Lutheran Church. Teachers from the Loving Arms Child Care Center will be providing the care. Age group: 6 weeks to age 6/Kindergarten). Registration cap is 40 kids.

Kids Day Camp will be at Bethel Lutheran Church. Green Lake Lutheran Ministries will give the kids a fun day camp experience. Age group: K-6 grade (kids must be IN kindergarten to meet the minimum age.) Registration cap is 20 kids.

There are no drop-ins! All children must be registered. Childcare and Kids Day Camp registration deadline is Friday, February 15, 2019. 

Registration will be first come, first served. There is NO additional cost for childcare or the camp as long as your congregation is registered. Parent(s)/guardian(s) must register with their child(ren). Please do not include them in your congregation's count on the Equipping Congregations Day registration. Parent(s)/guardian(s) will attend at the same location as their child(ren).

All children attending must bring a lunch (bring a cooler if needed). Snack will be provided. A follow-up email with more details will be sent to the parents two week before Equipping Congregations Day (ECD).

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Southwestern Minnesota Synod, ELCA 
PO Box 499, Redwood Falls, MN 56283
Phone: 507-637-3904