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 B.  Next week, we will highlight group C.
Click here if you missed group A. We will have a complete workshop description list posted next week. 
Enjoy the following group B:
(You will not register in advance for your workshop choices.)

Equipping/Empowering Lay Worship Leaders

Presenters: Rev. Deborah Dawson, Zion Lutheran Church, Arlington and Jullian Euteneuer, Minister of Music, Peace Lutheran Church, New London
This workshop is a preview of the November 2019 day where assisting minister roles and the 'how to' aspect will be offered for those who always wanted to try something new or refine existing skills. Join as we take a look at resources and approaches to encourage laity to try new or different ways of serving in the worship setting.

Not Even One Night: Exploring Youth Homelessness
Presenter: LSS Resource Staff Person
Did you know that there are active programs working to help homeless teens in 15 of our Southwestern Minnesota counties? Teen Homelessness is a growing issue in our state and is not limited to the larger communities like St Cloud, Mankato, Rochester or the Twin Cities. Whether they are in a shelter or our "couch hopping" at friend's houses, there are teens in our back yard that are struggling to find a safe place to sleep at night. To help you raise awareness among your congregation about youth homelessness, Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota has partnered with Luther Seminary professors to create a five-week Bible study on the topic of Youth Homelessness.

Consider the Lillies; Caring for God's Water on the Prairie-The Eco Faith Project
Presenter: Ian Graue
Water is essential for all life, is a critical element of the global economy and, most importantly, holds a sacred place in our relationship with God. As stewards of all creation, protecting Earth's water is not optional.
This presentation will provide information regarding the current status of water quality and quantity for surface and groundwater resources in Southwest Minnesota. Information will also be provided on actions that can be taken to protect and improve our water quality, reduce flooding downstream neighbors and improve recharge of ground water resources. This information will be applicable at the individual level as well as the congregational and community levels.
"Is it not enough for you to feed on the good pasture? Must you also trample the rest with your feet? Is it not enough for you to drink clear water? Must you also muddy the rest with your feet? (Ezekiel 34:17-18)

Ask a Question: Save a Life
Presenter: Kelly Rosendahl, Woodland Centers
QPR stands for Question, Persuade, and Refer - the 3 simple steps anyone can learn to help save a life from suicide. Just as people trained in CPR and the Heimlich Maneuver help save thousands of lives each year, people trained in QPR learn how to recognize the warning signs of a suicide crisis and how to question, persuade, and refer someone to help. Come and learn to recognize a crisis and the warning signs that someone may be contemplating suicide and how you can provide hope and help.

Love Thy Neighbor and Explore Muslim Culture
Presenter: Rev. Mandy France, Our Savior's Lutheran Church, Bird Island & Dr. Ayaz Virji, Dawson, MN
Rev. Mandy France and Dr. Ayaz Virji will be discussing the importance of interfaith dialogue in rural communities and discussing how congregations can be more involved with reaching out to their neighbors of different faiths. Dr. Virji will be discussing some popular myths about Islam and sharing his experiences with Islamophobia. Come and hear their story about how a Lutheran Pastor and a Muslim Doctor started a movement of loving thy neighbor and celebrating differences.

Effective Leaders for a Discipleship Church in the 21st Century
Presenter: Rev. Dr. Rick Rouse
What does it mean to be "church for the world?" How does one help a congregation move from maintenance to mission, from membership to discipleship? Rev. Dr. Rick Rouse (former Director of the Grand Canyon Synod's Missional Leadership Academy and a trainer for Healthy Leaders, Healthy Congregations) will explore how healthy leaders are vital to helping a congregation effectively maneuver times of anxiety and change.
Pastor Rouse will share the vital signs of a missional church and ways to help congregations reclaim their vocation as a mission outpost and training center for today's disciples. Based on Rouse's 2016 book Beyond Church Walls (Fortress Press) that suggests communities of faith embrace God's mission for the care and healing of the world. Participants will discover a new model of community care and explore how to effectively lead congregations through change-in order to be a discipleship church in the twenty-first century.

Cultivating Generosity in Ourselves and our Congregations
Presenter: Rev. Dwaine Bruns
"God loves a cheerful giver." II Corinthians 9:7b In this workshop, we'll explore together how giving brings joy to our lives. We'll also consider ideas for developing a growing culture of generosity within our congregations. Much of the content presented will be from the "Cultivating Generous Congregations" opportunity that is being used by a number of congregations within our synod.

Being your self - the key to effective leadership in anxious times
Presenter: Pr. Stephen Cook, Synod Minister, Southwestern Minnesota Synod
Families, congregations and communities are emotional systems, which don't function well when they are anxious. In this workshop we will look at an often overlooked resource in anxious times - the self of the leader. We will look at why growing more solid in your self is not "selfish," what good things can happen when people develop more solid self and how anyone might go about it.
Pastor Stephen Cook is one of our Synod Ministers. Steve has a MA in counselling psychology and practiced as a family therapist. He leads a coaching group for rostered and lay leaders. He has been working for years on his own self as spouse, father, neighbor and pastor.
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