March 8, 2021
Global Day of Prayer
As the trials of the former police officers accused in George Floyd's death begin, our nation - and especially the Twin Cities - is again confronted with the trauma of racism, police brutality and white supremacy. Today has been designated as a Global Day of Prayer. A day-long prayer vigil was scheduled for George Floyd Square and clergy were asked to consider showing up in person.

UPDATE: Due to a recent death at 38th and Chicago, this Global Day of Prayer will be in a virtual format. Check here for the latest information.
Registration is Open!
2021 Synod Assembly
Registration is now open for this year's Synod Assembly on May 14-15. Our gathering will again be online. Discounted “early bird’ registration of $35 per person is in effect through April 16. All participants must be registered by April 27. Voting members may register themselves or a congregation may register its full group. Please check with your congregation to find out how this is being handled. The only registrants for Synod Assembly in 2021 will be Voting Members and Advisors. All other interested parties may view the proceedings on Facebook Live or the synod website. Learn more and register at https://spas-elca.org/events/synod-assembly/.
Spring Ministerium
Thursday, March 25 - 1 p.m. | Online
This year's Spring Ministerium will be a one-hour, online worship service for rostered ministers, including those who are retired, as well as interns and candidates. We welcome Minneapolis-based singer/songwriter Rachel Kurtz as our featured musician. Rachel has been touring and singing for almost 20 years and has sung at the last six national youth gatherings. Bishop Patricia Lull will preach.

Register here to receive the Zoom link.
Kernza® Perennial Grain...What's That?
by Vernita Kennen

Kernza® perennial grain is a new strain of intermediate wheatgrass and is the first perennial grain to be commercialized in North America. Maybe you are among those who think that wheatgrass is only something “green” you add to a super healthy smoothie. Think again! Kernza® can be used like other wheat in cereals, muffins, crackers and flour....

Kernza® holds promise as one solution to the pollution problem of drinking water posed by familiar row crops here in Minnesota and elsewhere. Because it is a perennial, Kernza® requires less fertilizer than either corn or soybeans. The roots are twice as deep as one would see on wheat, for example. (I have seen displays of Kernza® at the Minnesota State Fair and been amazed at how long the roots are—nearly as long as I am tall!) Because it is a perennial this means that the roots remain in the ground and prevent both soil erosion and help absorb fertilizer chemicals which contaminate well water.

Bishop's Letters to Confirmands
Looking for a special addition to your congregation’s celebration of confirmation this year? Bishop Lull will write a letter to each confirmand, welcoming them to the next chapter in their faith life. If your congregation is interested, contact Anna Marsh (anna.marsh@spas-elca.org) for more details. Please allow two to three weeks before the service of confirmation.
International Women's Day Benefit
Monday, March 8 - 7 p.m. | Online
For well over a century, March 8 has marked International Women’s Day, a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. The global theme for this year is “Women in Leadership: Achieving an Equal Future in a COVID-19 World.” Join Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton and a panel of leaders from around the church to hear how the ELCA works for gender justice and equality around the world, especially amid the COVID-19 crisis. Among the panelists are two women from the Saint Paul Area Synod: the Rev. Joanne Conroy and Sister Noreen Stevens!

The panelists, who will discuss how each of us can work toward an equal future by choosing to challenge the status quo, include:
  • The Rev. Elizabeth A. Eaton, presiding bishop of the ELCA
  • Joanne Conroy, president, American Indian and Alaskan Native Lutheran Association
  • Jennifer DeLeon, president, Latino Ministries Association
  • Tamar Haddad, International Women Leaders scholar, California Lutheran University
  • LaShonda Hicks Curry, educator
  • The Rev. Niveen Ibrahim Sarras, Association of Lutherans of Arab and Middle Eastern Heritage
  • Linda Post Bushkofsky, executive director, Women of the ELCA
  • The Rev. Albert Starr, senior adviser, Ethnic Diversity
  • Sister Noreen Stevens, directing deaconess, Deaconess Community of the ELCA
  • The Rev. Teresita Valeriano, Association of Asian and Pacific Islanders
  • Rahel Mwitula Williams, moderator, director, Global Mission Funding

This event will benefit the International Women Leaders program, which provides scholarships and training to established and emerging women leaders from our global companion churches. Learn more.
Texas Storm Relief
Lutheran Disaster Response is collaborating with the Texas-Louisiana Gulf Coast Synod, the Southwestern Texas Synod, the Norther Texas-Northern Louisiana Synod and Lutheran Social Services Disaster Response to help address power, food and water shortages as a result of recent harsh weather conditions. Short- and long-term relief efforts will be needed to repair homes and businesses damaged from bursting pipes and broken water systems.

Gifts designated through Lutheran Disaster Response and designated for "U.S. Severe Storms" will be used entirely for direct response. Together, we can help provide immediate and long-lasting support for those whose lives have been impacted by severe winter storms and subfreezing temperatures in Texas. Doing this we reflect Christ’s light and hope to our neighbors in their time of need. For updates on this and other disasters, follow Lutheran Disaster Response on Facebook.
Bega Kwa Bega 2021 Appeal
While 2020 was a year of learning to be together and apart with our companions in the Iringa Diocese of Tanzania, 2021 is shaping up to be a year to reconnect in new and exciting ways. The work of reconnecting in person, with a growing church, as we live into God’s future for us together will require the contributions of individuals and organizations alike. To support the continued work of the Bega Kwa Bega partnership directly, you are invited to learn more and make a contribution online.
Called to Arise Spring Workshops
Tuesdays, March 2-23 - 6:30-8 p.m. | Online
Called to Arise stands at the intersection of racism, inequality and the environment. Enter into vital small group conversation at this intersection, based on the final four Moments of Arising videos and relevant current articles. Participate in building a map of actions to share with your own communities. Come on your own, or bring others! This is part two in the Called to Arise series, a collaboration of the EcoFaith Network NE MN Synod, the NE MN Synod Together Here Ministries, and the Saint Paul Area Synod Care of Creation Work Group. Download a flyer or register.
Children’s Ministry Gathering:
Supporting Parents
Monday, March 8 - 2 p.m. | Online
Parents are doing it all right now! They are exhausted! How can we support them? Let’s talk about ways that we can partner with them, so they know God loves them too! Questions? Contact Rachelle Gill at rgill@easter.org or Julie Vagle at juliev@trinitylonglake.org.

Join the Zoom Meeting:
Meeting ID: 850 7612 9637
Passcode: 473439

These children’s ministry gatherings are offered on the second Tuesday of every month through a partnership of the Minneapolis and Saint Paul Area Synods. Notes from previous gatherings may be found in the “files” section of the Twin Cities CYF ELCA Facebook group.
Stewardship for All Seasons
Tuesday, March 9 - 6 p.m. | Online
Just think of the lives your congregation could impact if your members grew their giving by 10%-15% next year! This is exactly the goal of Stewardship for All Seasons (SAS), a two-year, comprehensive process. SAS congregations embrace an impactful annual appeal and move into other vital realms of a culture of generosity: communications and story-telling, strategic planning, endowments, special appeals, volunteer recruitment and donor cultivation.

The Saint Paul Area Synod invites you to a virtual informational session to meet Pete Reuss, the SAS facilitator, and learn more about the process. To receive the Zoom link for the informational meeting, contact the Rev. Justin Grimm at justin.grimm@elca.org. Congregations will sign up for SAS by April 15 with the first cohort session to be held in late April or early May.
Navigating COVID Times Together
Tuesdays, March 9-23, 7-8 p.m. | Online
The pandemic has impacted many aspects of our lives and taken a toll on our mental, physical, and emotional well-being. Now, more than ever, it is crucial to take time to focus on our mental health. Through this three-part series, guest speakers will talk about the challenges of sadness, grief, depression and feeling emotionally exhausted. They will give us helpful tips and tricks to practice self-care and resilience for whatever lies ahead.
  • March 9 - I'm Doing Ok, But Why Do I Feel So Sad?
  • March 16 - I Am My Brother/Sister's Keeper: How to Recognize Depression and Help Ourselves and Others
  • March 23 - Self-Care and Recharge

To promote the health and well-being of our community, this series is a collaboration between
Easter Lutheran, Shepherd of the Valley, the Saint Paul Area Synod, and Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota. You must register to receive the Zoom details. Please log on to Zoom 10 minutes early so the session can start on time.

**This series is possible thanks to a mental health grant offered through the synod office. For more information about how to apply for a grant at your congregation, visit https://spas-elca.org/resources/for-leaders/mental-health-grants/.**
Kids Can Find Anything: 
Let’s Make Sure They Don’t Find Guns
Tuesday, March 23 - 7-8:15 p.m. | Online
Guns are the number one cause of death for children and teens in the U.S. (JAMA Pediatrics, Jan. 25, 2021), but we can take action to change this shocking statistic. As adults who care about the well-being of children and families, we can work together to prevent child firearm deaths and injuries.

To find out more, join us for a presentation and discussion led by Pastor Ron Letnes and Pastor Rolf Olson of ENGAGE: Lutherans for Gun Violence Prevention, a public witness work group of the Saint Paul Area Synod. Rolf will share his survivor story and Jill Chisholm will present the Be SMART for Kids PowerPoint followed by a Q&A session. There will also be times for scripture and prayers. Together we can Be SMART and make a difference! Register here.
SPAS/MAS Youth Ministry Leader Check-In
Thursday, March 25 - 10-11:15 a.m. | Online
Join together alongside other youth directors, pastors, and leaders that make ministry possible. We'll meet on Zoom to offer a time of conversation in breakout rooms to give each other support in ideas, brainstorming, to help us as we implement our summer ministries. This meeting is hosted the Minneapolis and Saint Paul Area Synods. Register here.
The synod office is open weekdays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. A limited number of staff are on-site each day. You may continue to reach all staff members by phone (651-224-4313) or by email.
EVENTS OF INTEREST
"Being Church" Online Gatherings for ELCA Leaders
Wednesdays at 1 p.m. | Online
Rostered and lay leaders are invited to a weekly gathering of topical presentations designed to provide encouragement and support for ELCA leaders. On March 10, the topic is "Suggested Guidelines for Returning to In Person Church" with Dr. Dave Daubert. Recordings of past sessions are available at www.elcacoaching.org/podcasts/media. Upcoming topics and presenters may be found at www.elcacoaching.org/.

Join the Zoom Meeting:
or by phone: +1 312 626 6799
Meeting ID: 180 439 412
Password: 648160
A Good Time for the Truth Book Study (Part 1)
Thursday, March 11 (part 2) - 6:30-8 p.m. | Online
The Inclusion Ministry at St. Andrew's, Mahtomedi, extends an invitation to join them for a communal reading and small group discussion of A Good Time for the Truth, edited by Sun Yung Shin. The book features the writings of 16 Minnesotans who provide a range of perspectives on what it is like to live as a person of color in our state. They give readers a splendid gift: the gift of touching another human being’s inner reality, behind masks and veils and politeness. They bring us generously into experiences that we must understand if we are to come together in real relationships. You do not have to have read the book to join, but participants are encouraged to purchase the book through www.bookshop.org. To receive the Zoom link, you must sign up by emailing jenny.sung@saintandrews.org. Learn more.
Living Well, Leading Well:
Pursuing Justice
Thursday, March 11 - 6:30-8:30 p.m. | Online
Two of the 20th century’s most well known theologian-pastor-activists, Dietrich Bonhoeffer and Martin Luther King, Jr., placed an important emphasis on the relationship between living in community and doing justice. In their respective theologies, they both understood building and sustaining authentic community as a crucial framework for doing justice work.
 
Join Reverend Chris Dorsey, president of Higher Education Leadership Ministries and former seminary professor and university chaplain, to learn about our call to pursue racial justice and equity as followers of Jesus Christ. The cost is $20. Register here.

This workshop is part of a series sponsored by Mount Olivet Conference & Retreat Center promoting wholeness, well-being and renewal in personal and professional lives. Each workshop is taught by specialists in the areas of counseling, biblical studies, peace-making and pastoral ministry.
One Year Changed: Faith in Pandemic
Thursday, March 11 - 7-8:30 p.m. | Online
A ready-made Lent retreat for you and your whole church! We have been leading, parenting, learning, working, neighboring, and simply existing within a global health crisis for over a year. It has changed the way we live our lives, the ways we connect meaningfully with one another, and perhaps it has also changed our faith. You're invited to gather with other people of faith to ponder how we might be moved into a different sort of spirituality this Lent. What have we let fall that we will never pick up again? What practices have emerged that may be meaningful far into the future? If this is truly a humanity-defining moment, what have we learned about our species? About ourselves? About our spirits?

With seven-minute talks from faith leaders, activists, artists, and more, we will memorialize the way this moment has shaped us and will continue to influence us. We will spend time in prayer and reflection, considering how the Spirit might be moving all of humanity in this moment. Featured speakers include: Dr. Valerie Bridgeman, Dr. Ulysses Burley III, Dr. Jacqueline Bussie, Rev. Emmy Kegler, Rev. Angela T. Khabeb and Rozella Haydée White. Register here.
Addiction Ministry Leadership Training
Thursday & Tuesday, March 11 & 16 - 6-9 p.m. | Online
Addiction issues of every kind are at an all-time high during this terrible pandemic. Addiction takes many forms—not just substance abuse but unhealthy behaviors that hurt individuals and whole families. Our entire community is negatively impacted by this issue in a variety of ways.

The Center of Addiction and Faith invites you to Addiction Team Ministry Training to help address this serious problem. As we emerge from this pandemic your congregation can be preparing to understand these issues and how they can be addressed in healthy and healing ways. This ministry training happens online over a six-month-long process including a congregational readiness assessment, leadership training, team recruitment, team training, and follow up coaching sessions. Following the March leadership training, leaders and recruited team members will meet for five sessions in May. Register.

All training is led by Faith Partners (www.faith-partners.org), which has been training congregations in addiction ministry for over 25 years. The cost per congregation is $750. For more information, contact Pastor Ed Treat at info@addictionandfaith.com.
Poetry, Liturgy and the Writer's Craft
Saturday, March 13 - 10 a.m. | Online
The Institute of Liturgical Studies is offering a virtual seminar that draws on the expertise of poet Christian Wiman to think more carefully and critically about how language and liturgy intersect. For example: How does an understanding of poetry shape liturgy, such as the crafting of litanies and other responsive texts? What place does poetry have in preaching? Who are some recommended poets to read for inspiration? What poetic devices should be encouraged (or perhaps discouraged) for writers of liturgy and sermons? Christian Wiman is the Clement-Muehl Professor of Communication Arts at Yale University. The cost is $25. Register.
Addiction & Motivational Interviewing
Thursday, March 25 - 11 a.m.-12 p.m. | Online 
This free webinar is a conversation with Dr. William R. Miller, who is one of the world's leading addiction researchers and co-creator of Motivational Interviewing. Dr. Miller has dedicated his life and career to understanding how and why people change and the connections between psychology and spirituality. Join us for a conversation about this important evidence-based approach to addressing addiction. Miller's research applies to far more than just problematic behaviors but is helpful and inspirational for anyone interested in encouraging the process of personal and spiritual transformation. This webinar will be presented in interview format by the Center of Addiction & Faith. It will be co-hosted by Tim McMahan King and Pastor Ed Treat. Register here.
Other Event Reminders:
SYNOD STAFF PREACHING SCHEDULE
Bishop Patricia Lull
  • March 14 - Our Saviour's, Hastings

Pastor Justin Grimm
  • March 21 - Christ the Servant, Vadnais Heights
The Saint Paul Area Synod, which includes 110 congregations and new mission starts,
is one of 65 synods of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.
www.spas-elca.org | 651.224.4313