February 15, 2021
Conference Assemblies
The conference assemblies were held this past Saturday, Feb. 13. Using an online format, persons were elected to a variety of positions including service as voting members at the 2022 Churchwide Assembly. Thanks are extended to our conference deans for hosting the assemblies and for all who allowed their names to be placed into nomination. Those elected include:
  • South Central Conference: Jenny Norris Peterson, lay voting member for 2022 Churchwide Assembly; Pastor Jen Rome, clergy voting member for 2022 Churchwide Assembly; Pastor Karen Williams, three-year term on Nominating Committee;
  • Southeast Conference: Katie Hendrikson, lay voting member for 2022 Churchwide Assembly; Pastor Tanner Howard, clergy voting member for 2022 Churchwide Assembly;
  • South Conference: Melissa Taphorn, lay voting member for 2022 Churchwide Assembly; Pastor Deb Stehlin, clergy voting member for 2022 Churchwide Assembly; Pastor Lloyd Menke, reelected as Dean of the Conference;
  • North Conference: Barbara Nelson, lay voting member for 2022 Churchwide Assembly; Pastor Taryn Montgomery, clergy voting member for 2022 Churchwide Assembly; Pastor Nathan Baker-Trinity, Dean of the Conference;
  • North Central Conference: Beto Farias, lay voting member for 2022 Churchwide Assembly; Pastor Mollie Dvorak, clergy voting member for 2022 Churchwide Assembly;
  • East Central Conference: Penny Catlin, lay voting member for 2022 Churchwide Assembly; Pastor Jenny Sung, clergy voting member for 2022 Churchwide Assembly; Pastor Dan Streeper, three-year term on Nominating Committee; Spencer Legred, three-year term on Synod Council.
Tool Kit for Congregational Leaders
Saturday, Feb. 27 - 9-11:45 a.m. | Online
Tool Kit for Congregational Leaders is a free event geared toward council and committee members, staff, volunteers and others who are interested in topics related to congregational life. Join us on Zoom for the following workshops:
  • Presidents/Vice-Presidents Forum
  • How to Become an Effective Treasurer
  • Navigating Differences That Make a Difference - The IDI as Tool & Guide
  • Standing With Immigrants: From Resolution to Action
  • The Digital Opportunity: Evangelism in a Screen Dependent World
  • Evaluating Your Building for Ministry
  • Kairos Time, Chronos Time, COVID Time: Reimagining Sabbath-Keeping in This Unusual Season

Tool Kit begins with a keynote by Dr. Michael Osterholm, who will share his expertise in public health and epidemiology related to the pandemic's continued effect on congregational life. Learn more and register.
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.
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/.**
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 by April 15 with the first cohort session to be held in late April or early May.
Synod Job Posting:
Assistant to the Bishop for Lay Leadership and Equity Initiatives
The Saint Paul Area Synod seeks applications for the position of Assistant to the Bishop for Lay Leadership and Equity Initiatives. Interested applicants need to submit a resume and a cover letter, detailing their interest, along with contact information for three references. Requirements for the position are included in the job description. Review of applications will begin on Feb. 15, and will continue until a person has been selected for this position. Application materials can be sent to Alicia Rodriguez at alicia.rodriguez@spas-elca.org.
Annual Ministry Reports
Rostered ministers in our synod should visit www.spas-elca.org/resources/forms-reports/ to complete their Annual Ministry Reports for 2021. Directions for saving and sending the form to Bishop Lull are found on the webpage as well. Please note that we are providing the link to the report forms only electronically this year. If you are a retiree who needs a paper copy, contact Michael Gold at michael.gold@spas-elca.org or 651-224-4313.
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.
"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 Feb. 17, the topic is "Growing Young: Warm Relationships with presenter Rachel Alley and others. 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
Cherish All Children Winter Walk
Throughout February | Your Time & Place
During the month of February, Cherish All Children is having a virtual Winter Walk! Kick off your commitment to protect children and youth by walking, running, skiing, sledding or some other active outdoor activity. Support CAC's vision of raising healthy generations free from sexual exploitation.
  • Receive a Cherish All Children beanie with your donation of $25 or greater
  • Help raise $5,000 while enjoying a solo, family, or community outdoor activity
  • Send in your pics, or post to social media using #CherishAllChildren5K (adding to our 2020 virtual 5K success!)

The Black Church: This is Our Story, This is Our Song
Tuesday, Feb. 16-Wednesday, Feb. 17 - 8 p.m. | TPT 2
February is Black History Month and Twin Cities PBS (TPT) is offering programming that celebrates the history, arts, cultures, lives and experiences of Black communities. One such program is an intimate four-hour series from Henry Louis Gates, Jr., on the 400-year-old story of the Black church in America, covering its broad history and culture and exploring African American faith communities on the frontlines of hope and change. It features interviews with Oprah Winfrey, John Legend, Jennifer Hudson, Bishop Michael Curry, Rev. William Barber II and BeBe Winans, among others.

The documentary reveals how Black people have worshipped and, through their spiritual journeys, improvised ways to bring their faith traditions from Africa to the New World, while translating them into a form of Christianity that was not only truly their own, but a redemptive force for a nation whose original sin was found in their ancestors’ enslavement across the Middle Passage. Learn more.
Justice and the Common Good
Thursday, Feb. 18 - 1-2:30 p.m. | Online
During this pandemic, church leaders have been thrust into the midst of our nation’s unresolved efforts to address systemic racism and ensure equal justice for all. While the church should be a great place to cast a “common good” vision, in this season of extreme polarity engaging in honest conversation is often laced with tension. This webinar features a diverse panel of church leaders who will share their thoughts on this important topic and participate in a Q&A following their presentations. This webinar comes from Ignite the Church Conference, which is offering monthly webinars around a theme of "Adapting to a New Reality: Living Into a Fresh Vision for God's Church." Learn more.
A Good Time for the Truth Book Study (Part 1)
Thursdays, Feb. 25 & March 11 - 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.
Addiction and Harm Reduction
Thursday, Feb. 25 - 11 a.m.-12 p.m. | Online
Harm Reduction is an approach to drug use that centers the dignity and health of people who use drugs. It meets people where they are at and supports them in keeping themselves as safe, healthy, and connected as possible. Special guests Michelle Mathis & Erica Poellot will help us understand how the harm reduction approach acknowledges the vulnerabilities of people who are most susceptible to drug related harm and the need to center those same people at the helm of the response. Join us as we examine the principles of harm reduction and their spiritual impact. Together we will illustrate the gospel of harm reduction, the power of language in shaping liberation, and make connections with other movements for social, racial, and economic justice. This free webinar is offered by the Center of Addiction & Faith. Register.
Discerning a Call to Public Ministry
Tuesdays, March 9 & 16 - 7-8:30 p.m. | Online
ELCA Region 3, which includes the Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota synods, is offering a free, two-part Zoom conversation to explore how God is calling you to do His work in the world.
  • Session One: Public Ministry in the ELCA - Learn about discernment resources and explore the call to public ministry as you hear call stories from pastors and deacons.
  • Session Two: So, How Do I Get There? Seminary and Other Things You Need to Know - Learn about the ELCA candidacy process and hear from seminary partners about programs that can equip you to follow God’s call in your life.

Attending both sessions is encouraged, but you are welcome to attend just one. The Zoom link will be
emailed to you after submitting the online registration. Questions? Contact Deacon Krista Anderson at krista.m.anderson@elca.org or 651-208-771. Click here to register.
Does Preaching Matter? More Than Ever
Tuesday, March 9 - 10:30 a.m. | Online
Augsburg University Campus Ministry invites you to join them via Zoom as Augsburg University welcomes the Rev. Dr. David Lose for the fourth annual Fosdick Lecture on Preaching. Pastor Lose is the senior pastor at Mount Olivet Lutheran Church, former president of Lutheran Theological Seminary in Philadelphia, and author of the Making Sense series of books.

Amid a pandemic, economic and ecological crisis, painful reminder of racial justice, and a period of drastic political polarization, one may wonder whether or not the preaching of the church matters. Fair question. Yet at the same time, preaching the love, justice, and mercy of God has never mattered more. Preaching matters because it reminds us that the challenges of the day, while urgent, are neither the only nor ultimate realities with which we live. It matters because in the proclamation of the Gospel we are reminded of our primary identity as God’s beloved children. And it matters because a central component of the Gospel is the promise that the future is in God’s hands. The event begins at 10:30 with a welcome, lecture and Q&A. Chapel worship follows at 11:30 a.m. Click here for the Zoom link from Hoversten Chapel.
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.
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.
National Lutheran Choir Winter Virtual Program
Sunday, March 14 - 4 p.m. | Online
Join singers of the National Lutheran Choir and guest artists, the Keith Hampton Singers & Friends, in a virtual hymn festival. This free program blends songs, images, hymns and poetry around the theme, "Hope Lives." We will sing well-known hymns that highlight the joy of an ever-growing hope, and new hymns that speak to our time, inviting all people to sing in joy together “…as all the world in wonder echoes shalom.” Guest artists include the Keith Hampton Singers & Friends. Learn more.
Foundation of Faith Community Nursing Course
April 8-9. 20-21, 29-30 | Online
The Faith Community Nurse Network of the Greater Twin Cities (FCNN) is an interfaith nonprofit organization serving faith community nurses across Minnesota. It is offering the Foundations of Faith Community Nursing Course again in spring 2021. This course is required for RNs who want to become faith community nurses (also known as “parish nurses”).

The spring course will be held via Zoom and include several self-learning modules, as well as updates that include FCN practice during COVID-19 and Trauma-Informed Care. Students will learn:
  • What makes Faith Community Nursing unique from other nursing specialties
  • How to blend your nursing knowledge and skills with the spiritual dimension of FCN practice; how to “intentionally care for the spirit” of your clients in your ministry
  • Practical steps for beginning your ministry including professionalism, communication, teamwork, legal and ethical issues
  • How to promote whole-person health in your FCN practice
  • How healing, health, prayer and spirituality are integral aspects of FCN
  • How to care for yourself as you care for others

The course provides 38 contact hours taught by a diverse faculty of advanced degreed nurses with experience in education and faith community nursing. All faiths are welcome. The registration deadline is March 26. Learn more or contact the FCNNTC office at contact@fcnntc.org, 651-204-0904.
Other Event Reminders:
Bishop Patricia Lull
  • Feb. 21 - Gustavus Adolphus, St. Paul
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