February 1, 2021
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, 2021, 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.
Tool Kit for Congregational Leaders
Saturday, Feb. 27 - 9-11:45 a.m. | Online
Registration is now open for Tool Kit for Congregational Leaders, happening on Zoom Saturday, Feb. 27. This free event is geared toward council and committee members, staff, volunteers or others who are interested in topics related to congregational life.

We'll begin will a keynote by Dr. Michael Osterholm, who will assess where we're at with the pandemic and what the future might hold for churches. After his keynote, we'll break off into seven workshop offerings. Learn more and register.
Tool Kit Workshop Spotlight:
Kairos Time, Chronos Time, COVID Time: Reimagining Sabbath-Keeping in This Unusual Season
Practicing the gift of Sabbath has shaped and renewed God’s people for generations. But how do we find Sabbath in our homes when we never leave them? How do we mark the sunset that says, “now rest” when we sit in constant light of a computer screen or smart phone? For church leaders in particular, taking time to replenish our spirits and passion for sharing our gifts is important for avoiding burnout and being effective and compassionate leaders. Rediscover how the simplest acts can have profound meaning in our search for well-being and receive self-care practices that you can share in your congregation. Presenter Barbara Debski is a regional representative for Portico Benefit Services. Barbara encourages rostered and lay leaders to cultivate our individual God-given strengths and develop healthy practices that will give the stamina, confidence, and inner peace needed to be a resilient leader.
Conference Assemblies
Saturday, Feb. 13 | Online
Conference Assemblies are an opportunity for the six geographical regions of our synod to gather and caucus, which may include electing representatives, considering resolutions and hearing about synod activities. This year, we'll gather on Zoom.

  • 9:00 a.m. - the South Central, Southeast and South conferences
  • 11:00 a.m. - the North, North Central and East Central conferences

Registration is limited to rostered ministers, lay voters designated by their congregations, and advisors (retired pastors or deacons or rostered ministers on leave from call). Advance registration by Feb. 9 is required; no late registrations will be accepted. Learn more and register.
Heart Healthy by Sharing Love
by Vernita Kennen

Because Valentine’s Day arrives in mid-February and is such a consumer-oriented celebration of cards, candy, flowers, and gifts, we think about this as a month all about love. Besides that, there are plenty of other specially noted months which all seem to be food related. February is Canned Food Month, National Cherry Month, National Grapefruit Month and Great American Pie Month. (Pi Day doesn’t come until 3/14.)

In today’s world, saying that you “absolutely love ____________” seems to roll easily off our lips. And judging from the celebration list above, that love is often related to food. How do you suppose that sounds and feels to someone who is not able to put enough food on the table to feed their family? How do you think it would feel to a child who goes to school hungry only to talk about cherry pie month in relation to the myth about President Washington? Or trying to learn about pi in March when your mouth is hungering for the real thing?

Children's Ministry Gathering
Monday, Feb. 8 - 2:00 p.m. | Online
It's not too early to be thinking about Vacation Bible School. Let's support each other as we head into Summer 2021!

Join the Zoom meeting:
Meeting ID: 894 3906 8637
Passcode: 063350

These children's ministry gatherings are offered 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
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 on Tuesday, March 9, at 6 p.m. Contact the Rev. Justin Grimm at justin.grimm@elca.org to receive the Zoom link, or with any questions. Congregations will sign up by April 15 with the first cohort session to be held in late April or early May.
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. 3, the topic is "The Sacred Work of Grief, Part 6: The Places That Have Not Known Love." The Rev. Solveig Nilsen-Goodin will invite us to turn toward those tender places within and engage in a practice of self-compassion, creating the conditions in which grief, forgiveness and community can pour God's healing waters on our wounded souls and help us reinhabit our lives more fully. 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
JRLC Faith Leader Summit
Tuesday, Feb. 9 - 9 a.m.-12 noon | Online
As we start a new legislative session, we look to the challenges facing our state: racial inequity, a pandemic, housing challenges and great division. Policy makers will be making difficult decisions
while facing limited resources. We know that safety net programs will be under close scrutiny. The Joint Religious Legislative Coalition (JRLC) is calling on faith leaders across Minnesota to be vocal advocates for vulnerable Minnesotans. At its second annual Faith Leaders Summit, you'll hear from policy experts and elected officials, discuss issues and develop action steps for the legislative session. Registration is free. Learn more or download a flyer.
Living Well, Leading Well:
Cultivating Wisdom
Thursday, Feb. 11 - 6:30-8:30 p.m. | Online
Every day brings a new flood of information. It’s difficult to take it all in, much less discern which bits are trustworthy, significant and true. Perhaps what’s missing is not information so much as wisdom. In this workshop, we’ll explore what the Bible’s wisdom tradition has to offer Christians as we face the peculiar challenges of life today. Join the Rev. Dr. Carol M. Bechtel, Professor of Old Testament at Western Theological Seminary in Holland, Mich., for this timely and interactive online event. 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. An additional workshop is planned for March 11 on "Pursuing Justice."
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.
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. Click here to learn more or contact the FCNNTC office at contact@fcnntc.org, 651-204-0904.
Addiction Team Ministry Training
Addiction issues of every kind are at an all-time high during the 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 is offering Addiction Team Ministry Training to help address this serious problem. As we come out of this pandemic, your congregation can be preparing to understand these issues and how they can be addressed in healthy and healing ways. The training is a six-month process that includes a congregational readiness assessment, leadership training, team recruitment, team training, and follow up coaching sessions. The process works as follows:
  • Leadership Training Workshops: Thursday, Feb. 4 and Tues., Feb. 9 - 6-9 p.m. on Zoom. At these first events the pastor and at least two hand-picked leaders learn how the ministry works, their roles in leadership, and the steps to follow to develop this ministry. Between the Leader Training and the Team Training in April, the pastors’ hand-picked leaders will lead the congregation through a readiness assessment. Those team leaders will also begin to recruit their team members.
  • Team Training Workshops: Five sessions on Thursday evenings, April 29-May 13 - 6-8:30 p.m. and Saturday mornings from 9 to 11:30 a.m. Teams will experience intensive training with training materials included. Recruited team members will understand the ministry, develop a mission statement, lay out the vision for the ministry and develop the steps they intend to follow that fit with the readiness of their setting.  
These trainings are led by Faith Partners (www.faith-partners.org) which has been training congregations in addiction ministry for over 25 years. They provide a thoughtful four-step process to start an effective, sustainable ministry to address the needs of the whole congregation. Informed clergy supported by committed and trained congregational team members will offer help and hope through awareness, education, and recovery support.

There is room for up to 10 congregations to participate. The cost per congregation is $750 with $125 due at registration. For more information, contact Pastor Ed Treat at pastored@addictionandfaith.com. Click here to register.
Other Event Reminders:
Rev. Justin Grimm
  • Feb. 7 - Zion, Chisago City
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