February 22, 2021
2021 Synod Assembly Keynote Speaker:
The Rev. Dr. Joy J. Moore
We are pleased to announce that the Rev. Dr. Joy J. Moore will provide the keynote address at this year's Synod Assembly, which will be held online May 14-15.

Joy J. Moore, PhD. (Brunel University/London School of Theology), serves as Vice-President of Academic Affairs, Academic Dean, and Professor of Biblical Preaching at Luther Seminary. An ordained elder in the Michigan Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church, she has focused on cross-racial ministry in urban, rural and suburban congregations. Dr. Joy is an “Ecclesial Storyteller,” seeking to encourage theologically framed, biblically attentive and socially compelling interpretations of Christian Scripture in order to understand the critical issues influencing community formation in contemporary culture. (All that means is she tells community-forming stories from the Bible as a follower of Christ!)

Her last parish, an African American congregation, served as a Help Center in Flint, Mich., during the water crisis. As a pastor she has called local congregations to recognize their vocation of glorifying God as a peaceable community—practicing hope, hospitality and honesty.

Prior to coming to Luther Seminary, she was Associate Professor of Practical Theology at Wesley Seminary at Indiana Wesleyan University. Dr. Joy established the William E. Pannell Center for African American Church Studies at Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, Calif., and served as Associate Dean for Lifelong Learning at Duke Divinity School. Professor Moore is currently President of the Wesleyan Theological Society and is a host of the “Sermon Brainwave” podcast.

Registration for Synod Assembly will open on March 4. Watch for more details soon!
Tool Kit for Congregational Leaders
Saturday, Feb. 27 - 9-11:45 a.m. | Online
Advance registration for this Saturday's Tool Kit will close on Wednesday, Feb. 24, and Zoom links will be emailed to registrants on Thursday, Feb. 25. But if you need a last-minute registration, know that we will accept day-of registrations starting at 8 a.m. on Saturday, Feb. 27! Please note that Thursday's email confirmation will include multiple links: one to the keynote with Dr. Michael Osterholm and Zoom links for the individual workshops.

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. This year's workshops include:
  • 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

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.
Pathways Panel for Congregational Engagement in Racial Equity
Saturday, March 6 - 10 a.m.-12 p.m.
Join us as we engage in conversation sharing opportunities in racial equity work that some of our Saint Paul Area Synod congregations are doing. Whether you are an individual and/or congregation wondering "What do we do?" or "How do we start?," participate with us as we explore together. Panelists will share how they got started as they sought pathways to participate, plan and develop work promoting racial equity and justice. There will be small group sessions with each panelist; select your top choices when registering. You will have the opportunity to hear more about ministry happening, connect and learn how you might partner in a similar way for the community you are connected to. This is a free event hosted by the synod's Advocates for Racial Equity public witness work group. Register here.
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 for SAS by April 15 with the first cohort session to be held in late April or early May.
Kids Can Find Anything: 
Let’s Make Sure They Don’t Find Guns
Thursday, 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.
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 began last week 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.
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 Feb. 24, the topic is "The Untold Story: Black Lutheran History, Part 2" with Dr. Larry Clark and Dr. Richard Stewart. 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!)

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.
Seeking Justice, Caring for Community: Preparing for the Days Ahead
Tuesday, March 2 - 7-8:30 p.m. | Online
United Theological Seminary of the Twin Cities and the Minnesota Council of Churches are launching a
new web-based series on Disrupting White Supremacy. The first event on March 2 is meant to prepare us for the trials of the former police officers accused in George Floyd’s death. With the trial of Derek Chauvin beginning on March 8, our nation – and especially the Twin Cities – will again be confronted with the trauma of racism, police brutality, and white supremacy in America. We will engage in a dialogue between Rev. Traci Blackmon and Rev. Steven Belton, moderated by Rev. Dr. Gary Green II of United Seminary.

This program is the first in a two-year series to be led by the Minnesota Council of Churches and United Theological Seminary of the Twin Cities, which will provide critical education and organizing resources to support clergy engagement with social and political justice issues in communities of faith. This project has an explicitly public theological and anti-racist orientation and will address political issues of concern at the local and national levels. Learn more.
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.
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.
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:
SYNOD STAFF PREACHING SCHEDULE
Pastor Peter Harrits
  • March 7 - Our Redeemer, 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