March 1, 2021
Registration Opens on Thursday!
2021 Synod Assembly
With the ongoing pandemic, we will again gather online this year for our Synod Assembly, scheduled for May 14-15. With the theme "Waiting in Hope," presentations and worship will focus on God’s way of being present even when the landscape seems bleak and the time of celebration is still far-off.

Business will include the formal launch of the synod’s $2.75 million “Planting Hope” campaign, election of persons to a variety of synod offices and the 2022 ELCA Churchwide Assembly, as well as deliberation on a variety of contemporary issues. I look forward to this innovative way of being together while we are still safely apart during (as we wait in hope for the end of) the COVID-19 pandemic.

- Bishop Lull

Registration
Registration opens on March 4 with discounted “early bird’ registration of $35 per person 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/.
Tool Kit for Congregational Leaders
More than 300 people joined us on Zoom this past Saturday for Tool Kit for Congregational Leaders. We enjoyed a robust conversation with Dr. Michael Osterholm, who shared an ominous prediction for challenging weeks yet to come due to coronavirus variants, pandemic fatigue and vaccine fears. He shared his thoughts on the importance of equitable vaccinations throughout the world, not only for humanitarian purposes, but also for pandemic-ending strategic purposes. Dr. Osterholm thanked church leaders for their important work, saying "We need faith more than ever." Click below to watch a recording of the conversation:
Workshops:
Following the keynote, Tool Kit participants separated into seven different workshops. These sessions were not recorded, but if the speakers provide us with their presentation materials and handouts, we will be posting them to the synod website in the coming days. Thanks to all who attended Tool Kit, held on Zoom this year for the first time ever!
A Digital Footstep Back into the Bible
Pastor Peter Weston Miller from Trinity, Stillwater, and his colleague launched a podcast during this pandemic as part of a focus on forming a creative engagement with Scripture. He describes the process and how his congregation has responded.

One of the things that difficult times do is separate us from our certainty that we know how to do everything right. And so, during that time, with the support of my colleague, Pastor Chris Bellefeuille, I decided to try something new: I bought a couple of decently rated microphones off the internet; I researched some open-source audio editing software; I signed up a free account on Buzzsprout (a hosting platform); and we launched a podcast. My colleague and I had talked briefly about what we hoped for, sketched out a script and some liturgy to help frame it, and then—like so much of ministry right now—we just hit “record."

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.
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.
Children’s Ministry Gathering:
Supporting Parents
Monday, March 8 - 2:00 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.
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.
Emergency Care Planning
A new service by Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota (LSS) helps caregivers build peace of mind by working with them to develop a plan for any potential situation when they could no longer care for their loved ones. LSS’ Emergency Care Planning Service works directly with caregivers and their families to thoroughly assess their needs and create a comprehensive plan that meets those needs. Through Emergency Planning Service, LSS works with caregivers and their families to answer questions such as: Who would care for my loved one if something happened to me? What tasks would that care involve? What resources are available in my community to support my family in providing care? LSS offers this Emergency Care Planning to caregivers and services are temporarily available at no cost. Caregivers can get connected by calling 1.800.488.4146 or visit the Emergency Care Planning service webpage.
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 3, the topic is "The Sacred Work of Grief, Part 7: Jesus' Death and Metabolizing Ancestral Grief" led by the Rev. Solveig Nilsen-Goodin. 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
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.
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.
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.
Other Event Reminders:
SYNOD STAFF PREACHING SCHEDULE
Bishop Patricia Lull
  • March 14 - Our Saviour's, Hastings

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