SYNOD NEWS AND EVENTS - June 27, 2018

In observance of Independence Day, the synod office will be closed on 
Wednesday, July 4th. We will resume normal business hours on Thursday, July 5th.
Stay Connected.    Like us on Facebook   Follow us on Twitter   Visit our blog

Pound the Pastor
+ Pastor Eunice Woodberry
Salem Lutheran, Belmont Lutheran, and First Presbyterian of Jackson, MN
Imagine my surprise a few days after arriving at Salem Lutheran Church in Jackson, to read the newsletter to discover an invitation to my installation and "Pound the Pastor." What! I hadn't even been there a week and they were ready to beat me up! Fortunately, one of the deacons came later in the day and explained to me that everyone was invited to bring a pound of something as a welcome gift to my husband and myself. While this is an Episcopal Church tradition, someone had shared the idea with the Call Committee as a way for everyone to participate in welcoming us to the community.

So, we got a pound of butter, a pound of wild rice, several 1 pound boxes of pasta. There was a variety of canned fruit and vegetables, Kleenex and toilet paper. Even hamburger from one of our beef farmers. We felt truly welcomed as we viewed the bounty.

Oh, and the most creative 1 pound gift - a beautiful prayer shawl made from a pound of yarn.

Synod Minister Search: Equipping Congregations
+Bishop Jon Anderson
We invite you to pray and think about who might have the gifts to serve on your synod's staff in the future. Pr. Linda Pedersen has shared she will retire as our Synod Minister: Equipping Congregations towards the end of 2018.
I invite you to join me in praying that God will guide us in our search for a new synod minister to serve on the Southwestern Minnesota Synod staff. This candidate could be a pastor, deacon or a lay person who has been deeply engaged in your synod's or another synod's life.
There is a job description posted on the synod's web site. Look it over closely and lift up names with our team at swmnelca@swmnelca.org. Put in the Subject Line - Synod Minister Search.
In previous searches, the shared-mind of many synod leaders helped us find strong team mates. It also helped us see people who we might have missed because of a closer experience with that leader's gifts. Our goal is to have all Cover Letters, Rostered Minister Profiles or Resumes in the office no later than July 10 , 2018. Resumes will be accepted via email ( swmnelca@swmnelca.org), hand delivery or the U.S. Postal service.
Prs. Kathryn Skoglund, Linda Pedersen and Synod Vice President, Gwen Arneson, will be available for discernment conversations about this position. I will be on sabbatical and available in only limited ways. Tammy Sather, who supports the work of the bishop, is also available to help with questions if you have them.

Bulletin Insert
At our Synod Assembly we got to hear inspiring stories about how the Funding Initiative is investing in congregations' and people's lives. Click here to download the bulletin insert to share with your congregation. 
 
Why does your donation matter?
We are excited to share with you just a few of the ways that your
donation has helped change people's lives.

Thanks to you, we are deepening congregational vitality
  • By offering congregations the opportunity to conduct missional assessments, which catalyze a conversation and help congregations move forward.
  • By offering support to congregations through events like the Energizing and Mobilizing Your Congregation series.
  • By helping 12 congregations participate in stewardship training.
Thanks to you, we are enhancing local and global missions
  • By hosting Better Together Food Packing events, which help to build community by building bridges among different cultures and fighting hunger together. You have helped fund 465,000 meals for food- insufficient people in Southwestern Minnesota.
  • By helping 5 young adults receive scholarships to visit our Companion Synod in South Africa.
Thanks to you, we are developing servant leaders
(and growing the Ministerial Excellence Fund [MEF])
  • By providing education opportunities for rostered and lay leaders. You have helped 29 people attend the ReCharge Event, a ministry of youth leaders. You have helped fund Equip Grants for Teens in Mission (TIM) Teams and lay ministry courses.
  • By providing pastors with grants, funded by the MEF, to reduce their education debt and free them to lead. Pastors have also received medical emergency and retirement equity grants.
  • You have helped:
    - 54 pastors receive Education Debt Reduction grants totaling $199,936.
    - 15 pastors receive Medical Emergency grants of up to $1,000 each.
    - 10 pastors receive Retirement Equity grants (for those compensated at less than synod guidelines or who participated in the Challenge Grant) totaling $8,011.
    - 16 first-call pastors receive scholarships for a financial literacy and planning retreat.
In the first two years of the Funding Initiative, congregations, church organizations, special fundraisers, and individuals in the Southwestern Minnesota Synod have contributed more than $1,140,000!

We have been dividing gifts given to the initiative into these three strategic areas. The percentages of where we share resources and make investments may change as we learn and experiment.

The synod invites you to think about, pray about, and consider contributing financially in a way that fits your capacity and passion.
Send your gift to: SW MN Synod, PO Box 499, Redwood Falls, MN 56283.
Make check out to: SW MN Synod. In the memo line please write: "Funding Initiative."
ELCA presiding bishop responds to Supreme Court
decision on travel ban
+ELCA News, 6/26/2018 

Thus says the Lord: Act with justice and righteousness, and deliver from the hand of the oppressor anyone who has been robbed. And do no wrong or violence to the alien, the orphan, and the widow ... (Jeremiah 22:3).

I am dismayed by the Supreme Court's recent decision concerning the president's authority to restrict travel into the United States. It applies to travelers from certain countries based on those countries' inability to provide information necessary for immigration vetting. Strong vetting procedures have already been authorized by Congress and reviews of applications for possible links to terrorism are also in place. Therefore, restricting all travelers from certain countries simply because they are citizens of those countries is deeply troubling. In the past, we have seen the sometimes horrific effects of excluding and marginalizing (or worse) whole classes of people based on their ethnicity, nationality, religion, gender identity or other characteristics.

Our social statement, "For Peace in God's World," provides theological guidance for the church to respond by offering wise words of caution:

Citizens need to give careful attention to how we in the United States perceive our national interest and interpret our national identity, since what states do depends in large measure on their views of their own interests and identity. Sin's power often makes itself felt in arrogant and self-righteous views of national identity, and in narrow, short-term, and absolute views of national interest.

We expect expressions of our nation's identity to build on the best of our traditions, to respect others' identity, and to open up paths for mutual understanding. For the sake of a greater good or for reasons of conscience, citizens may need to oppose a prevailing understanding or practice of national identity and interest.

With this court decision, we are again reaching a point where the assertion of "national security" by the executive branch of government results in the rejection of all other considerations in national policy discussions. Our social statement also reminds us: "In bondage to sin, we fall captive to fear." Jesus taught us to love one another. The social statement calls us to "a dynamic vision of difference in unity."

In a time ... when an idolatrous allegiance to one's own community endangers our oneness, we must voice with clarity the powerful vision of difference in unity. This vision calls us to engage differences, not to ignore or fear them. The hope for earthly peace challenges people to strengthen their own particular communities in ways that promote respect and appreciation for people in other communities, for all share a common humanity.

Let us recall that all people are created in God's image and, therefore, rather than have suspicion be our assumption, let us attribute to them honor and respect as God does.

God's peace,

The Rev. Elizabeth A. Eaton
Presiding Bishop, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
Seeds Monthly
Seeds for the Parish is the resource of the ELCA. Each issue contains articles that provide congregational leaders with insights, ideas and tools to assist them in a variety of ministries including worship, Christian education, stewardship, evangelism, youth ministries, social ministries, leadership and more.
Click here for the June 2018 online newsletter.
You can sign-up to receive an electronic Seeds Monthly email by clicking here to subscribe.
Synod Events
Below is a list of all the upcoming synod events. Visit the synod events webpage for more information.
JUNE
June 29-30, 2018
Bethlehem Lutheran Church, St. Cloud

JULY
Lutheran Men in Mission Golf Tournament
July 27, 2018
Redwood Falls Golf Course, Redwood Falls 

SAVE THE DATE
2018 Fall Theological Conference 
October 7-9, 2018
Alexandria, MN

Southwestern Minnesota Synod, ELCA 
PO Box 499, Redwood Falls, MN 56283
Phone: 507-637-3904