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A "Better Together" Food Packing event has two missional goals:
Goal #1- Provide opportunities for cross-cultural relationship building
Goal #2- Provide nutritious food for local communities

This event is a service project held at the SW MN Synod Assembly, open to the community and surrounding areas. Join us!
Click here to download and print a poster for your congregation.

Sign up to participate:

What will happen: Prior to each shift, people from various culture(s) present some educational aspect about their culture (5-10 minutes) and provide orientation for packaging.  The participants will package\meals of different types that include a nutritional scoop of vitamins. All are designed for American food shelf tastes.
For more information, please see 
Up to 150 persons pack for 2 hours. All food goes to local food shelves, backpack programs and disable/homeless veterans.

Location: Redwood Area Community Center (RACC)
Date: Friday, June 8th
Times: 7:30-9am Set-up; 9-11am Food Packing Shift; 11am-1pm Food Packing Shift; 1-3pm Food Packing Shift and 3-5pm packing/clean up

Make a Donation:  All donations matched! Goal = $15,000 (matched $30,000) for 120,000 meals!
All money for this event should be sent to: 
Southwestern Minnesota Synod, ELCA
P.O. Box 499
Redwood Falls, MN 56283
Please make check out to: SW MN Synod
In "memo" line please write: "Better Together Redwood Falls"
Synod Assembly 
This Friday, May 18 is the last day for the Early Bird Registration! 
If you have already registered, please double check your confirmation e-mail. We have had a few congregations register more than one person but only the first voting member appears registered. If you need help registering please call the synod office, 507-637-3904.  The registration link is posted on the Synod Assembly webpage,  and is only available online. 
After, this Friday, May 18 the registration fee will go up $50 per person.

Earlier this week an Assembly E-mail was send out with more details,
click here to view.
Synod Assembly Report from
Rev. Kathryn Skoglund, Synod Minister

I am now approximately two and a half years into this call as one of your synod ministers and there are many things I am still learning, but if I were asked to describe in one word the most important part of this work, I would say accompaniment. Here are some examples of the ways in which we walk with candidates, pastors, and congregations in the various areas of oversight for my work in the synod office.

When someone expresses interest in serving as a rostered leader in the ELCA, the first thing someone from the candidacy committee does is conduct an initial interview with that individual to hear more about their background, their sense of call, and their hunches about what their future might look like as a leader in God's church. When they are entranced into candidacy, a member of the committee is assigned as their relator and it is the role of the relator to stay in touch with the candidate, to support and encourage them, answer questions they may have, and help them navigate the ins and outs of the process from entrance to endorsement to approval.

First Call Theological Education
Research has shown that the first three years of life as a pastor can be some of the most difficult and that many newly ordained clergy leave the ministry during this time. That is why the first-call pastors in our synod take part in FCTE. They are assigned to a group with other first-call pastors and a mentor where, in monthly meetings, they receive support and wisdom from each other and an experienced pastor as they discuss the joys and challenges of their ministries. The three-year cycle also includes a week-long family camp one year and a three-day retreat each of the other two years. Pr. Linda Lagergren shepherds this program and Pastors Gene Alms, Art Weise, Joyce Graue, and Tim Lindhorst serve as mentors. We are grateful for the work they do for this program.

Ministerial Excellence Fund
We are in the third year of our Lilly grant and through the funds we have received from the grant, congregations, and individual donors we have been able to significantly impact the financial lives of our pastors in three important areas: reducing educational debt, increasing retirement contributions, and providing assistance for unexpected medical costs. The notes of thanks that we received from recipients of these grants indicate that, although they greatly appreciate the financial gifts they receive, even more important is knowing that their synod cares for and supports them in these areas of their lives, enabling them to better care for and support the congregations they serve.

Call Process
When congregations receive notification that their pastor has taken a new call or is planning to retire, it's important that they know the staff in the synod office will be there with them through every step of the call process: meeting with the church council and call committees, searching for candidates, and answering questions along the way. I've found there are two times I enjoy the most during this time of transition. The first is the opportunity to meet with members of the congregation to explain the process to them so they understand exactly how we help them find a new pastor. Often I will preach at a Sunday worship service and then stay for an adult forum or informal meeting. It gives members the chance to ask questions and eases their anxiety, knowing that we will work closely with them until, together, we find the candidate they ultimately choose to be their next pastor. My second favorite time is when I am there to install their newly called pastor. The air of excitement and expectation from both the congregation and pastor is a joy to experience and makes all the time and energy spent well worth it. I am grateful to be able to serve our synod in this and all of the other areas of ministry that make up my call as one of your ministers in our Southwestern Minnesota Synod.
Administration Matters
Admin Matters is a bimonthly e-newsletter for ELCA congregational and synodical leaders. It addresses common, practical issues including finance, governance, risk management, tax, legal concerns and topics of interest about day to day operations and management in church settings. 
Click here to read the May Issue of Admin Matters.  May 2018 Topics:
  • 2018 ELCA Youth Gathering
  • Pastor's discretionary fund tips
  • How to handle money and protect contributions
  • Amending or ending gift restrictions
  • Prepare trees to endure high winds
  • Handling church property losses 
ELCA Youth Gathering
"This Changes Everything," based on Ephesians 2:8, "By grace you have been saved..."

Just in case you missed Ashley Gilberston's email about gathering details, click here! We have posted her notes on the synod's website, under the ELCA Youth Gathering event.
"As your Gathering Synod Coordinator for the Houston Gathering, I want to say 'THANK YOU' for the amazing work you are doing getting your young people to Houston! This takes a lot of behind the scenes work, most of which your youth will never know about. But, we do this because we love young people and we want them to encounter Christ is new and powerful ways. God's peace and blessings to you, as you continue this journey.  Click here for answers on a few things I have been receiving a lot of questions about.
Starting in June, you will receive a more focused weekly email from me, as we get to the final days before the Gathering!
If you ever have any gathering related questions, I am here to be a support to you. Please don't hesitate to reach out!"

Ashley Gilbertson
Faith Formation Coordinator
Calvary Lutheran Church
302 Olena Ave SE
Willmar, MN 56201
Synod Events
Below is a list of all the upcoming synod events. Visit the synod events webpage for more information.
June 8-9, 2018
Redwood Falls, MN 

SW MN Synod
Women of the ELCA Convention
June 29-30, 2018
Bethlehem Lutheran Church, St. Cloud

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