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Six conference assemblies meeting this Sunday, February 25.
With the weather forecast expecting snow for most of Southwest Minnesota on Saturday, we hope Sunday afternoon will be better. All six conference assemblies are planned as scheduled. We encourage you to be safe and make a decision that will be best for you when traveling.

Weather announcements will be posted on our website/blog - and on the synod Facebook page -

Crow River Conference
February 25 - Bethel, Lester Prairie at 2 p.m.
Great River Conference
February 25 - Living Waters, Sauk Rapids at 2 p.m.
Lac Qui Parle Conference
February 25 - Grace, Dawson at 2 p.m.
Lakeland Conference
February 25 - Immanuel, Clara City at 2 p.m.
Minnesota Valley Conference
February 25 - St. Paul's, Gaylord at 2 p.m.
Watonwan River Conference
February 25 - First, St James at 2 p.m.
Equipping Day 2018
+Pr. Linda Pedersen, Synod Minister
Thank you to all the people from across our synod who helped make another Equipping Congregations Day, a great success. Even with Bishop Elizabeth Eaton unable to get from Chicago to Willmar because of the closed airports in Chicago during a BIG snow storm, she was present with us via video live feed. We will post the recorded video as soon as it becomes available. The numbers are all counted and 809 people attended this one day event held at Bethel and Vinje.
Plans are now under way for the 2019 event. Watch for the announcement of date and speakers. 

Equip Grant: Luther Seminary School for Lay Ministry
We are being called to develop faithful and effective servant leaders. Our Embrace God's Mission + Equip God's People Funding Initiative is offering an "Equip Grant" to help with the tuition cost for Luther Seminary's School for Lay Ministry courses.
Luther Seminary's School for Lay Ministry is open to all people interested in training to more fully serve in a variety of ministry roles in their congregations.
Course Date: June 25-28, 2018
Presenters and topics:
  • David Anderson - Shepherd Of Souls
  • Mary Hess - Digital Storytelling And Faith
  • Mark Throntveit - Genesis: Plan, Peril, Promise
  • Lois Farag - Desert Spirituality For The 21st Century
Click here to visit the Luther Seminary website, Lifelong Learning, Kairos Classes to read more about course descriptions and to register.
ELCA presiding bishop responds to Florida high school shooting
ELCA News, Feb. 16, 2018
A voice was heard in Ramah, wailing and loud lamentation, Rachel weeping for her children; she refused to be consoled because they are no more (Matthew 2:18).

As we live into these first days and weeks of Lent, we do so riveted by the news of another tragic mass shooting, this time at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., on Ash Wednesday. My heart, like yours, is filled with anguish; my spirit, like yours, laments. Rachel weeps for her children, refusing to be consoled because they are no more, and so do we.

We pray for the inconsolable loved ones and for the shooter and his family, for those terrorized by what took place and those who are unmoved. We acknowledge our own failings and ask God to guide us in finding new ways to turn the tide together on both the availability of assault weapons and the lack of mental health care.

But we know that those things alone won't solve this epidemic. All of us, including the church, must take a close look at ourselves. How are we cultivating a culture of violence, hatred, anger and fear, and how can we participate in building a counter-culture where people can experience God's intended peace and life abundant for all?

Lent is a time for lamentation, dwelling with our sorrow, and facing the painful reality of death. We take each step certain that God weeps with us, walks with us in our deepest sufferings, and in the end makes the ultimate sacrifice for us - through death on a cross. This is our strength for the journey.

A prayer offered by Bishop Pedro Suárez, Florida-Bahamas Synod:
Dear loving God,
There are so many things we don't understand about our world. We might not know how the families and friends of the victims of today's shooting are feeling. But we do care. May they feel your presence in spirit through those that are accompanying them right now.
Help us to be mindful of the pain around us and to do something about it. We pray this in the name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, who lives with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.
Retirement questions? Portico can help!
Retirement planning can seem daunting without someone to walk you through it. Portico's day-long pre-retirement seminar for plan members age 50+ does just that. 

The seminar covers many facets of retirement planning in understandable terms - from establishing a retirement budget to reviewing health care options. You'll breathe easier when you know the steps to take to retire with confidence.

Take advantage of this opportunity by attending the seminar on Friday, April 6 at Joy Ranch in Florence, SD. Click here to register! Cost is $35/person or $70/couple.
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 2018 Winter Issue.
You can sign-up to receive an electronic Seeds Monthly email by clicking here to subscribe. 
Volunteer in Your Community
Changing Lives Enews is a monthly e-newsletter from Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota. Their February Enews highlights the LSS Caregiver Support and Respite program. You can share your time, meet new people and make an impact by becoming a caregiver volunteer! Volunteers can earn a $200 monthly living allowance and a $1,500 education grant. Click here for more information. 

Caregiver Support Volunteer Offers Peace of Mind
Minnesota's median age is inching higher year after year - resulting in more family members taking on the role of caregiver. There are more than 500,000 unpaid caregivers in Minnesota statewide, men and women who often put their own lives on hold to care for their aging relatives. LSS Caregiver Support and Respite helps provide balance for the caregiver, and allows chronically ill adults aged 60 and older to remain active and out of institutional care for as long as possible.
Renee is an extraordinary LSS Caregiver Support volunteer in Brainerd. She greets Carol, who is living with dementia, with a smile every Monday. Her kindness and professional support allows Carol to remain living on her own at age 84. It also provides peace of mind to her daughter, Dee, in Minneapolis.

Are you caring for a loved one? LSS offers many services to care for caregivers. In addition to providing in-home respite care, we offer caregiver coaching and counseling, support groups, workshops and classes, respite care "Morning Out" groups and more. To begin your journey to self-care, call 1.800.488.4146, email or visit the LSS Caregiver Support webpage.
Palm Sunday
Join Lutheran World Relief on Palm Sunday to wave palms and deliver hope for the hands that harvested them with Eco-Palms. The farmers who harvest, sort and package Eco-Palms are paid fairly for their work and use methods that protect the environment and their future livelihoods.
Visit or call 651-487-7189 to place your order.

Synod Events
Below is a list of all the upcoming synod events. Visit the synod events webpage for more information.
March 9-10, 2018
Lake Geneva Christian Center, Alexandria

March 10, 2018
SMSU, Marshall or Livestream!

March 17, 2018
First Lutheran Church, Litchfield

Tod Bolsinger, Author
Canoeing the Mountains: Christian Leadership in Uncharted Territory
April 26, 2018
PSST Retreat...Pastoral Staff Support Time 
May 3-4, 2018
St. Andrew Village, New London 

2018 Synod Assembly 
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
Other Upcoming Events and Resources 
  • 5th Annual Pitchfork and Hay: A Theological Retreat to Give You Tools for Ministry and Nourishment to Use Them.
    Monday, March 12 - Wednesday, March 14 2018
    Presenter: Dr. Craig Nessan
    Topic: Spiritual Roots and Prophetic Proclamation: Church Leadership in Polarizing Times
    Click here for more information.
  • A.C.T. Awaken. Confront. Transform.
    April 3-5 is only the beginning.   Our #rally2endracism is the launch of a comprehensive, multi-year program to address racism in our nation.
    Click here to learn more.
  • Streaming BOLD Gathering
    Mark your calendar for April 14, 2018 for the Lutheran Men in Mission live steam event, "Ideas to Impact Your Soul & Ministry to Men"
    Click here for more information. 
  • StewardNet
    StewardNet is an ELCA resource of livestream talks and news articles. 
    Click here for more information. 

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