SYNOD NEWS AND EVENTS - January 23, 2019
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Hope in the Heartland
Imagining Our Future as Small Congregations
The world is changing quickly. God is giving us new birth into a living hope.
Eight synods from across the Midwest will be participating at 21 local gathering sites for a day of discovery and partnership.

Join Saturday, February 2, 2019 at Our Savior's Lutheran Church, Sioux Falls, SD or any of the livestream locations:
-Trinity, Truman
-Kvitseid, Milan
-Ebenezer, Kandiyohi
10AM-4:30PM CST (Check in begins at 9:30AM CST)
Cost: $50/Congregation, plus $10/person for lunch. 
Registration deadline: Friday, January 25, 2019
This conference will be most helpful for congregations with up to 100 people in worship on a weekly basis.
Gathering First Fruits:
National Summit on the Economics of Ministry

January 16-18, 2019
+Bishop Jon V. Anderson 
I am thankful for the recent event that Pr. Andrew Hermodson-Olsen, Pr. Dwaine Bruns, Jennifer Philaya, Pr. Nate Luong and I were able to attend to deepen our work of addressing the economic challenges of pastors and ministry. We are working on finishing up our first grant at the end of January. Thanks to a second grant we are beginning to plan for the next three years of work in our synod to build sustainability into this work and deepen our culture's commitment to address these challenges and opportunities. 

We were able to talk about these challenges with representatives from three other synods in this project and church leaders from a wide ecumenical representation. What is amazing is how much we share in common. We left charged up with new ideas and a deeper conviction about the importance of this work of breaking down the walls of silence in God's Church about financial matters and to address strategically financial matters in the lives of our ministers and congregations.  
Thanks in particular to Pr. Andrew Hermodson-Olsen for his leadership of our work through the past several years. We also express gratitude to Deb Hess, Pr. Bill Nelsen, Pr. Dwaine Bruns, and Pr. Larry Strenge for their work on this. We remember and appreciate our leadership team. We finally give thanks for all the amazing donors whether individuals or congregations.  

We will share more in the weeks to come about what we learned.

The Summit was an event bringing together representatives from more than 110 projects funded by Lilly Endowment Inc. in three initiatives that address the economic challenges facing Christian seminaries, churches and clergy in the United States. The projects are coordinated by three organizations funded by Lilly Endowment - The Association of Theological Schools, In Trust Center for Theological Schools and the Center for Congregations. The Summit was hosted by the Center for Congregations and made possible through a grant from Lilly Endowment.
Mission Support Intents
What you send in mission support makes a difference as we live out God's vision and mission "alive together, with Christ." (Eph 2:4-5a).
Below are a few documents to share with your congregation:

How to register your mission support budget amount: 
As your congregation prepares a budget for 2019, please share with us your PROPOSED mission support budget amount for the Southwestern Minnesota Synod. This will allow us to effectively plan the use of funds given by congregations to support God's work.
  1. Go to www.swmnelca.org/2018/10/29/mission-support or click here.
  2. Register the proposed amount you believe will be approved in your upcoming annual meeting.
  3. Contact the synod office if your proposed amount should change after your annual meeting.
Spam Alert!
Bishop Jon Anderson's name has been used in a recent spam/scam email. If you have any doubts or questions about an email from Bishop Jon, please give the synod office a call. Thanks, and always beware of unfamiliar email addresses, spam, and scamming emails.
Tax reporting can be complicated
+Administration Matters, ELCA Blog
Portico offers the set of annually updated Richard R. Hammar tax guides at no cost to pastors and congregations participating in the ELCA benefit program. Federal Reporting Requirements for Churches helps congregations understand federal reporting requirements. The Clergy Tax Return Preparation Guide gives special attention to tax-related topics relevant to ministers. Updated versions coming soon. To access, log into your Portico member or EmployerLink account.

Faith and Science in a Changing Climate:
Modeling a Just Response

  • Do you think about how you might best use your own gifts and talents to address climate change?
  • Do you wonder about how your faith fits with your interests in math or science?
  • Are you looking for a community that shares these concerns and interests? 
These are the kinds of questions that you can explore at the Gustavus Academy for Faith, Science, and Ethics. This weeklong summer academy on the campus of Gustavus Adolphus College provides opportunities to explore your beliefs and to discover how scientists and people of faith are working together to address some of the world's most pressing problems.

Who Can Apply?
Outstanding students who will have completed 9th, 10th, or 11th grade by June 2019
Where
Gustavus Adolphus College, St. Peter, Minnesota
When
June 22-28, 2019 (Saturday to Friday)
How
Apply online here.
Priority application deadline: Jan. 31, 2019
Cost
Participants pay a $300 enrollment fee. All other costs for housing, meals, and activities are funded through a generous grant from the Lilly Endowment. Registration and travel scholarships are available for participants based on need.
 
IMPORTANT Dates and Information
Start checking off your to do list. At the beginning of every year we always ask you to share your congregation's information in many ways. These really important tasks help grow our ministry. Please take the time to fill out the following:

Annual Meeting Resources
Visit our annual meeting webpage for report covers, meeting documents and other helpful resources to help you get ready for your congregation meeting.

Mission Support Intents
As your congregation prepares a budget for 2019, please share with us your Mission Support Intent amount for the Southwestern Minnesota Synod by clicking here.
Deadline: ASAP
 
Update Your Congregational Leadership Data
The synod office uses this information for the call process, giving statements, and getting helpful resources to the correct person.
Click here to update now.
Deadline: ASAP

Forms A & C (Parochial Reports)
Watch for a letter in the mail coming from the ELCA Churchwide office with your congregation password. Online forms will be open soon! Click here to access the online forms. If you do not know your congregation ID or password please call the synod office at 507-637-3904.
Deadline: February 15th

Equipping Congregations Day
The 2019 ECD Early Registration ends February 1st.
New this year! Childcare and Kids Day Camp.

Click here for more information on registration.
Synod Events
Below is a list of all the upcoming synod events. Visit the synod events webpage for more information.
Click here for 2019 Conference Assembly Dates.
FEBRUARY
February 2, 2019
Trinity, Truman
Kvitseid, Milan
Kandiyohi, Kandiyohi

Equipping Congregations Day
February 23, 2019
Willmar, MN
Registration Open!

SAVE THE DATE
April 5-6, 2019
Lake Geneva Christian Center
Alexandria, MN

SW MN Synod Assembly
June 7-8, 2019
Redwood Falls, MN

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