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Laotian Ministry of St Cloud:
A ministry of love you support

+Pastor Larry Strenge, Director for Evangelical Mission, SW MN Synod, ELCA

On Saturday, July 14th the Laotian Ministry we, as a synod and ELCA, support in St Cloud had a very special event, the baptism of a woman who came to the ministry and experienced love, real love, the love of Jesus through the Body of Christ. The ministry is led by Pastor Thiem Baccam who is also pastor at Lao Evangelical In Robbinsdale. He comes up some Saturdays and most Sundays to lead worship and Bible study as this emerging ministry meets at Atonement Lutheran in St Cloud. Here's a reflection I posted on Facebook after returning from that baptism....

I witnessed joy today. Not just happiness mind you. Real Joy. Pastor Thiem Baccam gathered together a number of people at Frogtown Park in Cold Spring Mn for the baptism of a woman who has been attending our SW Mn Synod Laotian worshipping community in St Cloud. I was honored to be there with colleague, Pastor Deb Stehlin to witness this joining the Body of Christ and rebirth in the Spirit. Tears rolled down my cheeks, and lots of others, as the Spirit worked among us spreading the Joy of the newly baptized to her family, both biological and Christian. I was blessed to be called upon to pray as we gathered to celebrate the joy over incredible Laotian dishes. What a moment! I am grateful!
Systems Study & Coaching Group:
a resource for clearer, calmer leadership
We are all in the relationships - and relationships can prove difficult. The Systems Study & Coaching Group meets monthly as a space for leaders to find new ways of thinking about how we function in all our relationships and how we might manage more effectively in anxious relationships. It is open to all leaders - rostered and lay alike - who want to grow their repertoire of responses in challenging situations.
We work within Natural Family Systems Theory, first developed by Dr. Murry Bowen and extended by Edwin Friedman, Peter Steinke, Larry Foster and others. Through reading and study between meetings, and discussions of practical application through case presentations, participants reflect on their own functioning when relationships "heat up."
The Systems Study & Coaching Group meets on the first Thursday of each month from 1:30 - 4 pm at the Synod Office in Redwood Falls, starting September 6. If you are interested contact Pastor Steve Cook at (320) 310-8851 or
Are you a pastor who is paid below Guidelines?
+ Rev. Andrew Hermodson-Olsen, Director of the Lilly Project
A pastor's salary and benefits are not the reason a pastor answers the call to ordained ministry, but the compensation package is a part of the call relationship with the congregation.  Since retirement contributions from a parish are a percentage of a pastor's salary, pastors with lower salaries also receive lower contributions to their retirement accounts.  As a matter of justice, our synod has advocated for equity in retirement contributions for pastors who are serving with salaries that are below guidelines.  The Ministerial Excellence Fund is our current way of trying to assist pastors in this situation.  The MEF has a
Grant for Retirement Equity which offers an opportunity for pastors who are paid below guidelines to receive a catch-up payment to their retirement funds. 

How do we define below guidelines?  In the MEF application, we use the same standard for compensation as Portico which considers Base + 30% housing + SSI as the basis for the retirement contribution.   What if the congregation makes up for lower pay in other ways?  We ask that pastors discern their situation. 

Pastors who are paid below guidelines are encouraged to apply for this MEF grant.  The application is found on the synod's webpage under the "Rostered Ministers / Grants" link, click here to apply!
The application will be open until July 31. 

Help Grow Leaders in Rural Ministry
Fund for Leaders Endowment
During 2017-18, the synod's Lutheran Men in Mission (LMM) provided $13,435.73 for seminary tuition scholarships; $9,200.00 is available for 2018-19. Recipients will have an openness and commitment to future service in rural settings.

The profit from the LMM golf tournament goes into the LMM's Fund for Leaders Endowment to help grow leaders. Fund for Leaders Endowment which generates investment income for the scholarships. Since its inception, this endowment has awarded scholarships of $125,842.70 for seminary tuition.

Donations to the LMM Scholarship Endowment Fund are appreciated even if you are not able to participate in the Golf Tournament.

Golf Tournament
Friday, July 27, 2018 - Registration: 2:30pm, Shotgun Start: 3:00pm
Registration fee $65 per golfer includes:green gees, Golf Cart, meal,
prizes and a donation to LMM.
Teams will be 4 or 5 members. If you do not have a full team,
ad hoc teams will be formed at the golf tournament.
Please make checks payable to: SW MN Synod LMM and mail to:
SW MN Synod, PO Box 499, Redwood Falls, MN 56283.
Questions? Contact John Woodford at 507-641-5312 or
Synod Events
Below is a list of all the upcoming synod events. Visit the synod events webpage for more information.
Lutheran Men in Mission Golf Tournament
July 27, 2018
Redwood Falls Golf Course, Redwood Falls 


Church Staff Workers Retreat
September 18, 2018
Gloria Dei Lutheran Church, Redwood Falls 

Youth Workers Retreat
September 24-25, 2018
Green Lake Lutheran Ministries
2018 Fall Theological Conference 
October 7-9, 2018
Alexandria, MN

NW/SW MN Clergy Spouse Retreat
November 20, 2018
Luther Crest Bible Camp, Alexandria, MN

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