SYNOD NEWS AND EVENTS - November 9, 2018
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"But let justice roll down like waters, 
and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream"
- Amos 5:24
Lutheran Bishops issue statement of solidarity to the Jewish Community on the 80th Anniversary of Kristallnacht

On November 9, 1938, the organized beginning of the Holocaust of the Jewish people was carried out by the Nazi rule in Germany. On that night, and into the next day, 267 synagogues were burned to the ground, 7500 Jewish-owned businesses were destroyed and looted, 91 people were murdered, and 30,000 Jewish men were arrested and sent to concentration camps.

Today marks the 80th anniversary of what became known as Kristallnacht, or "The Night of Broken Glass" - a turning point in Nazi anti-Semitic policy. It is an anniversary that we, as Lutherans, must pay special attention to, because Martin Luther's later writings were used to justify such actions towards Jews.

In 1994, the Church Council of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America adopted a declaration of the ELCA to the Jewish Community. In that declaration it states:

"The Lutheran communion of faith is linked by name and heritage to the memory of Martin Luther, teacher and reformer. Honoring his name in our own, we recall his bold stand for truth...In the spirit of that truth-telling, we who bear his name and heritage must with pain acknowledge also Luther's anti-Judaic diatribes and the violent recommendations of his later writings against Jews."

At the heart of our theology is the care for our neighbor- we are freed by God's grace to live out our vocation as "neighbor". In light of the recent attacks in Pittsburgh, and the rise of anti-Semitic speech and actions, we as followers of Christ must live out God's commandments to love God with our whole being and love our neighbors as ourselves. For it is in the neighbor that we see the face of God.

We, as bishops of the ELCA across this region, invite members and congregations of our synods to:
  • Renounce and oppose violent, hateful, or anti-Semitic language or actions.
  • Engage in dialogue with neighbors of other faiths, beliefs, cultures, and worldviews that are not explicitly religious.
  • Accompany our neighbors in times of suffering.
  • Pray. Pray for our communities, our states, our country, and for our church that we may have a better understanding and cooperation between our brothers and sisters in the Jewish community.
The Rev. Jon V. Anderson, Bishop, Southwestern Minnesota Synod
The Rev. Thomas M. Aitken, Bishop, Northeastern Minnesota Synod
The Rev. Terry A. Brandt, Bishop, Eastern North Dakota Synod
The Rev. Steven H. Delzer, Bishop, Southeastern Minnesota Synod
The Rev. Patricia J. Lull, Bishop, Saint Paul Area Synod
The Rev. Brian D. Maas, Bishop, Nebraska Synod
The Rev. Mark Narum, Bishop, Western North Dakota Synod
The Rev. Rodger C. Prois, Bishop, Western Iowa Synod
The Rev. Ann M. Svennungsen, Bishop, Minneapolis Area Synod
The Rev. Lawrence R. Wohlrabe, Bishop, Northwestern Minnesota Synod
The Rev. David B. Zellmer, Bishop, South Dakota Synod
Ordination of Jeffrey Greathouse
The ordination of Jeffrey Greathouse was Saturday, November 3 at the Southwest Minnesota State University Chapel inside the Campus Religious Center in Marshall, MN. We extend our congratulations and pray God's blessings upon Pr. Jeff, who has been called to serve Bethany-Elim of Ivanhoe, Bethany of Arco and Lutheran Campus Ministry of Southwest Minnesota State.

Mission support dollars make ministry happen!
Based on February 1, 2019 - January 31, 2020 Budget
Mission support is the term used to describe that percentage of the tithes, offerings, and estate gifts your congregation shares beyond your local ministry site. The mission support you send is invested here in the  Southwestern Minnesota Synod and globally through our ELCA because we live out God's vision and mission  "alive together, with Christ."  (Eph 2:4-5a). 

Throughout this narrative budget you will see why your part in an estimated $1.86 million in mission support is important. Click here to download a PDF to share with your congregation. 

Thank you! Your mission support makes a difference as we are called to " Embrace God's Mission + Equip God's People alive together, with Christ!

51.5% Ministry Beyond: Nationally & Globally

29.8% People Resources

12% Local Ministry Partners

6.7% Equip and Lead

Ministry Beyond: Nationally and Globally
Church colleges and seminaries were formed by congregations who decided to work together to provide places of higher education for their young adults. They knew no one church could support this bold vision, but together it was possible. Today we benefit from a network of Lutheran colleges and seminaries who educate our youth (and adults) and prepare our pastors to preach the story of God's love to all. This is true also of our desire to have missionaries serve all over the world. We do this together through your financial and prayer support.
Plus, Pastor Larry Strenge, who serves as our Director for Evangelical Mission (DEM), also represents what we are able to do together. His ministry in our Southwestern Minnesota Synod is fully funded by your mission support we share as one of the 65 synods of the ELCA. Our total financial support for national and global ministry is 51.5% of your congregational mission support.

People Resources
People are the first responders who embody your mission support dollars, from the person who answers the phone when your congregation has a question or is facing a challenging transition, to a staff member who will come meet with your council. It is the people who make a difference in helping your congregation carry out its mission in your community and beyond. Your synod staff provides a network of people to help your pastor, congregation leaders, and ministry teams address a wide variety of topics like guidance through pastoral transitions, helping your church council plan for your congregation's future, providing resources to equip your members, and even recruiting your future pastors. These people are available to you and your congregation because we are Church Together. We are committed to having a trained staff available to help meet the joys and challenges of God's ministry in our local congregations.

Local Ministry Partners
Raising funds for ministries can be expensive! Your generosity allows us to direct your gifts to support ministries that none of us could do alone, including Luther Seminary in St. Paul, where we train the next generation of pastors and ministers of Word and Service (deacons).
We join together to provide Lutheran chaplains on the campuses of public colleges in Southwestern Minnesota. These include St. Cloud State University, Southwest Minnesota State University, and the University of Minnesota in Morris. Together we help support Shalom Hill Farm, a rural ministry learning center near Windom. Plus, there are efforts to address hunger through the Minnesota Council of Churches and speak God's word of justice through Lutheran Advocacy-Minnesota.

Equip and Lead
In response to the question, "What is our synod good for?" the answer we hear most often is to EQUIP. The annual Equipping Congregations Day has become one of the largest events of its kind in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA). This February event is attended by both lay and rostered persons from about half of our Southwestern Minnesota Synod congregations. Every year people come back and invite others to this one-day event, equipping participants through practical workshops, keynote speakers, and great informal conversations. The "largest event in the ELCA" is also used to describe the Southwestern Minnesota Synod Junior High Youth Gathering, where it takes two back-to-back overnight events to accommodate the nearly 1,000 junior high youth and their adult chaperones. They gather to be inspired by God through words, songs, and service. We are definitely a synod that equips.

In the wilderness
In the wilderness. In her November column for Living Lutheran, Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton reflects on Numbers 11, the Israelites' journey to the land the Lord had promised them. Today, we are "becoming a generation not quite arrived at the promised land, but seeing God declaring: 'Now you will see if my word will come true for you or not.' " Read her column in English,  click here and in Spanish click here
Maggie Cumings Memorial gifts welcome
Pastor Maggie Cumings is remembered fondly, and her family, colleagues, and friends are still mourning her loss a year ago. We are accepting monetary memorial gifts to be shared with her family - Michael, Zoe, and Leo - through November 11, 2018. Checks may be made payable to the SW MN Synod with Maggie's memorial on the memo line. There is also an online payment option at under Online giving, special givings.
Synod Events
Below is a list of all the upcoming synod events. Visit the synod events webpage for more information.
Jr High Youth Gathering
November 16-17 & 17-18, 2018
Willmar Conference Center, Willmar

Equipping Congregations Day
February 23, 2019
Willmar, MN

Sr. High Youth Gathering
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