SYNOD NEWS AND EVENTS - November 16, 2018
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Council Decides to Continue with Ten Conferences
+Bishop Jon V. Anderson
The synod council this weekend decided that we will not recommend a change in our conference structure. The proposal was that we move from a ten to a six conference synod model. We reached a decision. I feel very good about the work done to shape a plan, and the discernment of the council. We appreciate the earlier input of other governance committees who gave input.
Click here to read about how and why this discussion was made.  
Synod Vice President Transition Coming 
As we approach our 2019 Assembly, Gwen Arneson will share some reflections on being our synod's Vice President. Gwen has announced she will not be available for another term. We hope her reflections will help people imagine who might serve in this call.

Reflections of a Synod Vice President
+ Gwen Arneson
When I was first elected as Synod Vice President more than 19 years ago, I had no idea of the inspirational and life-changing ride I would enjoy. I still remember attending my first meeting of the Synod Council and making my share of beginner's blunders in leading the meeting. The people around the table were gracious and encouraging, and amazingly came back for the next meeting!  

What a joyful adventure in faith this has been! I feel that it is truly a calling - not just an elected role. I have learned so much from and am grateful for the witness of faith-filled people on Council; the three bishops with whom I have served and their staffs; the other 64 synodical Vice Presidents with whom I have the privilege of gathering regularly; and the voices of people around this church in the world. My faith has grown and my eyes have been opened in amazing - and sometimes, challenging - ways as I experience the ways God is at work in this denomination and beyond.   I have been richly blessed through my serving in this role.

Much has changed for Synod Vice Presidents since I began my tenure. Our Churchwide expression now supports regular gatherings for the VPs so that they can form relationships and networks to support one another. Vice Presidents are, in nearly all synods, now automatically Voting Members at Churchwide Assemblies, something that wasn't the case in all synods years ago. What a benefit that has been to be "in the loop" of decision-making and conversations firsthand, rather than simply reading about actions that have been taken that impact the life of the synod.

Vice Presidents are the highest elected volunteer lay leaders in every ELCA synod. It comes with great responsibility and investment of heart and mind and time. The SWMN Synod Council meets face-to-face in January, April, September and November of each year, and several additional times via ZOOM meeting technology. The Executive Committee of the Council, which consists of the Bishop, Vice President, Secretary, Treasurer, and two At-Large members, meets prior to every Synod Council meeting, and by ZOOM or conference call, as needed. In addition, as Vice President I have served as a member of the Personnel Committee, the Long Range Planning Committee, the Lead Team for our Funding Initiative, and on the interview teams for several staff member searches over the course of these past years.

I'm grateful to my supportive and encouraging family members who have understood that sometimes my weekends were booked with a meeting, or that I needed to be gone for a week to Churchwide Assembly somewhere in the country.

Since I have Sunday morning commitments in my home congregation of Christ Lutheran in Cottonwood as the Lay Pastoral Assistant/Organist/Choir Director, it has been difficult for me to be out in other congregations at that time of the week, even though I would welcome that opportunity. I have represented our Synod very rarely in that way; other Vice Presidents have the capacity to do more congregational visits. Each person brings unique gifts and availability to the role. As I have gotten to know so many other Vice Presidents over the years, I have noticed the wide ranging variations in ways they have been a part of the life of their synods.

What a gift to me these years of serving as Vice President have been! I look forward to seeing who will be called to serve in the coming years!
News Financial Update:
A Mission Support impact Update

+Bishop Jon V. Anderson
Thanks for your generosity to move forward the ministry of God's whole Church - your congregation, your synod, and our churchwide ministries through Mission Support. 
As of the end of October we have received $1,261,451 in Mission Support.
  • $649,647 = 51.5% of these dollars go to sustain the ministries of our churchwide ministry and its many global and domestic mission initiatives.
  • $611,804 = 48.5% of these dollars stay to fund your synod's life and our many mission partners.
We are grateful for your ongoing faithful support of our synod and larger church body.
We know from the patterns of giving for several years that we are at 67.8% of our expected gifts compared to the Mission Support giving patterns of previous years.
  • We are running behind by 7.2% from where we expected to be at this time based on mission intents and past giving of congregations. 
  • Our total mission support is $16,974 more than last year at the end of October.
We are seeing hopeful signs in your synod. 
  • We have 10 congregations doing Stewardship for All Seasons programs to invite people of different generations deeper in generosity.
  • We have another 12 congregations working on our partnership with the Lake Institute on Cultivating Generous Congregations.
  • We are preparing for our Equipping Day on Feb. 23, 2019.
  • We are working together with 7 other synods on a Rural Ministry Day called "Hope in the Heartland." It is based on the book "Discovering Hope" and will focus on faith practices, appropriate planning for rural or smaller member congregations, and lifting up best practices. Mark your calendar for February 2, 2019!
  • As we look into 2019 Pr. Larry is preparing a workshop that will be offered in all 10 conferences on "Relational Evangelizing: The power of a one-to-one conversation" which focuses on effective invitation and sharing of our faith.
  • "We have been blessed, through gifts and bequests from your members and families, totaling more than $5,500 so far this year. Praise the Lord!"
Thanks again for your support and all the ways you are building up your local congregation, doing mission, and supporting God's whole church.
Congregational Communications Tools
The ELCA offers a place of welcome for all seeking a congregational home. Extend an invitation of welcome for Advent and Christmas worship services. Posters, postcards, social media graphics and door hangers that can be customized with your congregation's worship times and address are available in English and Spanish.
Download and use these free tools today! Click here. 

California Wildfires
Lutheran Disaster Response is working with Lutheran Social Services of Southern California, Lutheran Social Services of Northern California and the California synods to respond to this fire. As the fires are still raging, we continue to assess the ever-changing situation to determine the best ways to respond. Your gifts will help us deliver a robust response to address needs in the devastated communities.
Please pray for the communities who are in the path of wildfires in California. May God's healing presence give them peace and hope in their time of need. Pray that God will deliver comfort to those who mourn the loss of loved ones and strength to those who are working diligently to contain the fires and care for affected communities.
Important 2019 Assembly Dates:
  • Resolutions Deadline will be April 8, 2019.
  • SW MN Synod Assembly will be June 7-8, 2019 in Redwood Falls, MN.
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