SYNOD NEWS AND EVENTS - November 1, 2018
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Today is All Saints Day. We remember those who have gone before us in the faith.
For whom do you give thanks?
The ELCA invites you to name them on their Facebook pageLike us on Facebook

Welcome Jane Crawford
The SW MN Synod received two new candidates for call during the churchwide assignment process. We are grateful for AndrĂ©s Albertsen and Jane Crawford who will come to serve in your synod. 

Meet Jane!
Greetings! My name is Jane Crawford and I am excited to continue my journey in the Southwest Minnesota Synod. I am a recent graduate of Luther Seminary and served my internship at Grace Lutheran in Dawson, MN in 2017-18. I am originally from Northeast Wisconsin. I am a former high school English and Speech teacher and worked as a Medical Assistant before entering seminary in 2014. We moved to Minnesota in 2005 when my husband, Myron, took a call as Director of Youth Ministries in Buffalo, MN. We have three children - Quinn, Kacy and Josiah. Myron and I are recent empty nesters and are joyously anticipating where God will lead us.
Region 3 Lay Preachers Retreat
+Bishop Jon V. Anderson & Mort Meyenburg
Pr. John Dietz was the teacher as this fall's retreat focused on worship.

Here is a picture of the most recent class. You can find these folks on your synod's Worship Supply List. We are working at deepening and broadening their understanding of our faith in classes on Lutheran Confessions, Preaching, the Bible, Leadership/Stewardship, Pastoral Care and Worship.

Some people attending the retreat are people serving in Synodically Authorized Lay Ministry sites, but most are folks who support congregations and pastors as fill in worship leaders. Those who have attended have found the event to be both educational and inspirational: "I look forward to coming to these retreats. As soon as one is finished I can't wait for the next one", "I appreciate the opportunity to deepen my understanding of the church", "These classes feed my spirit and affirm my sense that God is calling me to some kind of ministry" are some of the comments made by participants. We are grateful for this event and the support we can proved through the Southwestern Minnesota Endowment Committee's grant and our Embrace God's Mission + Equip God's People Funding Initiative.

If you know someone who might be interested the path begins with the support of the person's congregation and pastor. We offer scholarships to encourage the beginning of this work and to sustain the ongoing formation of this group of specialized ministers living out their baptism by providing a particular service for God's Church in places where we do not have enough retired or on leave from call pastors.
In a democracy one of the callings of discipleship is to take time to prepare, pray and vote. We don't just vote for our self interest but as a way of loving our neighbors. 
+Bishop Jon V. Anderson
Election Day is November 6. Educate and equip yourself to be an effective advocate of voting rights through #ELCAvotes. Click here to learn more about the ELCAvotes initiative.

Here is a prayer from our ELW Hymnal for Responsible Citizenship as we approach Election Day.  Join me in praying it in these days. 
"Lord God, you call your people to honor those in authority. Help us elect trustworthy leaders, participate in wise decisions for our common life, and serve our neighbors in local communities. Bless the leaders of our land, that we may be at peace among ourselves and a blessing to other nations of the earth; through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord. Amen"
Immigration - Voices from Our Church and Beyond
+Bishop Jon V. Anderson
Our Church Body has a social message from 1999 that is helpful because it was written long before the current political context.  Click here to read the social message on "Immigration".  Here is a quote from the web page:
"The social message on "Immigration" presents basic themes for discernment on questions of immigration that our society is facing. It draws from Scripture and the experience of Lutherans in America as an immigrant church in a country of immigrants. The basic themes are grounded in the call to welcome the stranger (Matthew 25:35) together with the commitment to justice that advocates for fair and generous laws." 

This was an article I found on the Faith and Leadership web site of Duke University that spoke to me.
"Matthew Soerens: How pastors can help their congregations address the issue of immigration" Drawing on his own experiences, a World Relief official offers three tips on how pastors can help their churches address immigration in a way consistent with their Christian faith. Click here to read. 
In memory of
Pastor Maggie Cumings
After Sunday worship on October 28, the congregation of First Lutheran Church, St. James walked to a Deer Park which is across the street from the building to dedicate a newly installed Clownfish playground equipment.  It was put there by the congregation in memory of Pastor Maggie Cumings who was a pastor at First Lutheran from 2014-2017.  The colorful Clownfish was selected because of Maggie's playful spirit, her enjoyment of seeing children play, including her own children Zoe and Leo, and because of the history that the fish was an early Christian symbol.  As part of the ceremony, prayer flags were tied on a rope that surrounded the Clownfish.   Pastor Maggie died unexpectedly a year ago.  In addition to the park equipment, a wall was painted in the Sunday School area to remember her with a favorite song.  We thank God for her life and witness among us.  
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.
Notes of gratitude
As we anticipate Pastor Linda Pedersen's retirement and her departure from our staff on November 21, we invite you to share a note of gratitude, a memory, a fun story, which we will assemble into a booklet for her. Please send your emails to or handwritten notes to Attn: Maggie Berggren, SW MN Synod, PO Box 499, Redwood Falls, MN 56283.  
Synod Events
Below is a list of all the upcoming synod events. Visit the synod events webpage for more information.
NW/SW MN Clergy Spouse Retreat
November 2-4, 2018
Luther Crest Bible Camp, Alexandria

Boundaries Workshop
November 5, 2018
Faith Lutheran Church, Spicer, MN

Jr High Youth Gathering
November 16-17 & 17-18, 2018
Willmar Conference Center, Willmar
Registration Closes Nov. 5!

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