SYNOD NEWS AND EVENTS - August 14, 2018
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Why You Should Vote in 2018?
+By Barbara Kufiadan, ELCA Advocacy 2018 Summer Intern
In the 2016 Presidential Election, 56% of eligible voters either made it to the voting polls or casted their ballots by mail¹. If this statistic looks low to you, it may come to a surprise that this is the highest turnout that we have had since 2008 with 62% of eligible voters casting a vote². Eligible voters are more likely to register and participate in presidential elections, than midterm elections making the following numerical factor much worse. In 2014, only 38% of eligible voters went to the polls³. This is the lowest turnout for midterm elections since World War II. Even then, many people of voting age were overseas fighting in the war, so there may have been a very valid reason for the low turnout.

The reality of the situation is that many people do not realize the importance of voting for their representatives in Congress. According to Pew Research, midterm elections have always had a low turnout since 1840! The reason being isn't totally clear, but there have been some discussions of what could be causing this. Perhaps it is the fact that presidential elections are more televised. Furthermore, many people do not know who their representatives in Congress are, but they can tell you who the POTUS is without a doubt. Voting is an important part of civic engagement that is not only associated with presidential elections. Your Senators and House Representatives are supposed to represent you. They create legislations and vote on issues that are very important to us as Christians like:child-family separation, education laws, immigration, affordable housing, international aid, food assistance, and much more. These bills must pass both chambers of Congress before they even make it to the President, so it is essential that our focus should be on who we elect to represent our faith-based values.

The work that I have done as an ELCA Advocacy Intern, has taught me that every vote counts! I had the opportunity to assist a congregation prepare for a meeting with their Senators. The day after, I learned that the group was discouraged after one of the meetings due to the Senator's inability to listen to the concerns of his constituents. This led me to think of the importance of voting for people who will listen to the concerns of their constituents and the issues that are most important to them.

Additionally, I have assisted with the #ELCAvotes campaign. In this work, I have studied the Voting Rights Act, voter disenfranchisement, and created faith-based resources. When doing this work, I am mostly reminded that it is not everyone that has the privilege to vote. Many laws exempt people from voting. Furthermore, these laws effect marginalized communities the most- specifically Blacks. As a Black woman, I recognize laws that have served as mechanisms for voter disenfranchisement - Jim Crow. Although, many people have fought to against many discriminatory voting laws, the issues still stand. Many people of color are discouraged from voting or find themselves not eligible. I will always vote keeping in mind that not all people have the privilege to do so.

These upcoming 2018 midterm elections are just as important as the next Presidential election, because each time we have the opportunity to vote, is a testament to our civic duty. As Christians, we should have faith that the people who represent us represent our values as Christians as well. If these values are not represented, we can go to the polls this November in voting in hopes that we will find the people who will. Though we rely on our representative, there is no greater authority than our loving God who asks us to advocate for the weak, love our neighbors, and engage in our civic duties.

Helpful Resources:
National Voter Registration Day Last day to register in each state
#ELCA Votes
Voter Rights Advancement Act Fact Sheet
Upcoming Ordinations 
Ordination of Angela LaMoore
The ordination of Angela LaMoore is Saturday, August 25 at South Santiago Lutheran Church, Clear Lake, MN at 7:00 p.m.  We extend our congratulations and pray God's blessings upon Angela, who has been called to serve South Santiago in Clear Lake, MN.
Ordination of Marco Curriel
The ordination of Marco Curriel is Sunday, August 26 at Paz y Esperanza, Willmar, MN at 3:00 p.m. Reception to follow. We extend our congratulations and pray God's blessings upon Marco, who has been serving and will continue to serve at Paz y Esperanza.

Campus Ministry
+Bishop Jon V. Anderson
If you have someone attending any state college system you can make a referral below.
Referrals - Many young adults are beginning their preparations to start a new academic year at colleges and universities across the country. This is the perfect time to point them and their families to the Lutheran Campus Ministry student referral site. A simple referral will give us an opportunity to welcome them to our student faith communities during this important time in their lives. The referral site is located at:

These links below are for the campus ministries your synod supports with its mission support:
Southwest Minnesota State University, Marshall, MN
Campus Religious Center
1418 State St.
Marshall, MN 56258
Phone: 330-234-1317

University of Minnesota-Morris, 
Morris, MN
Lutheran Campus Ministry
110 Columbia Ave.
Morris, MN 56267-1340
Phone: 320-589-4554
St. Cloud State University, St. Cloud, MN
Lutheran Campus Ministry of St. Cloud
P.O. Box 1001
St. Cloud, MN 56302
Phone: 612-963-3457
Website: w

Ridgewater College, Willmar, MN
Campus Ministry Center
2100 15th Ave. N.W.
Willmar, MN 56201
Phone: 320-282-2225

Bringing the Gathering Home
A 3-part Youth Ministry Curriculum reflecting upon the
2018 ELCA Youth Gathering

Our post-Gathering materials are ready! The Gathering shouldn't just stay in Houston. It needs to be brought home and shared and lived. It's too much a part of each of our stories to let it stop on July 1! These resources are designed to help your group think about how they will continue to live the amazing experiences, preached gospel, life-changing stories and radical hospitality and embody them in their lives. These sessions hold to the 2018 ELCA Youth Gathering theme that was formed from concepts by Morgan Schmidt and our primary Scripture of Ephesians 2:8, "For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God." Lessons will focus on radical hospitality, building conversations and voicing what you will live for. Download your copies from our resources today by clicking here, and start using them with your group.

Total Offering on Sunday at the Gathering: $261,226.43!
It will be divided among three ministries: local (Texas Louisiana Gulf Coast Synod), domestic (Prison Congregations of America) and global (Global new starts)

Click here for more Gathering news.
Young Adults in Global Mission (YAGM)
We have four young adults accepting this call from Southwestern Minnesota Synod, these young adults will depart for their year of service in August. Each week we will be highlighting one of our YAGMs:
Eli Yackel-Juleen (Jerusalem and the West Bank)
Leah Moat (Mexico)
Tabby Sanderson and husband, Tony Yang (Central Europe)
Tina Geistfeld (Central Europe)
Meet Eli Yackel-Juleen
My home congregation is Amo Lutheran Church near Storden, MN though I have bounced around from congregation to congregation after graduating last spring (Urland Lutheran in Cannon Falls, MN and One in Faith Parish in Northeastern Iowa). I graduated from Augustana University with majors in English and secondary education and a minor in theatre. I am extremely passionate about education, which is why I am so excited to serve at a school this year. I am also very passionate about serving the less fortunate, environmental preservation, and youth ministry. I have no expectations for this year, though I hope to be a positive influence on the Palestinian Christians in the West Bank. I also hope to learn much more about the history of Palestine and the Israeli/Palestinian conflict.
Click here to support Eli and learn more. 
Reduce your energy bills!
+Ian Graue, EcoFaith Network
The EcoFaith Network and Bp. Jon want to make sure that all congregations are aware that you may be able to save on your energy bills if you are an Xcel or CenterPoint Energy customer.

I am hopeful that you are an Xcel customer and so the following information should interest you (Let me know if you have another energy provide). For Xcel customers, a nonprofit EnerChange is willing to complete a free audit of your church, ask them about your parsonages too! I am aware that some congregations have already availed themselves of this free offer and are benefiting from the savings.

Michael from EnerChange is ready for your calls to begin setting up a timetable to make energy auditing visits. Click here for information that Michael has provided.

Like us on Facebook Join the EcoFaith Facebook Group! The SW MN Synod/ELCA EcoFaith Network is to nurture a growing network that inspires congregations and their members to live out God's call to be stewards of the earth for the sake of the whole creation. 

The first informal meeting of the EcoFaith Network will be @ LuLu Beans in Willmar on August 18th @ 9:00 a.m. This will be a brainstorming/ strategizing meeting. If you would like more information or have questions contact Ian Graue at 320-262-0444 or
Synod Events
Below is a list of all the upcoming synod events. Visit the synod events webpage for more information.

September 18, 2018
Gloria Dei Lutheran Church, Redwood Falls 

September 24-25, 2018
Green Lake Lutheran Ministries
October 7-9, 2018
Alexandria, MN

NW/SW MN Clergy Spouse Retreat
November 2-4, 2018
(date correction)
Luther Crest Bible Camp, 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