Stay Connected.    Like us on Facebook   Follow us on Twitter   Visit our blog

The Lilly Project
"One of the great things about working with this project, it has fruitfully agitated our synod to try to knock down the silence about money and the economic challenges of our pastors.

In the process, we've learned things we didn't know about how their debt was impacting their ministry and we've always been able to encourage them to be freed from their economic debt and other economic challenges, to feel more confident, to be able to lead more deeply, and to teaching their folks about generosity."
+ Bishop Jon Anderson

The Lilly Endowment Inc. grant of $500,000 was our first lead gift to the Funding Initiative. It launched the Ministerial Excellence Fund, a fund we have within the Embrace God's Mission + Equip God's People Funding Initiative's focus, called Develop Servant Leaders.

This is the video was shown at our 2018 Synod Assembly highlighting some of the impact of the Lilly grants in four synods. Please make use of it with congregational leaders or other situations.

Click here to view and download video.
Click here to view and download video.

The synod invites you to think about, pray about, and consider contributing financially in a way that fits your capacity and passion.
Send your gift to: SW MN Synod, PO Box 499, Redwood Falls, MN 56283.
Make check out to: SW MN Synod. In the memo line please write: "Funding Initiative or Ministerial Excellence Fund (MEF)."
Click here to donate now.
Better Together Montevideo 
Montevideo had a Better Together food packing event on July 11. Here is a thank you Pr. Matt Philaya sent out about this amazing event!
Dear Better Together Team and Others - 
THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU! Our Better Together event was a success, and I am so appreciative of the work everyone did to help make it happen.
Thank you for the work with fundraising, publicity, education, moving stuff, distributing the food, participating or encouraging others to participate, and for the overall time and energy to help make this event happen. We truly needed everyone, please thank anyone you see, especially the kids who worked hard to basically unload an entire semi-truck one box at a time in the rain!
We were able to package the full 120,000 meals PLUS an additional 7,000 passed along to us from a previous event. 
Here is the estimated breakdown:
Shift One - 162 people and 50,000 meals
Shift Two - 126 people and 45,000 meals
Shift Three - 109 people and 32,000 meals
With the response to yesterday's event, I think it is reasonable to consider doing this again, and I look forward to that opportunity.
It turned out to be an excellent cross-generational as well as inter-congregational and community service project. For next time we can focus on what we need to do to make it more cross-cultural as well.
Personally, I'm extremely thankful as well as inspired by the blessings God worked for our community through yesterday's event.
As churches close, a way of life fades
Minnesota's mainline Christian denominations face unprecedented declines, altering communities and traditions celebrated for generations.
The first in an occasional series written by Jean Hopfensperger
Photos by Leila Navidi
Many congregations are becoming smaller and smaller. As that happens each will face what this article talks about, the pain of closing after many GOOD years of being a faith community. The final video is a good reminder of the process at LaSalle Lutheran as it comes to its final Sunday, August 12th.  Bishop Jon and Synod Minister, Linda Pedersen, will be in attendance at that service of closing. Click here to read this article and watch video. 
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

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