SYNOD NEWS AND EVENTS - January 17, 2019
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What Story Will We Tell and Live?
+Bishop Jon V. Anderson 
The stories we tell really matter. For example, here are some ways one might tell the story of our synod.
  • Our synod is full of resilient disciples of Jesus reforming their communal lives to better serve the Gospel and love their neighbors.
  • Our synod is full of congregations willing to reform themselves to serve their current mission field and Christ Jesus in this time and the coming years. 
  • Our synod is full of amazing people who are faithful, fruitful and generous engaged in local ministry and caring deeply about global mission.
God's Spirit is working in our midst and calling us forward to share the Good News is full of hope.

There are other stories we can share about challenges, struggle and decline, too. Which stories are you telling? We are often tempted to focus on stories of loss or trouble. While we lament those hard stories, there are also stories of growth, joy, celebration and engagement. This article will get you thinking, and I hope conscious, about the stories you do share.

N. Graham Standish talks about the power of the stories we tell in the following article. Here is a quote to tease you into the article.
"As pastors, we add a few new chapters to the unfinished stories handed down by our predecessors. How will we frame those chapters? Will they be discouraging and dysfunctional, expanding the negative themes? Or will we craft a new, surprising vision that offers hope and possibility? Here are some insights I've gained from integrating a narrative form of clergy coaching and spiritual direction." 

I often lift up articles and books like this that I find helpful on my Facebook Page. I would be happy to have you as a friend.   Like us on Facebook
Union State Line's Children - Dr. Rasmussen and
Bishop Laurie Skow Anderson

+Bishop Jon V. Anderson
Last week at the Conference of Bishops Academy I learned that Dr. Larry Rasmussen, who has served as a one of our key Lutheran movement's best ethics teachers for the last several decades came out of a congregation of our synod near Jackson in Petersburg Township called Union State Line.

This is also the parish where Bishop Laurie Skow-Anderson grew up. I want to celebrate this congregation's impact on both of these leaders.

God works in and through all kinds of congregations of all sizes. In this case, Union State line has lifted up two significant leaders in God's Church. I am sure that there are many others in different vocations I don't know about, too.

Plus, the people who still live in that area are a reminder that, like Bethlehem, our rural congregations and communities have a powerful impact on people's lives. This impact matters for those who remain in the community and for those who God calls to serve in other places.
Legal Checklist for Congregations Webinar
Congregations can unwittingly create legal issues and liabilities through inattention to basic requirements and details related to corporate status, taxes, property, insurance and abuse prevention. Many of these issues can be prevented by using an ELCA-prepared checklist of key items for congregations to address. Join us for a free webinar where the ELCA legal staff will discuss the checklist and best legal practices for congregations. This webinar will be of particular interest to rostered ministers and lay congregational leaders and staff, including congregation council members and officers, and church administrators.
FREE Webinar: Feb. 21 at noon CST.
Registration deadline is Feb. 15.

Administration Matters
A bimonthly e-newsletter for ELCA congregational and synodical leaders. It addresses common, practical issues including finance, governance, risk management, tax, legal concerns and topics of interest about day to day operations and management in church settings. Click here to subscribe. 
Care for Creation
We are called to care for creation by our God.

Our recent Bishop's Academy focused this theme of care of creation and our stewardship of "our common home." I will be sharing resources from our time together in the days ahead to help you engage in that work. Here is a video that talks about the challenges of climate change and finding solutions together.

Constitutional Hygiene
+Bishop Jon V. Anderson
At our recent synod council meeting the Policies and Procedure Committee was thankful to address a number of constitutions that are in the process of being updated. I want to remind you to see when your constitution was last updated to the current model. A friend of mine called this "constitutional hygiene."

Your constitution is best updated when there are no controversial matters before your congregation. We suggest you touch base with Carla Klawitter, who staffs our Synod Council Policies and Procedures Committee. She can help you save time and shape your path.

 We also have constitution resources on our synod's web site, click here. There is a tab called "Updating Your Constitution." That is a great place to learn more. Thanks for attending to this task that is important but not urgent.
IMPORTANT Dates and Information
Start checking off your to do list. At the beginning of every year we always ask you to share your congregation's information in many ways. These really important tasks help grow our ministry. Please take the time to fill out the following:

Annual Meeting Resources
Visit our annual meeting webpage for report covers, meeting documents and other helpful resources to help you get ready for your congregation meeting.

Mission Support Intents
As your congregation prepares a budget for 2019, please share with us your Mission Support Intent amount for the Southwestern Minnesota Synod by clicking here.
Deadline: ASAP
Update Your Congregational Leadership Data
The synod office uses this information for the call process, giving statements, and getting helpful resources to the correct person.
Click here to update now.
Deadline: ASAP

Forms A & C (Parochial Reports)
Watch for a letter in the mail coming from the ELCA Churchwide office with your congregation password. Online forms will be open soon! Click here to access the online forms. If you do not know your congregation ID or password please call the synod office at 507-637-3904.
Deadline: February 15th

Equipping Congregations Day
The 2019 ECD Early Registration ends February 1st.
New this year! Childcare and Kids Day Camp.

Click here for more information on registration.
2019 Conference Assembly schedule
  • Crow River Conference
    February 17 - Beckville, Beckville at 2 p.m.
  • Glacial Ridge Conference
    March 3 - St. Paul's, Lowry at 2 p.m.
  • Great River Conference
    March 3 - Peace, Cold Spring at 2 p.m.
  • Lac Qui Parle Conference
    February 24 - Watson, Watson at 2 p.m.
  • Lakeland Conference
    March 10 - Vinje, Willmar at 2 p.m.
  • Minnesota Valley Conference
    February 24 - Bernadotte, Lafayette at 2 p.m.
  • Prairie Conference
    March 3 - Campus Religious Center at Southwest State, Marshall at 2 p.m.
  • Scenic Valley Conference
    February 17 - Gloria Dei, Redwood Falls at 2 p.m.
  • Shetek Conference
    March 3 - Salem, Jackson at 2 p.m.
  • Watonwan Conference
    February 17 - Trinity, Sleep Eye at 2 p.m.
Annual Ecumenical Worship Service
The annual Ecumenical Prayer Service for Christian Unity will take place at 3:00 on Sunday, January 20, 2019. This year the host site will be First Presbyterian Church (312 SW 6th Street) in Willmar. Leaders from the Southwestern Minnesota Synod and the Diocese of New Ulm are also planning the worship service and will participate. Christians from the various denominations represented in southwest and west-central Minnesota are invited and encouraged to attend this celebration of our common Christian faith. It is held as part of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity.
A reception will follow.
Synod Events
Below is a list of all the upcoming synod events. Visit the synod events webpage for more information.
February 2, 2019
Trinity, Truman
Kvitseid, Milan
Kandiyohi, Kandiyohi

Equipping Congregations Day
February 23, 2019
Willmar, MN
Registration Open!

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