SYNOD NEWS AND EVENTS - September 21, 2018
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September synod council Report
+Pastor Larry Strenge, Director for Evangelical Mission
In late August I had the opportunity to spend time with three of our pastors from SW MN-Erik and Amy Karlson and Deb Dawson--attending an ELCA "Missional Leaders' Conference" in Seattle WA. We spent 4 days hearing ways God is using our gifts to grow "vitality" in Christ's Church. The Spirit is alive! In the months to come we'll be looking for "stories" of that Spirit's vitality around the synod and sharing those stories. Let me share a couple right here.

On August 2nd our synod partnered to share the first of three "Cultivating Generous Congregations" (CGC) events in Alexandria Mn. At these events we brought together 13 congregations from our ELCA. Eight from our SW Mn Synod's "northwest corner" and five from our NW Mn Synod. But here's what's even more exciting. In addition to those 13 ELCA congregations we had 4 Roman Catholic parishes joins us from the St Cloud Diocese! It was an incredible "ecumenical" affair as we learned together and from one another! I look forward to an additional two times (Oct and Nov) when our 17 congregations/parishes will come together to learn about cultivating-adding oxygen to the soil-of generosity. In addition to this group we are also pairing with congregations from the Reformed Church in America (RCA) in another "cohort" of learning about cultivating generosity. The Spirit is alive!

Vitality can't really be "defined." That's what we learned in Seattle. Rather it shows up in a variety of ways as the Holy Spirit does the Spirit's work among us and through us. So here's the highlight of my summer-and there were many good moments. It came on July 14th as the Laotian group our Synod--and larger ELCA-- supports brought this "holy moment" into our Synod's life. Pastor Thiem Baccam and the people who gather together weekly in St Cloud shared the love of Jesus with this new sister. As a result the Spirit brought her to the waters of baptism and we rejoiced! And here's what's exciting: You were there! You made this, and those other vitality moments above, possible. So thanks be to God for your "generosity." It makes "holy vitality ministry" happen every day! So, do you have a "vitality story" to share? We'd like to hear it! 

Upcoming Ordinations
Ordination of Linda Estling
The ordination of Linda Estling is Saturday, September 22 at Watson Lutheran Church, Watson, MN at 2:00 p.m. We extend our congratulations and pray God's blessings upon Linda, who has been serving and will continue to serve Immanuel Lutheran and Watson Lutheran. Clergy is invited to vest in Red.

Ordination of Heidi Hagstrom
The ordination of Heidi Jo Hagstrom is Sunday, September 23 at Cokato Evangelical Lutheran, Cokato, MN at 3:00 p.m. We extend our congratulations and pray God's blessings upon Heidi, who has been serving and will continue to serve Fields of Grace Parish, Bernadotte of Lafayette, First of Lafayette and Swan Lake of New Ulm.

Ordination of Michelle Kleene
The ordination of Michelle Kleene is Friday, October 5 at Hope Lutheran Church, Sunburg, MN at 6:30 p.m. We extend our congratulations and pray God's blessings upon Michelle, who has been serving and will continue to serve the ACT Parish (Buffalo Lake of DeGraff, Monson Lake of Kerkovan, Bethesda of Murdock, Mamrelund of Pennock, St. John's of Pennock, and Hope of Sunburg.) Clergy is invited to vest in Red.
Complete your Live Well Challenge
Don't leave money on the table - Portico plan members and spouses with ELCA-Primary health benefits have until Nov. 30 to complete Portico's 2018 Live Well Challenge and earn up to $400 wellness dollars. These wellness dollars help you pay for eligible out-of-pocket medical, mental health, and dental costs. Learn more at
Bell of Peace: A world War I Remembrance 
On November 11, 2018 at 11:00 a.m. local time...
All Americans across the nation will toll bells in remembrance of those who served and sacrificed in the War that changed the world. 
Click here for more information and how to participate. 
Indigenous Peoples Celebration and
Service of Reconciliation

Celebración de los Pueblos Indígenas de las Américas y Servicio de Reconciliación
Friday, October 12 7:00 p.m. 
Galilee Lutheran Church, 145 North McCarrons Blvd. Roseville, MN 55113
(across from the Rice Street Gardens)

Join this this Worship of Celebration with our Native American brothers and sisters and Service of Repentance and a repudiation of the Doctrine of Discovery The languages of Spanish, English and Lakota will be used in this celebration.

Celebration leaders: 
  • The Rev. Joan Conroy, American Indian/Alaska Native Lutheran Association
  • Kelly Sherman-Conroy, PhD, Indigenous Theologian
  • The Rev. Dana K. Nelson, Galilee Lutheran Church
  • Pastora Ana Becerra, Cristo Rey Iglesia Luterana, New Brighton 
Registration Reminder!
Fall Theological Conference
October 7-9, 2018
Luther Crest & Mount Carmel Ministres, Alexandria MN
The Fall Theological Conference is for SW MN Synod Pastors, Deacons, TEEM Students, Interns, Synodically Authorized Lay Ministers and new this year we would like to open this conference to paid staff youth coordinators.

By action of the 1988 Synod Assembly, this conference has been designated as an "official synodical event". This means that all pastors and deacons under call or appointment are expected to attend. If you must be absent, please email Bishop Jon Anderson at

Click here for conference scheduled and lodging information.
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
Luther Crest Bible Camp, Alexandria

Jr High Youth Gathering
November 16-17 & 17-18, 2018
Willmar Conference Center, Willmar

Equipping Confregations 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