SYNOD NEWS AND EVENTS - February 18, 2019
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Larry & Elizabeth Strenge
" Re-fire-ment "
coming in June 2019
+Pastor Larry Strenge, Director for Evangelical Mission
On January 12, 2019 I informed our synod council that, after prayerful discernment, in June 2019 I am planning to conclude my call as our SW MN Synod's Director for Evangelical Mission (D.E.M.). I have been honored to serve our Lord in this synod since 1988, the last 10 years, since June 2009, as the D.E.M. It's now time to enter other "callings," ones that I am naming as " re-fire-ment."
For now, I am grateful. I am grateful to have served here in our synod all of my years as an ordained person (Nov 1987). Especially I've enjoyed these last ten alongside Bishop Jon, his staff, and the many people who the Spirit has invited me to walk alongside in this calling, both ordained and lay leaders, who serve our governance, congregations, and organizations in leadership, discipleship and pastoral callings.
Thanks be to God for you!  I have learned a lot!  And I look forward to our final months together to witness the ways the Spirit is leading into this next chapter for me, for you, and for us as the Body of Christ together in God's world. I will daily keep this all in by "GPF (Gratitude. Prayer. Fitness) time!"
So "re- fire-ment?" It sings more to me than "re- tire-ment" for what I believe (and pray!) is ahead!
In this " re-fire-ment" calling there will be aspects of " re-tire-ment." I plan to, and am taking action to, live into and grow areas that continue to utilize the gifts and interests the Spirit keeps cultivating in me, what I include below as "part-time callings."
Mostly I want to continue to grow and live into those vital "full-time callings" God has provided. Those include, but are not limited to--child of God (+), spouse, father, grandparent, sibling, son, citizen, and friend. Those name a few but not all our "daily bread" callings, ones that never wear out or stop growing!
First, I look forward to spending more time with my best friend and wife of 38+ years, Pastor Elizabeth Strenge. Elizabeth has served our Lord as pastor through Celebration Lutheran Church, Sartell, MN, for 25 years! She recently announced her June 2019 retirement plans. Elizabeth and I plan to travel, grow in our marriage, be more available as grandparents, as well as enjoy our riverside home in the Sartell area.
Next I see my "re-fire-ment" being lived out in some part-time callings.
Click here to read more. 
Ordination of Jane Crawford
The ordination of Jane Crawford was Saturday, February 16 at First Lutheran Church in Renville, MN. We extend our congratulations and pray God's blessings upon Pr. Jane, who has been called to continue serving First Lutheran Church in Renville, MN.
The Equipping Congregation Day is this Saturday!
February 23, 2019 - 8:30am - 3:30pm
Vinje Lutheran Church & Bethel Lutheran Church, Willmar MN
If you still need to register, please do so ASAP!
Click here for registration information.
Click here for a complete list of workshop descriptions.

If the total number of members attending changes after you register, contact the synod office. We do not need the names of the people attending, just a total count.

We will be using the buildings of both Vinje and Bethel Lutheran Churches in Willmar, to accommodate up to 1000 registrants. Both locations will have the same program elements, the schedules will just be in a different order. The keynote speaker and workshop leaders will move between the two church buildings.

Here is the schedule for the day.  Your location assignment is in your registration confirmation email. If you're unsure of your congregation's location please contact the synod office.

8:30 - 9:00  Registration
9:00 - 9:10  Welcome
9:10 - 10:00  Ben Winchester
10:00 - 10:10  Transition Time
10:10-11:10  Workshop 1 (Group A)
11:20 - 12:20  Workshop 2 (Group B)
12:20 - 1:00  Lunch
1:00 - 2:00  Workshop 3 (Group C)
2:00 - 2:10  Transition time
2:10 - 3:20  Beth Lewis
3:20  Blessing and Sending
8:30 - 9:00  Registration
9:00 - 9:10  Welcome
9:10 - 10:20  Beth Lewis
10:20 - 10:30  Transition
10:30 - 11:30  Workshop 1 (Group C)
11:30 - 12:15  Lunch
12:15 - 1:15  Workshop 2 (Group A)
1:30 - 2:30  Workshop 3 (Group B)
2:30 - 2:40  Transition
2:40 - 3:20  Ben Winchester
3:20  Blessing and Sending

**Workshop descriptions and a schedule will be printed for each participate
at the event.**
Scholarships awarded
Seven of your synod's seminary students have recently been awarded a total of $58,142 in scholarships. We are grateful for the generosity of individuals, Women of the ELCA groups, congregations, and the synod's endowment fund, which make these scholarships possible.

Some of the seminarians' hopes for ministry:

"My goal is to bring the love of God to both my local church community and geographical community."

"I see the importance of relationships and want to nurture them, allowing people to become more open to God's love through those relationships."

"I find that I have a passion for creation, program and leadership development, and for helping people understand that the Bible is relevant to their everyday stories. I would love to utilize those skills and find ways in which I can help encourage congregations to see their vitality in the world and their particular communities."

"I have a lot left to learn and discover, but my hope that drives my call to ministry is to provide God's people with the saving hope in Jesus Christ."

"It is my hope to be called into a rural congregation. I look forward to spreading the gospel with all people."

Please pray for all of our seminarians as they continue to prepare for the ministries to which they're being called.

Pictured: Ann Bjorklund, Paul Bravinder, Jon Wendt,
Sarah Jones, Sara Larson
No photo available: Bergen Nelson, Jeremy Hallquist

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:

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
Upcoming Community Events
  • BOLD Women's Day 2019
    February 24, 2019 from 12:00 p.m. - 4:00p.m.
    First Lutheran Church, Morris MN
    Free event, Free will offering will be collected for RUSC Kinship and Someplace Safe. Celebrate all things women do through Christ.
    Click here for more information.
  • Augustana Performing & Visual Arts Presents Winterreise by Franz SchubertMarch 9, 2019 at 7:00 p.m.
    Grace Lutheran Church, Belview MN
2019 Conference Assembly Dates
  • 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
    Postponed to February 24 - Gloria Dei, Redwood Falls at 2 p.m.
  • Shetek Conference
    March 3 - Salem, Jackson at 2 p.m.
  • Watonwan Conference 
    Postponed to March 3- Trinity, Sleep Eye at 2 p.m.
Synod Events
Below is a list of all the upcoming synod events. Visit the synod events webpage for more information.
February 23, 2019
Willmar, MN

Lutheran Men in Mission Gathering
March 16, 2019
Gloria Dei Lutheran, Redwood Falls, MN

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