SYNOD NEWS AND EVENTS - MARCH 23, 2018
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Welcome Roger Fears
The SW MN Synod received three new candidates for call during the churchwide assignment process. We are grateful for Matt Seegert, Roger Fears, and Angela LaMoore who will come to serve in your synod. Each week we will share a little something about each assignee.

Meet Roger Fears
Greetings in Christ! My name is Roger Fears and I am excited to be joining the Southwestern Minnesota Synod. I grew up on a farm in southern Iowa before joining the Army after high school. After the Army, I worked in heavy equipment and attended Grand View University in Des Moines. Answering God's call to ministry, I studied at Wartburg Theological Seminary. My wife, Kim, and I will celebrate our 12th anniversary this year and we have two great kids, Addison (7) and Sawyer (3). We enjoy spending time outdoors, especially fishing. We look forward to joining a new community where we can serve God together.
 
Supporting our pastors with the Ministerial Excellence Fund so they may lead flourishing and thriving congregations.


$200,000 given to 52 pastors to reduce educational debt.

$8,000 given to 11 pastors to assist retirement savings.

$13,000 given to 13 pastors to help with unexpected medical expenses.
Congregation and individual donations will keep the Ministerial Excellence Fund
(MEF) vibrant. We thank Lilly Endowment, Inc. for helping us get this started and we ask that you help us keep it going.
To make a give now, click here for online giving or send your gift to: SW MN Synod, PO Box 499, Redwood Falls, MN 56283.  Checks can be made out to the SW MN Synod, please include MEF in the memo line.

In addition to receiving funds, many pastors are receiving financial check-ups with
Lutheran Social Service and/or Portico Benefit Services to guide them into a better future.
"I am so deeply grateful and humbled that you all would work so diligently to give pastors like me such significant relief. As the debt goes down I am increasingly less anxious about my family's financial security. Not only that, I am also given a general and newfound confidence in the face of my debt because I know that I do not face it alone. From your support to financial coaching and resources at LSS Financial Counseling, it is so empowering to know that as my family and I face this debt, we do so with advocates. It is also humbling, because I know that many people in debt feel as if they have no advocates, and for many there is no helping hand.
The generosity I have received has therefore stirred up a desire in me to live more generously and to advocate for people in daunting financial situations."

For more information about the  Ministerial Excellence Fund and the Embrace God's Mission + Equip God's People Funding Initiative, click here. 
Synod Assembly Reports
Each week we will be posting a report from PRE-Assembly information. These annual reports are from our synod boards/committees/teams, shared ministries, and mission partners. Click here to view all the reports we have posted, the list will continue to grow as reports come in. Reading these reports help us stay connected in the mission we share.
 
A Culture of Call
Synod Assembly Report of the Region 3 Candidacy and Leadership Manager
+ Deacon Krista Anderson
In baptism, we are each called, gathered and sent by the Holy Spirit into the world on behalf of others. In community, through worship, fellowship, learning and service, we encourage each other to live into the covenant God makes with us in baptism. Each one of us has a story of being called through baptism for the sake God's mission in the world.
 
My work as the Candidacy and Leadership Manager calls me to places and spaces where I have the privilege to be invited into the stories of those being called to rostered ministry as deacons and pastors as I walk with and support the 9 synod candidacy committees of region 3. Their stories, much like mine, are filled with people who encouraged them, safe places where they could ask tough questions and explore leadership, and opportunities and experiences to grow in sense of self and sense of who they are as a child of God called, claimed, and sent. Although each story is as unique as the individuals, there are common themes that I hear time and time again.
 
Many who are called to become a deacon or pastor speak to a comment from or conversation with a pastor, youth minister, mentor, or someone else who saw something in them and said something. Others speak to an invitation to explore their gifts through an experience of volunteering, a mission/service trip, or increased participation in worship/congregational life. Many others speak to being involved in outdoor ministry, campus ministry or a similar student-focused ministry that gave them space to become aware of the Spirit's call in their lives and explore the gifts they might bring to rostered ministry. Regardless of the specific situations that results in someone feeling called to pursue rostered ministry, I constantly see how the call to ministry comes from relationship and from community. Click here to read some of the stoires...
God's Irresistible Call
God is calling. In her March column for Living Lutheran, ELCA Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton shares her call story of becoming a Lutheran pastor. She says women don't follow God's call to be trailblazers-they say "yes" because God's call is irresistible.  Click here to read her column in English. Click here to read her column in Spanish. 
Pre-Marriage Retreat
Congratulations on your upcoming marriage!  Shetek Lutheran Ministries would like to be a part of helping you get your marriage off to a strong start, by offering you and your fiancée a chance to think about some key marriage issues, together with other couples also ready to get married.
You probably know that the state of Minnesota offers couples a reduced rate on the marriage license if they put in at least twelve hours of pre-marriage instruction.  This day will qualify for eight of those hours.  The other hours you will want to spend with your pastor in planning your wedding and talking about your specific relationship.
Some of the topics we will cover will include:
  • Communication skills and conflict resolution
  • Financial matters and budgeting
  • The spirituality of marriage

2018 Dates: April 21 and September 15. Click here for more retreat information. 

Synod Assembly Registration is Open!
The online assembly registration is open, but before you register, click here to read about registration for voting participants and non-voting participants.
 
Helpful Registration Tips:
  • Friday's lunch is optional. A box lunch will be available from 12-1pm on Friday during service projects and workshops. If you intend to eat on-site for Friday lunch, you must purchase a meal ticket for $9. A brief draft schedule is posted on the assembly webpage to help you plan.
  • This year we are opening our assembly with Workshops & Service Projects! They begin at 10 am on Friday! Everyone is welcome! You do not have to be a voting member to attend! This is a great opportunity for youth groups, confirmands and your whole congregation to get a glimpse into our assembly and participate in Global & local mission projects! (Remember, if you intend to eat on-site, lunch tickets need to be purchased in advance).
  • The pre-assembly reports will be available for download from our website May 1.
  • Reports, agendas, and all other information will also be available through our Guidebook App by May 1.
  • When reserving hotel rooms please reference the SW MN Synod Assembly. We have blocked off rooms for our group until the release date posted on our assembly webpage, see the "Hotel Information" tab.
  • Save $50 per person when you register before May 18, 2018.
  • There is also a $50 discounted for voting member under 35, lay only.
Display Requests
If you would like to have a display at the assembly, you must complete the online display request form by clicking here.  The RACC offers more space for displays. This is a great opportunity for vendors  who share and support our work of the church.
Synod Events
Below is a list of all the upcoming synod events. Visit the synod events webpage for more information.
APRIL
ACEs: What Ministers Need to Know
April 24, 2018
SW MN Synod Office, Redwood Falls, MN

MAY
Exploring Natural Systems: Dancing Together  (formerly the PSST Retreat)
May 3-4, 2018
St. Andrew Village, New London 

JUNE
June 8-9, 2018
Redwood Falls, MN 

SW MN Synod
Women of the ELCA Convention
June 29-30, 2018
Bethlehem Lutheran Church, St. Cloud

SAVE THE DATE
2018 Fall Theological Conference 
October 7-9, 2018
Alexandria, MN
Other Upcoming Events
  • Worship Service in honor of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. 
    Tuesday, April 3 at 7:00pm, Basilica of Saint Mary, 88 17th St. N Minneapolis
    Convened by the leaders of the Historic Black Church in Minnesota, this hope-filled community service will pay tribute to the work and vision of Dr. King. On April 3, 1968, King gave his famous, final sermon: "I've Been to the Mountaintop." Fifty years later, we gather under the leadership of Minnesota's Historic Black Church, with support from Catholic, Evangelical, and Mainline Protestant denominations, to worship, witness, and declare that The Dream Continues. Click here for more information. 
  • Difficult Conversations 101
    Sunday, April 15 from 2:30-8:00, Trinity Lutheran, St. Peter
    More information to come. 
  • 6th Annual Faith Conference Doubt & Difference: Finding Faith Through Authentic Engagement
    Saturday, April 21 at 9:30am, Christ Chapel, Gustavus Adolphus, St. Peter. 
    Don't doubt. Don't be angry. Grieve in secret. Fear those who are different. These are the unwritten "rules" of modern Christianity that Dr. Jacqueline A. Bussie calls out in her award-winning book Outlaw Christian. For Dr. Bussie, a faith governed by these rules was stifling, unsustainable, and dishonest and the only way to keep her faith in God that she loved was to start breaking the rules.
    Click here for more information. 

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