SYNOD NEWS AND EVENTS - September 6, 2018
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Living Faith - Integrating the Intersections
+Bishop Jon V. Anderson 
How many of you have heard or preached a sermon about science or business lately?

In the final days of my sabbatical I was able to attend the Association of Teaching Theologians' gathering. Their focus was on the intersection of faith, science, and business. It was a rich conversation. I wish you could have been there. The conversation was striking because we often separate our lives into compartments instead of seeking to find the connections and exploring the tensions.

One of my favorite speakers was a scientist named Se Kim from the organization behind Science magazine. Within moments of her lecture beginning, we were inside of technological and scientific work that raise profound theological and ethical issues like exploration of microbiomes, genetic technologies, and gene editing tools like CRISPR-Cas9. Business and science are collaborating and people of faith need to join the conversation to deepen our understanding of these new technologies and the gifts and possible problems. We have an important voice and point of view to share.

Dr. Se Kim encouraged the gathering of seminary and college religion professors to find ways to invite their students and their own reflection to explore the relationship between science and our faith in projects and papers. I decided that I would encourage pastors to look for ways to integrate scientific research and questions into their proclamation and teaching.

In a similar way inviting people to see the connections between their business life and their faith life is powerful. I once led a men's Bible study group that read a book about faith and daily life. We traveled each week to one of the person's work place to do our evening study. After checking in and discussing our book and the texts for the night, we would ask this question. "So what are the God issues and issues of faith for you in this work place?" Each night was fascinating as we dropped into a deeper conversation about God, faith, and work. One work place was deep into the genetics exploration that most of the rest of us did not know about. Our group member taught us about the powerful genetic technologies of twenty years ago and our heads were spinning. Soon we were talking about the ongoing creative work of God and our stewardship of powerful technology that could change so many things we have taken for granted about life itself. It was priceless.

Dr. Se Kim is married to a pastor. She was very capable of linking scripture, theology, science, and business. She quoted the ELCA Genetic Statement in her presentation. "The ELCA believes that this gracious God also endows human beings with insight and reasoning and calls human beings to help order and shape, nurture and promote the creation so that it may continue to flourish. This church recognizes that contemporary power, such as that arising from genetic science, presents human beings with choices and responsibilities for which human beings are accountable to God. This power obligates us to a greater level of accountability, one that will be measured best by whether and how the whole creation continues to flourish."

We are part of a church that sees how God works in and through science, through business people, and through people of faith who engage in thinking about God and life. I encourage you to make the connections and see the intersections.

We met in the Hagfors Center for Science, Business, and Religion. If you cannot read the sign, it says "We are called..." We are.

May God bless you as you live your faith and explore the intersections of your life.
An outstanding article on generosity and how one begins to understand the JOY of sharing it in one's life. Dwaine Bruns (pictured-white shirt) and I (aqua blue shirt) were in Indianapolis in early August with this outstanding group of leaders to learn more. Dr David King was one of our teachers...
+Larry Strenge, Director for Evangelical Mission

Know Thyself: Writing your Philanthropy Autobiography
by Dr. David P. King, Karen Lake Buttrey Director
Lilly Family School of Philanthropy

Autobiographies and memoirs are all the rage. The New York Times has called our current context the "Age of Memoir." It appears that we love to learn from the lives of those that have gone before or those that walk alongside us. For those of us that share a sense of spirituality, morality, and the divine, the magnetic pull toward memoir suggests a religious dimension to the telling of any life. As Duke Divinity School professor and accomplished memoirist, Richard Lischer has noted, life "begins in mystery and ends in faith. So compelling is the mystery that it must be puzzled over and prayed out and finally written down."

Socrates' most famous philosophical maxim was "know yourself!" This is not only true for one's spiritual journey, but it also the first step in nurturing generosity. As a central aspect of our educational courses at Lake Institute, we ask that individuals step back and reflect on their own philanthropic autobiography.

The concept is not new. Paul Schervish, Director Emeritus of the Center on Wealth and Philanthropy at Boston College, has spent a career studying the moral life of philanthropists. He has focused on developing a framework for exploring an individual's moral biography, which he finds vital in developing virtuous giving. It's not enough that one gives to various causes. How do our passions, vocations, and gifts align with why and how we give?

Most often we move too quickly to the technical - cultivating generosity and philanthropy for our particular cause by examining prospects and examining gift range charts. We would be wise, however, to step back and consider how generosity is nurtured over a life. What are the childhood experiences, communal practices, and spiritual intersections with why and how we give?

In our courses, the Philanthropic Autobiography is an opportunity to step back and think consciously about your own involvement with giving, volunteering, and charitable activities.  It is also your opportunity to recall the ways in which you came to experience and learn about giving and volunteering as well as rediscover what it is in your story that motivates you to be generous with your time and money on behalf of others. While not exhaustive, we believe these questions might be a starting point for examining one's life and engaging in a broader philanthropic conversation.
  1. What is your earliest family memory of giving and volunteering?
  2. What are some of the practices of faith and giving that you remember from your childhood?
  3. Who have been some of your philanthropic heroes and role models in life? 
  4. To what people and places do you feel a sense of gratitude?
  5. What are the one or two life experiences that have shaped who you are today?
  6. What is precious to you? What values do you want to pass on to your family and friends? 

We encourage individuals to take time to reflect on these questions. As leaders, if we are not clear about our own philanthropic motivations, it is difficult for us to engage with others around their spiritual motivations for giving. Click here to read more.  

Rostered Ministers Appreciation
Doing God's work in the world calls for leaders who bring a variety of training, skills, interests and life experiences to the work they do in congregations, communities and partner organizations. Whether serving as a pastor or deacon, rostered ministers carry out the work and mission of this church, sharing God's love with the world through the good news of Jesus Christ.

Click here to download cards, graphics and resources to show your appreciation.

If you would like to make a gift in honor of your pastor or deacon while supporting the next generation of leaders; these two funds support their call to serve:

Join us Tuesday, September 18! 
8:30 a.m. - 2:00 p.m. 
Gloria Dei Lutheran Church, 301 N. Lincoln St. Redwood Falls, MN
Register online -
$27 per person if registered by September 10 ($32 after September 10)
Pay online -OR- by mail.
Send one check made out to: SW MN Synod CSWA,
PO Box 499, Redwood Falls, MN 56283.
Click here for event schedule and more information.
Boundaries Training
Sexual misconduct by rostered and other religious leaders is one of the most serious challenges faced by the church today. Violation of the sacred trust between church members and their leaders brings deep pain to all who are affected: victims, offenders, family members, friends, and the congregation itself.

In response to this challenge, the Southwestern Minnesota Synod bylaws include the following provisions (S14.25.01. and S14.47.01.):

"Within twelve months of assuming office all ministers of Word and Sacrament under call shall demonstrate completion of at least six contact hours of continuing education in the prevention of sexual boundary violations." and

"Within twelve months of assuming office all ministers of Word and Service under call shall demonstrate completion of at least six contact hours of continuing education in the prevention of sexual boundary violations."

Our synod council has a continuing resolution encouraging all of our rostered leaders to have continued work on appropriate boundaries of all kinds, but especially sexual boundaries, every three years.

You can attend the following events and receive credit by emailing Carla Klawitter at Our synod will offer a boundaries training on Monday, November 5, more information to come. 
Young Adults in Global Mission (YAGM )
We have four young adults accepting this call from Southwestern Minnesota Synod, these young adults will depart for their year of service iAugust. Each week we will be highlighting one of our YAGMs:
Eli Yackel-Juleen (Jerusalem and the West Bank)
Leah Moat (Mexico)
Tabby Sanderson and husband, Tony Yang (Central Europe)
Tina Geistfeld (Central Europe)
Meet Tabby Sanderson & Tony Yang
It is my joy to be writing to you and introducing myself as a participant in the Young Adults in Global Mission (YAGM) program through the ELCA! My name is Tabby Sanderson. I am a member of Faith Lutheran Church in Morris, MN where my father, Dell Sanderson, is the pastor. I graduated from Augustana University in 2014 with a nursing degree and have been working as a registered nurse since-first in Fargo, ND and then in Minneapolis, MN. There are many aspects of nursing that I love. I pursued nursing because I wanted to be part of a healing process for people.

So how did I come to apply to the YAGM program? Well, after four years of nursing I started to feel as if I was treating and curing people rather than healing; taking care of bodies rather than people. At this time, I had recently become engaged to my now husband, Tony. During our engagement Tony and I would often talk about what we wanted our marriage and family to look like moving forward. We both agreed that we wanted our lives to be rooted in service and faith. So, we decided to devote our first year of marriage to doing that together. We applied to YAGM and got in! We are ecstatic to being serving in Central Europe starting in August 2018. Specifically, we will be serving in a city in northeastern Hungary called Nyiregyhaza, Hungary. We do not know what exactly we will be doing for the year but are open to be servant to community in whatever way is needed. We are also hopeful to be a part of community building and public education programs in our community.

We hope to learn much from the people we meet and each other throughout this experience. We are excited to embrace whatever may come and anxious to surrender to the challenges and chaos we will face. Our prayer is that we have a servant heart through it all.

Thank you for your support and being a part of our journey as a member of the ELCA and Southwestern Minnesota synod. If you are interested, please follow our blog, We are excited to share our journey and what God will do this upcoming year!
Click here to support Tabby & Tony.
Job Opening
Peace Lutheran Church in Cold Spring, MN is seeking applicants for the part-time position of Director of Children & Youth Ministries. More information and interested applicants may apply online by clicking here

November 3, 11:30am - 4:00pm
Holiday Inn, Fargo
Faithful Leadership
What does it mean to be a faithful leader in the church during this time and place? How do we best live out our baptismal call in our vocations?
What is God calling me to do?
Wrestle with these questions and more together over lunch and conversation with ELCA Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton and ELCA Vice President Bill Horne.
Space is limited, click here to register.
Synod Events
Below is a list of all the upcoming synod events. Visit the synod events webpage for more information.
Coming Soon! Register now. 
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

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