Youth E-Chat: June 16, 2020
Dear Friends,

When I teach listening skills to the LYO Board, I use a stop sign as an analogy. Too often we treat white-edged stop signs as optional, and our stops are more like a quick pause before we’re on our way to where we want to get to. But spoiler alert – all stop signs have white edges, and they are not optional. In driver’s ed, I was taught to approach a stop sign, and wait for the car to come to a full stop before you proceed. A full stop meant the car had to roll back a bit, stopping any forward motion to give you time to see what is going on around you.

The same is true with listening. Too often we jump ahead to where we want to get to – assuming we know what the speaker is saying – without coming to that full stop in order to be present with our speaker. Listening requires a full stop of our thoughts, energy, agendas, assumptions and our answers.

This is a season for full stop listening. Whether we are making ministry plans within the uncertainty of COVID-19, helping ourselves and young people understand racism, responding to our call to strive for justice and peace on behalf of the marginalized and oppressed, or struggling with differing viewpoints…ministry begins with deep listening. It’s the hardest and most important work we can do. In listening we learn and educate ourselves, and give space for the Holy Spirit to take root and call us into action for the sake of our neighbor.

One of the ways NE MN Synod planning teams are trying to listen is through a short survey to help us consider how to best support and equip congregations and adult leaders as you move forward with faith formation in the coming months. If you work with young people as a parent, volunteer, youth director or pastor/deacon/SAM, please take the time to fill out the survey below by this Thursday, June 18.

This season has given us the opportunity to see challenges that have been with us for a long time. How will we listen, coming to a full stop so we can see all that is going on around us in new ways? How will we learn and grow from what we hear, so we can better nurture a faith in young people that will equip them to live out their faith in the years to come?

Together in Christ,
Catherine Anderson
Coordinator of Youth Ministry
Parents, volunteers, key leaders, youth directors, pastors and deacons: Please help us listen to you by taking a few minutes to fill out the survey at the link below by Thursday, June 18 .
COVID-19 Resource Updates
This new page has a curated list of resources to help leaders and parents discuss racism and racial justice with children, youth and families. Resources include discussion guides, books, articles and more. The direct link is Additional Anti-Racism links to upcoming events and ELCA resources can be found here.

Resources include:
  • Guidelines and Tools for meeting in person, VBS Resources, Outdoor Ministry Opportunities, Bible Studies and activities, Leading Through and Beyond COVID-19

Resources Include:
  • Discussion Guides related to COVID-19, Crisis Numbers, Videos, Resource Links
ELCA Youth Gathering Updates
Gathering leadership continues to work through a variety of scenarios of what this ministry may look like in the time of COVID-19. We have decided to pause our upcoming webinars, the release of the Getting Ready Materials and the start of financial assistance, so that all may be adjusted accordingly for any possible changes.

We also hope this pause allows congregational leaders to continue focusing on serving their young people during these unusual times, without needing to devote special attention to Gathering readiness. The Gathering timeline will be adjusted accordingly as updates are announced, so that adult leaders have the necessary time to prepare. All updates will be shared on our social media as well as on our website ( ).
Synod Journey/ELCA Youth Gathering
Overview Webinar
The recording of the Synod Journey and ELCA Youth Gathering Overview event is now available! Handouts and links mentioned in the video are posted at
Outdoor Ministry Updates
Our Lutheran Outdoor Ministry Partners have been working hard to creatively adapt, innovate and find ways to continue to nurture faith in children, youth, families and adults of all ages this summer. Read below for updates!

Camp Onomia: Summer Splash!
SUMMER SPLASH will be held outdoors with social distancing and masks required. Program will be held in small groups of 8 kids or less plus their camp counselor, who will function independently of the other small groups all day. The exception will be out opening celebration and our closing "campfire" which will gather spread out outdoors.

Luther Crest Bible Camp: Bold Transformational Faith Program
Free online programming for all ages: K-12, families and adults.
July: Bible studies, worship, camp activities, cabin time and more.
August: Day Camp for K-5.

Voyageurs Lutheran Ministry:
Online Faith Formation: Morning Mai (Daily devotions) and more.
Rental Opportunities: For small groups and families. Looking for a place to get away with your family this summer? VLM has great spots for a getaway!
Online Network Meetings
(For Volunteers, Paid Youth Directors, Pastors...YOU!)

​The best learning we can do for our ministries is to be in conversation with other ministry leaders. These weekly network meetings are an opportunity to learn from each other, support each other, share ideas and resources, pray and laugh together. We are better together!

Check-In meetings will be every Thursday, 10am, through June 25.

Login information for Network Meetings (new, permanent link):

You can also access the weekly link on the Faith Formation Resources in Response to COVID-19 page.

If these times don't work for you and you would like to check in with someone, please  email Catherine  or call 218-724-4424, ext 124. You are not alone as we navigate these challenging days!
Upcoming Events for Adult Leaders
Coming Soon...
A series of Zoom events to help adult leaders talk about racism and racial justice with young people in the congregation, led by Colleen Bernu and members of the Anti-Racism Team. Stay tuned for more details.
Youth E-Chat
For the summer months, I will be publishing Youth E-Chat on the first and third Tuesday each month. Weekly updates and added resources will be posted on the Thursday Online Reflections announcements, and timely updates will be posted on the NE MN Synod Facebook Group . The Faith Formation and Mental Health pages in response to COVID-19 will continue to be updated on a regular basis.
Catherine Anderson | Coordinator of Youth Ministry | NE MN Synod, ELCA | 218-724-4424