Equipping Congregations Day!

Come gather together as we enter the season of Advent with learning opportunities to equip congregations as we live the Word today.

Saturday, December 2, 2023
8:30am - 3:00pm
Vinje Lutheran Church, Willmar

-Congregation Members
-Council Officers
-Christian Educators
-Worship & Youth Leaders
-Pastors... Everyone!

Childcare Available!


The synod will be placing the lunch order tomorrow, Tuesday, Nov. 28th. A box lunch from McKale’s Catering is included in the registration fee, however, if you do not register today (11/27) or before noon tomorrow (11/28), we cannot guarantee a lunch for late registrations. We are being mindful of the amount of food we order. Getting an accurate count for registration will help.

  • Congregations or Parishes with total average worship attendance of 100 or less
    $30 per person or a congregation/parish cap of $90.
  • Congregations or Parishes with total average worship attendance of 101 or more
    $30 per person or a congregation/parish cap of $180.

Childcare Available!
Registration for childcare is separate.

Parents will register with their children. Please do not include them in your congregation's count. Please call the synod office if you have any questions about childcare for the ECD. There is NO additional cost for childcare as long as your congregation is registered.

Rolf Jacobson

Keynote Speaker:

Rolf A. Jacobson
Luther Seminary Dean of the Faculty, Professor of Old Testament and
The Alvin N. Rogness Chair of Scripture, Theology, and Ministry

“The Spirit of God is Loose in the World”
What is the basic nature of reality and human society? Christians answer this question differently than other folks. For Christians, the answer starts with the promise that the Spirit of God hovers over all of creation. The Spirit is loose in the world, bringing about God's promised and preferred future. The church grows into its identity when individuals and communities locate the movement of God's Spirit in their context and get involved with what the Spirit is up to.


A finalized workshop list will be available online soon.
  • Attend your choice of 2 out of 6 workshops.


8:30 – 9:00 AM   Registration
9:00 – 9:30   Welcome/Hymn Sing
9:30 – 10:20   Speaker Rolf Jacobson
10:20 – 10:30   Transition Time
10:30-11:30   Workshop 1
11:30 – 12:15 PM   Lunch
12:15 - 1:15   Workshop 2
1:15 – 1:30   Transition Time
1:30 – 2:30   Speaker Rolf Jacobson
2:30 – 3:15   Sending Blessing

Workshop Descriptions:

Fostering Accompaniment: 2023 SW MN Synod-ELCA-SED Visitor Exchange
Pr. Janet Adams and Lindsey Scheid
Learn more about the SW MN Synod’s Companion Synod relationship with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Southern Africa-Southeastern Diocese from participants in the 2023 visitor exchange who traveled to South Africa this fall.  This relationship is rooted in “accompaniment,” which promotes the values of mutuality, inclusivity, vulnerability, empowerment, and sustainability. Through the program, companion churches and ELCA synods nurture and strengthen one another for life and ministry through prayer, study, communication, exchange of visitors, and sharing of resources.

The Outcome/Impact of Storytelling
Pr. Pete Reuss, www.gsbfundraising.com
Because of your congregation, people experience God's presence and God's love. Boldly sharing these stories energizes people, helping them see the profound impact of your ministry. Pr. Pete Reuss, partner at GSB Fundraising, will provide practical steps to bring excitement to your community of faith.

Insights to Better Understand Farming Culture and Mental Health
Ted Matthews, www.farmcounseling.org
Ted is a mental health practitioner with over 30 years of experience in counseling in rural areas. His focus has been farmer mental health support. Ted will discuss what he sees within the farming community and how folks can help.

Room at the Table for Everyone
Synod Minister, Pr. Heather Culuris
Hospitality is part of our Christian call to discipleship. Come listen and consider what the Bible says about hospitality as well as how we live out Christian hospitality in the real-life situations we encounter in our congregations and personal lives.

QPR stands for Question, Persuade, and Refer —
the 3 simple steps anyone can learn to help save a life from suicide.
Forrest Rice,  www.woodlandcenters.com
The mission of QPR training is to save lives and reduce suicidal behaviors by providing innovative, practical and proven suicide prevention training. We believe that quality education empowers all people, regardless of their background, to make a positive difference in the life of someone they know. Just as people trained in CPR and the Heimlich Maneuver help save thousands of lives each year, people trained in QPR learn how to recognize the warning signs of a suicide crisis and how to question, persuade, and refer someone to help. Each year thousands of Americans, like you, are saying "Yes" to saving the life of a friend, colleague, sibling, or neighbor.

Loving Your Neighbor - Practical Things We Can All Do
Jenny Groen and Fatumo Yussuf, www.arriveministries.org
Many of us want to be more loving and welcoming to all our neighbors. But sometimes it can be hard to know where to begin. Join us for a workshop where two women from Willmar's Arrive Ministries share about their work with newly arrived immigrants to their community. They'll share their personal stories of coming alongside neighbors from all walks of life, meeting tangible needs in practical ways, and most importantly, building relationships that truly embody God's calling for all of us to love our neighbors as ourselves. 

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