“Keep on doing the things that you have learned and received and heard and seen in me,
and the God of peace will be with you.” – Philippians 4:9
On June 14, 2003, Pastor Jon V. Anderson was elected to serve as the bishop of the Southwestern Minnesota Synod of the ELCA. For the past 18 years, Bishop Jon has faithfully served as pastor to leaders and congregations, led synod governance, and flourished as a teacher of theology and Scripture. He has served on the boards of numerous church organizations and institutions of higher learning, as well as leading initiatives of the ELCA and the Conference of Bishops. During the last year, Bp. Jon guided us through the pandemic. His leadership over these 18 yrs. will have a lasting impact!
You can honor Bp. Jon’s legacy by making a special gift in support of a ministry he cares about deeply:
Gifts of Grace – Toward Financial Well-being.
Gifts of Grace has been creating a culture of generosity and transforming leaders and congregations since 2016. In partnership with Lilly Endowment, Inc., Gifts of Grace has had an impact by:
Increasing generosity and stewardship in our congregations through trainings, such as Stewardship for All Seasons, Cultivating Generous Congregations, and the Executive Certificate in Religious Fundraising.
“Our whole learning process in the congregation has moved from one of scarcity to one of abundance. We don’t talk about how we just don’t have the resources, instead we see ourselves as a people to whom God has given gifts and given them in abundance.” – Pr. Matt Hausken - Cross of Calvary, Olivia
“This made me a better pastor. I am able to model personal stewardship. I am more intentional in speaking about the joy that it brings. I am braver in being willing to give.” – Rev. Kathleen Ulland-Klinkner - Our Savior’s Lutheran, New Ulm
“Our language has changed; we point out the abundance in our midst. We are sharing stories during worship, pointing out the lives that are impacted by our ministry. We have become a more vibrant and vital congregation. Even in the midst of a pandemic we are able to continue living out how we understand our mission.” – Pr. Mark Astrup - Peace Lutheran, Cold Spring
Freeing pastors to lead their congregations in generosity by relieving their own anxiety about stifling educational loans, unexpected medical bills, and retirement insecurity. In 2020, we were able to give 84 grants like this to rostered ministers, freeing them to better serve.
“My seminary debts have been a huge weight on me, but I felt they were a necessary evil to complete the requirements needed to follow my call to serve the church. Receiving financial assistance from that same church body helps relieve some of that stress while also being a strong affirmation of the call. It is a huge show of support by the synod I'm serving and it energizes me in this ministry in a big way! Thank you!” – Anonymous
Your contributions can assure that stories like these continue to grow through Gifts of Grace
and reflect Bishop Jon’s commitment to vibrant and vital congregational ministry. Not only that,
your gift has double the impact, as all gifts will be doubled through the generosity of the Lilly Endowment grant.
Our goal for Gifts of Grace: Gratitude for 18 Years of Leadership is $70,000. This would amount to $140,000 with the match by Lilly Endowment, Inc. We ask you to consider prayerfully how you and your congregation have been blessed in these past 18 years. We invite you to express your gratitude for Bishop Jon’s leadership legacy by responding generously to this Appeal.
So imagine with us, sharing individually, as a congregation, from a congregational Endowment Fund, or as a Conference:
$400 for each year of Bishop Jon’s leadership – or $7,200
$200 for each year of Bishop Jon’s leadership – or $3,600
$100 for each year of Bishop Jon’s leadership – or $1,800
$70 for each year of Bishop Jon’s leadership – or $1,260
$40 for each year of Bishop Jon’s leadership – or $720
$18 for each year of Bishop Jon’s leadership – or $324
$8 for each year of Bishop Jon’s leadership – or $144
$4 for each year of Bishop Jon’s leadership – or $72
$2 for each year of Bishop Jon’s leadership – or $36
$10 for each year of your ordained ministry - or ??. What a beautiful gesture of gratitude!
You might also share non-cash gifts, such as gifts of securities or real estate. Please contact Pr. Keith Pearson, Regional Gift Planner – firstname.lastname@example.org – to make gifts of non-cash assets.
Please share this invitation with your congregation’s leadership and members. Maybe you would like to offer a challenge gift to another congregation in your Conference, so your generosity will inspire others. We would love to receive gifts or commitments by June 1 so the total can be announced as we honor Bishop Jon at the opening of the 2021 Synod Assembly on June 6. Even after that announcement, we are confident that additional gifts of gratitude will be shared.
Thank you for your partnership as part of the Southwestern Minnesota Synod of the ELCA. As our synod Mission Statement says, “By God’s grace, together we have what we need.” Your generosity close to home and around the globe is blessing others with the love of Jesus Christ. We are better as the church because we walk together.
If you have questions about this special Appeal, please be in touch with one of us. We look forward to seeing the legacy of Gifts of Grace blessing leaders and congregations for generations to come.
Giving Thanks to God for you,
Pr. Andy Hermodson-Olsen
Gifts of Grace Coordinator
Pr. Dee Pederson, D.Min.
Director for Evangelical Mission
The Southwestern Minnesota Synod is committed to building a culture of healthy, sustained ministry in its congregations. The Gifts of Grace project is a tool to help the congregations that make up our synod lay a foundation for healthy vibrant ministry now and into the future. We want to invite you to make an investment in the health of our congregations and leaders.
Our research has shown that congregations cannot be places of healthy sustained ministry if the rostered leaders are not healthy themselves. Through a process of deep listening we have discovered that Student Debt, Medical Debt, and Deficient Retirement Savings present barriers to our rostered leaders becoming the generous, vibrant leaders needed in our congregations. The Gifts of Grace project seeks to address those three areas by making grants available to free our rostered leaders to live fully into their callings.
We have a goal of raising $280,000 by 2021 which will be matched by The Lilly Endowment Inc., our partner in building this culture of sustained health in ministry. To partner with us in this effort please see ways to give.
We also recognize that a culture of healthy ministry needs to be built within congregations. Another aspect of Gifts of Grace is providing resources for financial literacy, financial health, and stewardship training. By continuing to provide resources for our rostered ministers and leaders to attend stewardship programs, such as the Executive Certificate for Religious Fundraising, Gifts of Grace supports our rostered ministers in their efforts to ensure the financial health of their congregations, not just in the short term but in the long term as well, through cultural changes in the way generosity is approached and understood.
In the Southwestern MN Synod we have been fortunate enough to partner with the Lilly Endowment Inc. We have partnered with them for two three-year periods of work. Our first three-year term was 2016-2018. In 2018, The Lilly Endowment Inc. approached us with an offer to apply for a second three-year term so that we may further invest our gains in the life of our synod. We applied, were accepted, and will now be working with them through 2021.
With this new term comes a new infusion of money for our work, with the requirement that we match the money they give us. Lilly will provide a new grant of $250,000. At the end of Phase I, we were granted permission to roll over the unspent balance. Because $30,000 of that was moved from operational dollars into our MEF, we are required to also match that amount, so the total we need to raise is $280,000 from individual and congregational donations. Given the generosity shown 2016-2018 in raising matching funds, we know we can do this.
We invite you to walk alongside us in our goal of building a healthy, sustainable, culture of vibrant ministry in our congregations by making a financial contribution to Gifts of Grace.
Your gift will be matched 1 to1 by the Lilly Fund until the $280,000 goal is reached,
after which donations will grow & sustain the Gifts of Grace work into the future.
Ways to give:
- Mail and make your check(s) payable to SW MN Synod Gifts of Grace and mail to:
SW MN Synod, PO Box 499, Redwood Falls, MN 56283.
- Give online (checking / savings / credit card / recurring direct payment-ACH debit) Click here.
- Other gifts (estate plan / IRA / stocks / will / trust) To give with other gifts please call 507-637-3904 for assistance.
Gifts of Grace Sunday!
Gifts of Grace Sunday is a great opportunity to open up conversations about financial health and ways your congregation can support the Gifts of Grace program.
Resources to use: