The Synod's Highest Legislative Authority

June 7 and 8 204 Date Graphic

Voting members from each congregation and all rostered minsters in the Southwestern Minnesota Synod gather annually to worship, learn, conduct business, and prayerfully deliberate about what God is calling us to do in the synod. The Synod Assembly is the synod’s highest legislative authority within the SW MN Synod.

SAVE THE DATE: Synod Assembly June 7th-8th, 2024

2023 Synod Assembly

Thank you for “embodying the Word” as the Southwestern Minnesota Synod gathered for the first in-person Assembly in four years. Throughout our short time together, we embodied the faith practices of the earliest Christians: worshiping in Christ Chapel for the first time in 6 years, praising God, praying, breaking bread at the Lord’s table, eating delicious meals with glad and generous hearts, and sharing goodwill. Thank you! 

Embody the Word

The Assembly received reports and learned about our many ministry partner organizations. Our speaker, researcher Matt Bloom, lifted up factors that contribute to well-being and resiliency, particularly in the relationships and culture of churches and their leaders. Business included electing new governance leaders, approving constitutional changes, and adopting the budget for fiscal year 2025 and recommended compensation guidelines for 2024. We celebrated anniversaries and retirements and gave thanks for the life and ministry of pastors who have joined the heavenly chorus. And worship included singing hymns led by organ and Dakota Road, as well as a new evening prayer liturgy. 

It was an honor to share my report through a Bible study of Luke 24. I considered the things we have been discussing as we walked together as a synod through the past 4 years, and how we may share the disciples’ feeling of “but we had hoped” for many things. Like those two on the way, we also have seen the living presence of Jesus embodied in our own congregations and ministries: ordinations, lay leaders, coaching, generosity, Gifts of Grace, food ministries, ecumenical ministries, outreach in the community, and new partnerships evolving among area congregations. 

In the second part of my report, I noted the faith practices of Luke 24 that you embody in your ministries: opening Scripture through solid Bible study, creating a congregation culture where new people can know welcome and belonging, breaking bread together, and walking with other congregations in new ways. 

Finally, I introduced the new statement of commitments that will guide the work of the Synod Council and of staff going forward. I asked for your feedback and ideas for what these commitments could mean: 

As followers of Jesus in a time in which the role of the church is being re-formed, we of the SW MN synod are committed to empowering Christian communities to join in God’s mission of reconciliation: listening intentionally, loving unconditionally, serving others authentically, and faithfully healing creation. 

We welcome your ideas for these new directions, so please send them! [email protected].

Thanks go out to the Synod Council for their action to permit retired rostered ministers, or those granted disability status, or on leave from call, on the roster of the synod to serve as Voting Members of the Synod Assembly. It was great to have their presence! We extended gratitude to the officers completing their terms – Vice President Ferman Woodberry and Treasurer Chuck Engebretson; and we recognized the leaders completing terms on Executive Committee – Carla Johnson and Dale Brandsoy, and on Synod Council. Thank you for your wise leadership! 

Huge events like Assemblies do not take place without the planning and work of many people. Thank you to the Planning Team: Assembly Manager Tammy Schacher; Synod Staff Kristin Bakeberg and Maggie Berggren; Assembly Planning Team Pr. Paul Bravinder, Shane Hagstrom, Erin Kuehl, Bill Martin-Chaffee, Pr. Scott Richards, Rachel Rundquist, Pr. Emmy Swedlund; Synod Ministers Pr. Heather Culuris and Pr. Naomi Mahler; D.E.M. Pr. Troy Pflibsen; Technology coordination Chris Kiewel; and the many, many people we didn’t see who worked behind the scenes to help make this Assembly a great experience for all who attended! 

Thank you, Voting Members for dedicating your energy and time to be present for this historic Assembly, and to all the individuals and congregations who held our work in prayer. Thanks be to God for you! 

+ grace and peace,
Bishop Dee Pederson 

2023 Synod Assembly Recap

The Southwestern Minnesota Synod Assembly was held June 9-10 at Gustavus Adolphus College, St Peter. The theme of the Assembly was, “Embody the Word,” which was present throughout the weekend. The Assembly was able to see the many gifts of leaders, both lay and rostered, from around the synod showcased in videos, worship, workshops, speakers, and around your table.

Here is a summary of Assembly actions:

The Assembly elected:

  1. Vice President: Ms Maria Lokensgard
  2. Synod Treasurer: Mr Bob Haines
  3. Synod Secretary: Rev. Ann Zastrow (2nd term)
  4. Synod Council At-Large: Rev. Don McKee
  5. Synod Council At-Large: Ms Emily Peterson
  6. Consultation Committee: Ms Kristen Pierce
  7. Consultation Committee: Mr Rick Loseth
  8. Discipline Committee: Rev Kathleen Ulland-Klinkner
  9. Discipline Committee: Rev Michael Carlson
  10. Discipline Committee: Rev Christopher Culuris

*Assembly Action: SA23.06.03: Motion to approve Resolution 23.01: Recommended Changes to Synod Constitution: Motion approved.

*Assembly Action: SA23.06.04: Motion to approve Budget for FY2025. Motion approved.

*Assembly Action: SA23.06.05: Motion to approve 2024 SW MN Synod Compensation Guidelines. Motion approved.

Synod Assembly Plenary Floor

Assembly Videos and Photos


The 2023 Synod Assembly Guidebook is still available.
How to download the Guidebook app:
Get started by clicking here:

Tap “Download the App” to access the guide on your iOS and Android device. Once the Guidebook app is downloaded on your device open the SW MN Synod Assembly 2023 guide.

You may have to click “Find Guide” if the assembly guide does not automatically open.

The synod has used Guidebook in the past so if you are a returning Voting Member your email might be linked to an old account. That’s okay! Enter your email address and click “forgot password” to reset your account.

Synod Assembly Coordinator

Tamara Schacher
Admin. Assistant to Bishop Dee Pederson
[email protected]
507.627.9041 (Direct Line) 507.430.2367 (Cell)

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