2019 Synod Assembly Recap
June 7-8, 2019
Bible Study by Dr. Deanna Thompson –
Part 1: “The Body of Christ in the 21st Century”
Bible Study by Dr. Deanna Thompson –
Part 2: “The Body of Christ in the 21st Century”
by Carla Klawitter
Friday, June 7, 2019
Everyday Spirituality – the theme for this year’s Southwestern Minnesota Synod Assembly in Redwood Falls. Theme text: Joshua 1:9. Theme hymn: “Lord, Be Glorified” - ELW 744.
The field house is set up for about 575 attendees. Lights, sound, cameras, action!
Registration, displays, service projects (visitation bags, rolling bandages, building faith chests), Better Together food packing (goal of 80,000 meals), workshops (Being the Church in the Digital Age with Deanna Thompson, and Living Our Faith in Daily Life with Rev. Brenda Smith).
A little lunch. Orientation for new voting members.
Opening worship with Holy Communion. Rev. Brenda Smith, presider; Bishop Jon Anderson, preacher; Rev. Linda Pedersen, assisting minister; Andres Albertsen and Sarah Larson, lectors; Angela Fischer, pianist.
Opening of the assembly.
Sliding into Plenary I – music by the Synod Youth Band. Members of the band are Emily Hunt, Emily Lenz, Katy Strum, Holly Eckholm, Keagan Hastad, and Rev. Alex Becker.
Denise Kerkhoff, Redwood Falls City Council member, welcomed us to Redwood Falls.
Introductions were made of the platform personnel, parliamentarian, AV specialists, and Synod Youth Band.
Adoption of the agenda, assembly rules and procedures. A brief introduction to the voting keypads.
The Assembly Planning Committee report was given by Rev. Tim Wheatley, chair. Ideas were shared about the possibilities of a one- vs. two-day assembly and proposed sites.
Nominating Committee report was shared by Rev. Mark Astrup. All those on the ballot who are running unopposed will be elected.
Bible Study #1: Deanna Thompson.
Gifts of Grace – the new 3-year Lilly grant match project – was explained by Rev. Andrew Hermodson-Olsen and Rev. Dwaine Bruns. Rev. Laura Aase and Rev. Jeff Fitzkappes also talked of the Cultivating Generous Congregations project.
Credentials report by Rev. John Gabrielson.
Three synod vice-president nominees – Blair Schrader, Kristy Henriksen, Ferman Woodberry – told us a bit about themselves. V.P. Gwen Arneson will complete her service after 20 years. Thank you for sharing your everyday spirituality!
Election Committee report by Rev. Kelly France. The first round of elections for synod positions was completed.
Get up and stretch – music by Synod Youth Band.
Election results: Vice-President Ferman Woodberry; Synod Secretary Rev. Ann Zastrow; Synod Council – Rev. Maggie Falenschek, Leif Hausken; Consultation Committee – Bryson Wachter; and unanimous ballot cast for those unopposed – Treasurer Chuck Engebretson, Consultation Committee – Rev. Mary Hovland, Discipline Committee – Loren Hacker, Keith Klawitter, Sandra Beito; Synod Council – Dale Bransoy, Ben Durheim, Kristy Henriksen.
Bishop Jon gave his first report, including portions by other staff members.
Before moving to the resolutions, Quentin Markfort offered a prayer.
Resolution 19.01 regarding the process for synod bishop elections. Changes affect S9.04. of our synod constitution, bylaws, and continuing resolutions. Adopted 90%-10%.
Resolution 19.02 regarding synod board membership. Adopted 92%-8%.
Treasurer Chuck Engebretson presented the treasurer’s report and the proposed budget for fiscal year ending January 1, 2021. Decision about the budget will be made tomorrow.
Rev. Don McKee presented the proposed 2020 Compensation Guidelines. The vote regarding adopting the proposed document will happen tomorrow.
Rev. Kathryn Skoglund gave the announcements. Included: The Better Together event packed 80,000 meals today – goal made! And now you guessed it – time to eat. Yummy food served by Baune’s Catering of Wabasso. Our meal blessing was offered by Ashley Gilbertson.
A short concert by the Synod Youth Band followed, closing with a hymn and prayer.
Saturday, June 8, 2019
The early risers attended Morning Prayer, led by Rev. Erik Rundquist, to begin the second day of our Southwestern Minnesota Synod Assembly.
Displays are open. Coffee is on. People are gathering. The Synod Youth Band is singing. We’re ready for Plenary II. Opening prayer led by Mia Eisenbacher.
Rev. Brenda Smith of the Domestic Mission Unit gave the ELCA Churchwide Report. We aren’t perfect, but something should make us different. For example, wearing a cross necklace – still yelling at your next customer? Have a cross hanging from your rear-view mirror – still giving the finger to that other driver? We are called to be different. Her report about the work of our larger church included a video from Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton.
Rev. Jon Nelson presented the Bread Basket Award to Borgund Lutheran, Madison, for their per-baptized-member giving to World Hunger. Also, an offering of $3,918.72 was gathered for World Hunger.
Deacon Sarah Hausken and LYO shared their report – and everyday enthusiasm.
Deanna Thompson led the second Bible study. The best form of generosity is paying attention. Jesus was on an important journey, but he stops and pays attention to the one crying from the crowd.
Get up and stretch with the Synod Youth Band.
Credentials report #2 presented by Rev. John Gabrielson.
Treasurer Chuck Engebretson presented the endowment report and expressed gratitude for generous donors. He also encouraged congregations to apply for available endowment grants.
A video was shown from Portico encouraging us all to reach out to others in need. Portico is serving you so you can serve others.
The proposed budget for fiscal year ending January 31, 2021, was adopted 98%-2%.
The proposed 2020 Compensation Guidelines were moved forward. An amendment was proposed that, although parental leave should be a separate benefit (page 9), it could be combined with vacation time available to pastors and deacons. The amendment passed 90%-10%.
Another amendment was proposed regarding language on page 12 referring to seminary and TEEM interns. Rev. Don McKee responded. The motion was ruled out of order.
Yet another amendment to add “or the time recommended by the doctor” after the recommendation of 6 weeks for parental leave. A question was raised about medical leave already included in compensation. The vote on this amendment passed 64%-36%.
Now, the vote on the guidelines. The 2020 compensation guidelines were adopted as amended twice 95%-5%.
We’re working so well! Time allowed another video – this one about the ELCA’s Mission Investment Fund, which makes lower-interest loans to congregations or other ministries.
Bishop Jon presented his second report, including ideas for faithful innovation and new ways for doing and being church together.
Rev. Dee Pederson spoke of the work of Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota. The Servant of Christ Award went to Zion Lutheran, Litchfield, for their idea and work with LSS to feed more neighbors.
Second election for synod positions: Rev. Maggie Berndt-Dreyer was elected to synod council.
Gwen Arneson spoke words of gratitude for being allowed 20 years to serve as our synod’s vice-president. A video of her everyday spirituality was shown, and she was presented with a gift certificate as a token of the synod’s appreciation.
Rev. Steve Cook made announcements. Bergen Nelson led us in prayer.
Time to eat! Besides our meal, we’ll enjoy a time of recognitions – departing council and synod assembly planning committee members, rostered leaders new to synod, interns, seminary graduates, first-call pastors, anniversaries of ordinations and consecrations, and retirements since our last assembly.
Martin Luther made a surprise guest appearance and brought a brief greeting. The assembly sang a farewell ditty to Rev. Larry Strenge, who has been our Director for Evangelical Mission for the past 10 years. Larry was presented with a gift in appreciation of his sharing his everyday spirituality with all of us.
In the afternoon, we enjoyed “Lifting You Up: Stories to Be Told” with a rural ministry panel, plus other stories from individuals of good things – everyday spirituality – happening around our synod.
The closing worship, including Holy Communion, was led by Bishop Jon. Deanna Thompson preached. Included was installation of synod council members, conference deans and chairs, and board members; and a send-off for the churchwide assembly voting members, who will gather in Milwaukee August 5-10.
Tentative dates and sites for our next synod assemblies: June 12-13, 2020, at Gustavus Adolphus College; June 11-13, 2021, including bishop election, at Gustavus Adolphus College.
We're excited to announce we have a brand NEW mobile guide for you to use at the synod assembly! Get the App/Guide to access the most up-to-date information for the synod assembly. This guide is easy to use, has all the pre-assembly materials, plus fun photos about our assembly prep. Get the app and start interacting with other voting members. Anyone can download this guide, even if your not coming to the synod assembly. Click here for step-by-step instructions.
Links will be live once the material becomes available. Links updated 5/31/2019
Service Projects & Workshops
Robert’s Rules Of Order
Report Of The Presiding Bishop
Report Of The Synod / Bp. Jon & Staff
Proposed Compensation Guidelines
Treasurer's Report - Statement of Financial Position
Treasurer's Report - Budget v. Actual
Treasurer's Report - Statement of Activity
Synod Boards/ Committees & Teams:
Gifts of Grace: Toward Financial Wellbeing (formerly The Lilly Project)
Lutheran Youth Organization (LYO)
Synod Council and Executive Committee Report
Synod Personnel Committee Report
Please sign up in advance for the Food Packing Service Project.
Food Packing Sign Up! Click here!
Other assembly service projects and workshops do not require a sign up.
Worship Service for Lay Leaders
We invite pastors/worship planners to create a worship bulletin using their familiar Service of the Word format in local context along with Bishop Jon's sermon, suggested hymns (others if desired) and prayer of the day.
Bishop Jon has prepared this sermon without any explicit linkage to the 2019 assembly. That, we hope, might make it possible to use this sermon on a Sunday when your congregation might need it.
It is one of three sermons he will be doing on the three articles of the Apostles' Creed.
The Gospel lesson this sermon is based on is from Pentecost. This could be read by a reader on a Sunday when this text is not in the lectionary, if it is used at another time.