2014 Devotions – What’s Happening Around the Church? – Pr. Bishop Eaton and Ecumenical

2014 Advent devotions

The Rev. Elizabeth A. Eaton, presiding bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), and leaders from the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada, the Anglican Church of Canada and The Episcopal Church have written a series of weekly Advent devotions for members of the four denominations.

In addition to Eaton, devotions were contributed by the Rev. Susan C. Johnson, national bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada; the Most Rev. Fred Hiltz, primate, Anglican Church in Canada; and the Most Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori, presiding bishop and primate, The Episcopal Church.
In his introduction to the devotions, the Rev. Donald J. McCoid, director for ELCA ecumenical and inter-religious relations, said the church leaders have met over the past five years “to share with one another, provide worship observances for the 10th Anniversary of Full Communion agreements, to advocate for creation and the environment and to call members to prayer for situations of war and turmoil. At their most recent meeting, the leaders agreed to provide Advent devotions for the four churches.”

In her devotion for the first week of Advent, Eaton writes, “Advent is an odd season. It isn’t culturally accessible. It doesn’t lend itself to retail. There are no made-for-TV movies telling heartwarming stories about the great and terrible day of the Lord. It is an unsettled season that holds in tension the now and the not yet, longing and hope, judgment and redemption.”

The Advent devotions are available at http://download.elca.org/ELCA%20Resource%20Repository/Advent_Devotions.pdf.

ELCA Conference of Bishops Statement on Immigration 11 20 14

ELCA Bishops’ Immigration Statement 11-20-14  pdf

As people of faith and leaders of the church, we support public policy that protects children, reunites families, and cares for the most vulnerable, regardless of their place of birth.

 The treatment of immigrants is a core religious value. To welcome the stranger is to welcome a child of God. In the New Testament, Jesus tells us to welcome the stranger, for “just as you did it to one of the least of these… you did it to me.’” (Matthew 25:40)

Each day in our congregations and in our service to the community, we see the consequences of this broken immigration system: separated families, children returning home to find their parents have been deported, and the exploitation of undocumented workers.

By removing the threat of deportation for many people, we are showing compassion for people who have been here for years, working hard to provide for their families, obeying the law, and contributing to the fabric of our community.

While today’s action addresses a pressing need, it does not provide a path to citizenship, establish policies that prioritize family unity, or create more efficient channels for entry of new migrant workers. Our hope is that congress will address these and related issues, including the practice of family detention, which undermines our values as a people of faith and a nation of welcome.

The Scriptures consistently show a significant concern for immigrants:

When a foreigner resides among you in your land, do not mistreat them. The foreigner residing among you must be treated as your native-born. Love them as yourself, for you were foreigners in Egypt. I am the Lord your God. (Leviticus 19:33-34)

The positive role of immigrants in our history, economy and our community is unmistakable. We support this compassionate first step toward reforming an immigration system that is flawed and requires many of our neighbors to live in the shadows in fear.

Conference of Bishops
Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
November 20, 2014

Bishop Jon Anderson

SW MN Synod Boundaries Seminar Resources

Here is our synod’s Misconduct Ministry Policy.


ELCA “Vision and Expectations” and “Definition and Guidelines” documents are under the Governance and Policy Tab on the Office of Secretary web page.


Here is a link for reporting abuse and additional resources for preventing sexual abuse and misconduct on the ELCA’s web page.


We encourage congregations to find paths of preventing abuse in their congregations as well.  The resources below are found at.



YAGM Kelly Bergman Serving in UK – Remembrance Day – Their Version of Veteran’s Day

Here is another Young Adult in Global Mission from SW MN.   She has two “congregational homes” – South Santiago Lutheran Church-Clear Lake, MN and Winona State Lutheran Campus Center.

Here is the link to her blog and a few pictures from her recent article about how the United Kingdom remembers the end of WW1.   Subtle and interesting differences.



Appreciative Inquiry: A tool for purposeful and powerful change!


It would be hard to overemphasize how much we have come to appreciate S.O.A.R. (Strengths, Opportunities, Aspirations, Results) in bringing about “change” in the settings we serve.  In order for this “process” to be most useful another tools is utilized: Appreciative Inquiry.

The link above takes you to a short, informative and powerful narrated powerpoint that gives the essential ideas of Appreciative Inquiry.

As a person who tries to use this method I greatly appreciated the full content but above all Assumption #4, ie, that the presence of a person in the room asking questions is going to shape the outcome of a meeting.  There is much to be learned from “agitating” (a word used in Community organizing to describe the “asking” of questions that help a person or group discover their ‘self interest’ or passion(s) or from “coaching”–defined as here, “the art of asking powerful questions to help the client or organization discover a “goal” or, more importantly, “What” is beneath that goal.  This informative narration will help see how that works in bringing about purposeful and powerful change as God’s Spirit works in and through us.

St. Cloud Food Packing – We Are Thankful – Liberia Bound

CaptureAttached is information about a local effort that will make a difference in providing food for people in Liberia who are battling Ebola.  This effort is happening through partnerships with Global Health Ministries and the Lutheran Church in Liberia. The attached poster shows the details.  Here are the basics:

Kids Fighting Hunger “We Are Thankful” Food Packaging Event.  Goal: 285,000 meals.

Saturday, November 22, at the River’s Edge Convention Center in St. Cloud.

Sign-up at www.unitedwayhelps.org for one of 3 shifts: 9-11 a.m., 11 am-1 pm, or 1-3 pm.

People also can sign-up to help with registration and logistics by contacting Pam Beard, Executive Director for Kids Fighting Hunger, at Pamela.brd@gmail.com

Checks (Memo: Liberia) can be sent to help cover material costs and shipping: Kids Fighting Hunger, PO Box 7550, St. Cloud, MN 56302.

Ebola has been described as a slow-moving train-wreck.  One of our members from Liberia, Sampson Sarclay, started asking community leaders to help.  This food-packaging event, and others in the future, will make a difference!  Thanks for anything you can do to include this in print and encourage folks to participate.  God’s work. Our hands.

Pr. Dee Pederson