Pr. Laura Aase – Sermon at Synod Fall Theological Conference “Formed to Serve”- Lessons for Oct 12

The Southwestern Minnesota Synod’s Fall Theological Conference has just concluded.  As we worship, the worship leaders have been asked to work on the texts of our coming Sundays. This helps our preachers and worship leaders prepare for the coming Sundays even as they gather in our retreat.  Our theme this year was “Formed to Serve: Diakonia.

Click below to enjoy Pr. Laura’s sermon.   She serves at River of Hope in Hutchinson.

Fall Theological Sermon

Fall Theological Conference 2015 Formed by our Heritage: Idolatry, Nostalgia or Apostolic Fuel? Sept. 27-29, 2015

Southwestern Minnesota Synod Fall Theological Conference 2015

Formed by our Heritage:  Idolatry, Nostalgia or Apostolic Fuel?

Okoboji Arrowwood  in Spirit Lake Iowa -

Our speakers will be:

Monday – Dr. Winston Persaud – Wartburg Seminary- Systematics – Monday

Tuesday – Dr. Kit Kleinhans – Wartburg College

Upcoming Bishop Election Southwestern Minnesota Synod – Constitutional Provisions

SYNOD CONSTITUTION June 2014- The whole constituion.  Below is the section on the election of a bishop.

†S9.01. The Synod Assembly shall elect such officers of this synod and such other persons as the constitution and bylaws may require, according to procedures set forth in the bylaws.
S9.01.01.A2000 The Synod Assembly shall elect voting members to Churchwide Assemblies of the ELCA according to the following procedures: (1) Five clergy voting members and ten clergy alternates shall be nominated by conference assemblies. For the 1999 Churchwide Assembly, these five conferences shall be the Glacial Ridge, Lac qui Parle, Minnesota Valley, Scenic Valley and Watonwan River Conferences. For succeeding Churchwide Assemblies the conferences will alternate representation for clergy and clergy alternates. (2) Ten lay voting members and twenty lay alternates shall be nominated by the conference assemblies. Of these positions, half shall be lay females and half shall be lay males. The five conferences that nominate clergy voting members and alternates shall also nominate lay female voting members and alternates. (3) Inasmuch as the synod vice president is an ex officio voting member of the Churchwide Assembly, cf.S8.21.01, the synod nominating committee shall nominate two lay alternates of the same gender as the synod vice president, chosen from among the members of the synod council. (4) The remaining allotment of lay voting members and lay alternates shall be nominated by the synod nominating committee on an at-large basis, using the representation principles of the ELCA, cf.S7.21.c. The nominating committee is encouraged to nominate confirmed youth age 21 or younger at the time of election for at least one of these at-large lay voting member and alternate positions. (5) The remaining allotment of clergy voting members and clergy alternates shall be nominated by the synod nominating committee on an at-large basis. (6) In its own work and in its communications with the conferences, the synod nominating committee shall assure that every voting member who is elected has a first alternate and a second alternate who is of the same lay/clergy status and/or gender.

†S9.02. In all elections by the Synod Assembly, other than for the bishop, a majority of the legal votes cast shall be necessary for election.

S9.03. There shall be a Nominating Committee consisting of one member from each conference, who shall be elected by the conferences in accord with S6.04 to serve terms of three years. Additional nominations may be made from the floor for all elections for which nominations are made by the Nominating Committee.

S.9.03.01. Except as otherwise provided in the constitution and bylaws of this Synod, the Nominating Committee shall normally present the names of at least two nominees for positions elected at any meeting of a Synod Assembly. An agency or institution of the church for which the Synod Assembly elects board members may be granted an exception to this provision, provided it has (a) requested such an exception in writing to the Nominating Committee and (b) documented this request by providing the Nominating Committee with a copy of pertinent meeting minutes or governing documents of the agency or institution.

S9.04. The bishop shall be elected by the Synod Assembly in accordance with the process specified in the bylaws and continuing resolutions.

S9.04.01. For purposes of the Bylaws under S9.04 of the Constitution, the term nominee shall be synonymous with candidate. The Synod Nominating Committee shall prepare a slate of nominees for synod bishop for consideration by the conference assemblies. When preparing a slate of nominees for synod bishop, the Synod Nominating Committee shall solicit recommendations for nominees from individuals and congregations throughout the Synod, which nominees may come from within or without the Synod. The Synod Nominating Committee shall prepare a nomination information form and request that it be completed by each individual recommended as a nominee for bishop. The completed information forms will be made available to each conference assembly voting member who will be voting on the nominees at least two weeks prior to the first conference assembly preceding the Synod Assembly at which the election of the bishop is to occur. Each conference assembly shall then nominate five (5) members of the ELCA clergy roster for the office of synod bishop. Prior to placement on the conference’s nominating ballot, each nominee must first be nominated by a voting member in that conference in order for the individual’s name to be placed on the conference ballot. The nominees on the conference nominating ballot may consist of nominees other than those named in the Synod Nominating Committee slate, and need not come from within a particular conference. The names of the nominees selected by the conference nominating ballots shall be forwarded to the Synod Nominating Committee.

S9.04.01.A2013 Each conference shall, on the first nominating ballot, allow voting members to vote for five (5) nominees. Any nominees who receive a majority of the votes cast on this ballot shall be considered nominees of the conference and their names will not reappear on subsequent ballots. On subsequent ballots, the number of nominees to be voted for on the ballot, if there is a sufficient number of nominees remaining on the ballots to be voted for, shall be equal to the number of remaining nominee positions. (For example, if two nominees achieve majority votes on the first ballot, voting members shall vote for three nominees on the second ballot.) This process shall continue until five nominees are chosen.

S9.04.01.A2013. 1. On subsequent ballots, the list of nominees shall be limited to nominees whose names appeared on the first ballot. On any ballot on which no nominee receives a majority, the nominee with the fewest votes is removed.
2. In balloting for bishop nominees, the following persons shall be eligible to vote: all rostered leaders of that conference of the Southwestern Minnesota Synod; and up to six lay persons from each congregation of the conference. Congregations are encouraged but not required to elect an equal number of male and female voting members.

S9.04.02. The Synod Nominating Committee shall formulate a slate of five (5) nominees by determining the persons most frequently nominated at the conference assemblies. In the event of a tie for the fifth place, all fifth place nominees shall be included among the slate of nominees. In the event of the withdrawal by a nominee thirty days prior to the opening of the Synod Assembly, leaving fewer than five nominees, the Synod Nominating Committee shall place the name of the next succeeding nominee(s) on the ballot, if any.

S9.04.03. The Synod Nominating Committee shall make arrangements for nominee forums and/or other opportunities in the synod for the purpose of acquainting members of the synod with the nominees and encouraging discussion of matters related to the election of the bishop. The Synod Nominating Committee shall cause the slate of nominees,along with their biographical information, to be published in the official publications of the synod and in the pre-assembly report for the Synod Assembly. The Synod Council shall arrange for the funding of such forums and for participation of nominees in the forums and Synod Assembly.

S9.04.04. At the Synod Assembly, there shall be no nominations from the floor for the office of bishop. Statements by the nominees may be permitted according to rules adopted by the Synod Assembly. Where five or more nominees are on the first ballot, three-fourths of the votes cast shall be necessary for election on the first ballot. If no election results, the nominee receiving the fewest votes shall be removed from the slate of nominees. On the second ballot, two-thirds of the votes cast shall be necessary to elect. If no election results, the nominee with the fewest votes shall be removed from the slate of nominees. On all remaining ballots, until election, a majority of votes cast shall elect. If no election results on a given ballot, the nominee with the fewest votes shall be removed from the slate of nominees. Where four nominees, and only four nominees are on the first ballot, two-thirds of the votes cast shall be necessary to elect on the first ballot, and a majority of votes cast to elect on each succeeding ballot. Where three nominees or fewer are on the first ballot, a majority of votes cast shall be necessary to elect on the first ballot. Regardless of the number of nominees on the initial ballot and each succeeding ballot, if no election results, the nominee receiving the fewest votes cast shall be removed from the slate of nominees prior to the next ballot.
S9.05. The Nominating Committee shall nominate at least two persons for vice-president; additional nominations may be made from the floor.

S9.06. The Nominating Committee shall nominate two persons for secretary; additional nominations may be made from the floor.

S9.07. The Synod Council shall nominate two persons for treasurer; additional nominations may be made from the floor.

S9.08. In all elections, except for the bishop, the names of the persons receiving the highest number of votes, but not elected by a majority of the votes cast on a preceding ballot, shall be entered on the next ballot to the number of two for each vacancy unfilled.

S9.09. The result of each ballot in every election shall be announced in detail to the assembly.

S9.11. The Synod Council shall elect or appoint representatives to the steering committee of its region.

S9.11.01. Members of the Region 3 Steering Committee shall be appointed according to the Region 3 Orders of Governance and the rotation for representation defined by the Steering Committee.

†S9.12. Background checks and screening shall be required and completed for persons nominated as synodical officers prior to their election, if possible, or as soon as practical after their election. The specific procedures and timing of background checks and screening shall be determined by the Synod Council.

S9.13. The Nominating Committee, in consultation with the Synod Youth Organization, shall nominate persons for election by the Synod Assembly to serve as youth member of the Synod Council.

S9.14. The Nominating Committee shall nominate persons for election by the Synod Assembly as members at-large of the Synod Council.

S9.15. The Nominating Committee shall nominate persons for election by the Synod Assembly to the boards of agencies and institutions of the church according to their respective constitutions.

Preventing and Responding to Abuse in Ministry-

On this page you will find recommended resources to help you protect others and the ministry through which you serve.

Sarah Hausken
Youth Ministry Coordinator
Southwestern Minnesota Synod
(507) 430-2273

Download printable documents
Click image to download and print
entire packet.


As we seek to protect children and vulnerable adults in the name of Christ, there are four steps we must do:

Please click on each step for more information.

1) Create guidelines or policies for Child Protection including:

  • appropriate boundaries between adults and youth
  • abuse prevention
  • clear procedure for high risk situations

2) Create a screening process for volunteers and staff

3) Provide training on how to prevent, identify and respond to/report abuse

4) Monitor and follow up on behavior

Recommended Background Check Companies
This document also provides education and training options.
All of these companies will advise you on which checks to run based your risk tolerance and the state(s) of residence of the people being screened. They will also walk you through ministering to people whose background checks reveal history which limits their service in your congregation or organization.



The SAFE HAVEN FORMS – Word Document
For the sake of the witness to the Gospel of Jesus Christ, we are intentional, open and clear about the integrity and standard of conduct to which each congregation, institution, organization or agency in ministry is called and to which its leaders are held accountable. This document is intended to provide guidelines for a “Safe Haven” for children and youth in congregational life.

For members in our congregations, becoming a Safe Haven for children, youth and their families affirms our Baptism into the priesthood of believers.

All agencies, institutions and organizations serving children and youth are encouraged to use these guidelines to develop policies for the prevention of child and youth abuse. It is intended and expected that local adaptations, changes, amplifications, improvements, expansions, or other types of revisions be made.


SW MN Synod Policy Regarding Sexual Misconduct – PDF Document
The Southwestern Minnesota Synod Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) is committed to preventing sexual misconduct within the Church and to responding with justice and compassion when such misconduct occurs. This Statement of Policy describes how the Synod intends to fulfill these commitments.


Upcoming Inaugurations of Gustavus Adolphus College and Luther Seminary Presidents

Presidential Inauguration Events Planned

Posted on September 18th, 2014 by

Bergman Inauguration LogoGustavus Adolphus College will inaugurate Rebecca M. Bergman as its 17th president at 2:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 3 in Christ Chapel. The public is invited to celebrate this event along with a reception in Lund Center that will follow the investiture ceremony at 4 p.m.

“The inauguration of President Bergman is centered in the celebration of all that constitutes the Gustavus community,” Gustavus Chaplain and Co-Chair of the Inauguration Committee Brian Konkol said. “Through an exciting and engaging variety of opportunities, we will rejoice in our diversity, reaffirm our unity, and collectively consider how to continue preparing students for fulfilling lives of leadership and service in society. This will truly be a joyful occasion as we welcome President Bergman and confirm our commitment to providing a liberal arts education of recognized excellence.”

Several events are planned before the inauguration ceremony that are intended to celebrate the Gustavus community and the beginning of Bergman’s tenure:

Wednesday, Oct. 1

Celebrate Community: The Future of the Liberal Arts; This symposium event will feature Gustavus students, employees, and alumni who will each present a short vignette or reading related to the “future of the liberal arts.” From the sciences to the fine arts to the humanities, these representatives of Gustavus will articulate how the future needs of society and the Earth will require leaders with an education rooted in the liberal arts—the bedrock of a Gustavus education. This event will take place at 7 p.m. in Alumni Hall and is free and open to the public.

Thursday, Oct. 2

Celebrate Community: Inaugural Concert; This event will showcase faculty, student, and alumni performers including the College’s new Director of Jazz Ensembles Dave Stamps, President Bergman’s son Matt ’07 and his wife Katherine Johns Bergman ’07, and dancer Phil Flickinger ’01. The event will take place at 8 p.m. in Björing Recital Hall and is free and open to the public.

Gustavus President Rebecca M. Bergman

Friday, Oct. 3

Celebrate Community: Inaugural Tree Dedication; A ceremony will take place to dedicate the President’s Oak Tree and First Gentleman’s Bench at 10:45 a.m. in the Linnaeus Arboretum. This event is free and open to the public.

Celebrate Community: Inauguration of President Rebecca M. Bergman; President Bergman will officially be inaugurated as the College’s 17th President at 2:30 p.m. in Christ Chapel. This event is free and open to the public and will also be live-streamed on the College’s website.

Celebrate Community: Inaugural Reception; The Gustavus community and the general public will celebrate President Bergman’s inauguration with snacks and refreshments at 4 p.m. in Lund Center.


Media Contact: Director of Media Relations and Internal Communication Matt Thomas



Save the Date!

October 12, 2014

3 p.m.

Shepherd of the Valley Lutheran Church, 12650 Johnny Cake Ridge Road, Apple Valley, Minn.

Preaching: The Rev. Elizabeth A. Eaton, ELCA Presiding Bishop

A reception will follow the service.

Get directions to Shepherd of the Valley.



The Rev. Dr. Robin Steinke came to Luther Seminary as president in June 2014. She was the first woman in the 145-year history of the seminary to be named to the position.

Prior to coming to Luther Seminary, Steinke was the dean of the seminary and professor of theological ethics and public life at Lutheran Theological Seminary at Gettysburg, where she served from 1999. She previously served as an Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) pastor; a training manager and financial planner at American Express Financial Advisors; and a middle school band director in Marietta, Ga. Steinke is a graduate of Augustana College in Sioux Falls, S.D. She holds a Master of Divinity and a Master of Sacred Theology from Trinity Lutheran Seminary in Columbus, Ohio. She received her Ph.D. from the University of Cambridge in England.

Steinke is known for her strategic leadership and passion for sharing the gospel. She is involved in a number of important church and academic initiatives. She is currently co-chairing the national ELCA Theological Education Advisory Council that is evaluating and exploring the future of theological education. She serves as the ELCA Representative to the Lutheran World Federation Council and chairs their Endowment Fund. She is a member of the ELCA Ecclesiology Task Force and serves on a number of other church and academic committees. She previously served a six-year term as a commissioner for the Association of Theological Schools’ Commission on Accrediting.