Members of the Western North Dakota Synod gathered together in Minot June 1-3. In commemoration of the 500th Anniversary of the Lutheran Reformation, the Assembly focused on ways God continues to work across Christ’s Church which is always reforming.
In Faith, For Faith: Reclaiming the Heart of Salvation
Dr. Sam Giere of Wartburg Theological Seminary told those gathered that the Reformation was not about grace but about faith, which can be equated with the word “Trust”. So the question becomes: What or whom do we put our trust in? For heirs of the Reformation, we are called to place our trust in God alone – who is the author and giver of life. There is no longer a reason to fear for we are freed to serve.
Mission Gala Dinner and Silent Auction
Once again the Mission Gala Auction and Silent Auction were great fun. We gathered at Christ Lutheran Church – appetizers provided by Bethany Lutheran and an incredible meal prepared by members of Christ Lutheran. Bread of Life Lutheran and First Lutheran provided dessert. Rostered leaders served. The conversation was lively, and the atmosphere was festive as over $13,071.50 was raised for the Mission Fund which provides seed money for mission across our territory. Thanks be to God.
Always Reforming: One Lord. One Faith. One Baptism
Synod Assembly officially started with opening worship on Friday morning with Bishop Mark Narum preaching. Bishop Narum reminded us “it’s all about where we start” and explained the importance of starting at the foot of the cross. When we are unified at the foot of the cross, it’s impossible not to be one in Christ.
Assembly Bible Engagement
Dr. Samuel Giere, throughout the assembly, used the image of the human cardiovascular system reminding all in attendance that Christ is dwelling in our hearts through faith. He used the image of a beating human heart to remind us that Christ is there with us in every heartbeat. Focusing on Ephesians 3:14-19 Dr. Giere encouraged us to engage in faith that is rooted in scripture and is the foundation our lives are built on. Through the use of the hymn, “Be Thou My Vision” Dr. Giere invited participants to see others as the family of God. Small groups discussed faith as vision; a faith that is intimate, extends beyond our comprehension, and is the Fullness of God.
ELCA Churchwide Report
Victoria Flood, Director of Mission Support for the ELCA shared with us the message that “All together we are stronger.” Focusing on relationships with God, with our life of faith, and with each other she reminded us that it is important to help others connect the dots so that they can see the big picture. Victoria reminded us that although we may not always see the picture, the dots are there. There is much happening in the church that is cause for celebration and dance.
Raising Up Leaders from Our Synod
On Friday morning Bishop Mark Narum provided an aerial view of the leadership landscape of our synod and the larger church, helping the Assembly understand the number of current congregational vacancies and the anticipation of fewer seminary graduates and increased retirements over the next 5-7 years across the church. The need for creative leadership in the church can’t be understated. However, the need is also giving birth to creative leadership initiatives around the church.
Friday afternoon Deacon Beth Anderson invited the Assembly to consider their own call to ministry as baptized Christians called to serve in church and world, and challenged those present to names the gifts for ministry they see in others and invite them into ministry, whether that be in the local congregation or as a pastor or deacon. She shared about new ways of delivering theological education that makes it possible for those who are unable to relocate to seminary to begin formation for rostered ministry. During the afternoon workshops, members of the synod candidacy committee were available for conversation with those who wanted to learn more about seminary education and rostered ministry in the ELCA.
Saturday featured a panel discussion on “How I Discerned A Call to Ministry.” Janie Hague of Bismarck spoke of discerning a call to Word & Service ministry, Mike Olson of McGregor spoke of discerning a call to Word and Sacrament ministry, and Liz Larson of Mandan shared her story of wrestling with the call to rostered ministry, but in the process was affirmed that her calling was in a different direction – as a parent educator and as an active lay leader in her congregation.
On May 30, a team of 7 members of the synod embarked on a #HungerRide to raise awareness and funds for World Hunger. Together they biked 140 miles in 3 days, spreading the word about this important ministry of our church. Through donations received at each of their stops, through online sponsorships and offerings shared by participants at the synod assembly, this group raised $1817 for ELCA World Hunger and Disaster Response.
Friday Worship: $4655 the Western ND Synod Lutheran Youth Organization
#Hunger Ride: $1,817 for ELCA World Hunger & Disaster Appeal
Friday Banquet: $4085 for our synod’s Four Bible Camps
Sweet Deal for C.A.R.: over $28,419
Mission Gala Silent Auction & Live Auction to benefit WND Synod Mission Fund: $13,071.50
Young Adults in Global Mission (YAGM): $2758 (special offering)
Summary of the Work of the Synod in Plenary
Elected to Serve on WND Synod Council:
Vice Pres. Bruce Carlson, Velva; Secretary Barb Roise, Ross; Council Members: East Missouri David Hagel; Heart River Dan Pillar; Lonetree Rev. Tim Mantei; Turtle Mountain Rev. Martha HarriSon; Western Prairie Rev. Janet Gwin; At Large Adult Larry Kleingartner, Bismarck; At Large Adult Cindy Smith, Minot; At Large Youth Naomi Dykeman Dickinson.
Elected to Serve on Board of Lutheran Social Services of ND
Rev. Desiree’ Uhrich of Christ Lutheran, Minot and Kris Fehr of St. John Evangelical Lutheran Church, Dickinson
Action: All amendments to the Synod Constitution were passed with the exception of the proposed amendment to S8.51.01 which would have allowed Synod Assembly to elect the bishop to serve more than two consecutive terms. The current term limits of two consecutive terms of six-years each will remain in effect.Western ND Synod Constitution as approved June 3, 2017 (with bylaws)
RESOLUTIONS AND REPORTS:
Final Resolutions with Amendments incorporated, if amended:
- 2018 Fiscal Plan Resolution – PASSED
- 2018 Salary Guidelines for Rostered Leaders Resolution – PASSED
- Resolution Establishing a Synod Accompaniment Fund – PASSED
- Resolution Transferring Rosebud Lutheran Church to the SD Synod – PASSED
- Resolution Concerning Promoting a Political Candidate – PASSED
- Resolution Concerning Funding of Rostered Leaders Education – PASSED
- Resolution Concerning Walls and Bans – DEFEATED
- Resolution Regarding the Dakota Access Pipeline Protest – PASSED AS AMENDED
- Synod Council Greeting
- Report from the Bishop
- Badlands Ministries
- Camp of the Cross Ministries
- Candidacy Committee
- Community Connections
- ELCA Churchwide Report Supplement
- ELCA Fund for Leaders Report Western North Dakota
- ELCA Region 3
- ELCA Region 3 Archives
- ELCA Mission Investment Fund
- GIFTS (Growing in Faith to Serve)
- Heart River Bridges of Hope
- Luther Seminary
- Lutheran Social Services of North Dakota
- Synod Feeding Team
- Lutheran Campus Ministry - Minot State University
- Lutheran Youth Organization (WND LYO)
- Metigoshe Ministries
- Portico Benefits Services
- St. Olaf College
- Stewardship Report
- Synodical Women's Organization
- Upper Missouri Ministries
2018 Synod Assembly will be held June 1-2, 2018