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Bishop Aitken's Onlines: October 11th 2018
Join a Respectful Conversation About Enbridge Line 3
The Northeastern Minnesota and Northwestern Minnesota Synods of the ELCA invite the community to attend an October 25 conversation designed not to change minds, but to soften hearts in a conversation about Enbridge Line 3.
We have forgotten how to disagree without fighting. But the church can be a source of peace, lighting the way to show our communities how to love each other even when we disagree.
Since 2012 over 4,000 Minnesotans have participated in Respectful Conversations designed not to change minds but soften hearts on important topics. Come participate in an empathy-building dialogue.
“This was a wonderful experience.”
Thursday, October 25, 6:00 – 8:30 p.m.
Hope Lutheran Church
305 – 10th St S, Walker, MN 56484
Please reserve your spot so we can plan for the complementary dinner by clicking on: http://bit.ly/RegisterRCP.
The Respectful Conversations Project is a program of the Minnesota Council of Churches designed to strengthen civic life. Congregations and community groups throughout the state host conversations that explore issues through the lens of deeply held convictions while maintaining, even enhancing, relationships among those who disagree.
Bishop Aitken's Onlines: October 8th 2018
This Friday, October 12th, at 2 pm, we will conduct the Rite of Christian Burial and celebrate the life and witness of the Rev. Martin Hancer at his home congregation, Mount Olivet Lutheran, Minneapolis.
Pastors are welcome to robe and process at the memorial service, the color of the day is green.
Marty was a good colleague and brother in Christ to many of us in the Northeastern Minnesota Synod. He lived the Christian faith with clarity and conviction. He served his entire pastoral ministry, except the last two years, here in our Synod at First Lutheran, Brainerd, and Trinity Lutheran, Princeton. He was well loved at both of those congregations as well as his last call, Emmanuel Lutheran, Hollywood, California.
Many of you knew him and loved him as I did. Only a couple months ago, Marty asked me to preach at his funeral. We go back 27 years. He was part of a group of us that made annual retreats together to the Lake for fellowship, spirituality and joyful camaraderie. He didn't want to give up hope that he might lick this cancer thing, but he was also a faithful and wise planner, careful to prepare for what might lay ahead for the sake of his beloved family, friends, and church. There are so many powerful stories about how Marty shared the good news of Jesus to so many of you. I invite you to share one of your stories through email this week. (email@example.com) That kind of sharing is what heals, especially at a time like this, when someone is taken from us who seems far too young to die.
None of us knows the future. We are given faith through the Holy Spirit to know Jesus, the Savior, who came to love us, show us that love, die for our sake, rise again for us and claim us as his partner in the work of reconciliation. In that way we can know something very important: God's unconditional love will never let us go, and our connection to Jesus will never end. At a time when it seems we are living in "post-truth" culture, this is the truth; God and God's scandalous love will win out.
Holy God, create in us again, the confidence that we are known and loved by you forever. Be with Laurie, Marty's spouse, and with Amanda and Megan, their grown children. Grant us the joy, even in the midst of sorrow that only you can give. Through Jesus Christ our brother and Lord. Amen.
+Bishop Thomas M. Aitken
Northeastern Minnesota Synod, ELCA
The Reverend Martin R. 'Marty' Hancer
Hancer, Reverend Martin (Marty) R.
Oct. 27, 1960- Oct. 3, 2018
Our dear Marty, age 57, passed away peacefully on Oct. 3, 2018 after a valiant battle with cancer at Providence St. Joseph Medical Center in Burbank, CA. The family's mantra during this time was "#makinglemonade" and "God's got this".
Marty was born Oct. 27, 1960 in Bloomington, MN. Marty graduated from Bloomington Lincoln High School, earned his BA from the University of Minnesota, and received his Masters of Divinity at Luther Seminary in St. Paul. Pastor Marty accepted calls at First Lutheran in Brainerd, MN, at Trinity Lutheran in Princeton, MN, and most recently at Emmanuel Lutheran in North Hollywood, CA. Pastor Marty shared the Gospel of Christ passionately and authentically in a manner that was encouraging and inspiring. His leadership and ministry style was warm, loving, inviting and honest. His easy going manner, smile and humor made him liked and loved by everyone he met. His legacy of sharing God's love and grace will live on in the hearts of those who knew him. He will be dearly missed by all!
He is preceded in death by his parents, James R. & Wilma M. (Gaulke) and brother Kevin. He is survived by his best friend and wife Laurie (Bergstrom), cherished daughters Amanda and Megan, brothers James, Burke (Paula), and sister Michelle (Dean) Williams, cousins, and a host of nieces, nephews, in-laws and friends.
A memorial service will be held on Friday, Oct. 12 at 2 p.m. at Mt. Olivet Lutheran Church, 5025 Knox Ave. So., Mpls. Memorials preferred to Emmanuel Lutheran Church, Cathedral of the Pines Camp, or to Marty's family for future distribution.
The Rev. Martin Hancer
The Rev. Martin Hancer died earlier this week from a quick spreading cancer. He was a faithful and beloved pastor in our Northeastern Minnesota Synod for many years serving First Lutheran in Brainerd, and then Trinity Lutheran in Princeton. He took a call two years ago to Emmanuel Lutheran in Hollywood, California. Marty was also a close friend of mine, along with of a group of colleagues that met twice a year together for faith and theology conversation, fun, and fellowship at the Lake. We've been tracking with him over his illness. Marty's supreme gift to the church and world was his faithful focus on Jesus and the gospel. We lift his family up to you; his wife Laurie, his daughters Amanda and Megan, all of them very active in our life together over the past 27 years. Funeral details are still pending. We will post a full obituary and funeral details as they become finalized.
Rest Eternal grant him O Lord, and let perpetual light shine on him.
+Bishop Thomas M. Aitken
Northeastern Minnesota Synod, ELCA
ELCA Conference of Bishops statement on East Jerusalem hospitals
In early September, members of the Conference of Bishops of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) were saddened and dismayed to hear reports that the U.S. government was planning to discontinue financial assistance to Augusta Victoria Hospital and five other East Jerusalem hospitals.
We appreciate and strongly affirm ELCA Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton’s Sept. 6 letter to Secretary of State Michael Pompeo, calling for the “release of $25 million of U.S. FY 2017 funding that will help to ensure that there is no interruption in the treatment of Palestinians at the East Jerusalem hospitals, especially the most vulnerable cancer and kidney patients referred to Augusta Victoria Hospital (AVH) from Gaza and the West Bank.”
She noted that, as an institution owned and operated by the Lutheran World Federation (LWF), “Augusta Victoria Hospital is able to operate because of the support of LWF member churches, like the ELCA, and long-standing partnerships with countries like the United States. In the last decade the U.S. government, through USAID, has invested nearly $10 million in AVH to bolster its capacity as a cancer center. In addition, the U.S. government has provided over many years tens of millions of dollars in aid to help cover the costs of the cancer patients and others referred to AVH and the other East Jerusalem hospitals.”
Eaton stressed the urgency of U.S. government action, saying: “The delay in the disbursement of the 2017 funding for the East Jerusalem hospitals is contributing to an acute and severe cash-flow crisis for AVH and the other hospitals,” and that immediate release of the funds is necessary “so that AVH can make payments to pharmaceutical suppliers of cancer medications, pay staff and avoid any interruption in the treatment of patients.”
In the past several weeks, neither the LWF nor the ELCA have received any official announcement about the status of this funding and, therefore, we appeal to President Donald Trump to instruct the U.S. Department of State to release this vital funding so these patients will receive the treatment and care they need.
About the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America:
The ELCA is one of the largest Christian denominations in the United States, with more than 3.5 million members in more than 9,300 worshiping communities across the 50 states and in the Caribbean region. Known as the church of "God's work. Our hands," the ELCA emphasizes the saving grace of God through faith in Jesus Christ, unity among Christians and service in the world. The ELCA's roots are in the writings of the German church reformer Martin Luther.
For information contact:
Candice Hill Buchbinder
From the ELCA; Four Ways to Use "Stories of Faith in Action"
2018-2019 Young Adults in Global Mission
Bishop Aitken always has an abundance of good information to be shared. Now, instead of finding it at the bottom of the home page, he has an entire page dedicated to sharing these resources. it will be found under the home drop down list or by clicking this link.
One of Bishop Aitken's greatest joys as a Bishop, is the Bishop Visitations to Confirmation Students and parents in our Synod. He takes the Teaching Office of Bishop both seriously and joyfully and loves to be part of youth faith formation in this way and has been able to personally connect with so many across our Synod. If you would like, you may supply the names of those being Confirmed to the Synod Office and he will send a pastoral letter to each one, reminding them that they are joined to Christ forever, and encouraging them in their continued journey into the gift of faith.
You may send names and addresses to firstname.lastname@example.org
Bishop's Online Reflections for Sept 27, 2018
When you look at the big picture, we are all in it together. Last night, friends and guests of Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota (LSS) celebrated neighbors helping neighbors by giving a breathtaking total of $1,028,175 – and we could not have done it without you!
On behalf of the tens of thousands of individuals and families impacted by LSS every day of the year, thank you for taking part in our 2018 Celebration for Changing Lives. Your generosity really does make it possible for all Minnesotans to access the support they need to live full and abundant lives, and we are truly grateful.
We are particularly grateful to the exceptionally generous matching donors who inspired guests to give more generously; to our Premier Gala Sponsor, Thrivent; to all who sponsored tables and invited their friends and neighbors to attend; to our volunteers; and of course, to everyone, both far and near, who supported our work by giving.
Once again, from all of us, thank you for joining our Celebration.
With heartfelt gratitude,
Vice President and Chief Development Officer
Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota
Bishop's Online Reflections Sept 3 2018
Our Labor in the Lord
Bishops have the unique honor and responsibility to ordain pastors in this church. Summer has been the usual time for this Rite to take place as graduations from Seminary generally happen in spring and candidates are ready for a “call” to a congregation. These are powerful gospel moments for this bishop. Ordained in our synod this summer were: Rebecca Hinz serving Bethlehem Lutheran rural Aitkin, Sarah Fike serving First Lutheran in Hibbing, and Erin Coutts serving First Lutheran in International Falls and Bethany Lutheran in Loman. These three servants of God took vows of faithfulness and leadership in our church, synod, and congregations. Each of those solemn and joyful occasions of ordination centered on the ancient charges, vows, gestures and blessings that remind us that setting aside those who have proved qualified and ready to serve in this office are vital to our life together.
The work of pastors is first and foremost to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ centered on God’s love. It includes announcing God’s forgiveness, teaching theology and a Lutheran understanding of Scripture, Presiding at the Holy Sacraments of baptism and Holy Communion, where the mystery and power of the Spirit and Christ’s presence strengthen faith in us. Pastors also listen to the joys and pains of their flock and lead in missional planning. Their labor is one of servant leadership; it is gentle and strong, spoken and modeled, done with humility and confidence both.
I am proud of our newly ordained: Proud of their education, their unique gifts, their faithful work to prepare themselves and their acceptance of calls to congregations to do the good work of a pastor. When they were installed in their respective congregations, congregational members where asked if they would regard these new pastors as servants of Christ, pray for them, honor their work, and live in the peace and unity in Christ that pastors regularly preach and teach.
Their response? “We will and we ask God to help us.”
Our world needs to hear and see from each one of us in the church, the Christ-way of living, the way of life that loves others, includes all people, works for peace, sees the good in others, stands up boldly against evil (and not merely personal evil, but corporate evil) and sees Christ in others, especially those who are sick, in jail, hungry and homeless. This kind of life is the “way of the cross” which seeks not to lord power over others, but empowers others to a life of good deeds that will bless the whole world. It is our labor, our good labor in the Lord as Scripture says.
As we begin our fall programming in each congregation, may we think on these things in our congregational life together and bless our communities
+Bishop Thomas M. Aitken
STATEMENT IN SOLIDARITY WITH OUR CHILDREN AND YOUTH
March 5, 2018
As part of our work together , the bishops of the ELCA , this past week at the Conference of Bishops, discussed our precious young people, and the relentless violence that happens to them in this country, and the peaceful Kingdom God has called us to create in our personal and corporate lives together. Please read our Statement and share it widely, for we are called to be light to the world.
-Bishop Thomas Aitken, Northeastern Minnesota Synod, ELCA
CLICK HERE FOR FULL STATEMENT
My Neighbor is Not for Sale
We are pleased to present our sixth congregational discussion guide, “My Neighbor is Not for Sale.”Joining our previous studies – “My Neighbor is Muslim”, “My Neighbor is on Medicaid”, etc. – “My Neighbor is Not for Sale” brings congregations the facts, figures, and stories of the insidious world of sex trafficking of children and youth in our country. It also represents our first collaboration with Cherish All Children, a 10-year-old Lutheran social ministry, which has recently become a service of LSS of Minnesota.
It has been a shock to so many of us to learn that, what we used to call prostitution, has been quietly and quite creepily replaced by an Internet-driven industry of luring kids into phony relationships, controlling them, and selling them in the sex trade right under our noses in communities everywhere.
The images we grew up with of adult women on the corners of the “red light district” soliciting men has been replaced with an invisible web of adults preying on children and youth. Our new awareness has also made us question whether those women in the “red light district” ever really had many choices in life themselves.
Over the past couple of years, the State of Minnesota has contracted with LSS and others to offer “Safe Harbor” services in several communities that reach out to youth trapped in trafficking, help them escape the life, and support them in getting back into strong and healthy lives, utilizing our years of experience working with homeless youth.
Our new affiliation with Cherish All Children adds a rich dimension of congregational outreach and education and a focus on helping our children and youth protect themselves from trafficking by teaching them to beware of the signals that they are being lured into the danger zone.
I wish you blessings on your journey of awareness and enlightenment.
Jodi Harpstead, CEO
Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota
MY NEIGHBOR IS NOT FOR SALE download pdf
+Bishop’s Visitation to Confirmation Students
Bishop’s Visitation to Confirmation Students and their parents
Bishop Aitken invites you to request him for a Bishop’s Visitation to your Confirmation Class. What works best for his schedule is to schedule so these visitations are to clusters of congregations. He encourages parents to come that night as well so he can meet them and include them in the teaching time. He will teach the gospel, talk about Christian Vocation, the role of the Christian in our world, our call in Christ and end with Communion and Commissioning for service with Anointing oil from Palestine.
Bible and Brew Study Retreats
Believing and Having Faith
Bishop Aitken is open to leading a Bible and Faith Study for men’s, women’s or mixed men and women’s Retreats around the theme Belief and Faith. He uses the Gospels as well as other Biblical texts around the meanings of trust, fidelity, faith and believing. You could arrange with one of our Camps (where he has done these already) or at a location of your choosing. He presents a Biblical understanding of what faith and belief really are, and in particular, as a Lutheran Christian.
You may contact the synod office to make arrangements with him.
Minnesota Council of Churches Response to Executive Order on Refugees ..click here
"Evangelicals join Letter denouncing President Trumps order on Refugees" click HERE
ELCA on Gender Identity Discrimination
Star Tribune feature: Crosslake Lutheran!
Click here to read the article!
Just what are Your Congregation's Intentions?
Lutheran Disaster Relief:
How you can help! click HERE
East Jerusalem Hospital Advocacy Update
The Augusta Victoria Hospital in East Jerusalem has faced periodic financial challenges due to lack of payments from the Palestinian Authority (PA) for the treatment of patients referred to the hospital by the Palestinian Ministry of Health. To learn more about the background of the issues facing this Lutheran World Federation (LWF) run hospital see this Peace Not Walls blog.Earlier this year, the situation reached a critical level when the hospital had to turn patients away because it was running out of vital medication to treat those who were critically ill. While the PA at that time made promises to resolve the situation, in effect it has failed to do so. For further details see the latest LWF Advocacy Update.
Having been alerted to this crisis situation, on October 13 ELCA Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton wrote a letter to the PLO Ambassador in Washington, Dr. Husam Zomlot, appealing to him to bring the situation “to an immediate, positive conclusion.” You can read her letter here.
Contact your elected officials today at the ELCA Action Center, and ask them to convey these concerns to Ambassador Zomlot as well.
Ever wonder where your gifts to the church go?