Today's Top Stories:
Pastor Estrem will be missed greatly among us. He was actually on the Roster of Eastern North Dakota Synod, but served in many ways, including as a mentor to other pastors at my request while he and Marilyn lived here. His gospel-centered theology and warmth with people were such a gift to us.
Rest Eternal, grant him , O Lord: and let light perpetual shine upon him.
John Carlisle Estrem was born the oldest child of Charles and Elizabeth Viste Estrem on Feb. 13, 1937. He was born in Waukon, Iowa delivered by the same doctor who had delivered his father and would later deliver his son, LeAllan. As a child, John loved roaming the wooded areas on the Estrem farm usually accompanied by the family dog, Ivan. His mother often said that she never worried about John as long as Ivan was with him. He began his education at the one room country school Frankville #7 which sat on land donated by the Bakke and Estrem families. As a boy he was an active 4-H member showing cattle and sheep. He loved the farm life and was his father’s close helper. John was also active in Luther League at Washington Prairie Lutheran Church. After graduating from 8th grade, he attended Decorah High School from which he graduated in 1955. Surprisingly, John was a very quiet teenager whose only extra-curricular activity in high school was going out for wrestling his junior and senior years. John married his high school sweetheart, Marilyn Johnston, on August 24, 1958. They were blessed with four children. After graduating from Luther College in 1959, John took education classes at Mankato State and then taught high school English at St. Francis, MN, for four years. John then felt a call to ministry and attended Luther Seminary, St. Paul, being ordained in 1967. John’s first parish was as a co-pastor at St. John’s Lutheran in Jamestown, ND. After four years, he accepted a call to the four churches in the Sheyenne Lutheran Parish. He also served on local, regional, and district boards and committees. Marilyn was diagnosed with MS in 1978, which progressed rapidly, requiring total care by 1985, when John accepted a call to Zoar-St. Ansgar Parish in LaMoure, ND, where he served for 22 years. During this time he developed many creative confirmation programs and took many classes on retreats to Reservations, backpacking in the Rocky Mountains, canoeing in the Quetico and Boundary Waters, and sailing in the Apostle Islands National Park on a 37-foot sailboat he owned in partnership with others. In 2008, John retired from parish ministry and he and Marilyn built an accessible home in Mahtowa, MN adjacent to the Munger Trail. He did supply preaching and helped out at several area churches. He was also active in the Lions clubs of LaMoure and Carlton, and Carlton County Restorative Justice. John found great joy in serving others whether through his pastoral duties or his community involvement, making friends wherever he lived. John enjoyed gardening, baking, jogging, and biking, including riding the Habitat for Humanity 500 mile bike ride several times. John and Marilyn traveled extensively, attended plays and concerts, took classes at the Fond du Lac Tribal College in Cloquet and enjoyed other local activities. They cherished their life together, including the last precious moments of his life here on earth. He is survived by his wife of 58 years, Marilyn; children LeAllan (Beth) Estrem; Karla (Mitch) Estrem Booth; Jonis (Mary) Estrem; daughter-in-law Karla Estrem; grandchildren, Julie Estrem, Eric and Angela Kraft, and Ashton Booth; sister, Lilah Estrem Aas; sisters-in-law Doris Brooks and Lois Estrem; nieces, nephews, and cousins. He was preceded in death by his parents, Charles and Elizabeth Estrem; parents-in-law Stanley and Gladys Johnston; son Ethan; brother Paul; brothers-in-law James Brooks and Gordon Aas; and nephew Peter Estrem. In lieu of flowers, memorials are suggested to Salem’s Mahtowa Hall or Bethesda Lutheran Church Youth and Family Ministry in Carlton. Visitation will be 5:00-7:00 p.m. Thursday, December 8, 2016 at the Mahtowa Community Center. The visitation will resume on Friday, December 9, 2016 from 10:00 a.m. until the 11:00 a.m. memorial service also at the Mahtowa Community Center. A luncheon and time of fellowship will follow. See the family online guest book at www.nelsonfuneralcare.net. John will be interred in the North Washington Prairie cemetery of Decorah, Iowa at a later date. John lived life to the fullest and never stopped learning.
Celebrate the 500th Year of the Reformation!
A one-day charter bus trip is being offered on Friday, Jan. 6th to kick-off the 500th year of the Reformation. The day will include a visit to the Minneapolis Institute of Art with a private tour of the exhibit "Martin Luther: Art and the Reformation." A stop at Central Lutheran Church in downtown Minneapolis will be next with a private organ/choir concert. The day will finish up with the musical "Rise Up O Men" at the Plymouth Theater by the Church Basement Ladies. The cost will be around $125 per person which includes the bus, tickets to all of the events, lunch at the MIA and a buffet dinner. The bus will travel Hwy. 53 to Cloquet cut-off (Hwy. 33) and then on to I-35 so if you happen to live along the way, a pick-up site can be pre-arranged. There are still about a dozen seats remaining. Contact Bailey Conger at 218-666-2377 to reserve your spot.
Please support PV for Phebe :
Great News! we now have a donate button on our PV for Phebe page on our website! It is a secure link to paypal where you can contribute a one time donation or a monthly donation. all support is greatly appreciated!
here is the link: PV for Phebe
SOLAR POWER FOR PHEBE $100 CHRISTMAS CHALLENGE
Phebe Hospital - is a hospital in Bong County, Liberia, West Africa that 450,000 Liberians rely on for life saving medical care.
Generating needed power at Phebe Hospital is a life-or-death scenario. At this time Phebe Hospital is powered solely by diesel generators. The hospital faces the very real challenge of daily blackouts due to generator failure and fuel disruption.
There is one natural solution to Phebe’s problem, SOLAR.
Churchwide ELCA and Churchwide Women of the ELCA have both endorsed the Phebe Hospital Mission.
Congregations in the ELCA are challenged to give $100 this Christmas from their congregation to match a National Geographic Challenge Grant and provide hope for Phebe’s future through the sun.
Through the cross of Christ God calls us to serve the needs of others. Our Lutheran heritage includes support for Phebe Hospital in Liberia.
TIME IS LIMITED!!!!!
PLEASE ACCEPT THE CHALLENGE TODAY!
All challenges will be accepted electronically by Visa, Mastercard or Discover Credit Card. If your congregation does not have a congregational credit card, a congregational member’s credit card may be used. Go to RREAL’s homepage, www.rreal.org and click the “Phebe100DONATE” button AT THE BOTTOM RIGHT OF THE PAGE or go to https://my.rreal.org/Phebe100 to accept the $100 Christmas Challenge. This $100 challenge for Solar Power for Phebe is a special fundraiser that is in addition to other fundraising for Solar Power for Phebe.
Thank you for stepping up to the monetary challenge to meet the needs of God’s people in another land. Together, as the ELCA Body of Christ, we can do great things when we boldly participate in what God is up to in the world!
A Warm Welcome to Pastor Amy Odgren !
The Rev. Amy Odgren has accepted the call as Director for Evangelical Mission and Assistant to the Bishop of the Northeastern Minnesota Synod. Most recently, she has served as Senior Pastor of Spirit Lutheran, a consolidated congregation of the former First and Our Savior’s Lutheran Churches in Eau Claire, WI. From 2007–2013, Pastor Odgren served as an Assistant to the Bishop and Director for Evangelical Mission in the Northwest Synod of Wisconsin, where she helped guide several congregations in strengthening their missional framework, as well as giving leadership to strategic planning processes. Pastor Odgren encourages congregations in thinking more deeply about God’s transformational power within existing ministries and raising awareness to what God might be calling them to become in the future. This work has included the formation of ministry partnerships, consolidations, and collaborative structures, as well as the development of new starts and renewing ministries. In addition, she has forged ecumenical relationships, sometimes posing new opportunities for effective ministry. Her synodical work also included a focus on Evangelism, Outreach, Generosity and Candidacy. Before being called to the synod staff in Northwest Wisconsin, Pastor Odgren served over four years as the Associate Pastor of First Lutheran Church in Eau Claire. Her first call in ministry was as a Mission Developer, cultivating and bringing together a new community of faith in the La Crosse Area Synod. As a parish pastor, she has given particular attention to cross-generational ministry and faith development. She believes that all the baptized are Ministers of the Gospel - and that practicing discipleship is a life long journey strengthened by participating in a community of faith.
Pastor Odgren is a native of Iowa and a graduate of Gustavus Adolphus College and Wartburg Theological Seminary. She entered ordained ministry after a 16 year career of administration in the field of supports and services for people with disabilities in the state of Massachusetts. She and her husband Steve are the parents of three grown children. They are the proud grandparents of one amazing grandson – and they share their living quarters with two very large, but loving Newfoundlands. Pastor Odgren is thrilled to be in ministry in this neck of the woods of God’s kingdom on earth, as she has vacationed her entire life on family owned property on the south shore of Leech Lake – the place her 90 year old parents now live year round. Trusting in the Holy Spirit, she is open to this call and the will of our Lord! She begins her work here with us in the Northeastern Mn synod on Nov. 15th and I so look forward to working with her on our growing number of congregations undergoing intentional Mission Plans during the 500th Anniversary year of the Reformation!!
Welcome Pastor Odgren!
+Bishop Thomas M. Aitken
Bishop Aitken's Reflections for Oct 21, 2016
Last week, Deacon Brenda Tibbetts from our synod staff and I were at the annual Region 3 Bishops and Assistants Working Retreat. (Region 3 means all 9 synods in the Dakotas and Minnesota.) I'm thankful for this group of leaders, and I want to lift up how thankful I am for Brenda Tibbetts for her team-spirit, her insights, her love of this church and its Lord, and her creativity about the work we do as congregations and Rostered Leaders.
This year we were led by two energetic young men who worked to inspire us to practice the art of "improvisation" as Lutheran leaders. The heart of this work is active listening. We practiced this through creative exercises that really worked to get us away from only forming our own response when someone is talking, and really hear what the other one is saying. It was good work and not necessarily easy. Active listening is something that does not come naturally to most people - and yet - is so vital to our life as ambassadors of Christ. This is also a critical tool we can use as we all work on our congregational mission plans that I trust you are engaged in your congregation, using our synod document "The Mission We Share"
( Click here ) If you haven't started this process, please do so. I have encouraged every congregation of our synod to have begun or are at least knee-deep into the process by October 31, 2017 -coinciding with the 500th Anniversary of the Reformation. Already over 40 congregations are in mid process right now. I'm thankful to Pr. John Dietz who created our step by step document, and thankful for our new Northeastern MN Synod Director of Mission, Pr. Amy Odgren who takes up this work among us now and is eager to work with you! I'm thankful that God has called us all into God's missional purpose which are above all others.
I'm thankful for this country, even as I am deeply frustrated with where we sometimes seem to be going. In today's political climate here in this country, we would all do well to practice the art of listening to the "other." We are far from perfect, but we are a country, I believe with the capacity to honor and respect the People who were here before White people came, for those who came here seeking refuge like my great- grandparents and yours, those seeking refuge from violence, poverty, war, and famine and religious oppression. I love the best of what our country has done that is good, right and salutary for every neighbor among us, and I love our country enough to be constructively critical of where we have fallen far short of this.
Most of all, I am thankful for Jesus, our brother and Lord, the one who trumps everything else, who came to live among us to show us God's dream for all humanity - no exceptions. And more, he has claimed you as his own, to live and serve him in that Kingdom, which we pray will come to earth, even as he prayed for it in the prayer he taught us all to pray.
Prayer: I acknowledge, Lord, and I give thanks that you have created your image in me so that I may remember you, think of you, love you. But this image is so obliterated and worn away by wickedness, it is so obscured by the smoke of sins; that it cannot do what it was created to do, unless you renew and reform it. Amen
Join leaders from across this church for the
Rostered Ministers Gathering – the first of its kind.
This event will be an opportunity for all rostered ministers from across this church to assemble for worship, education and fellowship under the theme “On the Way…Together.”
Two pre-events will allow time for federal chaplains and young rostered ministers (20s and 30s) to gather and network.
Registration will open on March 1, 2017.
Please visit ELCA.org/RMG in the coming months
for details, speakers and more.
Questions? Contact us at 2017MinistersGathering@elca.org.
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.
+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.
Post -Election Pastoral Letter
To the Northeastern Minnesota Synod, ELCA
+Bishop Thomas M. Aitken
(You are given permission to use this letter at worship or other times in your congregation)
As people who have been granted the gift of faith through our Lord Jesus Christ, we have been and are being transformed by grace each day. We, who are baptized into Christ’s death and resurrection, are called to lift high the cross and the light of God’s unconditional love and to live as witnesses to the healing power of God in the world; For all people, no exceptions. We know this is so needed in our country right now. And it’s about more than just our country. In the global village we live in today, what happens in one country, affects the rest of the world, just as we have discovered when it comes to the planet itself. God has given us a beautiful world and empowers us to be responsible stewards for it, granting us space to make decisions and take actions about how we will live together. Will our response be one of continued business as usual, complete with long standing polarities, backbiting and bitterness, or will we, by God’s grace, make it a time for careful personal scrutiny about our personal lives and how we can be part of a new day, for all people?
Can we live into repentance, the joy of the gospel, and new life? (Repentance, remember means going beyond the mind set you currently have.)
A prayer to help us take our own “inventory”
“God, our refuge and strength, you have bound us together in a common life. In all our conflict, help us to confront one another without hatred or bitterness, to listen for your voice amid competing claims, and to work together with mutual forbearance and respect; through Jesus Christ our Lord.” -Evangelical Lutheran Worship, Pastoral Care book, p. 386
It starts with this truth: God loves you and your neighbor, everywhere. We belong to God and each other. God will not be stingy in granting us the gifts we need to live out God’s purpose in the days, weeks and months ahead as beloved children of God and servants of one another. We can take this opportunity, this “slice of life” post-election reality here in this country, to live out the loving and redemptive life of Jesus, who lives within us. After all, he is Lord of Lords, the Prince of Peace, and our final authority. God wants to use you in the ministry of reconciliation, as St. Paul reminds us: “All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation”
(-2 Corinthians 5:18)
You belong. You are cherished.
Be used, to the Glory of God and the good of your neighbor.
+Bishop Thomas M. Aitken
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.
2017 Compensation & Benefit Guidelines
See under home drop down list-resources.
Ever wonder where your gifts to the church go?