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Synod Assembly 2016

Held May 6 – 7, 2016
St. Andrew Lutheran Church, Eden Prairie

Synod Assembly Report

Bishop Svennungsen shared her pride in the many ministries of our congregations. She lifted up her gratitude for her staff at the Synod office and their ministries. Bishop Svennungsen then shared many highlights and stories of impact over the past year in new and on-going ministries including Ecofaith, World Hunger ($530K raised!), and others. Faith, public voice and racial justice were front and center in 2015-16. Our synod continued to discern what our voice is to be. Staffing updates mentioned in 2015 were shared. New starts Intertwine and Tapestry are continuing to grow in partners. New goals include a potential capital campaign, to focus on seminary scholarships for students from underrepresented populations; visiting each congregational council; and stewardship development. Bishop Svennungsen closed by sharing her thanks for this ministry and the staff that makes it possible.
The Treasurer’s Report was presented by synod treasurer, Ty Inglis. Mr. Inglis gave a brief update on 2015/16 financial highlights and trends. Year ended with a $27,000 deficit. Over 80% of congregations responded to a request for mission support intent earlier than usual. “Flat is the new up.” Mr. Inglis also celebrated the missional and compassionate disbursements made in 2015/16. He concluded his report with words of thanks.
The Vice-President’s Report was given by synod vice-president, Craig Johnson. Mr. Johnson gave another spirited annual report to the assembly highlighting his many visits throughout the synod’s congregations over the past year.
Bishop Svennungsen introduced Ms. Maren Hulden, ELCA Church Council member from MAS, who then shared an informational conversation with Mr. Carlos Peña, ELCA Churchwide vice president. Highlights included the role and duties of VP, the current Churchwide capital campaign and its success, the upcoming Churchwide assembly, and Mr. Pena’s perspective on our Church and its future as his term comes to an end after 13 years of service.
Bishop Ann Svennungsen introduced the leadership of newly organized congregation Bethlehem Lutheran Church – Twin Cities, which merged Bethlehem Lutheran Church, Minneapolis with Minnetonka Lutheran Church, Minnetonka., The church has made application for membership in the ELCA. Gail Nylin, council president of Bethlehem, shared the story of this exciting new partnership. Representatives from the congregation presented a copy of its charter/statement of intent and a copy of their constitution to Bishop Svennungsen

  • The assembly voted unanimously to accept Bethlehem Lutheran – Twin Cities into membership of the Minneapolis Area Synod of the ELCA

Bishop Svennungsen declared this congregation as a duly organized and constituted congregation of the Minneapolis Area Synod of the ELCA.

Pastor Helge Voigt reported to the Assembly about the Leipzig District. Dr. Ibrahim Bitrus spoke to the Assembly about conditions challenging the Lutheran Church of Christ in Nigeria.

Telling the Story: Dr. Barbara Lundblad retold two bible stories, to accompany the theme of storytelling: the woman who was healed at the pool of Siloam, and the story of Zaccheus.
Storyteller Mike Mann led the Assembly in 3 presentations on the power of story, and how it relates to offering gracious invitation to others; the presentations included small group practice with telling and re-telling personal stories, as well as listening to the stories of others.

Nominations and Elections Chair of the Nominating Committee presented the 2016 nominees for election, and asked for the unanimous election of the presented nominees, there being no further nominations from the assembly.

  • Voted to cast a unanimous ballot for the nominees to synod council, committees and co-ministries.

Elected were as follows: (L=Lay, R=Rostered)

Synod Council:
Felecia Boone, LF (Calvary, CE)
Stuart Deuring, LM (Bethlehem TC, Minnetonka Campus, SM (PL))
Ross Eichelberger, LM (St. Andrew, SW)
Josue Gonzalez, LM (Tapestry, CC)
Diane Greve, RF (University Lutheran Church of Hope, CE)
Leah Nelson, LF, Youth (Family of Christ, SW)

Consultation Committee:
Chris Hagen, RM (Light of Christ)

Discipline Committee:
Audrey Erickson, LF (Mt. Carmel)
Joel Quie, RM (Prairie Lutheran)
Debi Selle, LF (Lyndale Lutheran)
Wade Wacholz, LM (Shepherd of the Hills)

ELCA Church Council Nominees:
Felecia Boone, LF (Calvary, Minneapolis)
Cheryl Chatman, LF (Redeemer, Minneapolis)

The following rostered leaders joined the Minneapolis Area Synod in 2015 and 2016:

Rev. Martha Schwehn Bardwell
Rev. Brent Campbell
Rev. Amy Chalupnik
Rev. Karen Cherwien
Rev. Matthew Fleming
Rev. Elette Gamble
Rev. Rebecca Gamble
Rev. Dr. Christopher Hagen
Rev. Arnold Hanson
Rev. Mark Hendrickson
Rev. David Hoadley
Rev. Hollie Holt-Woehl
Rev. Amber Ingalsbe
Rev. Angela Jacobson
Rev. Emmy Kegler
Rev. Dr. Gary Kinkel
Rev. Kristine Linner
Rev. Dr. Barbara Lundblad
Rev. Emily Meyer
Ms. Lynda Minnick, AiM
Rev. Arthur Montgomery
Rev. Arthur Murray
Ms. Nancy Olson, AiM
Rev. Stanley Olson
Rev. Stephanie Quick Espinoza
Rev. Gretchen Rode
Rev. Lawrence Ruegg
Rev. Christine Ruth
Rev. Christopher Smith
Rev. SiriAnna Strommen Campbell
Rev. Natalia Terfa
Rev. Adam Teske
Rev. Sarah Timian
Rev. Karen Treat
Rev. Susan Vikstrom
Rev. Jonathan Zielske

The following interns are serving in the Minneapolis Area Synod:

Patricia Beadle (Zion Evangelical, Minneapolis)
Sheryl Bousu (Nokomis Heights, Minneapolis)
Kristopher Coffman (St. Stephen, Bloomington)
Mary Fiel (Long Lake Lutheran, Isanti)
Anna Helgen (Mount Olive, Minneapolis)
Tammy Jacobson (Oak Grove, Richfield)
Michelle Lewis (Lutheran Church of Christ the Redeemer, Minneapolis)
Paul Nichol (Prairie, Eden Prairie)
Katelyn Rakotoarivelo (Faith-Lilac Way, Robbinsdale)
Jacie Richmond (Trinity Lutheran Congregation & Augsburg College, Minneapolis)
Kristin Skare (Alleluia, St. Michael)
Louis Tillman (Redeemer, Minneapolis)
Elise Tweten (Good Shepherd, Minneapolis)
Wade Wacholz (Valley of Peace, Golden Valley)

The following interns from the Minneapolis Area Synod are serving internships in other parts of the country:
Adam Connolly (Trinity Lutheran Church, Sleepy Eye, MN)
Katie Escalante (Lake Chelan Lutheran Church, Chelan, WA)
Miriam Samuelson-Roberts (Augustana Lutheran Church, West St. Paul, MN)
Peter Carlson Schattauer (Gethsemane, Seattle, WA)
Matthew Schroeder (Mount Calvary, Eagan, MN)
Mary (Cate) Simler (Gloria Dei, St. Paul, MN)

Ms. Jodi Harpstead, CEO of LSS, presented the 2016 Servant of Christ Award to Christ Church Lutheran, Minneapolis, to recognize the many ways this church supports the work and ministry of LSS.
The following were honored at a luncheon following Synod Assembly for celebrating milestone anniversaries:

Ordained Ministers
25 Years
Rev. David Lillejord
Rev. Suzanne Ferkey
Rev. Richard Rittmaster
Rev. David Lechelt
Rev. Joseph Crippen
Rev. Dr. Hans Wiersma

50 Years
Rev. Joel Wiberg
Rev. Arthur Montgomery
Rev. Glen Wheeler
Rev. Hilton Hammer
Rev. Donald Knecht
Rev. Raymond Sanders
Rev. Clyde Beissel
Rev. A Robert Molldrem
Rev. David Carlson
Rev. Nils Hellevik
Rev. Donald Luther
Rev. David Scherer

60 Years
Rev. Chandler Pauling
Rev. Orville Olson
Rev. John Lingen
Rev. John Trelstad
Rev. Herman Muus
Rev. Howard Rand
Rev. Richard Hofstad

25 Years
Rev. Mary Brown

50 Years
Shepherd of the Lake, Prior Lake
Advent, Maple Grove

125 Years
Siloa, Braham
Long Lake, Isanti

150 Years
Augustana, Minneapolis
Zion, Buffalo

The final Credentials Reports stated that the following voting members were registered and in attendance:
Clergy – 220
Rostered Lay – 15
Elected Lay – 288
Retired Rostered – 15
Total: 540

In accordance with 2009 Synod Assembly Resolution RC2009-3, the following ethnic information was reported concerning the voting membership:

516 – Caucasian
8 – African
7 – African American
3 – Asian
0 – American Indian/Alaska Native
5 – Latino/Latina
1 – Multi-ethnic/Multi-racial
24 – Total persons of color or language other than English: 4.4%

Bishop Svennungsen once again thanked our hosts at St. Andrew Lutheran Church, Synod staff members and all of the hard-working volunteers who helped make the 2016 Synod Assembly a great success, including the Floor Team of Interns, Synod Council members, and Rostered Leaders.
Bishop Svennungsen announced the dates for the 2017 Synod Assembly. The correct dates are May 5 and 6, 2017, at a location to be determined.
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Featured keynote speaker, Mike Mann, Bible Study leader, Barbara Lundblad, and Churchwide Representative, Carlos Peña