Walking Together

Synod Assembly Registration Is Now Open

The 32nd annual Northern Illinois Synod Assembly will be held at Augustana College, Rock Island on Friday June 14 and Saturday, June 15, 2019.

Registration packets have been mailed to congregations and rostered ministers have received their registration packets via email.

Visit the assembly website to register and find out more.

More information will be available on the assembly website and on the mobile guide, coming soon.

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Lutheran Disaster Response Responds to Midwest Storms and Flooding


Heavy rainfall last week caused rapid snowmelt that has resulted in major flooding across at least four states. So far, three people have died and hundreds of homes and business have been impacted. Mandatory and voluntary evacuation orders remain in place. According to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, 200 miles of levees have been compromised in four states and historic flood levels have been recorded at 42 locations across six states.  Though water is receding, in many areas, more rain is anticipated along with warmer weather that may increase water levels from snow and ice melt.

Lutheran Disaster Response, through congregations, synods and our affiliates across Nebraska, Iowa, Wisconsin, and Missouri is responding to this disaster.  The road to recovery will be long, and Lutheran Disaster Response will be there to accompany those affected through every phase of this disaster. Your gifts are needed to launch recovery efforts. Gifts designated for "U.S. Flooding” will be used to assist those affected by the floodwaters, until the response is complete.

Find out more - 

Share this bulletin insert with your congregation and encourage support.

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Exceptional rates from the Mission Investment Fund

Choose from these
Fixed-Rate Term Investments:

2-Year Term: 1.75% APY*
3-Year Term: 2.75% APY*
4-Year Term: 2.85% APY*
6-Year Term: 3.25% APY*

The Mission Investment Fund offers a variety of investments to help your money work harder and grow faster. And we’re offering some of the highest rates around!

When you invest with MIF, you’re partnering with a financial ministry of the ELCA. MIF uses your investments to provide loans to ELCA congregations and ministries – loans that transform church facilities as well as communities.

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Mass Children’s Choir forming for ELCA Churchwide Assembly

Young singers with unchanged treble voices, having completed 3rd through 8th grade, are invited to participate in a mass children’s choir for the festive opening worship of the ELCA Churchwide Assembly held at the Wisconsin Center in Milwaukee, on Monday, August 5.

Under the direction of Karol Kinard Kimmell, the choir will participate in the service of Holy Communion with Presiding Bishop Eaton, singing selections throughout the service and helping to lead an assembly of over 1,500 people in song.

Interested congregations, choirs, or individual singers may contact or call 773-380-2554 for more information and to learn how to register. Registration by May 1 is appreciated.

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Living Lutheran Stories - March 19, 2019

ELCA presiding bishop responds to Christchurch mosque shootings

ELCA Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton has released a pastoral message addressing the mass shootings that occurred Friday at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand. "We join in mourning for the … continue
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Pray without ceasing

“Thoughts and prayers.” We’ve all heard this phrase in the wake of recent national tragedies, particularly in regard to gun violence, in what has become the routine offering of condolences … continue

Three tests in the wilderness

“I can resist everything except temptation,” Oscar Wilde quipped. Why? From the serpent in Eden to the devil in the desert, temptation always offers the most delicious fruit. When Jesus resists … continue
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Living Lutheran Living Lutheran
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Making Christ Known

    Spiritual and religious - Presiding Bishop Eaton



    Is “Lutheran spirituality” an oxymoron? When we consider Martin Luther and the early reformers, we think of great theologians, prolific writers and musicians. We are well aware of Luther’s earthy language and direct communication. But spirituality? Luther as mystic? Not so much. And yet, Luther was a deeply spiritual person who also cared for the spiritual well-being of his parishioners.

    Luther was a monk before he was a college professor and reformer. By his own account he out-monked everyone in his monastery. He took his vows seriously. He longed for God. He wrestled with God. He argued with God. Well before he came to an understanding of grace, Luther nevertheless knew that his life was found in God. He was spiritual and religious.

    “Spirituality” covers a lot of things. Church historian and writer Martin Marty once said: “ ‘Spirituality’ is the code word used to convey everything from profound quests to warm tingles between the toes.”

    As a parish pastor I often heard people declare that they were spiritual and not religious. I was suspicious that this was an excuse for not coming to church, but I now think there is more to it than that. We are created to search for meaning. Mary Jane Haemig, a professor at Luther Seminary, St. Paul, Minn., wrote: “Today people hear many words but long for authentic words and authentic relationships. They ask whether they can trust what they hear and whether they can trust that anyone will hear what they say. This longing for authentic communication is part of the longing for relationship. The church can help people identify that this longing includes a longing for God.”

    This issue’s cover story is about prayer (page 14). Even in an increasingly secular society, prayer in some form is practiced by most Americans. What happens when we pray? Why do we pray? How should we pray? Is prayer just a lot of words spoken into emptiness? Is prayer efficacious?

    Luther wasn’t too worried about these questions. He was more concerned that people actually did pray, that they were in communication with God who hears prayer, commands us to pray and gives us the words we need through the Spirit. He could be pretty blunt: “You must learn to call. Do not sit by yourself or lie on a couch, hanging and shaking your head. Do not destroy yourself with your own thoughts by worrying. Do not strive and struggle to free yourself, and do not brood on your wretchedness, suffering and misery. Say to yourself: ‘Come on, you lazy bum; down on your knees, and lift your eyes and hands toward heaven!’ ”

    For Luther, God was real, and this real God wants real people to be in real communication with God. We are not to fret about elegant phrases or creative and original prayers. We shouldn’t worry about folding hands or raising hands or standing or kneeling. It’s not about technique. Prayer is about relationship with God. God has created us for God’s self and we are not whole apart from this relationship.

    And it is here that this Lutheran began to understand and resist and, finally, imperfectly come to know and trust God more deeply. There is a little stubbornness in me. I like to be in charge. I want to set the terms of engagement. I will decide when God can come in. But here is the truth: God is already and always present.

    Luther wrote: “The entire divine nature is wholly and entirely in all creatures, more deeply, more inwardly, more present than the creature is to itself.” That kind of makes resistance pointless.

    Prayer is an invitation into divine love. Prayer is God seeking us. In God’s seeking, in God’s speaking and listening we find ourselves.



    A monthly message from the presiding bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. Her email address: This column originally appeared in Living Lutheran’s March 2019 issue. Reprinted with permission.

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