Walking Together

Portico Launches Personalized Online Wellness Tool

Portico’s annual wellness program kicked off Jan. 1 for members and spouses covered by ELCA-Primary health benefits. Entering its 12th year, the program invites eligible participants to earn wellness dollars as they complete specific activities designed to strengthen their physical, emotional, financial, and spiritual well-being.

New for 2019, participants will choose from nearly 100 guided activities in an online tool called 2019 Live Well. The tool gives participants the freedom to decide where to focus and to set their own pace.

“Personalized support has been a game-changer for our members over the past two years,” Portico president and CEO Jeff Thiemann said, citing recent benefit offerings like Omada and Portico Financial Planners. “We’re excited for our members to discover how the Live Well tool can support their individual goals, no matter where they are on their wellness journey.”

An evolution from prior years, the tool encourages regular interaction over time to help participants establish meaningful lifestyle changes. Participants can earn wellness dollars incrementally, $10 – $50 per activity completed, up to $400 total.

Portico partnered with RedBrick Health, an industry-leading wellness company based in Minneapolis, to develop the Live Well tool specifically for its membership. According to Thiemann, features that make the tool unique include a spiritual assessment, spiritual activities, and a holistic approach to well-being rooted in the Wholeness Wheel. “Unlike secular alternatives,” he said, “the Live Well tool recognizes that faith is central to daily life and can enhance overall wellness.”

Members and spouses with ELCA-Primary health benefits can access 2019 Live Well via myPortico. Participants will have opportunities to provide feedback to help Portico enhance the tool for the future.

You can earn up to $400 to spend on eligible health care expenses when you complete activities that support your physical, emotional, spiritual and/or financial well-being. Choose where to focus, set your own pace, and earn wellness dollars along the way. Activities must be completed between 1/1/19 and 11/30/19 in order to earn 2019 wellness dollars.

To find out more and get started, sign in to MyPortico and visit the 2019 Live Well site.

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Applications for 2019-20 Young Adults in Global Mission now open

Do you or someone you know have an interest in being a servant leader, living and serving alongside one of the ELCA’s global companions?

ELCA Young Adults in Global Mission (YAGM) is a one-year international service-learning and faith-formation opportunity for young adults, ages 21 to 29.

Young adults serve alongside Lutheran companion church bodies and organizations in one of 11 country programs, being shaped by the witness of our global neighbors in a cross-cultural journey of faith.

Service opportunities currently exist in Argentina, Uruguay, Australia, Serbia, Cambodia, Jerusalem/West Bank, Madagascar, Mexico, Rwanda, Senegal and Tanzania. Areas of service include, but are not limited to, health and development, congregational ministry, human rights, education, homelessness, addiction recovery, women’s issues, and children and youth.

All site placements provide opportunities for young adults to confront issues of wealth and poverty, racial privilege, economic disparity and globalization through the lens of faith.

Applications are open now through Feb. 15, 2019; learn more and apply today.

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Youth Ministry subcommittee seeks youth for leadership team and Think Bigger event

The main goal of the Northern Illinois Synod Youth Ministry subcommittee is simple:  To do youth ministry that individual churches can’t do on their own.

We are launching a new youth leadership team for the synod!  Two youth from each conference will be chosen to plan and lead youth ministry events for the whole synod.

These youth will meet for our first ever Think Bigger – Youth Leadership Overnight beginning March 8 at LOMC and ending March 9 at Kishwaukee College (at CRE) to gather and brainstorm new possibilities for ministry!

Pastors and youth workers are asked to recommend high school (9-12th grade) youth who are committed to their faith, are looking for fellowship with other teens, and are seeking a place to enhance their leadership skills.  In order to become part of the team, they need to fill out an online application for their conference (below).

Applications will be accepted until February 7.

An adult chaperone from your church IS NOT necessary for the Think Bigger event, but you may send your youth leader if they are interested in attending.  The cost is FREE!  Participants will need a ride to and from the Think Bigger event unless arranged with the NIS Youth Ministry team ahead of time.  However, travel WILL be provided from LOMC to Kishwaukee College.

For questions, suggestions, or other thoughts, please contact your conference representative or subcommittee chair Pr. Neal Cannon (

North Conference

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Northeast Conference

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East Conference

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Central Conference

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South Conference

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Southwest Conference

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West Conference

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Northwest Conference

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A View from the Underside - The Legacy of Dietrich Bonhoffer

A One-Person Stage Play Adapted and Performed by Al Staggs.

In commemoration of International Holocaust Remembrance Day.

When: 2:00 pm, Sunday, January 27, 2019

Where: Tri-City Jewish Center 2715 30th Street, Rock Island

Free and open to the public

Dietrich Bonhoffer was a German theologian who was among the first of his countryman to recognize the threat posed by Nazism to the basic human values of Western Civilization. A leader in the resistance movement, Bonhoffer attempted to overthrow the Nazi government and helped orchestrate two unsuccessful attempts on Hitler’s life. This play portrays Bonhoffer at the end of his life, as he struggles with the nature of the church and the cost of discipleship in Nazi Germany, in his cell at the Flossenberg concentration camp where he was eventually executed only several days before Flossenberg was liberated by American soldiers.

Al Staggs served as a Baptist minister for 24 years prior to becoming a full-time performance artist. He has degrees from Hardin-Simmons University, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, Harvard Divinity School, and a Doctor of Ministry from Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary. Al presently serves as a hospital chaplain at Harris Methodist Hospital (HEB) in Bedford, Texas.

For more information, please contact (309) 793-1300 or

This program is sponsored by the Jewish Federation of the Quad Cities, the Rauch Family Foundation II, and Augustana College.

Download a flyer.

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One Year to Live Retreat for Male Church Professionals

Lutheran Men in Mission invites church professionals and camp directors to a One Year To Live (OYTL) Mens Retreat at EWALU Bible Camp, Strawberry Point, IA.  They have normally offered this retreat over the weekend but decided to have a men's retreat for Church Professional and Camp Directors & Staff starting Wednesday, February 6 at 5:30 to 6:00 pm and ending on Friday, February 8, 2019, by 3:00 pm. It is hoped that this schedule will work better for church leaders.

Attached is a brochure.  More information can be found at  Any questions can be directed to Jim Rathe by calling or texting 319-231-5749 or at

Download (PDF, 773KB)

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Making Christ Known

    ELCA World Hunger: Rebecca’s Story

    VIDEO: Rebecca is a mother of two and a leader at Cathedral in the Night, an outdoor Christian ministry in Northampton, Mass. The ministry provides a meal every Sunday to its community, which includes people experiencing homelessness and poverty. Gifts to ELCA World Hunger ( recently helped Cathedral in the Night launch a second location. To learn more about the work of ELCA World Hunger, visit

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