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Who: This event is open to council members, church staff, lay leaders, and rostered ministers.

When: Sunday, March 19, from 1-4 PM

Where: First Lutheran Church in Albert Lea AND online via Zoom

Online participant registration deadline: March 12
In-Person participant registration deadline: None!
*The pre-registration is now closed, but you may walk-in and register on-site.

Register online: closed

Congregation Council members are key leaders in the life of a church. As a synod, we want to support church councils and rostered ministers as they live into their leadership roles and responsibilities. We're offering a FREE in-person, and digital event focused on equipping church councils. There will be a wide range of workshops from which to choose so that all participants can personalize the experience in the way that feels most useful for their current context and its needs.


Announcement: to those who registered online, an email was sent to you on Thursday, March 16, with additional details, including Zoom login specifics. If you did not receive this and believe you registered online, please check your email filters (spam or promotions folder). It was sent from at 11:48 AM.

Register Now

View or download the program!

*Print copies will be provided to in-person attendees.

2023 Workshops

Click on the title to learn more.

Presenter: Lisa Dierks - SEMN Synod Council Vice President and member of Trinity Lutheran, Wanamingo

This session will provide attendees with an overview of the work of church councils, resources available to ensure council success, and council member roles in this group.  Come to explore new tools/resources available to council members and to share your own experiences and best practices.


Presenter: Tharan Leopold, Regional Gift Planner - ELCA Foundation and member of First English, Faribault

A congregation’s endowment fund can be a beacon of light to their community and to the world; planned gifts to these endowment funds can be transformational to ministry! Yet all too often congregations are not included in estate plans. Attend this workshop to discover how church leaders can encourage cultures of planned giving generosity in their congregations.

Presenter: Rev. Emily Carson

A "steward" is someone who takes excellent care of something belonging to someone else; as Christians, we believe it all belongs to God - and we're called to be stewards of our whole lives. As congregations, healthy conversations about stewardship can be transformational and energizing! This workshop will celebrate the ministry of stewardship and equip you to approach all money-related conversations with wisdom. 

Presenters: Pastor Kristi Mitchell and Noel Peterson, SEMN Synod Constitution Support Team members

The Constitutions, Bylaws, and Continuing Resolutions of our congregations reflect the theology and polity of this church as it organizes itself to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ, share the sacraments, reach out to the neighbor with good news, and share the love of God in the world. Learn how to engage and update your constitution to be a tool of ministry for this important work.

Presenter: Deacon Travis Beck [and others] 

Learn a framework that helps facilitate difficult conversations without having those conversations go off the rails.  There's no one right way to do this, but this will give participants one helpful way!

Presenters: Emily Carson & Cheryse Brenno

Church treasurers facilitate important ministry every day; thank you! This workshop will provide a summary of best practices that will help treasurers and councils to thrive. Please join us whether you're a brand new treasurer or you've been leading in this way for decades. 

Presenters: Pastor Carl-Eric Gentes (Good Shepherd, Rochester), Pastor Nicole Rockne (Our Savior’s, Rochester), Pastor Ben Loven (Our Savior’s, Rochester), Deacon Carole Joyce (Trinity, Plainview)

The panel will discuss the importance of intergenerational ministry and what it looks like in their congregations.  You will be invited to share your successes and challenges within your congregation.

Presenters: Panel discussion including members from SEMN immigrant welcome teams from Winona (WIN), Mankato (WELCOME), and Northfield (Bethel)

With the number of refugees and asylum seekers increasing due to natural disasters, climate change, and instability within global communities, several SEMN Synod congregations have expressed an interest in welcoming a family within their community. This engaged panel will share some of the joys and challenges experienced as they respond to Jesus' words to 'welcome the stranger' by accompanying people seeking asylum.

Presenter:  Pastor Matt Larson, Assistant to the Bishop

There are often strong opinions people have about "the direction of the ELCA" and "what the ELCA believes." These opinions are often informed by social media and anecdotes instead of what the ELCA has discerned together in their Social Statements. Pr. Matt Larson will lead a quick look at these resources and facilitate a close look at one of them.

Presenter:  Panel Presentation

Youth and family ministry is a big talking point and a place of interest among many congregations. As we figure out what that looks like for ministry sites in a changing world, a place to learn about joys and challenges is very needed. Come and listen to voices and add your voice to the conversation as we gain insight from those who have experience with this ministry from around our Synod.