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

When: Sunday, March 20 from 1-4 PM

Masks are required during this event. We encourage all participants attending in-person to have been vaccinated or to have received a negative COVID test within 24 hours of the event. 

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. It's called "Councils as Leaders: The Spirit of Connection," and it will take place on Sunday, March 20, from 1-4 PM, at Trinity Lutheran Church in Owatonna. You can register to attend in-person or online. Please register by March 7!

The theme of this gathering is connection. A variety of workshop options will highlight strategies for connecting with God, congregation, and community. 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 your current context and its needs.

Event Schedule:

1-1:15 PM: Welcome & "Getting to Know You" questions at tables
1:15-1:35 PM: Time with Bishop Regina Hassanally
1:35-1:45 PM: Break
1:45-2:45 PM: Session 1 Workshops (5 workshops offered)
2:45-3 PM: Break
3–4 PM: Session 2 Workshops (6 workshops offered) 
4 PM: Closing Blessing


Those attending in-person will begin in the main fellowship hall at Trinity Lutheran Church. When it comes time for workshops, you’ll be directed to the breakout session rooms. There will be helping hands available to get everyone to the right spot. 

Those attending the event online will begin in a shared Zoom room. Each of the breakout sessions will have a Zoom room monitor who will strive to make sure you’re able to see and hear the full workshop. Your main Zoom host will make sure everyone gets to their intended workshop. 

Session 1 Options:

“Connecting to Our Governing Documents to Deepen Ministry” with Rev. Barb Streed
Constitutions, Bylaws, and Continuing Resolutions 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. Come learn more about your constitution, how to update it, and how to use it as a ministry tool.

Council Responsibilities: Best Practices for Presidents, Treasurers and Secretaries” with Mr. Duane Olson
Church council leaders serve with faithfulness, creativity and courage. This workshop will provide you with an overview of best practices for presidents, treasurers and secretaries. Come to learn and share ideas!

"I Believe the Children are Our Future" with Ms. Dianna Parks
Are you concerned with declining church attendance? The disappearance of young families? Stumped about how to engage youth and capture their limited time? Researchers are finding that vibrant, growing congregations have something in common: active youth programs that include camping ministry. In this session, you will learn about the research occurring nationally that links effective camping and vibrant faith, and some ideas to engage a more committed base of participation.

"Building Relationships with Neighboring Congregations" with Rev. Matt Larson
Why don't we do more of this? What's at stake? And does this serve our mission to witness in the world? We'll explore these questions and more, along with some time for sharing great ideas, tips, and how-tos!

“Planned Gifts: What Piece of the Pie is Your Congregation Missing?” with Mr. Tharan Leopold
Your congregation works diligently to cultivate and steward an annual tithe from congregants each year in support of the operating budget. But did you know that your church may be overlooking a key component that other nonprofits have been asking for years?  It is asset-based giving – most commonly referred to as legacy or planned gifts. Join Tharan Leopold, the ELCA Foundation Charitable Gift Planner serving the Southeastern Minnesota Synod, as he leads us in conversation on how congregations can apply a more holistic model to their fundraising approach.

Session 2 options:

“Stepping into God’s Vision: The Gift of Global & Glocal Partners” with Ms. Kathy Chatelaine
Are you looking for a way to energize and engage the people of your congregation? This breakout session will provide you with an orientation to the synod’s global and glocal partnerships. You’ll leave with a clear sense of how your unique congregation can easily enter into new and meaningful relationships.  

“Finding Hope and Opportunity in the Present” with Deacon Amanda Sabelko
In our rapidly changing world, your faith community may now be looking at new ways of being together in worship, learning, fellowship, and service. While it's important to reflect on the goodness of ministry before the Covid-19 pandemic, it's also essential to see the opportunity and find hope in the present.

“An Unexpected Journey with Contemplative Practices” with Ms. Julie Stevens
What do contemplative practices have to do with a lifelong Lutheran or an established ELCA congregation? Ponder the journey of practicing Christ’s presence that leads to wholeness and transformation.

“From Mission to Goals to Action…Ways to Engage the Congregation with the Community” with Rev. Todd Buegler
For a congregation to step outside its walls to connect with and support its community, it needs to have a deep understanding of its "why." We'll explore ways to communicate our mission and vision to the congregation and build ways to connect with and serve within our communities.  

“Sing Us One of the Songs of Zion” with Deacon Bob Tewes
Singing is an innately human activity that helps us express deeply held beliefs and emotions that need expression. In this workshop, we will talk about and sing songs of faith that connect us to God, one another, and strengthen our own personal faith. 

"Connection through Stewardship: Equipping People to Embrace a Generous Life" with Rev. Emily Carson
What is stewardship and why does it matter? This breakout session aims to provide concrete support for church leaders seeking to encourage all forms of generosity. Pastor Emily will highlight available resources, discuss the meaning of “mission support” and build hope in our collective capacity to live as faithful stewards! 


All session materials available here.