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November 13-15, 2022

Featuring Rev. Dr. Terri Elton

Stoney Creek Hotel
3060 S Kinney Coulee Rd.
Onalaska, WI 54650


2022 Event Photo Album


Rev. Dr. Terri Elton's presentation slides are available here.



  • Active pastors and deacons are expected to attend. If you are an active rostered leader in this synod and cannot attend, please contact Bishop Hassanally to discuss. Other synod ministry leaders* and retired rostered leaders are welcome to attend. (*Ministry leaders can include SAMs, TEEMs, and worship and faith formation professionals.)
  • Registration cost: $165 by Oct. 21; $190 on Oct. 22-31.
  • Event registration cancellation policy: If you cancel for any reason by Thursday, November 10, at 11:59 PM CST, you will receive a full refund. If the event is canceled or significantly altered at any time before it begins, you will have the option to receive a full refund.



You are responsible for lodging which is not included in event registration. There are rooms reserved for this event at a special rate of $92 per night. Check-in time is 3 PM and checkout time is 11 AM.

The rooms will only be held until October 13. Make your reservation today by calling 1-800-659-2220 and mentioning this group code: 2211SOUTHE_001.



"Yes, And..." Improv
Angela Donovan from Matchbox Children's Theater in Austin

"If you want to lead, then learn how to follow." It might be a trope in the business world and an oft-quoted Hollywood line (see Drumline or Game of Thrones), but as followers of Jesus and leaders in his Church, we might see this as a core principle of Christian identity. Improv works on a similar principle – "Yes, And" – that is, accepting what’s said as the reality then building on it. Come have fun as Angela Donovan of Austin’s Matchbox Children’s Theater facilitates a series of playful improv games to exercise our imaginations and practice the dance of leading and following.

"Midrash Lab"
With Rev. Lisa Janke and Richard Bruxvoort Colligan

Midrash is an ancient Jewish practice of encountering a Biblical text. To practice midrash is to look beyond the Biblical text with imagination, often with results of rich insight and discovery.  Join Rev. Lisa Janke and Richard BC of Olive Branch Church as they share a bible study technique they call Off The Page to help you write your own midrash of a text.

"All Who Are Weary" Book Study
With Rev. Emmy Kegler via Zoom, led by Rev. Elizabeth Hermeier

NOTE: Previous reading of the book "All Who Are Weary," by Emmy Kegler, is optional and not necessary to attend and learn.

Communal Art*
With Dr. Kat Parent

Artist facilitator Dr. Kat Parent invites participants into the process of painting a vibrant large-scale collaborative piece together. Prioritizing prayerful play, the techniques involved are simple and accessible--no prior art experience is needed. Kat will share tips on inviting local artists to work with your congregation and making sacred art that expresses community values and longings.
*Attendance is limited to the first 25 people to sign up, which will be available at 7:30 AM on Monday morning at the registration table at the event.

Discussion with Terri Elton
With Rev. Dr. Terri Elton

Join us for an informal conversation with Rev. Dr. Terri Elton to further explore the topic and ideas she is teaching about. This will take place in the downstairs saloon, and beverages will be available.

Growing Young for the Entire Congregation: Building Beloved Community Through Relationships
With Lindsay Colwell (M.A., M.Th.) and Deacon Amanda Sabelko

One of the things often heard in congregations and in the world is that a wedge exists keeping generations apart. People of all generations long to build relationships with those of other generations, but don't often know how to bridge that gap. This workshop will take a look at the six essentials laid out by Fuller Youth Institute's book Growing Young, as well as ways that congregations can utilize the SEMN Synod Faith Formation Network as a resource to help congregations make their way forward.


Event Schedule

Sunday (Nov. 13)

4-5:45 PM: Registration Open
5-5:45 PM: Reception
5:45 PM: Bishop's Welcome, Dinner, Introductions
7:30 PM: Bishop's Forum
7:50 PM: Worship

Monday (Nov. 14)

6:30 AM: Breakfast (continental breakfast available from the hotel)
8:30 AM: Centering Prayer
9 AM: Welcome and Session 1
10:45 AM: Announcements and Session 2
NOON: Lunch
1 PM: Worship
1:55 PM: Introduce Workshops
Workshops (detailed schedule TBA)

Dinner is on your own! Anyone is invited to meet members of the synod office staff and Fall Theological planning team in the main lobby at 5:30 PM.

Tuesday (Nov. 15)

6:30 AM: Breakfast (continental breakfast available from the hotel)
8:30 AM: Session 3
9:45 AM: Break, check out of hotel before 11
10:15 AM: Session 4
11 AM: Closing Worship

Offering: Holy Spirit Fund

The 2022 Fall Theological Retreat offering will be directed toward the Holy Spirit Fund. This fund provides a way for the synod to come alongside congregations who are ready to follow the movement of the Holy Spirit in collaborative, community-oriented, Gospel-centered ways. The congregations of the synod are invited into the same central purpose; we are “called and sent to bear witness to God’s creative, redeeming, and sanctifying activity in the world.” The intention of the Holy Spirit Fund is to support congregations as they explore new ways to bear witness to God’s activity in the world. 

Bishop Regina Hassanally hopes that generous giving to this fund will make it possible for a granting oversight team to distribute ten $500 grants in 2023 to congregations ready to try something new for the sake of the Gospel. Special priority will be given to congregations who plan to creatively engage their communities, ecumenical partners and neighboring congregations. Thank you for planning in advance to participate in the Fall Theological Conference offering!

Give Online

 COVID Statement

Please continue to be respectful of others' choices and boundaries regarding masking and distancing. The synod office staff and fall theological planning team will continue to monitor and share CDC recommendations for our area. 

Share your feedback!

If you have not yet filled out the survey (originally released spring of 2022), and you are a rostered leader or ministry leader in this synod, please take a few minutes to share your feedback on this event! The Fall Theological planning team is dreaming and visioning about future possibilities and wants to know what you think. 

(Survey is now closed.)

What is the Fall Theological Retreat?

Later on that day, the disciples had gathered together, but, fearful of the Jews, had locked all the doors in the house. Jesus entered, stood among them, and said, “Peace to you.” Then he showed them his hands and side. The disciples, seeing the Master with their own eyes, were awestruck. Jesus repeated his greeting: “Peace to you. Just as the Father sent me, I send you.” Then he took a deep breath and breathed into them. “Receive the Holy Spirit.” John 20:19-22 (The Message)

The mission of the Fall Theological Retreat is to offer Church leaders a dedicated and unique time and space designed to strengthen relationships, reinforce identity, inspire theology, and extend sabbath, all with peers and colleagues, near and not-so-near, of the Southeast Minnesota Synod.

The goals of The Fall Theological Retreat are to provide time and space for pastors, deacons, and other church leaders to:
1. See the Master. Learn through compelling, timely, relevant content.
2. Receive the Holy Spirit. Attend vibrant community worship services.
3. Gather together. Connect and enjoy fellowship with peers and colleagues.
4. Find some peace. Take time for the kind of rest that meets our unique needs.