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Faithful Witness: Wrestling with Calling & Proclamation in a Polarizing Time

October 8-10, 2023

+ Add-On Retreat Time:
Friday-Sunday, October 6-8

Arrowwood Resort & Conference Center
1405 U. S. Hwy 71, Okoboji, IA


  • Online registration period has ended.
  • 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 between September 1-15 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.)
  • Early registration cost: $165 by Sep. 11
    • Late registration, by Sep. 20: $190


  • Reservations can be made now!
  • Call the reservation line at (712)332-2161 or (800)727-4561 and mention "SEMN Synod."
  • You are responsible for lodging, which is not included in event registration.
  • There are rooms reserved for this event at a special rate. (Double queen room cost is approx. $93.85 per night.) *The special rate will stay the same for the add-on retreat option Friday-Sunday!


  • Sunday (Oct. 8)
    4-5:45 PM Registration is open in Wimbledon Reception Area (lower level)
    5-5:45  Bishop's Reception, bar open (lower level)
    5:45  Bishop's welcome and dinner
    6:30  Keynote speaker introduction and topic teaser
    7:30  Bishop's forum (bring your questions)
    7:50  Worship
  • Monday (Oct. 9)
    Breakfast on your own (continental breakfast available from the hotel starting at 6 AM)
    8:30 AM Centering prayer and welcome
    9:00  Session 1 with Rev. Dr. Anthony Bateza
    10:30  Break
    10:55  Session 2 with Rev. Dr. Anthony Bateza
    Noon  Lunch is served
    1:00 PM  Worship
    1:50 Introduce workshops
    2-4:30 Workshop Options
    Dinner is on your own!
    5:30 PM  Open invitation dinner group meets in lobby
  • Tuesday (Oct. 10)
    Breakfast on your own (continental breakfast available from the hotel starting at 6 AM)
    8:30 AM  Session 3 with Rev. Dr. Anthony Bateza
    9:50  Break
    10:10  Session 4 with Rev. Dr. Anthony Bateza
    11:00  Closing worship
    Noon  Departure

Add-On Retreat Time

  • Friday-Sunday, October 6-8
  • This is unstructured time. For those who are looking for some extra time to retreat away from everyday life. This could be on your own, with colleagues/friends, family or not,... this is a chance for you to do what you need.
  • The same discounted lodging rate at Arrowwood applies to this time, too.
  • This portion is NOT part of the expectations of rostered leaders. That's why we are calling it an "Add-On"!
  • But what about Sunday morning? Good question! The Fall Theological Planning Team is putting together a sermon in written and recorded formats for you to use! If you are interested in stepping away, but your Sunday morning role in worship is a hindrance, then download these resources (available by Sep. 15) for use by your congregation.

Sunday (Oct. 8) Worship Resources


What to Bring

While it is up to you to bring what you need, here are a few things that you may not have considered:

  • Reusable drinking vessel(s) for water, coffee, tea, etc.
  • An offering will be received, so plan to bring whatever you may want to participate in that.
  • Outdoor walking shoes.
  • Layers! The indoor temperatures can fluctuate, so plan accordingly.


On Monday, all participants will have the opportunity to participate in a workshop or two from 2-4:30 PM.

  • Conversations with Rev. Dr. Anthony Bateza (2:15-3:15, Observation Deck)
  • Group Hike (2:15-3:15, meet in the hotel lobby)
  • Equipping Leaders for Difficult Conversations (2-3:30, Pine Valley)
  • Collaborative Conversation about Sabbatical Accessibility with the Synod Leader Grant Team (3:30-4:30, Wimbledon)
  • RCL Text Study (3:30-4:30, Pebble Beach North)
  • NL Text Study (3:30-4:30, Pebble Beach South)
Rev. Dr. Anthony Bateza
Keynote Speaker

Anthony Bateza is a specialist in Martin Luther, moral theology, and Christian ethics. Luther’s political theology is his primary area of research, focusing on the reformer's understanding of human agency and his relationship with the virtue tradition and Augustinian thought. He is also personally and professionally invested in questions of race, identity, and social justice. He has written on Black liberation theology and connections between Lutheran teaching and confronting racism in the United States.

View Full Biography

New Location!

Arrowwood Resort in Okoboji, Iowa

Lodging reservations can be made now!

Arrowwood (and all of Okoboji!) have plenty of amenities for you to enjoy during your personal retreat, including:

Learn more here:

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Minnesota Council of Churches Racial Equity Fund

The 2023 Offering Recipient

We are called to engage in the work of the church in the midst of society. Thus, we invite you to share an offering with the Minnesota Council of Churches Racial Equity Fund. In the weeks and months after the murder of George Floyd, the Minnesota Council of Churches made a long-term commitment to lead Minnesota in working toward racial equity. The growing partnership between the congregations of this synod and the Minnesota Council of Churches is part of this effort. We invite you to consider a financial gift and open yourselves to future possibilities as we work toward justice together. For more information about Truth and Reparations, the title of the racial equity initiative of the Minnesota Council of Churches, please visit

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