North Carolina, June 2-3, Greensboro, N.C. ( Remembering the Reformation anniversary and using the theme “We are Lutheran,” participants gathered to look forward as partners in ministry. Highlights included saying goodbye to three longtime synod staff people, table conversations about “Risking for Mission” and Spirit-led worship. Calling participants to the work of justice, Bishop Tim Smith urged that Jesus can’t be just one slice of the pie in our lives. “If there is any Jesus at all, Jesus is the whole pie,” he said. —Catherine Finck

Northeastern Iowa, June 9-11, Decorah, Iowa ( With the theme “Celebrating Renewal: Martin Luther—The Gospel,” participants shared stories of how they or their congregations have been renewed by experiencing or sharing the gospel. Two members from Trinity Lutheran Church, Hawkeye, Iowa, stole the show with their “Toro-riffic” presentation about repurposing Toro lawn bags, which were earmarked for recycling, into bags and backpacks for Lutheran World Relief and other nonprofits. They have given away more than 500 bags. Congregations brought more than 150 flood buckets to provide cleanup supplies in areas where past flooding has occurred. Voting members adopted six resolutions, including one to establish a synod AMMPARO Network to support migrant children and their families. —Marcia Hahn

Northeastern Pennsylvania, June 2-3, Pocono Manor, Pa. ( This was the third and final year of the theme “Unleashed for Reformation 2017.” The assembly began with a “Rite of Repentance, Reconciliation and Common Witness” led by Bishop Samuel Zeiser and Bishop Joseph Bambara, Scranton (Pa.) Diocese. A banquet commemorating the Reformation anniversary featured insights from pastors of full- communion partners serving synod congregations. Two Young Adults in Global Mission volunteers were introduced: Luke Swanson, in Argentina via Skype, and Annie Hermann, who will be in Israel/ Palestine in 2017-18. The new Word and Service Roster was recognized, with an affirmation of the deacons present. —Paul Braden

Northern Illinois, June 16-17, Rock Island, Ill.“Revitalize!” was Bishop Jeffrey Clements’ enthusiastic message to the assembly. With inspiring music and stories from ELCA Glocal musician-educators, the assembly met under the theme “Called Forward Together in Christ.” After a year of listening and visioning, Clements encouraged the assembly that the Spirit

40 AUGUST 2017

“Revitalize!” was Bishop Jeffrey Clements’ message to the Northern Illinois Synod. After a year of listening and visioning, he encouraged the assembly that the Spirit is alive and well and hard at work in synod congregations.

is alive and well and hard at work in synod congregations. Trusting the Spirit to lead them as they walk this road together, congregations can start from a point of strength, embrace the ELCA strategic directions, and revitalize the synod by discerning where God is leading them during this exciting and challenging time to be the church. —Karin Graddy

Northwestern Minnesota, June 9-10, Moorhead, Minn. ( Under the theme “Risky Business: Always Reforming,” the assembly gathered to observe the Reformation anniversary, celebrate “risk-taking” Lutherans throughout history, and ponder the kinds of bold risks God might be calling them to take in 2017. Participants attended one of 11 breakout sessions on topics such as cultivating a culture of call, the “Declaration on the Way,” and affirmation and hospitality for the LGBTQ community. They were also given the opportunity to reflect on how their congregation has been reforming and nail those thoughts to doors, just as Martin Luther did with the 95 Theses. —John Bell

South Dakota, June 1-3, Sioux Falls, S.D. ( With the theme “Always Reforming” in commemoration of the Reformation anniversary, the assembly was challenged to respond to changing dynamics of what it means to be church. One highlight was having Molly Beck Dean, ELCA Youth Gathering

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