Workshop A Offerings

Workshop A will be held from 1:00 pm to 2:00 pm.

Everyone's in Transition: Conversations about Changes in your Congregation
Rev. Jen Beamsley, Assistant to the Bishop
It's surprising how much attendance, programs, and volunteer groups have changed in the last five years. What's going on?!? This conversation discusses current trends and changes, what they might mean, and how the Holy Spirit calls us to consider how your congregations can support discipleship in ways that connect us deeply to God and one another.

Becoming a Reconciling in Christ Congregation
Rev. Preston Fields, Salem, Sycamore
A pragmatic and honest conversation about leading your church toward being Reconciling in Christ. Bring your questions, worries, and ideas! Pastor Preston will share his experience leadings Salem Lutheran Church through the process and facilitate an open and affirming exchange of ideas about how to move your congregation forward in this process.

Narrative Budget - The What, Why and How
Victoria Flood, ELCA Sr. Director for Congregation and Synod Support - Stewardship, Mission Support and Storytelling
Did you know you can share your congregation budget in a way that highlights your mission, ministry and vision through story, visuals, and impact?  It's called a Narrative Budget!  Come to learn about why this is an important compliment to your line-item budget and how you can develop and use it.

Confirmation Panel – New Models for Confirmation
Dn. Laura Gorton, Christ, Belvidere
As youth schedules become busier and more complicated, congregations have needed to innovate when and how they offer confirmation education. Members of this panel will show the creative ways that they reach their confirmation youth.

Partnering in Christ to Serve Communities & Congregations
Deb Keaschall, Nancy Breed, and Greg Zeigler, Tri Church members
Tri Church-- St. Paul, Immanuel & St. John's of Sterling and Rock Falls partner in the Gospel; collaborating in community projects, cultivating relationships, providing mutual support, and nurturing faith as the Spirit leads. We are three separate congregations who choose to work together in a variety of ways while maintaining our own communities of faith. We will be sharing our story, exploring: How did the Tri Church get started? What was the initial impetus? What were some of the early challenges and how has it evolved over time? In addition, we hope and pray this time together might help you identify how your congregation could work with other congregations to further your ministry.

The Story of God and Grief
Donna Kelly, Director of Connections Ministry, Shepherd of the Prairie, Huntley
The story of how grief work can draw people into the life of the church, whether congregational members or members of the community at large. Also, how sharing the stories of our grief and the journey can revitalize those who grieve and help them to move forward.

Create Your Own Paraments: Designing Worship Items for The Synod and Your Congregation
Rev. Julie Monnard, Assistant to the Bishop
Synod staff is creating a new banner for synod events. With fabric donated by congregations, we will begin laying out the design. Along the way, we will discuss how you also can design and create banners and paraments for your congregations. Simple techniques can create stunning results!

NIS Youth Learning and Growing Together
Rev. Mack Patrick, Assistant to the Bishop and Dn. Shari Simon, Peace, New Lenox
Join us as we hold a conversation about the changes in Youth Ministry, especially since the pandemic. You will learn from Dn. Shari and Rev. Mack what the Northern Illinois Synod is currently doing and what our hopes and dreams are for this coming year. Don’t worry, we know candy is the way to youths’ hearts, so join us and get some tricks and treats.

Speak With The Earth and It Will Teach You: The story of a Couple’s Dedication to Earth Care
Rev. Carol Soderholm and Mr. Paul Soderholm, creators of Earth Church ministry
Our planet is in desperate need of our attention. Earth, our home, has given us all we need. It is time for us to give back. You are invited to learn how and to participate in the thought and creation of Earth as church.

Sharing the Good News – Bridges, Closing the Gap to Community Outreach
Rev. Bob Stark, First, Mt. Carroll and Rev. Robin Luckey, Lord of Love, Galena
Great River Outreach Community Resource Center on Main Street in Savanna and its local luncheon outreach events aim to help communities in NW Illinois grow in many ways. Residents and visitors find friends and local helping agencies at Bridges Gathering Center, quality used clothes at Classy Closets, and hot meals five days a week at The Table. The workshop will track the journey from a one room and leaky kitchen in the rear of an old school to the current three buildings in Savanna, Il. Effective community outreach ideas and implementation strategies will be explored. 

The Art of Gathering: LOMC
Ms. Michelle Wandersee, Lutheran Outdoor Ministry Center Program Director
We thrive together! Experience what makes community powerful and growing.

No Frills Christmas Program ... and Other Interesting Stuff
Jeff and Lori Whalen, Synod Authorized Ministers, First, Ohio and Trinity, Manlius
Same OLD Christmas program?  Not enough kids to fill the parts?  Shortage of volunteers?  No one shows up for rehearsals?  Join us (and bring your Christmas spirit) as we share a program that uses the people who are sitting in the pews on that day.  Bonus material - what does it look like to bring The Last Supper to life?

Workshop B Offerings

Workshop B will be held from 2:15 pm to 3:15 pm.

Let’s Head to NOLA
Rev. Mack Patrick, Assistant to the Bishop and Ms. Melinda Alekna, Synod Champion
Want to get the tea on all things happening at the 2024 ELCA Youth Gathering? Figure out the best places to eat beignets? Want to learn about other offerings the ELCA has for youth and young adults? Join Pastor Mack and Melinda, our Synod Champion for the Youth Gathering, for a time of learning, resource sharing, and brainstorming.

Mission Development Panel
Rev. Josh Ebener, NIS Director of Evangelical Mission; Rev. Jose Pilar Alvarez Cabrera, San Jose Obrero, Moline; Rev. Pat Fish, Becoming, Oswego
What does it look like to start a new church?  Come and learn about our mission developments (Synodically Authorized Worshipping Communities) in the Northern Illinois Synod.  We will hear from mission developers Pastor Jose Pilar Alvarez Cabrera of San Jose Obrero Moline and Pastor Pat Fish of Becoming Oswego.

Grounding with Spiritual Practices
Ms. Karen Glavin and Deacon Laura Gorton, Christ, Belvidere
Many continue to seek ways to satisfy their spiritual hunger in a fast-paced world.  In this workshop, leaders from Pathways: A Center for Spiritual Renewal (a ministry of Christ, Belvidere) will introduce ancient spiritual practices.  We will have the opportunity to try two contemplative practices: the Ignatian Examen and Visio Divina.  We hope you join us to fill up your spiritual bucket. 

Hidden in Plain Sight: LSSI
Ceara Curley, Danielle Horst, Karli Miller, and Hannah Stingley, Prevention Specialists with LSSI
This exhibit is led by LSSI Prevention Specialists, and highlights one of the many programs offered by LSSI related to Substance Use Disorders and Behavioral / Mental Health. This program is normally offered for caregivers of teenagers, and it is designed for small groups of adults to learn more about the current trends in youth substance abuse, drug paraphernalia, and concealment of drugs and alcohol. Each attendee can walk through a mock teenager's bedroom with guidance from the Prevention Specialist.  Concerns about other mental health issues surrounding substance use, including self-harm, bullying, and violence may also be addressed.  This workshop is limited to 25 attendees.

Solar Energy for your Church / the OSLC Story of Stewardship and Community
Jim Keeling, Keith Shaver, and Peter Gulatto, Our Saviors, Rockford
Our workshop will review the opportunities available for ELCA churches in Illinois desiring to pursue alternative energy strategies as stewards of our shared environment. Attendees will learn how to reduce operating costs and build congregational community by pursuing alternative energy strategies through the lens of the Our Savior Lutheran Church experience in implementing its solar panel electricity production for its church in Rockford, Illinois.  "The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it."  Geneses 2:15 (NIV)

Marketing Congregations to Your Communities
Kent Kindelsperger, Synod Authorized Minister at Zion, North Henderson and owner of Country Style ice cream shops
After learning many valuable tools about marketing from his secular career, Kent brought these tools to his congregation. Come to learn how you also can use marketing skills as evangelism tools in your community.

Opening churches to and beyond God's Story
Rev. Eric Lemonholm, Lutheran Church of the Good Shepherd, Rockford
Lutheran Church of the Good Shepherd sold their building to the local YMCA. Come hear their story of why they decided to sell their building and how that helped relieve anxiety in their community.

Discernment for All of the Above
Mr. Andy Koresko, Rev. Jay Quinn, Rev. Chrissy Salser, Dn. Shari Simon, Rev. Nord Swanstrom, Candidacy Committee members
God calls folks to be lay preachers, deacons, SAMs (Synod Authorized Ministers), and pastors.  A panel with a deacon, lay preacher, SAM, TEEM graduate and a pastor will share stories of joy and challenge in their particular calls and answer questions.  Feeling nudged to a particular ministry call?  This panel will highlight these different paths, all of which are blessed and needed in God's church today.

Trinity Nights - Trinity Lutheran Church, Mt. Morris
Mary Jo Dilbeck, Kelly Handschuh, and Melissa Rojas, Trinity, Mt. Morris
In looking for different ways to connect and serve the Education Committee of Trinity Lutheran Church came up with the idea of Trinity Nights.  The idea is a night each month to come together in community and fellowship to learn about each other, eat a meal together, have a devotion, and complete an act of service as a group.  Through the couple of years Trinity has been doing these Trinity Nights they have evolved, and the team is excited to share what we have done, what we have learned, and how we have connected with each other and the community through Trinity Nights.

In This Together: How to Discern Shared Ministry with Others
Rev. Jeff Schlesinger, Heart of Illinois Parish
What if you could revitalize another congregation by simply joining efforts with them on a mission program? What if your congregation might be renewed simply by being neighborly with a nearby congregation? Pastor Jeff Schlesinger of Heart of Illinois Lutheran Parish (Immanuel, Compton and First, Lee) will guide participants in imagining new and effective ministry models by utilizing the simple little skill we were all taught in kindergarten - sharing.

Narrative Lectionary
Rev. Sarah Wilson, St. Barnabas, Cary
The Narrative Lectionary is a 4-year rotation of readings for worship that begins in the fall in the book of Genesis, covers a different Gospel each year starting just before Christmas, and focuses on different parts of the New Testament from Easter through Pentecost. Learn more in this workshop about the Narrative Lectionary itself, resources for using it, and reasons to try it out.

Growing In Faith – Diakonia
Mr. Doug Wood and Rev. Bob Stark, Diakonia Steering Committee
Diakonia is a faith based in-depth study of the Bible. It is a 12 course, 2 year program of study. Each class is lead by a Rostered Member of the Clergy. Each class meets weekly for 5 weeks, 6 classes per year from September to May meeting for 3 hours via Zoom. These classes are for Faith development of each student.