St John Evangelical Lutheran Church

Grace Enough for Now
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imagine   “Imagination: Open Eyes...Burning Hearts...” is the theme for the 

   Western North Dakota Synod Assembly on June 1-2 (see page 8 for

   details). At this assembly, it will be an honor for me to serve as

   chaplain, which includes leading prayers and participating in worship.

   (Also, I think I wear my collar, so I don’t need to dwell on what to



If you are newer to the Lutheran church, the word synod should puzzle you. “Synod” derives from the two Greek words for “together” and “way”. The Western North Dakota Synod includes 182 ELCA congregations from the Montana border as far east as Bottineau, Harvey, Steele, and Ashley. We are many congregations moving together in the same way. Another definition of “synod” is “walking together”.


If you like to learn about organizations, you may be interested to know the ELCA is an abbreviation of Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. The ELCA is one body organized in thre expressions:  congregations, synods, and the churchwide organization. Churchwide functions with the 65 synods across the country and is guided, in part, by a presiding bishop.


I am very excited one of the leaders of our synod assembly this year is Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton. She will serve as the churchwide representative and she alone is an influential reason to attend the upcoming assembly. She was elected presiding bishop in 2013 and ever since, she has filled the ELCA with imagination.


The tough truth is that Mainline Protestant churches are not known everywhere for imagination. We are better with words like traditional, committees, predictable, and unfortunately, declining. That’s another tough truth. Mainline Protestant churches have been on the decline for as many as 40 years, depending on whose research you read.


I have a hunch that is why our own synodical bishop, Bishop Mark Narum, is getting us together to think about “Imagination: Open Eyes...Burning Hearts...” based on the Road to Emmaus story in Luke 24:13-35. The church that began after Jesus died and rose again looked much different than it does today. Have we mistaken regression for progress? Can we imagine a way to more faithfully walk beside Jesus with open eyes and burning hearts in 2018 and in the years to come?


I sure hope so. I love the church, and not only because it is my “job” to love it. I love the church because the people in it help me to be my better self. The songs we sing and prayers we speak are not our own, but the Spirit’s. We have so much good to do in Jesus’ name in this dreary world by moving together in the same way (synod). I hope you will come to the assembly and help imagine God’s dream for the Christian Church and St. John’s part in it.


Lisa Lewton

Senior Pastor


Handbell Choir rehearsal Thursday, Sep 29 @ 5:30 PM
WORSHIP Thursday, Sep 29 @ 7:00 PM
WORSHIP Sunday, Oct 2 @ 8:00 AM
"GOD'S WORK. OUR HANDS." Sunday, Oct 2 @ 9:30 AM

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SUNDAYS 8:00 am & 9:30 am

9:30 am is also available on

Facebook Livestream &

broadcast on KDIX radio

 WEDNESDAYS:  6:00 pm

Church School Family Worship

 THURSDAYS: 7:00 pm











St John Lutheran Church
146 6th AVE W
Dickinson, ND 58601

Phone: (701) 225-6747
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