The 2024 South Dakota Synod Assembly was held on May 31 – June 1, 2024 at Our Savior’s Lutheran Church in Sioux Falls, SD. Pastors, deacons, lay members, and visitors gathered each day in worship to center ourselves on the necessary work of the church. Assembly participants were invited to celebrate all the ways that we are connected as a Synod and remember all the ways we are connected with each other and with the whole church as the Body of Christ in our mission to share the Gospel of God’s love and forgiveness with the world. In addition to worship and learning, here are some of the highlights of the Synod Assembly:

  • Rev. Norma Malfetti, Director for Evangelical Mission Support in the Christian Community and Leadership Home Area of the ELCA’s churchwide organization, delivered the ELCA report on behalf of our Presiding Bishop, Rev. Elizabeth Eaton. Together, the congregations in the South Dakota Synod made it possible for the synod to share $737,497 with the churchwide organization to support our ministry together. Our deep faith and strong relationships across the ELCA provide the foundation for Mission Support sharing each year. Rev. Malfatti also highlighted the Coaching Ministry of the ELCA, which includes several trained coaches in the South Dakota Synod.
  • Bishop Constanze Hagmaier shared highlights of the past year of Synod ministry, including the $1.1 million grant (titled “Journeying Together in Christ”) the Synod was awarded from Lilly Endowment through its Thriving Congregations Initiative. Bishop Hagmaier updated the Assembly on the progress of the two parts of the grant – the Pasque Learning Community and the Rural Immersion Program. The Bishop highlighted how both of these facets related to the Synod staff’s goal of a ministry of presence and its ongoing efforts to raise up lay and rostered leaders in the Synod. Bishop Hagmaier also invited congregations to think about how they could be a part of raising up leaders in our Synod, including taking advantage of the Buntrock Scholarship opportunity at Augustana University. Finally, she also thanked Pastor Alan Blankenfeld for his service to the Synod as Rural Ministry Liaison and previewed the transition process to call a new Director of Rural Ministry as part of filling the positions created by the Journeying Together in Christ grant award.
  • Instead of a keynote speaker this year, there were three separate panel discussions highlighting the ways we are connected as a synod, as congregations, and as individual members of the synod to different ministries in South Dakota and around the world in the areas of theological education, our Neighbors in Solidarity ministries, and our partnerships through the ELCA with companion synods and our full communion partners.
  • Throughout the assembly, Peter Mayer provided music leadership. A guitarist, vocalist, and songwriter, Peter has been with Jimmy Buffett’s Coral Reefer Band for over three decades. He also follows his own musical path with both national and international tours and has released 20 live and studio albums to date. Over his years in music he has been privileged to share the stage with many bright lights in the music industry including James Taylor, Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, Don Henley, Dave Matthews, and many others.
  • Actions taken by the Synod Assembly include:
    • Election of new South Dakota Synod Council Members and approval of synod committee members.
    • Approval of new compensation and guidelines for rostered and lay staff.
    • The 2025 Mission Plan for the South Dakota Synod was adopted.

Thank you to all who participated in the synod assembly this year! You can watch a replay of the Assembly on our YouTube page. You can view the program of the Ministry Recognition event held on the evening of May 30 here

Here’s a list of the videos shown at the Assembly:

Be sure to mark your calendars for the 2025 Synod Assembly, which will be held from May 30-31, 2025 at Our Savior’s Lutheran Church in Sioux Falls.

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