Continuing Education

The Saint Paul Area Synod strives to provide affordable continuing education for leaders in all stages of their ministry. This includes annual, periodic and ongoing programming so that every rostered minister continues to learn new skills and perspectives for serving the church. We draw on the rich, local resources of the Twin Cities as well as nationally recognized leaders and experts. Please refer to the calendar on this website for current offerings.

Bishop’s Theological Conference

The Bishop’s Theological Conference is typically held in early to mid-October outside of the Twin Cities as a time for active rostered leaders to connect, relax and learn. Outside speakers lead us in topical and text studies for this multi-day event.


The synod offers ministeriums twice each year for rostered leaders to gather for education and worship. Click here to view photos from our 2023 Spring Ministerium, held at St. Paul Reformation. The fall ministerium is typically held in conjunction with the Minneapolis Area Synod. Click here for photos from our 2022 Fall Ministerium at Luther Seminary.

First Call Theological Education

For rostered leaders in the ELCA, First Call Theological Education (FCTE) is mandatory for the first three years. Our program seeks to encourage a balance between the development of peer and mentor relationships, a life of engagement in the synod and wider church, and a habit of lifelong learning. Participants, ministry sites and the synod sign a covenant to demonstrate our mutual commitment to your becoming a healthy, sustainable leader in the ELCA.

Second Act Theological Education

Thanks to a sustainability grant awarded from the Lilly Foundation’s Thriving in Ministry Initiative, our “From the Center Outward” cohort program for rostered leaders in their fourth through tenth years in ministry continues. Each year, a cohort of up to 10 rostered ministers begins an 18-month time of shared reflection on the idea that healthy and sustainable ministry starts within. Together and with the assistance of mentors and skilled facilitators, the cohort explores the power of the ongoing development of a capacity for deep reflection on one’s life and the world; a practice of lifelong and intentional study of scripture; a growing ability to work gracefully with lay leaders; and commitment to a disciplined curiosity about context, people and self.

Boundary Training

Following Jesus into a changing world requires a commitment to developing and modeling healthy boundaries in all areas of life. Boundary education is required for all rostered ministers in the Saint Paul Area Synod at least once every five years. You can meet this requirement in 2024 by participating in one of two learning options. Choose one that meets your financial and time realities and learning goals.



Exploring Personal & Communal Boundaries
Thursday, April 25 – 9 a.m.-3 p.m. | St. Michael’s, Roseville

The morning includes foundational understandings of boundaries and power along with conversation on harassment, mandated reporting and self-care. The afternoon will be a deep dive into implicit bias.

Led by Deacon Krista Lind and Bishop Patricia Lull of the Saint Paul Area Synod, and Anna Stamborski, director of strategic partnerships at Faith & Prejudice. Cost: $40 including lunch. Open to rostered ministers from any ELCA synod.




Other Boundary Learning + 1 Hour Group Meeting with Bishop Lull over Zoom on Tuesday, Dec. 10 – 2:00 p.m.

Part 1: There are a number of regional and national organizations that offer online boundaries training. Complete trainings prior to meeting with Bishop Lull.

Part 2: On Tuesday, December 10 at 2:00 p.m., meet via Zoom with Bishop Lull and other boundary learners to share what you have learned, hear what others have learned and talk about expectations for rostered leaders in the synod.

NOTE: Open only to pastors and deacons rostered in the Saint Paul Area Synod.

Submit certificate or other documentation of completion of the online course to and attend the Zoom meeting to meet boundaries requirement.


Learning Cohorts for Rostered Ministers

As a metro area synod, we have many opportunities to gather, and we do so often. But, however valuable a one-day workshop can be, a life in ministry is also replete with questions and demanded skills that need more time to develop. To help address this need, we offer several sustained small group studies of a critical question or aspect of ministry, designed to teach us and help us live further into our callings. The topics change frequently and we strive to offer opportunities for our leaders to learn with and from one another under the guidance of exceptional facilitators. Many of our learning cohorts are subsidized by the synod, a reflection of our commitment to providing ongoing access to the wealth of experience and resources already present in the Twin Cities.

Past cohort topics have included pastoral care for mental health, becoming an effective supervisor, stewardship, contemplative practices, reading women theologians, conflict and resilience, consensus building and more.

Suggestions Welcome!

With questions or comments about any of these learning opportunities (including a suggestion for a topic or facilitator), contact Leslie Ortiz, executive assistant to the bishop, at