Bi-weekly eNews for members and friends of the Western Iowa Synod
WIS Resources:

Joining Together in Prayer
Synod of the week: Lower Susquehanna Synod, Bishop                                            James Dunlop, & Staff
Congregation of the week: First Lutheran, Sioux Rapids and                                               Rev. Tonna Parsons
  • Changing hearts in the heartland
  • President Trump, administration and USA
  • Nation Immigration reform, families in turmoil at the border
  • Congregations in transition
  • Rostered leaders in transition
  • Kim and Trudy Peterson   
  • Rev. Melba Smith, at Mercy Hospital in Sioux City
  • Craig Miller, bicycle accident-hospitalized under observation
  • Everyone affected by the wildfires
We are the branches
In her August column for Living Lutheran, Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton, asks, “Is it possible to be Lutheran and an ecumenist?” Yes, of course. For we are “scripturally, confessionally and even constitutionally wired to be an ecumenical church.” 

Read her column in English at 
and in Spanish at

​​Western Iowa Synod 2019 Bishop Election Information--

The Western Iowa Synod will hold the Election of Bishop at its next Synod Assembly, May 4 and 5, 2019.  Electing a bishop is one of the most important responsibilities in the life of a synod in the ELCA.  As an election, it is a process informed by the ELCA Churchwide office and governed by the constitution of the synod.   In the WISynod, the bishop is eligible to serve two consecutive six year terms, and our present Bishop Prois will have served his first term and is eligible for re-election in 2019.

The WISynod Council has formed a Bishop Election Committee to oversee the details of the election process.  This election of a bishop is also a call process where any ordained pastor in the ELCA is eligible.   In these months before the Assembly, you are respectfully invited to prayerfully consider what gifts are needed to match  the needs of the synod in the office of bishop.  

Let’s begin with prayer!
Almighty God, you have given your Holy Spirit to the church to lead us into all truth.  Bless with the Spirit’s grace and presence the people of this Western Iowa Synod as we prepare in the months ahead to elect a bishop.  Keep us steadfast in faith and united in love, that we may manifest your glory and prepare for the way of your kingdom, through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord, Amen.

Please watch for more Information about the process as it will be regularly updated!
Position Openings
Christian Education Director
St. Olaf Lutheran Church of Fort Dodge has an immediate opening for an interim lay minister.  This person will be responsible for oversight of education ministries; other program development will match the candidates skill-set.  This position is for the 2018-19 school year; the candidate can be eligible for a permanent position, but as yet we do not know what the final position will be.  Interested parties please call Pr. Len Halvorson: 605-359-8344.   

ELCA Foundation is searching for a Director of Gift Planning
Key responsibilities are: 1) direct supervision of a national staff of about 20 regional gift planners & 2) Manage the business relationships with ministry partner organizations. Reports to the Executive Vice President of the Foundation. It requires about 30% travel and located in Chicago
Application submitted through the ELCA job board.
ELCA is searching for an Executive Director for Domestic Mission
Brings decisive and visionary leadership, equipping synods and congregations, developing new ministries, & seeking to renew strategic ministries.
Reports to the presiding bishop, requires about 25% travel  & located in Chicago.
Application submitted through the ELCA job board.

Inquiries about these positions may be directed, in confidence, to Gaye Lindfors of Significant Solutions, Inc., the consultant assisting with this search.

Director of Worship and Music (fulltime)

Vinje Lutheran Church is seeking to hire a new Director of Worship and Music. We are looking for someone with great organizational skills, a team player, a good listener, a gifted musician, someone who works well with a variety of ages, and someone who cares for the entire worship life of the congregation.

Interested individuals should review the job description and submit a resume, references, and a video capturing examples of musical leadership (preferably in a worship setting). Materials should be submitted by September 20 to Pastor Justin Ask at
2018 Portico Updates
my Portico is Getting a New Look!

On August 1st, we’ll be refreshing our website to give you an improved experience with easy access to your information and a mobile-friendly design.  You’ll notice the change when it turns from Orange to Blue.

Join Omada® To Build Healthy Habits That Last

Omada is a digital lifestyle change program.  They combine the latest technology with ongoing support so you can make the changes that matter most – whether that’s around eating, activity, sleep, or stress.  It’s an approach shown to help you lose weight and reduce the risks of type 2 diabetes and heart disease.  more than 800 members have enrolled in the Omada® program for those at risk for type 2 diabetes and heart disease, logging a collective 6,411-pound weight loss thus far. If you or your adult family members are at risk for type 2 diabetes or heart disease and covered by ELCA-Primary health benefits, Portico offers the Omada program at no cost to you.  Take a 1-minute health test to see if you’re eligible:

Upcoming Live Webinars

  • 2019 ELCA Medicare-Primary Changes - September 10th from 2-3pm
  • Turning 65 in 2019 - September 25th from 2-3pm
  • Pre-retirement webinar 1: “Can I Afford to Retire?” - October 4th from 2-3pm
  • Pre-retirement webinar 2: “Can I Create a Sustainable Income in Retirement?” -        October 11th from 2-3pm
  • Ready to Retire - November 6th from 1-2:30pm

Register online:  
         Do you have a Parish Nursing Ministry?
Did you see the parish nurses in the hallway at assembly? They were able to use their expertise to answer questions and provide requested services.  We want to thank them for generously giving of their time to be present with us at assembly!

We are now trying to determine which congregations have parish nursing ministries in our synod, and the names of the nurses serving our members.  As we gather this information, we may be able to help organize some networking efforts across the synod.  Please send the name of your congregation, the name of your parish nurse, and contact information (email and phone) to  Carol DeSchepper.  Carol is a former parish nurse coordinator and has expressed a willingness to help coordinate networking efforts.  Send the requested information to or to Carol DeSchepper at First Lutheran Church, 1525 Three Cross Road, Milford, Iowa 51351.  Thank you. 
Western Iowa Synod Upcoming Events
More details about these events can be found on the website at
Pastors Fall Theological Convocation

When: September 16-18
Where: Creighton Retreat Center, Griswold
Cost: $160/person - covers meals, speakers, meeting space,                                    snacks (housing not included)
Lodging:  Creighton University Retreat Center
                  Room prices range from $29 - $35 per night
Speaker:  Rev. Dr. Christian Scharen

Begins with dinner at 6:00 pm on Sunday - Ends with lunch at Noon on Tuesday

Spouses, retired or on leave from call rostered leaders registration fee is also $160/person. More information available on the attached flier.  Please register online with link below or email  Make checks payable to Western Iowa Synod and mail to 318 E. 5th St., Storm Lake, IA  50588.
     More Info Here!                    Register On-line Here!!                 Lodging Contact Here

Please register and reserve housing before September 5!


A New Learning Option for Discipleship Academy

To meet the ongoing need for more pastors in rural synods, many synods are raising up local leaders-providing training to serve congregations as a pastor. These trained leaders are referred to as a SAM – Synodically Authorized Minister, serving at the discretion and with authorization of the bishop.

The Western Iowa Synod and the Discipleship Academy Network have been working for several months to coordinate learning opportunities for those who may feel called to serve the church as a SAM. Serving as a SAM means preaching, worship planning and leadership along with pastoral care.

Please know, participating in these classes does not mean that you will be assigned or expected to serve as a SAM in a congregation. It is a learning opportunity with ongoing discernment.                                                          

Beginning Retreat                                        Continuing Education - 2 Semesters
When: September 21st & 22nd                     Classes: 1 Saturday per month, Oct - May
Where: Lutheran Lakeside Camp                  Cost: $350 per semester
Time: 8 am Sept. 21 - 3 pm Sept. 22

or call the Synod Office at 712-732-4968
Registration deadline is September 18th! 

To register please email

If you have questions please email Pastor Del Olivier at

​                                                     More Details Here

               Peace Not Walls Trip for Young Adults of Color
Join our group of young adults as we visit key sites throughout the Holy Land (including Jerusalem, Bethlehem, and Nazareth).On our journey we will build relationships with local Lutherans and other Christians engaged in the pursuit of peace in the Holy Land.

Date: June 6 - 16, 2019
Estimated Cost: $1,350 (excluding ticket prices)
Application Due: September 1
First Deposit: $400
First Deposit Due: September 20

Travel Flier Here              Questions?  email
              You are Invited to
Pastor David Kebschull's Installation

     Where: St. Mark Lutheran Church
                  1614 W. 5th, Storm Lake
     When:  September 22
     Time:   5:30 p.m. service

Join us for the installation of Rev. David Kebschull as pastor
of St. Mark Lutheran Church in Storm Lake.  Clergy are
invited to vest and process. The color of the day is green

A light supper will follow.  Please call the church office at 712-732-5255 if you plan to attend the supper.   
Hunger Network - We need YOU! 
A revitalized Hunger Network is emerging. As we begin to develop this network, we must acknowledge that hunger is not just a third world problem.  Perhaps you already know that one in five of our Iowa children go to bed hungry each night and that over 2000 children in Iowa are homeless each year (State of Homelessness  Symposium 2015).

Through prayer and action, we can do miracles in this synod.  And we will be fulfilling a mandate from Jesus: “I was hungry and you gave me food, thirsty and you gave me drink…just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.”  (from Matthew 25)

Are you interested in helping the Western Iowa Synod in battling these hunger issues? The ELCA Hunger Team will be facilitating a retreat Nov. 2-3 at Lutheran Lakeside Camp.  We need about 30 dedicated people willing to learn, train, advocate, and commit to 1 year.  Prayerfully consider being a part of this work!   

When: November 2-3                                                  
Where: Lutheran Lakeside Camp                               
Cost: $25               

        More Information Here                                Retreat Registration Here
Join us as Welcoming Congregations and/or
Guardian Angels!!

As we face the plight of migrant minors and separated families, let us join together in love and in being the face of Christ.  To learn more about these vital ELCA programs and how to take part, click here.  For more information or if you have questions, please contact Cindy Wells, WIS Director Global Mission (; 712 732 4968) or Pr. Eric Alm, WIS AMMPARO Network Chair (;  712 541 5035).  
Guardian Angels Training
When: Saturday, September 22, 2018
Where: St. Matthew Evangelical Lutheran Church 
               1725 S. 60th Street, Omaha, NE 68106
Time:  9:30 am - 12:30 pm ​

Guardian Angels is an initiative of the ELCA to accompany migrant minors to immigration court.  The nearest immigration court is in Omaha.  There is not one in Iowa. The Western Iowa Synod is partnering with the Nebraska Synod to provide this training and attend court hearings.

You do not have to be an ELCA member nor speak Spanish to participate as a Guardian Angel, but you do need to attend the training.  Guardian Angels must be able to attend court hearings during the weekday, generally from either 9-11 am or 1-3pm. 

Other Events
August Event at Ingham Okoboji Bible Camp

What: Annual Hog Roast
When: August 26, 2018
Where: Ingham Lake Bible Camp, Wallingford

Join us for the annual Hog Roast and Pie Auction at Ingham Lake Bible Camp! Thanks for the help of the Ingham Auxiliary and other great volunteers, the Hog Roast is a great time to come and celebrate a great summer of ministry at Ingham Okoboji,
and enjoy a delicious meal. Meal is served from 4-6 pm, with our
annual pie auction at 6 pm.

Outreach Nights at Okoboji Bible Camp

Who: 6th—12th graders, their youth leaders, and/or parents
Where: Okoboji Lutheran Bible Camp, 1203 Inwan St., Milford
When: 5:00 PM to 8:00 PM
How much: $3 per person to cover food costs

Outreach Night is an opportunity for those in your 6th through 12th grade youth groups and beyond to join with other youth of all denominations around the area to fellowship, grow in faith, and have fun together!  This provides a chance for great ecumenical fellowship for kids and adults.  An evening of Outreach Night includes dinner, worship, a message, and of course games! Everyone is welcome.

Faith for Energy Equity Workshop
(an Iowa Interfaith Power & Light event)

Energy equity” is when all people are able to access safe and affordable energy.
Unfortunately the most vulnerable members of our communities at home and around the world are being hurt first and worst by our inequitable energy economy. The good news is, there are more equitable pathways forward, and your faith community can help lead the way to a better future.

Faith for Energy Equity is a workshop for faith leaders in Iowa to connect with one another and to imagine practical ways we can work together to ensure safe, clean, and affordable energy for everyone in our communities.

Through conversation we will begin to build collective action to improve the quality of life in your community.  You will leave inspired and empowered to share your learning with your faith community!

When: August 27, 28,or 30 2018
Where: 3 Sessions-register for location nearest you
Time:  9:30 am - 12 pm, followed by lunch
Cost: Workshop & Lunch free of charge

Important: Pre-registration is required.

SIOUX CITY: Monday,  August 27.  Register Here
DES MOINES: Tuesday, August 28. Register Here
WATERLOO: Thursday, August 30. Register Here

          JONATHAN RUNDMAN in concert

            When: September 22, 2018

            Where: Emanuel Lutheran Church
                         2444 N Broadway
                         Council Bluffs
             Time: 7 p.m
             Cost: $15/each

Jonathan's songs can be heard on radio stations across America, in Scandinavia and England, and have been featured on television's Ellen Degeneres Show and CBS This Morning.  This is the last performance on Rundman’s schedule.

Deftly navigating between folk music, garagey rock, sophisticated pop, and Americana, Rundman proves to be one of the country's most ingenious and persistent independent songwriters.  After this he is taking a break from touring to attend seminary this fall.  

All ages welcome. Reserve tickets in advance by calling (712) 323-9665 or register online here:                                                          

Concert Poster
Saints & Sinners Bus Tour    

When: October 12-13, 2018
Brought to you by: Grace Lutheran Church Fort Dodge & Trinity Lutheran Church Webster City

Take three saints (St. Paul, MN, the St. James Hotel and the St. Croix River)...add a hint of history with a twist (a “gangster” guide of underground caves, along with a “Ghosts & Graves” tour of the city)...and you have the ingredients for an unforgettable journey!

Living the Sweet Life - 2018 Administrative Assistant Conferenc

When: Tuesday, September 18, 2018
Where: Gloria Dei Lutheran Church, 8301 Aurora Ave,               Urbandale, Iowa
Time:  8 am - 3:30 pm ​

"How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey
to my mouth."  Psalm 119:130

Today’s world presents many challenges and unexpected changes. We don’t always have control over the events in our lives, but we do have control over our responses to them. Shannon Zetterlund will provide ideas for coping with any type of situation by finding the humor within ourselves. Discover how to shape a positive world by using good humor as a communication tool. ALL ARE INVITED! This is an excellent opportunity for all church office personnel (volunteer or paid), school secretaries, and office managers to rejuvenate enthusiasm for church work.

Addiction & Faith Conference
September 28-30, 2018
Bloomington, Minnesota

Addiction in every form, including the current opioid problem, is ravaging our world. ​
​How will we as people of faith respond?


God's Work. Our Hands. Opportunity at Lutheran Lakeside
We are having a God's Work Our Hands day at Lakeside on September 9th. We are inviting all congregations, families, or individuals to come to camp and help with projects. The day will conclude with an evening meal open to all. More info on the flier, click here!!

Confirmation Renewals
Confirmation is an incredible time of spiritual growth, self learning and scriptural engagement for young people. Here at Lakeside, we are blessed to be able to work with church leaders across the state to create an engaging and fun weekend for youth! Campers participate in 3 days of bible studies, worships, games, team building, and so much more! It's an incredible chance to take a break from the technology driven world we live in, get back to our roots, and renew our love for God and one another.
WHEN: OCTOBER 19-21, 2018 & MARCH 8-10, 2019

eSpirit Submissions
If you have a story, article or pictures to share from your congregation's ministry this summer,
please send to Julie by Tuesdays at noon!
Western Iowa Synod
318 E Fifth St.
Storm Lake, IA 50588