The eSpirit is a weekly e-newsletter of the Western Iowa Synod
Please join the mission team in prayer:

Congregation of the week
Synod of the week: 
  • ​Congregations in transition    
  • ​Kathy Petersen wife of Rev. Arlo (Pete) Petersen 
  • Rev. Lorene Glant
  • Health of Rostered Leaders
Help us Reach Our Goal!

We are very close to "meeting the mission goals set at Synod assembly 2015!" You can help us meet those goals! Please make sure that your congregation's remittance forms for the 2015-2016 year arrive at the synod office by noon on January 29th. Thanks for your help and support!!
ELCA Advocacy, Washington D.C.
Last week, President Obama gave his final State of the Union address to Congress. As lawmakers across the political spectrum prepare their 2016 legislative agendas, we urge our elected officials to ensure that our nation’s public policies embody Biblical values of peacemaking, hospitality to our neighbors, care for creation, and concern for our brothers and sisters facing poverty and struggling with hunger. See a preview of some of ELCA Advocacy's policy priorities this year by clicking here
Congregational Annual Meetings
Congregational leaders, as many of you are now preparing for your annual meeting please keep these things in mind: 
  • Elect voting members for the WIS Synod Assembly, June 10th - 12th, don't forget youth and young adults!
  • As you approve your budgets, remember the work of the church goes beyond your walls; as many of you heard at the Thankfulness events this fall, there is great ministry happening in the synod and beyond. 
  • Please fill out your congregation's annual report forms or Parochial Report
Office Equipment -

The Konica Minolta bizhub Di1811p is an all-in-one printer, copier, scanner with optional fax capabilities that can be added to meet the ends of an office as it changes. Output of 18 pages per minute. Valued at approximately $750, make an offer.

Low operating cost and high reliability. Capable of printing at high speeds, on a variety of paper stocks, environmentally friendly. High-speed fully automatic digital scanning, thermal screening printing system. Copy of letter/portrait in 25 seconds. Can hold 1000 sheets of paper in the feed tray and receive tray. Valued at $800- $1500. Make an offer.

Both of these great machines are located at:
Bethel Lutheran Church
401 W. Patterson, Box 415, Graettinger, IA 51342
712-859-3366 Or call Pastor Chris @ 515-293-2293
"We are Church Together"

Giving Voice for Iowa Children and Families – Lutheran Day on the Hill
Families living in poverty. Iowa children who go hungry. Former refugees building new lives.
These kinds of issues are rarely the center of attention at the Iowa State Capitol. Let’s change that!
Please consider joining Lutheran Services in Iowa (LSI) and the three Iowa synods of the ELCA for Lutheran Day on the Hill, an annual day of advocacy in Des Moines to uplift the needs of our neighbors.

The event will be held on Wednesday, February 17. Visit for event details, online registration and an online toolkit for your congregation, including how to participate in this year’s congregational letter-writing campaign.

If you are new to advocacy, come learn more about the legislative process and your role as a citizen. If you’ve attended before, join us again. We hope this year’s schedule will also allow you more opportunities to connect with legislators.

LSI is proud to be an affiliated social ministry organization of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA). Learn more at and
Week of Prayer for Christian Unity
January 18-25th
At least once a year, Christians are reminded of Jesus’ prayer for his disciples that “they may be one so that the world may believe” (see John 17.21). Hearts are touched and Christians come together to pray for their unity. Congregations and parishes all over the world exchange preachers or arrange special ecumenical celebrations and prayer services. The event that touches off this special experience is the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity. <More info> 

We encourage you to plan or arrange a special celebration in your community!! 
eSpirit Submissions
If you have a story or event you would like published in the eSpirit, please email it to Lynn by Tuesday at noon!                                  Don't forget to like us on FACEBOOK!!
Western Iowa Synod Events
Shared Ministry Event
Last Chance to Register!!

The Shared Ministry Conference originally scheduled for October 2015 has been rescheduled for January 30th!!   Please share this information with your congregation leaders!

What is a Shared Ministry Event? This is a day for pastors and leaders of congregations who are currently part of a shared ministry to gather and discover:
  •  new ways to partner in ministry
  •  new ways to celebrate and honor different traditions
  •  new ways to build leadership and grow ministry
  • new ways to be church together!

Plan to join us on Saturday, January 30 at Our Saviour's Lutheran Church, Humboldt.
The morning presentation will begin at 10:00 a.m.  Coffee and registration open at 9:30.
The day will conclude and you will be on the road by 4:00.
Cost for the day is $20 / person - this includes lunch.
Presenter will be Mark Yackel-Juleen of Shalom Hill Farm, Windom, MN and adjunct professor at Wartburg Seminary.
To register:  please e-mail Lorna Halaas before January 26th.
Western Iowa Synod Men in Mission Retreat
Where: Ingham Okoboji Lutheran Bible Camp
When:  February 5 and 6, 2016
Cost:    $60.00 Friday night & Saturday and meals;                 $50.00 Saturday only with meals;
              $30.00 Total retreat cost for those under 35               years of age; Scholarships available

The Lutheran Men in Mission will be gathering together at Ingham Okoboji Lutheran Bible Camp near Milford, Iowa. Guest speaker will be Pastor Jeff Ungs, Director for Evangelical Mission and Assistant to the Bishop of the Western Iowa Synod.  The theme is “Doers of the Word”  based on James 1:22. Come and enjoy fellowship with other men, great food and a time to grow in your faith! Registration and more information can be found here!!
WIS Leadership Academy 2016!!
The Leadership Academy is scheduled for February 27th at St Paul in Atlantic &           February 28th at St Mark in Storm Lake. 
Cost: $25/person or $75 per carload, by Feb. 15th. After that the cost will be $30/person with no carload option.

Our guest speaker Bishop Roger Gustafson, Central States Synod, ELCA, will energize and enlighten us with his teachings on Being a Spirit Filled Leader. Workshops will include such topics as: Companion Congregations, Faith Formation, writing devotions, human resources, church council basics, facebook, technology in worship and many more. There will be something for everyone! Check out the website for more detailed information, registration and publicity resources.

We hope you and several people from your congregation will make plans to join us for one of these events!!
Other Events of Interest
A Taste of New Orleans

Emanuel Lutheran Church, 2444 North Broadway, Council Bluffs, will celebrate Mardi Gras, on Sunday, February 7, from 4 to 6 p.m. in the church fellowship hall.

The menu for the celebration features “A Taste of New Orleans”—dirty rice, gumbo, jambalaya, King’s cake and cupcakes, and some American cuisine for those who prefer it. Dixieland music is provided by “Da Band” from Emanuel Lutheran Church.

A silent auction will be held for new donated items and services from church members and local merchants. Games, crafts and other activities will be available for children.
The public is invited to attend. There is no cost for the event, but freewill donations will be accepted for the meal. Written bids will be made for silent auction items and the high bid at 6 p.m. will receive the item up for bid. Proceeds of the event will benefit the Youth and Music ministries of Emanuel Lutheran Church.

RSVP’s will be appreciated and can be made at 712-323-9665. Emanuel Lutheran Church is a congregation Western Iowa Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.
Mineola Heritage Dinner

Saturday, February 13th from 4:30 - 7:00 pm
St John Lutheran Church, Mineola
Featuring Homemade Sausage, Rye Bread and Desserts!
Cost: Adults - $12;  Children ages 5-12 - $6

Rally in the Valley 2016
Spirit in the Desert is proud to co-sponsor Rally in the Valley 2106 and NOW is the time to register. Last year more than 500 participants attended and that is also the maximum this year.
Rally will be held on February 15th and 16th at Prince of Peace Lutheran Church in Phoenix. The theme this year is "Go Into The World" exploring our call to live, work, and share the Gospel story in every corner of the world, especially for those in their "3rd Chapter of Life."  
Rally is a one of a kind, premier, Lutheran Seniors event - this year featuring Bishop Elizabeth Eaton, Presiding Bishop of the ELCA andDaniel Speckhard, President and CEO of Lutheran World Relief.
These two, together with great music and worship with Tom Witt and Mary Preus, interest sessions, Bible studies with Fr. Greg Adolf, good food, and much conversation with old and new friends, will make Rally in the Valley 2106 historic and memorable.
Visit for details, downloadable registration forms, and other useful information.
Call 623-878-3996 if you have questions.
MARCH 6-8, 2016 @ Dubuque
Where leaders in rural communities and congregations gather to gain insight and inspiration, to network and neighbor that our ministries might be empowered. This ecumenical conference includes worship, keynote speakers, workshops, and Bible study, and offers participants a unique opportunity to network with others who are active in and concerned about rural ministry. More info
GROUP - Ministry Training Event
What:  Leadership Training; all denominations welcome!
When:  Saturday, April 2 from 8:00am-3:30pm
Where:  Bethlehem Lutheran Church
            - 300 E Bow Dr, Cherokee
All trainings are led by Group Publishing Staff

To Register: call Bethlehem Lutheran Church 712.225.4969
Registration fee includes lunch!
Experience the Larger Church 

The 500th anniversary of the Reformation is an opportunity to rejoice in the life-giving, liberating power of the gospel. As part of the observance, we invite you to attend the Grace Gathering, in partnership with the 2016 ELCA Churchwide Assembly. This will be an opportunity to experience the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) when gathered as the ELCA Churchwide Assembly, prepare for further observances of the 500th anniversary and reflect on how the Reformation can continue to guide us today. More Info...​
Useful Links
Western Iowa Synod                                 ELCA News
WIS Facebook                                            Living Lutheran
WIS Calendar                                             ELCA Prayer Ventures
eSpirit Newsletter Archive                        ELCA World Hunger
Administration Matters