Synod News
Thursdays in Black 
“In every country, gender-based violence is a tragic reality. This violence is frequently hidden, and victims are often silent, fearing stigma and further violence. We all have a responsibility to speak out against violence, to ensure that women and men, boys and girls, are safe from rape and violence in homes, schools, work, streets – in all places in our societies.” ~ World Council of Churches 

As the church, and in response to God’s gifts of forgiveness, grace, and love, we are called to work to dismantle these harmful systems and to work for justice and peace. This work is not for the faint of heart, as it goes against centuries of teaching and a system that is deeply entrenched in our culture. But we do not do this work alone.

We are joined by those who have also signed on to the World Council of Churches Thursdays in Black campaign. We join with the saints who have gone before us and inspired the campaign: the mothers of the disappeared in Argentina, the women in Israel and Palestine who wear black to protest the violence happening even now, the women who wore black sashes to protest apartheid in South Africa, and the women in Rwanda and Bosnia who protested the use of rape as a weapon of war. Knowing that we are #inthistogether and strengthened with the gifts of the Spirit we press on making the world safer for all of God’s children.
Read the full article and see ways you can participate
FreeIndeed Pastoral Transition

The Outside Council for FreeIndeed Prison Congregation has announced the resignation of Pastor Jerry Collell. Starting with a dream and a signed piece of paper over two years ago, Pastor Jerry began the ministry within the walls of the Anamosa State Penitentiary and has since built a worshipping community, visitation within the prison, a network of volunteers, and a passion for reaching those inside the walls with the gospel message of Jesus Christ.

“While I remain in full support of the need and value of this program in Anamosa State Penitentiary and fully endorse the goals and strategies of the Prison Congregations of America, I am not at this time in a position to continue as their Pastor. I have been deeply enriched by this experience and pray for its continuance and development…My love for the Body of Christ in the SEIA Synod and their commitment to Prison Ministry is undiminished.” Pastor Jerry Collell

Lori Nietert, Outside Council Chair and member of First Lutheran in Cedar Rapids, said of Pastor Jerry and the ministry, “We are sad to see Jerry go but are confident that God is continuing to call us in ministry within the walls of the prison.”

The foundation for this still-fledgling ministry has been laid and through partnerships with individuals, congregations, the Southeastern Iowa Synod, Prison Congregations of America, and many more, this ministry will continue to bring the gospel and change lives for future inmates and visitors.

To see the work of the ministry and help support the congregation during this time of transition, visit our website:

Constitution Updates and Congregation Files at the Synod Center for Ministry
The Office of the Secretary of the ELCA has released the 2019 amendments to Model Constitutions for Congregations. Find these and the guide for use here.

Additionally, the staff at the Office of the Bishop of the Southeastern Iowa Synod are working to ensure that congregational files are in the best shape possible. In the coming months, we will be contacting congregations asking for your help in securing what are considered “vital records” for your congregation.

You will receive a document that identifies whether or not we have on file the sorts of things for which we are expected to maintain in your congregation’s file. Please review the listing and at your earliest convenience, send the documents you can locate that will assist us in making your congregation’s file complete.

If you have any questions or concerns, feel free to contact Kathy Smith, Associate for Administration at or 319-338-1273.
Churchwide News 
Portico Updates
Annual Enrollment for plan members will have from Oct. 29- Nov. 13 to make your selections. Note: If you’re part of a sponsored couple, a call to the Customer Care Center can help you navigate some of the trickier details. Sign into MyPortico to learn more.


Innovation Brings Low 2020 Health Rate Increase and More Support: If you haven’t read about changes coming in 2020 to the ELCA Benefits Plan, click here to learn more.

ELCA Primary Health Plan Wellness Dollars:
Plan members have until Nov. 30 to earn up to $400 wellness dollars that can be used for medical expenses. If your spouse is also on the health plan, they can, too. If you have already started earning, don’t forget to complete your activities. If you haven’t yet started, now is the time to begin. Click here to learn more.

Upcoming Events
Synod Book Club -Nov 19
Join others from around the Southeastern Iowa Synod for online discussions on books related to our shared ministry. All discussions will include an introduction and a time to discuss the book with a small group of people from around the synod via video conference. The second book club discussion will be November 19 on Growing Young. 
More information
Fall Network Gathering 
Join the Southeastern Iowa Children and Youth Ministry network for their Fall Network Gathering. These gathering days are to make connections with people in children/youth ministries and to share ideas and resources to enhance various ministries in congregations and throughout the synod. Whether you are full-time, part-time, a rostered leader, staff, or volunteer, you are welcome.
Thursday, November 7
9:30 am -2:00 pm
Synod Center for Ministry
Iowa City
Free (lunch donation $5 payable at the door)
More information and RSVP
You're Invited
We Refuse to Be Enemies
Daoud Nassar, director of the Tent of Nations, located on the Nassar family farm in the West Bank, which has become an international peace center will be speaking about his story and work. The tour encompasses several stops in southeastern Iowa. Learn more

Personal, Cultural, and Spiritual Aspects of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder - Iowa City

Mental Health Presentation​

Saturday, November 2 | 9 - 11 a.m.
Zion Lutheran Church, Iowa City | Main Floor Parish Hall​

Do you know someone suffering from the effects of a traumatic experience in their life? Would you like to learn more about PTSD and how to support those affected by it? Please bring your questions on November 2.

The presenter is Thomas H. Wassink, MD, Professor, Dept. of Psychiatry, University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine and the Iowa City VA Hospital.  Dr. Wassink's talk will begin with a description of military PTSD, move on to how this disorder affects societies that engage in military conflict, and conclude with how the Judeo-Christian story illuminates God caring for humankind as a traumatized society.​

Invite a friend. All are welcome. Coffee and snacks will be provided.

Support the mission and ministry of the Southeastern Iowa Synod by making a donation using our secure online donation page.
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Give thanks for the message of the apostle Paul — which had a profound impact on Martin Luther and the foundational beliefs of our church — that we are all flawed and broken human beings yet are reconciled to God by God’s gift of mercy and love in Jesus Christ. 
More prayers
Announcements that appear in this newsletter may be copied and reproduced by congregations of the Southeastern Iowa Synod in whole or in part without permission. Please credit authors if they are credited within this newsletter.