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

Congregation of the week: Faith Onawa--Pastor Joel Gueningsman 
Synod of the week: Oregon Synod, Bishop David Brauer-Rieke
  • ​Congregations in transition    
  • ​Kathy Petersen wife of Rev. Arlo (Pete) Petersen 
  • Rev. Lorene Glant
  • Rev. Terry Mahnke, health concerns
  • Health of Rostered Leaders in general
  • LSSI
2016 Tanzania Youth Travelers and Chaperones

Pictured L to R: Shelby Kroona (Chaperone),  Kamren Neddermeyer, Alex Hooker, Isabelle Hooker, Jenee Eden, Hanna Lara, Andrea Blocker, Maleah Kleve, Zoe Fiedler, Kylie Mongan, Rev. Mike Kroona, and Katie Hare (chaperones). These youth and chaperones will meet together with Cindy Wells and Bishop Prois two more times before their trip to learn about the culture in Tanzania, what to pack, to get to know each other better, and then for a sending, approximately a month before they leave. Please keep them all in your prayers as they prepare for this amazing experience.
2016 Assembly News/Updates
Assembly Updates

The 2016 Western Iowa Synod Assembly is scheduled for June 10th - 12th. Preparations have been underway and we are excited as we move forward with the planning and the theme of "We Are Church Together"! 

One of our special guests will be Bishop Dave Brauer-Rieke from our sister synod of Oregon. Bishop Brauer-Rieke will be offering a message during our opening worship on Friday. Read more about Bishop Brauer-Rieke here.

Watch this area of the eSpirit for special assembly announcements and updates. Information and forms will also be available on the synod's website on the 2016 Assembly page

  • Online registration will begin on April 1st, and that's no joke!
  • Resolutions need to be in by April 4th
  • Assembly offering will go towards fulfilling our Hunger Resolution
Spread the love this Valentine's Day

This year, the first Sunday in Lent falls on Valentine’s Day. Share the love by hosting a Valentine’s Day fundraiser in support of ELCA World Hunger and causes that you care about. Order or download special ELCA Good Gifts grams, like "Hogs 'n' Kisses!" and offer them before or after worship as a way to celebrate the holiday. Get kids involved with special coloring sheets. Money raised counts toward ELCA World Hunger’s 40 Days of Giving to help end hunger here at home and around the world. 
Order ELCA Good Gifts grams | Download coloring sheets and ELCA Good Gifts grams.
40 Days of Giving
It’s not too late for you or your congregation to join ELCA World Hunger’s 40 Days of Giving. Beginning Sunday, Feb. 7, ELCA World Hunger is challenging ELCA members to come together through new levels of giving – spiritually, intellectually and financially. Our goal is to reach $2 million by Easter Sunday, March 27. Sign up to participate and receive an exclusive 40-day Lenten devotional, a six-week study guide, a special certificate recognizing your efforts and more.

Sign up today!
"We are Church Together"
Pastor for Children/Youth/Family Installed
Celebrating the installation of Pastor Andy Nelson - pastor for Children/Youth/Families ministry at St. Mark . . . front row: Ryan Russell from Morningside College, Lorna Halaas from Western Iowa Synod ELCA, Pastor Andy, Bishop Rodger Prois from Western Iowa Synod ELCA, Rebekah Elder (working with Pastor Andy and Pastor David Halaas in Children/Youth/Families ministry at St. Mark), and Pastor David Halaas. back row: Tim Bonney from Grace United Methodist, Jeff Ungs from Western Iowa Synod ELCA, Jay Denne from St. Luke Lutheran/St. Thomas Episcopal, Jerry Crow from St. Luke Lutheran. (Thanks to Lynette Flynn for photo!)
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
Pastors and Congregational Office Administrators, please note that many of these events have fliers or posters to be hung and/or bulletin inserts that can be printed off for distribution to your congregation. Please help us get the word out about these upcoming events! More information can also be found at the link by the event below or on our website 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!!
ConFest 2016 Will be Here Soon!!
April will be here before we know it!! Make plans to bring your confirmation students to a fun filled, worshipful experience, with other confirmation students from around the synod. They will get a glimpse of what it means to be church together and learn what it means to "Be Faithful Friends". This is a repeat event of last fall, so if you attended one of those, please let others have opportunity to attend one of these events. Registration will open on March 1st!! Dates and locations can be found on the poster below!
ConFest Poster
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
Marriage Retreat - February 12-14th
Whether you’ve been married 26 years or just one year, life happens. Things change. We change. How can your marriage adapt? Join us and take time to laugh, remember, and re-vision your marriage together. Join us for a weekend! Come, get away. Relax and let the tension go. Focus on what you want your marriage to be. Go home renewed. Guest speakers are Laura and Kyle Fever. This retreat will be held at Okoboji Lutheran Bible Camp.  More here...

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 and Daniel 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.
2016 Gudina Tumsa Theological Forum, “Looking Back, Aiming Ahead: God’s Mission Unfolding in the Missional Church,” at LSTC February 26 and 27

Theologians and scholars from Africa, Europe and the Americas will reflect on the development of mission and the church in Ethiopia at the 2016 Gudina Tumsa Theological Forum on February 26 and 27 at the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago (LSTC), 1100 East 55th Street, Chicago.

“Looking Back, Aiming Ahead: God’s Mission Unfolding in the Missional Church” will trace the unfolding of God’s plan in the life of the European missionaries that reached Ethiopia with the Gospel. It also looks at the role of indigenous leaders to further spread this Gospel as well as the current life and ministry of the Ethiopian Evangelical Church Mekane Yesus (EECMY) and its vision to reach out to the whole world in the twenty-first century. The forum will be a reflection of what Andrew Walls calls “reciprocal mission”—the missional endeavor of churches in the Global South to reach out to people  and churches in other parts of the world (especially the west) as they were once objects of mission. More here...
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                          Ingham Okoboji Lutheran Bible Camp
WIS Facebook                                            Living Lutheran                    Lutheran Lakeside Camp
WIS Calendar                                             ELCA Prayer Ventures
eSpirit Newsletter Archive                        ELCA World Hunger
Administration Matters