Don't miss out on the many great stories, opportunities and events in and around the synod that are listed below!  Please share this information with your congregational secretaries and congregational members via your bulletin, facebook page, email, etc, and invite and encourage them to attend the events as We Are Church Together!! 

Synod of the week: Eastern Washington-Idaho Synod, Bishop Martin Wells
Congregation of the week: St. Mark Lutheran, Sioux City and Rev. David Halaas
  • President & Government
  • Congregations in transition
  • Rostered leaders in transition
  • Pastors Kim & Trudy Peterson as they address Trudy's health concerns
  • Daniel Holste - recovering from surgery
  • Courtney Davis, Papua New Guinea, Wycliffe Bible Translators
  • IELCH, Bishop Izani Bruch, President and congregations as they struggle through difficulties in structure and leadership

In This Issue:

Retirement Planning for Singles
Thu, Apr 27, 2017 11:00 AM - 12:00 PM CDT.  
We’ve heard from many of our single plan members that you want more information about retirement planning that relates specifically to you. Join us as we explore the challenges and opportunities of retiring as a single person. We’ll discuss some specific areas of retirement planning where singles differ from their married counterparts. We’ll hear from a panel of retired, single plan members about their current experiences in retirement – what they did well in planning and what they wish they would have done better.  Register here!

Is Your Congregation Participating in the Medical Initiative? Let's fill another truck!!

The Western Iowa Synod Companion Synods Medical Initiatives Network is once again striving to enhance health and wholeness for our brothers and sisters in Christ in Tanzania. In conjunction with Global Health Ministries, an organization that collects, refurbishes, warehouses, and redistributes any and all sorts of medical supplies and equipment to Lutheran health facilities in the developing world, WE WILL OPEN DOORS! 

Our Saviour's Lutheran in Humboldt is planning to assist in this great medical initiative. Daniel Holste and a team of members will solicit & gather medical supplies and materials for Newborn & Hospice kits from parishioners and the community. The team will solicit volunteers to make stocking caps and receiving blankets for Newborn kits; they will also assemble both kits and package for shipping. The seed money for this endeavor was received through Thrivent Action Team Monies. Daniel filled out an application and within a few days received confirmation that this project was approved. Each Thrivent benefit member can apply for two $250 Action Team grants per year. What a great way for your congregation to come together as a team for a project that will benefit people around the world. Thank you Daniel for taking the initiative to get your congregation excited to take action and be involved in this project.

Please encourage your congregation to take part in this endeavor and consider applying to Thrivent for some seed money to get started. We look forward to seeing how the Spirit moves amongst the congregations of the Western Iowa Synod as we take action, We Are Church Together!! More information about the medical initiative here!
ELCA Advocay - You are Making a Difference

Dear Friend,
Your calls are making a difference and there is now bi-partisan opposition to the American Health Care Act.  The Congressional Budget Office estimates that nearly 24 million low-income working families could lose health care coverage if this legislation is signed into law.  If you haven’t called your Representative, the House is expected to vote today!  You can reach your Representative at 202-225-3121.
I thought you might also be interested in this letter from our Presiding Bishop, Elizabeth Eaton on this important legislation.  You can read more here. Thank you for your action to make difference.
Yours, In Christ,
The Rev. Amy Reumann, Director of Advocacy, ELCA
Opportunity to Host
                      International Students
Currently in the Western Iowa Synod are Iowa Resources for International Students (IRIS) who hail from foreign places who have shared their stories and their hearts with us.  The program was created in 2002 by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA).  It was developed to help young people understand that Christians and Muslims can live in peace, respect one another’s religion and develop common goals for community improvement in their home countries. In addition to attending school, students live with volunteer host families and engage in volunteer service and participate in activities to learn about American society, acquire leadership skills and help educate Americans about their country and culture.  This year in the synod, there are two from Palestine and one from Tanzania.  Through our sharing and growing to know one another we have been enlightened, informed, impassioned, and stirred to action.  Best of all, we have made new friends who we have come to love.  Might you feel called to engage in this program and host a promising, lovely student in the year ahead?  If so, check out the IRIS Youth Exchange Scholarship program!   More info here!
Reformation 500
Reformation Resources
Please check out the Reformation 500 Facebook page for more ideas and upcoming events!!  You can also logon to the website here, for upcoming Reformation events, resources and news!! If your congregation is planning a Reformation event or activity please let us know!! Send pictures and information to Lynn at Lynn.egesdal@wisynod.org

Many Great Reformation Ideas Can be Found on Pinterest!!
Wondering how to teach toddlers about the Reformation or looking for party ideas to celebrate the Reformation? Look no farther!! Yes, Pinterest has thousands of ideas!! Click here for many great ideas!!
Chrism Mass for Rostered Leaders
What is a Chrism Mass?
A Chrism Mass is a service held during Holy Week and presided over by a synodical bishop. At this unique liturgy, the blessing of oil is coupled with a renewal of vows for rostered leaders. The traditional day for this service is Maundy Thursday (when some traditions believe the first ordinations took place). In some places (especially in geographically large synods), bishops make provision for several chrism masses throughout the synod to enable all rostered leaders to participate. Here are the scheduled Chrism Masses for the Western Iowa Synod, all will begin at 10 am:

April 7      St. Paul, Treynor
April 10    Immanuel, Akron
April 11    Grace, Ft. Dodge

Following the Chrism Mass, we invite those interested, to eat together at a local restaurant!
Spring Fling Administrative Assistant's Gathering
When: Wednesday, April 19th, 9:30 am - 2:30 pm
Where: Western Iowa Synod Office
318 E Fifth St, Storm Lake
Who: Church Administrative Assistants
Cost: $20 on or before April 10th, $25 after April 10th
Pastors and Council Presidents, Administrative Assistant's Day is Wednesday, April 26th, why not register and send your admin. asst. to the Western Iowa Synod's Spring Administrative Assistants Gathering the week before. It will be a great day of learning, laughing, sharing ideas, and enjoying the fellowship of one another!! 
Flier w/registration
Register On-line Here

Boundaries Workshop for Rostered Ministers

When: Thursday, April 20   10:00 – 4:00

Where: Boulders Conference Center – Denison, Iowa

Cost:  $35

As people who work with people, we know the importance of relationships. We also know that healthy relationships depend upon clear and respectful boundaries. Rostered ministers especially need thoughtful and consistent training around boundaries because of the variety of their relationships. The ELCA requests that each synod review boundaries and expectations with rostered leaders every three years. If you have questions please contact Rev. Lorna Halaas at Lorna.halaas.rev@wisynod.org.  or Register Here!

The Fort Dodge Forum Spring 2017 Schedule
The Forum meets at Grace Lutheran Church, Fort  Dodge. 

Forums begin at 9:30 am with coffee and fellowship.  The program runs from 10 until noon.  A catered meal (about $8) is available to conclude the event at noon.The Forum costs $40 per session, payable at the time of the forum. Join us for another year of learning together as we strive to lead our congregations into God's future. Complete schedule can be found here!
Rostered Ministers Gathering - Registration is Open
August 7-10, 2017 in Atlanta, Georgia
Early Registration is March 1- May 31 @ $245 (includes meals but not lodging)
Registration June 1- July 23 @ $295  (includes meals but not lodging)  More info here!
Assembly - June 9-11, 2017
Theme: We Are Lutheran: Opening Doors
The Western Iowa Synod's Annual Assembly will be here in less than three months. Please watch this area of the eSpirit for Assembly News and updates. You can also find many resources and information on our website!  Click here to access the assembly webpage!!
Faith, Science, and the Freedom to Serve
5th Annual Faith Conference at Gustavus Adolphus College
When: Saturday, April 22, 2017
Time: 9:30 am-12:30 pm
Speakers: Dr. Philip Clayton and Rev. Siri Erickson
This year's Faith Conference will explore the creative alliances being built between religion and science in order to address the world's most pressing challenges. More info and registration here!
57th Summer Institute for Church Leaders with Rev. Dave Daubert
When: July 10-13, 2017
Where: Gettysburg Seminary
Cost: Depends on option you choose
Renewal in our Congregations through Spiritually Grounded Change to be Re-Rooted in our Communities. More info and registration here!

July 21-23, 2017 - Minneapolis, MN
The BOLD GATHERING is a weekend for men to come together to learn, to worship, to network, and be equipped to BOLDY live out their faith! We are proud to announce our friend and artist who will be at the BOLD Gathering! William Butler, nationally known artist!!
ELCA Women's Gathering
The Tenth Triennial Gathering
When: July 13-16, 2017
Where: Minneapolis Convention Center, Minneapolis, Minn
Theme: "All Anew"

*If you are interested in transportation to the Women's Gathering a bus has been secured and will make stops in Atlantic, Carroll, and Storm Lake. If you would like to participate please contact one of the coordinators as soon as possible!! More information and contact information can be found here!!
Okoboji Outreach - Hoonting
For 6th - 12th graders
When: Sunday, April 2nd - 5 - 8 pm
Where: Okoboji Lutheran Bible Camp
Cost: $3 for food
This is an evening of worship, food, fellowship and FUN!!  Contact Dan at dan@okoboji.org or 1-800-OKOBOJI to RSVP or with questions!!
And Many More Upcoming Events:

25th Annual Festival of Homiletics, May 15-19, 2017

“Preaching on the Borders” is the theme for the 25th Annual Festival of Homiletics, which will be held in San Antonio, TX,May 15-19, 2017. Presenters include: Rob Bell; Nadia Bolz-Weber; Barbara Brown Taylor; Walter Brueggemann; Adam Hamilton; Rolf Jacobson; Bishop Craig Satterlee; Will Willimon; and more.  For details, visit www.festivalofhomiletics.com or call (651) 523-1645

WIYLDE, June 11-14, 2017, Luther College, Decorah, Iowa
High school youth from ELCA congregations are invited to the Wholly Iowa Youth Leadership Discipling Event June 11-14 at Luther College in Decorah. This annual camp is designed to help high school youth learn how to become future leaders of the church. WIYLDE offers three tracks designed to give in-depth knowledge and training on a particular type of leadership. The teens will meet in small groups to discuss and put into action what they learn.  More info here!

“Rise, Remember Well the Future,” July 10-13
Celebrate the treasures of the last 500 years and look to the future and God’s covenant of faithfulness in all that is yet to be. Opening worship will be held at Saint Olaf College, site of the constituting ALCM convention in 1986. In plenaries led by Chad Fothergill, Daniel Schwandt, and Mary Louise Bringle, we will reflect on the changing role of the cantor—the leader of the church’s song—as we move confidently into a future blessed by our heritage and full of many changes in the church and its music. More info and registration here...

ELCA Rostered Leaders Gathering, August 7-10, 2017

The first ever ELCA Rostered Leaders Gathering will be held in Atlanta, GA, August 7-10, 2017. The theme will be “On the Way Together” and will feature worship, education and fellowship. For details, click here; or call 1 (800) 638-3522; ext. 2552.
Quick Links
Western Iowa Synod
318 E Fifth St.
Storm Lake, IA 
712.732. 4968