Synod News
Advent Greetings from Bishop Michael Burk
#InThisTogether Blog: Grief and the holidays
By Deacon Heidi Larson

I remember once trying to explain dawn and dusk to my son. He could not grasp that it was not daytime, but also not night. The sun had not yet fully set, but the stars were already visible in the sky; and in the morning, the sun was beginning to rise over the horizon, but he could still see the moon. Was it daytime? Or was it night? His world was divided neatly into categories of day and night, and this time of light and dark coexisting confused him. Searching for words he could understand, I told him that this is the “in between time.” It is the time where we have one foot in the day and the other in the night.

Grief is a time of feeling caught in between. Following a loss, the world no longer fits into neat categories of light and dark, chaos and order. Everything we thought we knew is turned on its head as the person we always imagined would be there is suddenly not. We struggle to find some sense of “normal” all the while knowing that nothing will ever be “normal” again since the world seems to fall to pieces every time we are reminded of what we have lost. This sense of things falling apart seems to be augmented as we approach the holidays. The holidays, we are told, is a time of joy and light and festivity, but, for those trapped in the in-between time of grief, the thought of going through the heirloom ornaments and setting the table for Christmas dinner does not bring forth images of light and merriment. Instead, they are simply more painful reminders of what and who is conspicuously absent...
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Upcoming Events
Save the Date: Lutheran Day on the Hill
Thursday, February 8
9:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.
Training session: Capitol Hill Lutheran Church
Advocacy with legislators: Iowa State Capitol
This free event, sponsored by LSI and the three Iowa synods of the ELCA, is open to anyone who wants to learn more about citizen advocacy.​
Save the Date 
Join others from congregations around the Southeastern Iowa Synod for a day of workshops given by real people making a difference in their community. Get ideas. Be inspired. Renew the church.

When: February 24, 2018

            9 a.m.-2:30 p.m 

Where: First Lutheran Church - Cedar Rapids, Iowa

Agenda:         8:00 am – Registration

                      9:00 – Worship and Opening Remarks

                     10:00 – Workshop #1

                     11:00 – Workshop #2

                     12:00 – Lunch

                       1:00 – Workshop #3

                       2:00 – Closing Worship

Cost: $25 per person with discounts for groups of 4 or more from the same congregation

Registration opens in early December. For more information contact Rev. Erika Uthe, 
Coming soon!​​​​​​​ for Lent 2018
The office of the Bishop is preparing resources for Lent as a way to more fully engage the synod assembly theme. Resources include:
  • worship planning resources
  • faith formation resources-engaging water projects
  • daily devotionals

We invite your congregation to take part in these activities during Lent. Look in eNews, on our website, and social media in the next few days for these resources as you begin planning. If you have questions, please contact Pastor Erika Uthe, Assistant to the Bishop,
You're Invited
Peer Ministry Leadership Conference
The 2018 Peer Ministry Leadership Conference (PMLC) is a great opportunity for you or your group to grow as Christian leaders. The PMLC is a casual, group learning environment focused on participants gaining the knowledge, skills, and experience needed to not just be Peer Ministers, but also to teach the curriculum to others. We are blessed to have Lyle Griner, the author of Peer Ministry with us to lead us for the weekend.

February 17th- 8:30 a.m. - 6 p.m.
February 18th 12:30 p.m. - 5:30 p.m.
Grand View University-Des Moines
Light refreshments provided during the conference.  Participants will be responsible for their own meals. There are several dining options available on and near campus.

Thanks to a wonderful donor the conference is only $40 for the first person from your congregation and $20 for each additional person. Bring a whole team of staff, leaders, and youth! The PMLC is open to anyone high school age and older.

If you have any additional questions, please contact Angie Larson (, the Director of Peer Ministry at Luther Memorial Church and Grand View University.
Register online
Support the mission and ministry of the Southeastern Iowa Synod by making a donation using our secure online donation page.
View the Synod Calendar Online
Mission Support Intent for 2018 

For the sake of doing God’s work in the world, pray God will shape our words to inspire, comfort, give hope, hold each other accountable and invite our neighbor to know God’s mercy and love; enlighten our actions through the word of God, conversations, relationships and encounters with people rather than acting on what we believe is best for them.
More prayers
Below are bulletin sized articles for copying and pasting into your bulletin

December 10-Second Sunday of Advent

A voice cries out: “In the wilderness prepare the way of the Lord, make straight in the desert a highway for our God. Every valley shall be lifted up, and every mountain and hill be made low; the uneven ground shall become level, and the rough places a plain. ~Isaiah 40:3-4

What is in the way of your path to God? Is it other little gods like money, material items, or distractions? The call is to clear these obstacles from our path and simplify. Think of how straight and smooth your life might be when God is given top priority and the obstacles put into proper perspective.

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.