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
  • Rev. Terry Mahnke, health concerns
  • Jolene Mapel, Kay Broich's mom, whose health is failing
2016 Assembly News/Updates

Date: June 10th - 12th.
Theme: "We Are Church Together"! 
Theme verse: Ephesians 4:11-13
Location: Omaha Marriott, 10220 Regency Cir., Omaha, NE 68114; Phone 402-399-9000

Rooms will be available to reserve at the Omaha Marriott for just $99/night. Please call and let them know that you are a part of the Western Iowa Synod event that is being held there. An example of a guest room is to the left. All rooms just received new mattresses and flat screen TVs and all have a mini refrigerator and coffee maker. There's a fitness room, indoor/outdoor pool, complimentary WiFi in the rooms and meeting area and also complimentary local shuttle within a 5 mile radius. 

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
2016 GO! Challenge: Make Change That Lasts

Have you taken the Go Challenge? What better time than the season of Lent to make some changes in your life that will last and make you better for it!!  More here...
Introducing Practice Discipleship 2016:                               Wonder
Psalm 77:11- “I will call to mind the deeds of the Lord; I will remember your wonders of old.” NRSV

We live in a world where we often Wonder about who God is and what God does in the world. Those questions about God are even louder for the youth that we walk alongside. Practice Discipleship 2016 draws us back into wondering.

This year’s curriculum invites us to wonder anew what the almighty can do and does through the gift of the Holy Spirit. We’ll wonder with children and youth about creation, creativity, confirmation, prayer, service learning, and the church. We’ll do this knowing that our God is calling us into relationship. Join us and be a part of this wonder.

Our synod's practice discipleship coach is Kandi Anderson. If you would like more information about what Practice Discipleship is click here!!
Devotions for Lent

Still looking for a Lent devotional? Here is one you can check out from members of Emmanuel Lutheran in Council Bluffs entitled "The Gift of the Psalms". We hope you enjoy this one, or whatever other Lenten devotional you have decided to use!! Blessings as you continue on your Lenten journey!

This is also available on Amazon!
"We are Church Together"
551 POUNDS of FOOD!!
Youth from Bethany, Emmetsburg and Lost Island, Ruthven held a 30 hour famine event in early January. As part of that event they put together a food drive that ended last week and brought in 551 pounds of food for the upper Des Moines food shelf in Emmetsburg. Way to go youth and adult leaders!! Please remember to report your poundage of food that you collect for local food pantries or ministries to Pastor Ungs or Lynn as we all work together to meet our Hunger Resolution goal AND to collectively gather and donate 100,000 pounds of food or its monetary equivalent to area food banks in our synod between the culmination of the 2015 WIS Assembly and the end of 2016 fiscal year, Jan. 31, 2017.  We can do this!! We are church together!!!
Pastor Emeritus

At Trinity’s annual congregational meeting January 31, the Western Iowa Synod and Trinity Lutheran Church bestowed the title “Pastor Emeritus of Trinity Lutheran Church” on recently retired pastor, Paul Wiegman. Pictured is congregation council president Marty Domek and Trinity’s Intentional Interim Pastor Peter Rosenkvist presenting the plaque to Pastor Paul Wiegman. Pastor Paul retired May 31, 2015 after serving as a Lutheran pastor for 46 years, the last 43 years at Trinity Lutheran Church in Estherville, IA.
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,
9:15 am - 3:15 pm
February 28th at St Mark in Storm Lake, 2 - 8 pm
Cost: $30/person 

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. 
You may register online here through Tuesday, Feb. 23rd!! After that date you must call the office to register. 712-732-4968

We hope you and several people from your congregation will make plans to join us for one of these events!! Why not bring your whole church council or other church leaders!!
Bulletin Insert
ConFest 2016 Will be Here Soon!!

April 6th - St John in Carroll, 6:00 - 8:15 pm
April 13th - St John in LeMars, 6:00 - 8:15 pm

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!! 
ConFest Poster
Other Events of Interest
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!
PSST Retreat: “Resiliency in Pastoral Ministry”

This event will be Thursday, April 14 – Friday, April 15 at the Green Lake Bible Camp, Chrysalis House. Please see attached flyer for retreat schedule, registration costs and speaker info. This event is designed for pastors serving in settings with other pastors.
Registration will open this Friday, Feb. 12, 2016.
Registration deadline is April 6, 2016. 
Questions about registration, please contact Kristin Bakeberg at the synod office, 507-637-3904.
Retreat Flyer
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...​
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