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

Congregation of the week: Trinity Sioux City, Rev. Paul Johnston
Synod of the week: Southwest Minnesota Synod, Bishop Anderson
  • ​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
  • Rev. Delmar Carlson
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

Youth and Young Adults at Assembly: Each congregation is allowed a specified number of lay voting members contingent on baptized membership. Each congregation is also allowed one youth and one young adult voting member. More may attend, but must register as a visitor. Click here for voting membership guidelines.

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
ELCA Radio Program

Hour of Hope. This 30 minute ELCA weekly radio program sharing God’s promises in word and music patterned after a traditional Lutheran worship service is available on the following stations heard in Iowa:

KFIL 1060 AM &101.1 FM Preston, MN Sundays 10:30 AM
WNAX 570 AM Yankton, SD Sundays 7:30 AM
KTOE 1420 AM Mankato, MN Sundays 5:25 PM
KWOA 730 AM Worthington, MN Sundays 8:00 AM
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...
"We are Church Together"
WIS Lay School and LYO Connect
Last weekend our Synod's LYO (Lutheran Youth Organization) met for an overnight meeting at Bethlehem Lutheran Church in Cherokee. There were 6 youth present along with 4 adult leaders. The agenda for the meeting included planning for the synod assembly, when and where to have the Jr High youth gathering and we also formed a mission statement. On Friday morning the Western Iowa Synod third year class, Pastoral Care, taught by Rev. John Syvertsen and Rev, Cara Knutson, also met at the church. During their morning break we brought the two groups together to learn about each other's purpose and why each person wanted to be there. It was great for the youth to see that you are never too old to learn or be involved in ministry and they were encouraged to continue on their ministry path after they graduate from high school.

If you have active youth in your congregation that have shown leadership qualities or that you think would benefit from being a part of the synod's LYO please have them apply to be a part of this organization. We again have several seniors that will be going off after the assembly and need more youth to fill these spots. You can find an application here or if you have any questions you may contact Heidi Church or Lynn Egesdal
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!

Road to Repayment - webinar

Paying off student loans can feel impossible, like pushing a boulder up a mountain! As a person with student loans of my own, I understand this frustration. Fortunately, there are smart strategies to make the road to repayment smoother and more manageable.
Join us for Portico’s first-ever “Road to Repayment” webinar, Monday, March 14, 11:30 a.m. - 12:15 p.m. (Central). As a plan member, it’s free to you and your spouse or partner! Together, we’ll explore:
• Ways to make loan repayment easier — such as income-based repayment options, loan forgiveness programs, and debt consolidation
• How to tackle other important financial goals — like building an emergency fund, repaying credit card debt, buying a house, and saving for retirement while repaying your loans
Feel free to submit your student loan questions when you register. Since this is our first time offering this webinar, these questions will help us tailor the content to your needs and connect you with the right resources to stay on track. Register now for “Road to Repayment”
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!!
Please watch the website for the online registration link!
ConFest Poster
PLAN - IT Event
This event is primarily for youth leaders, however many pastors and leaders can benefit from planning out their year of ministry. A one day event = better planning = better ministry!

“Making it up as I go” or “Flying by the seat of my pants” is not making for successful ministry.
PLAN-IT:    Better planning = Better Ministry
Plan your whole program year!
Come by yourself or bring a team! 

Location: St John Lutheran, Carroll
Date: April 30th
Time: 9 am - 4 pm
Cost: $20/person (meal included)      Team of 3 or 4: $50

Please email Lynn Egesdal with any questions!                                 Register Here!!

Pre-Retirement Seminar

While many adults over the age of 50 are thinking about retirement, everyone approaches this important stage in life differently. Some spend a lot of time in the planning stage, while others start planning with just months to spare. No matter where you are in the process, Portico’s day-long pre-retirement seminar can help. And, the good news is we’re coming soon to your area!
Take advantage of this opportunity and join us! We look forward to seeing you there.
Location:              Bethesda Lutheran Church
                                1517 Northwestern Ave
                                Ames, IA 50010
Date:                     Thursday, June 23, 2016
Time:                     Registration begins at 8:30AM, Seminar runs from 9:00AM-6:00PM
Registration:        Register here!
Register today! Once registered, Portico will email you an invoice for $35 per person. Please make your check out to Portico Benefit Services. Either mail the check to Portico or bring it to the seminar. To see other seminar locations and dates, go to the Events Calendar page on myPortico.  Questions, please email Kelsey Bode, Portico Events Coordinator,
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...​
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!
Stepping UP to Staffing & Supervision
How in the world can a pastor supervise "Volunteers"?
Here's an answer...Come and hear Susan Beaumont!

WHO do volunteers and employees report to?
HOW do job descriptions get formed?
ARE there differences between supervising employees & volunteers?
CAN a committee supervise employees & volunteers?
Sponsored by the United Church of Christ. More info here....
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
4th Annual Faith Conference
Saturday, April 23rd    9:00 am - 12:30 pm
Gustavus Adolphus College, St Peter, Minnesota
The theme for the day is "Lutheran Convictions for Creation Care". There is no cost for this conference and all are welcome. More info here....
Useful Links                                                           
Western Iowa Synod                                 ELCA News                          Ingham Okoboji Lutheran Bible Camp
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WIS Calendar                                             ELCA Prayer Ventures       St Luke Homes & Services
eSpirit Newsletter Archive                        ELCA World Hunger
Administration Matters