Bi-weekly eNews for members and friends of the Western Iowa Synod
WIS Resources:

Joining Together in Prayer
Synod of the week: Florida-Bahamas Synod,
                                  Bishop Pedro Suarez & Staff
Congregation of the week: St. John Lutheran, Merrill
  • Changing hearts in the heartland
  • President Trump, administration and USA
  • Nation Immigration reform, families in turmoil at the border
  • Everyone affected by Hurricane Michael
  • Indonesian earthquake/tsuname victims
  • All those affected by flooding
  • Congregations in transition
  • Rostered leaders in transition
  • Pastors Kim and Trudy Peterson 
  • Augusta Victoria Hospital
  • Pastor Jen Henry, eye surgery
  • Pastor Jeff Ungs, health concerns
  • Nancy Diaz on loss of her mother
So now what? 
Last year it was all Reformation all the time. On this 501st anniversary of the Reformation, Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton uses her October Living Lutheran column to call on us to “refocus our attention on the gospel of our freedom, forgiveness and reconciliation given to us through God’s indescribable act of love in Christ’s death and resurrection.”

Read her column in English at 
and in Spanish at
2019 Bishop Election 

WISynod Bishop Election 2019 Survey

The Election Committee invites you, rostered and lay members of WISynod, to take a few minutes to respond to the following survey questions.   After 4 weeks, the survey will close and a summary will be published.  We ask that you use this as a starter tool for conversation within and among congregations and conferences as we look forward to the next 6 years of the Spirit’s leading us into the future together.
      -Pastor Barb Kopperud                 
Complete the Survey Here - deadline to complete is Oct. 15
Letter from Brian Campbell re: bishop's election
Brian Campbell, Vice President, has written a letter to the congregations of the Western Iowa Synod to help begin to prepare for the upcoming bishop's election at the 2019 Synod Assembly.  ​                                Read the letter here.

​​Western Iowa Synod 2019 Bishop Election Information--

The Western Iowa Synod will hold the Election of Bishop at its next Synod Assembly, May 3, 4 and 5, 2019.  Electing a bishop is one of the most important responsibilities in the life of a synod in the ELCA.  As an election, it is a process informed by the ELCA Churchwide office and governed by the constitution of the synod.   In the WISynod, the bishop is eligible to serve two consecutive six year terms, and our present Bishop Prois will have served his first term and is eligible for re-election in 2019.

The WISynod Council has formed a Bishop Election Committee to oversee the details of the election process.  This election of a bishop is also a call process where any ordained pastor in the ELCA is eligible.   In these months before the Assembly, you are respectfully invited to prayerfully consider what gifts are needed to match  the needs of the synod in the office of bishop.  

Let’s begin with prayer!
Almighty God, you have given your Holy Spirit to the church to lead us into all truth.  Bless with the Spirit’s grace and presence the people of this Western Iowa Synod as we prepare in the months ahead to elect a bishop.  Keep us steadfast in faith and united in love, that we may manifest your glory and prepare for the way of your kingdom, through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord, Amen.

Please watch for more Information about the process as it will be regularly updated!

Your gifts ensure that our church will be able to provide help and hope for those whose homes have been devastated or who have been otherwise affected by Hurricane Michael.

Lutheran Disaster Response is coordinating its response with Lutheran Services Florida, the Florida-Bahamas Synod, as well as our partners and affiliates in other potentially impacted areas.

As a church, we’re ready to stand by our neighbors as they recover from this storm.

Please give to Lutheran Disaster Response today. Your gifts ensure that our church will be able to provide help and hope for those whose lives have been affected by Hurricane Michael.

Stay connected to the latest events and our response to this and other disasters through our Facebook page. Join us in prayer, and use this bulletin insert in your congregation to help spread the word.

With gratitude for your partnership,

The Rev. Daniel Rift
Director, ELCA World Hunger and Disaster Appeal
Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
Gary Lee Gjerstad - The Pianoman
It is with great sadness that we learned that Gary Gjerstad died on Sept 22nd.  Some of you may have known Gary as the Pianoman.  He wrote a blog for the synod.  If you haven't yet read his writing, I encourage you to do so.  His writings are inspiring, humbling, and very moving. 

Gary's obituary here                 The Pianoman Blog

Stress of farm life addressed by Farm Bill
(Posted on September 24, 2018 by ELCA Advocacy)
By guest blogger Matt Perdue, Government Relations Representative for National Farmers Union
There is a lot that weighs on a farmer’s mind. Farming is a tough occupation. Unpredictable weather, staggering financial risk, volatile markets, and the strain of heavy workloads are all routine aspects of a life in farming. Spend a few minutes in a small town coffee shop, and you quickly realize that the struggles of farming often dominate those conversations. Farmers are comfortable talking about their stressors. What they rarely acknowledge is their actual stress.                                                       Full article here!

Always Being Made New: The Campaign for the ELCA gives us the opportunity to expand our ministries among youth and young adults to cultivate young leaders, embrace a culture of diversity and inclusion, and build a robust network of support.

Focus on the following Core Values:

  • Form faith in youth and young adults
  • Develop and multiply youth and young adult leaders
  • Start new ministries or enhancing current efforts
  • Promote collaboration and creativity
  • Engage youth and young adults of color
  • Accompany communities and persons living in poverty
  • Innovation

October 19 - Register (Step #1) in the ELCA GrantMaker system
October 31 - All completed applications (Step #2) are due

University of Iowa - New Parking Process for Clergy

Beginning October 1, 2018, clergy visiting patients will need to pick up a parking validation card from the Main Information Desk. The Main Information Desk is located in the Main Entrance Lobby (Elevator E, Level 1) and is staffed 24 hours/day by either Guest Services staff or Safety & Security.

The validation card has a unique, machine-readable code and allows clergy to exit university parking facilities for no-fee. If you forget to pick up a validation card, you will need to pay for parking at time of exit.

Complete Parking Information Here

WELCA Retreat and Healthy Women & Girls

About 40 Women of the ELCA gathered Saturday, Sept. 29, at St. Mark Lutheran Church, Sioux City for a day that included worship, packing school kits, and praying in new ways with colors and art!

2018 Portico Updates
It’s time to enter your organization’s 2019 health benefit option!
Congregations and organizations who sponsor employees through Portico:  Please choose the ELCA-Primary health benefits option you will offer for 2019 and enter it on EmployerLink before Oct. 26. You must do this even if you want to continue your current option, your plan members waive ELCA-Primary health benefits, or your plan members are eligible for ELCA Medicare-Primary coverage. There’s information to help your organization make its selection on EmployerLink — or call the Customer Care Center, 800.352.2876, for assistance.

2019 Annual Enrollment Dates
Employer and plan members make their benefit elections annually.  For 2019 benefits, the dates are as follows:  for Employers:  October 1 – October 26 and for Plan members: October 31 – November 14

Resourceful Servants
Resourceful Stewards Initiative
Financial wellness is a vital part of a healthy life. Ministers who are in a financially sound position experience greater satisfaction in their work and their relationships, and are more able to freely serve the church and its mission without being encumbered by financial anxiety.

Savings Matching Programs

The church is an active partner in addressing specific needs raised by rostered ministers, helping rostered ministers develop their personal financial and stewardship health. Two Savings Matching programs share financial resources with rostered ministers.
These programs match rostered ministers’ contributions to a dedicated emergency savings account and/or increased contributions to their ELCA retirement plan accounts.  Click below to learn about the programs, services and resources available to you as a  minister or lay person!  Deadline to apply is October 14th

Go to for more info!

Upcoming Live Webinars

  • Ready to Retire - November 6th from 1-2:30pm

Register online:  
Western Iowa Synod Upcoming Events
More details about these events can be found on the website at
hosted by the Living Waters Conference

What:  Confirmation Renewal Retreat            What:  Kid's PJ's mission project
When:  Oct. 19-21                                          When:  Nov. 7
Where:  Lutheran Lakeside, Spirit Lake         Where:  Trinity Lutheran, Moville
Time:  Weekend retreat                                 Time:  5:30 - 7:45 pm

All congregations are invited to participate (for the November 7 event RSVPs with the # of kids and adults attending should be sent to Pastor Barb Spaulding  at

Pancake Breakfast & Silent Auction Benefit

     For:  Randy Ericksen
     Where: Alta Elementary School Cafeteria
                  1009 S. Main, Alta
     When:  October 21
     Time:   10 a.m - 1 p.m. 

Randy Ericksen had a stroke on August 26th, which has affected his left side.  You may have met Randy at a Touch of Broadway concert, seen him direct the music for the community theater’s production of Annie this year, listened to him at a park board meeting or a city council meeting.  Perhaps you have enjoyed his leadership of the BV County Republican Party.  Maybe he sang at a funeral or a wedding at your church.  Maybe you were blessed by his office skills.  There is no doubt that Randy has been a very present help in our Alta community over the years.

May the Lord continue to bless us with leaders like Randy!          Benefit Flyer Here
Soup and Pie Supper
When: October 28, 2018
Where: Lost Island Lutheran Church
             3797 - 310th St, Graettinger
Time:  4 pm - 7 pm
Cost:  Free Will Donation

Serving: Chili, Chicken Noodle, and Vegetable Beef soups
Homemade Bread & Pie
Gluten Free Items Available            Directions @
                       Reformation Sunday Concert

     Where: Trinity Lutheran Church
                  721 18th Avenue North, Estherville
     When:  Sunday, October 28
     Time:   2:00 p.m. 

Plan to attend the Reformation Sunday Pipe Organ Concert and Hymn.  Guest organist will be Glenn Henricksen, an accomplished, versatile organist, who is well-known for his ability to inspire audiences through sharing his personal faith and gifted musical ability. Following the concert, there will be fellowship and German pastries served.  This is a free event for all, sponsored by the Berghefer Mission and Ministry Endowment.
Hunger Network - We need YOU! 
A revitalized Hunger Network is emerging. As we begin to develop this network, we must acknowledge that hunger is not just a third world problem.  Perhaps you already know that one in five of our Iowa children go to bed hungry each night and that over 2000 children in Iowa are homeless each year (State of Homelessness  Symposium 2015).

Through prayer and action, we can do miracles in this synod.  And we will be fulfilling a mandate from Jesus: “I was hungry and you gave me food, thirsty and you gave me drink…just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.”  (from Matthew 25)

Are you interested in helping the Western Iowa Synod in battling these hunger issues? The ELCA Hunger Team will be facilitating a retreat Nov. 2-3 at Lutheran Lakeside Camp.  We need dedicated people willing to learn, train, advocate, and commit to 1 year.  Prayerfully consider being a part of this work!   

When: November 2-3                                                  
Where: Lutheran Lakeside Camp                               
Cost: $25               

        More Information Here                                Retreat Registration Here
“Letting Go of What Has You”
Why do I do the things I do? Why do I keep finding myself in the same or similar situations? This 3-day retreat will provide you with an opportunity to look at these questions, become aware of unhelpful patterns, working through to healing and other choices.

When: October 21-23                                                
Where: St. Mark Lutheran Church
              5200 Glenn Avenue, Sioux City
Time:  6 pm to 12 pm                             
$225 (early registration: $175 if paid by Oct. 1)

Flyer here                             Pre-Registration is required

For questions or more information, contact Pastor Judith Johnson: 712-736-2361 (home) or 605-881-2241 (cell and text).

Considering Your Call Saturday

Does someone you know have a strong sense of
wanting to follow God, but is stuck trying to figure out what that might look like? Is that person YOU?

Wartburg Seminary is a leader when it comes to flexible programs led by a faculty and staff that will accompany you to make it possible to receive God's call. It's okay that the path is uncertain - that's why we're here!

The invitation is clear: come and see what we're up to and how seminary can work in your life and call to public ministry.

When: October 27, 2018
Where: Wartburg Theological Seminary
            333 Wartburg Place, Dubuque
Time:  9 am - 3 pm

Deaconess Community’s annual J-Term course

“Diaconal Ministry: History, Formation and Spirituality” -  a master's level seminary course for credit/audit/continuing education credit.

  • It introduces students to diakonia 
  • It asks how that history continues to impact the present, and future in the intersection of church and world.
  • The Deaconess Community pays the tuition for all students who wish to take the course.
  • This course is open to any person discerning public rostered leadership (either roster), already rostered leaders, lay leaders, synod staff, bishops, and candidacy committee members. 
  • The onsite component  will be January 6-12, 2019, at Spirit in the Desert Retreat Center in Carefree, AZ. There will be two online sessions prior to the onsite component.

Please do not hesitate to contact me, Sr. Liz Colver, Director of Vocation and Education, with any questions.

Registration opens October 18, 2018.                         Flyer here
Mark your Calendars 
Continuing Ed for Pastors, Families, & Students

All inclusive: meals, lodging, education, worship, and endless camp activities for all ages.

When: August 4 - 9, 2019
Where: Lutheran Lakeside Camp        
Speaker:  Rev. Dr. Troy Troftgruben
                   Rev. Dr. Winston Persaud,    
Lodging:  Variety of housing options makes the week affordable for all families. Special rates for students and people considering seminary.

Visit for more information. Spots are limited so reserve now with no payment until January.
Other Events
2018 Iowa Hunger Summit

The Iowa Hunger Summit gathers leaders from across Iowa representing community organizations, business and industry, state and local government, social agencies, churches and religious communities, schools and universities, civic and social clubs, and other individuals and groups that lead or participate in projects to confront hunger. The annual Iowa Hunger Summit is attended by between 500 to 700 hunger fighters from across the state.

When: October 15, 2018
Where: Downtown Des Moines Marriott Hotel
Time:  9 am - 4 pm
Cost:  FREE - must register & present their ticket at the door. 

                        Agenda Here                                  Register Here

Pastor Appreciation Church Network Luncheon
hosted by American Church Group of Iowa & Platte River

Church Administrators, please bring your pastoral staff to this special event to encourage, celebrate, and support these servants.

Pastor Jeff Sanderson from Bondurant Federated Church, author ofTeach Us To Number Our Days, shares his story about handling stress and adversity while doing ministry. 

We’ll also explore different resources available for people involved in ministry that can help monitor their well-being and connect them with strengthening resources.

When: October 18, 2018
Where: Bondurant Federated Church
            103 2nd Street SW
            Bondurant, IA 50035
Time: 11:30 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.

The event is free and includes lunch. Please register by Monday, October 15, 2018. 

Congregational Health Ministry Workshop

When: Friday, October 19 ~ 6:00—9:00 PM (includes dinner)
           Saturday, October 20 ~ 9:00 AM—5:00 PM (includes lunch)
            1753 G AVE, DAKOTA CITY, NE
Presenter: Reverend Dr. P. Morgan Gordy

Look at health through a holistic lens
With a systems approach we will reflect on health from varied perspectives
And identify how we can serve from our various gifts and vocations Within the structures of our congregational and everyday lives!

RSVP or 402-987-3582              Flyer Here
Boundaries Workshop
Southeast Iowa Synod - anyone from Western Iowa is welcome to attend

When: November 16, 2018
Where: St. Mark Lutheran Church
             1105 Grand Ave
             West Des Moines, IA 50265
Time:  9 am - 3 pm
Cost:  $50 (cost includes lunch)

Workshops will be lead by Arden Mahlberg, Ph.D., from The Integral Psychology Center, Madison, WI

Pastors and deacons are recommended to receive boundaries training every 3-5 years.

Spiritual Direction Certification Program
Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary at Lenoir-Rhyne University

Holy Listening – We believe holy listening is at the core of spiritual direction. It’s listening to one another, and most attentively to the promptings of the Holy Spirit. The real and most genuine spiritual director is always the Holy Spirit.

Everyone is Welcome to Apply – Our primary purpose is to train people who feel called to be such spiritual friends, spiritual companions; however, those who are interested in deepening their own spiritual practices are also welcome.

Within the Christian Tradition – Ours is an experience in spiritual direction grounded in Trinitarian faith. However, we recognize that there is deep spiritual wisdom that can be found in other faith traditions. We will draw on those traditions and will integrate them from a Christian perspective

We have commissioned our first cohort and are looking forward to commissioning our second cohort this June. Our next cycle of new participants begins with an intensive January 16 – 19, 2019.

Application deadline is November 15.

Outreach Nights at Okoboji Bible Camp

Who: 6th—12th graders, their youth leaders, and/or parents
Where: Okoboji Lutheran Bible Camp, 1203 Inwan St., Milford
When: 5:00 PM to 8:00 PM
How much: $3 per person to cover food costs

Outreach Night is an opportunity for those in your 6th through 12th grade youth groups and beyond to join with other youth of all denominations around the area to fellowship, grow in faith, and have fun together!  This provides a chance for great ecumenical fellowship for kids and adults.  An evening of Outreach Night includes dinner, worship, a message, and of course games! Everyone is welcome.
2018-2019 Dates/Game
Nov. 4th- Commandos                                 March 3rd-Hoonting
Dec. 2nd- "Silent" Night Game                    April 7th-Dodgeball
Jan. 6th- Gargoyles                                     April 28th-Secret Agents
Jan. 27th-Winter Games                                     

More info here                     

Women’s Day Away
Speaker: Laura Frankl Pedersen
When:  October 20
Where: Okoboji Lutheran Bible Camp

Are you ready to get a little time away from the stresses of daily life?  Join us for a wonderful day of relaxation, friendship, faith, and fun!  This one-day  retreat, a revamp of our weekend women’s retreat, will include sessions, worship, great food, free time activities, and more. We hope you will be able to escape for a day away and join us this October at Okoboji Lutheran Bible Camp. Our theme for Women’s Day Away is “Choose Joy” Finding hope and purpose when life hurts.
Youth Recharges
Recharges are a great way to get a weekend away, and get excited about faith, and equipped with new insight into an area of scripture. We encourage you to join us for one of our fall Recharges at Okoboji Lutheran Bible Camp! Our fall theme is "One Another"-John 13:34.

Oct. 19-21        4th-6th Grade     
Nov. 2-4            6th-9th Grade                         Brochure & Registration Form
Nov. 9-11          6th-9th Grade     
Nov. 16-18        9th-12th Grade                              
For more information go to and REGISTER TODAY!

Lutheran Lakeside - 
Confirmation Renewals

Confirmation is an incredible time of spiritual growth, self learning and scriptural engagement for young people. Here at Lakeside, we are blessed to be able to work with church leaders across the state to create an engaging and fun weekend for youth! Campers participate in 3 days of bible studies, worships, games, team building, and so much more! It's an incredible chance to take a break from the technology driven world we live in, get back to our roots, and renew our love for God and one another.
WHEN: OCTOBER 19-21, 2018 & MARCH 8-10, 2019
Nebraska Lutheran Outdoor Ministries -
Continuing Education 

Minister’s Conference: Conference Presenter – Peggy Hahn

When: January 21-23, 2019
Where: Carol Joy Holling Camp’s Swanson Center (Ashland, NE)
Time:  5 pm - 1 pm
Cost:  Commuter: $100
          Double occupancy: $100
          Private room: $300
Cont. Ed: 10 hours

Position Openings

ELCA Foundation is searching for a Director of Gift Planning
Key responsibilities are: 1) direct supervision of a national staff of about 20 regional gift planners & 2) Manage the business relationships with ministry partner organizations. Reports to the Executive Vice President of the Foundation. It requires about 30% travel and located in Chicago
Application submitted through the ELCA job board.
ELCA is searching for an Executive Director for Domestic Mission
Brings decisive and visionary leadership, equipping synods and congregations, developing new ministries, & seeking to renew strategic ministries.
Reports to the presiding bishop, requires about 25% travel  & located in Chicago.
Application submitted through the ELCA job board.

Inquiries about these positions may be directed, in confidence, to Gaye Lindfors of Significant Solutions, Inc., the consultant assisting with this search.

eSpirit Submissions
If you have a story, article or pictures to share from your congregation's ministry this summer,
please send to Julie by Tuesdays at noon!
Western Iowa Synod
318 E Fifth St.
Storm Lake, IA 50588