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

"We Are Church for the Sake of the World"
Theme for Assembly 2018 and the year!
Healing of the Nations Service
Loyola, therapy dog in training!
Lutheran Lakeside leading us in a fun handshake!!

Assembly 2018 is in the Books!!            

Highlights of the weekend include:

  • Glocal Musicians
  • Ordination of Jean McCartney
  • Increased Budget
  • Feeling of Hope
  • Wonderful Worship
  • Anniversary celebrations for many rostered leaders
  • Fleece blankets for Foster Children
  • SACCOS education & simulation
  • Healing of the Nations Service
  • Parish Nurses Present
  • Memorial for 50th Anniversary of Women's Ordination passed
  •  AMMPARO information - welcoming congregations
  • Sending for youth gathering participants
  • Books for Houston Collection
Labyrinth Devotion 
The youth and others making fleece blankets for children in foster care
Congregation Vitality Team
Conga line started by the youth
Dr. Kathryn Johnson
Assembly Offering

To date, monies for assembly offering are at $16,000+. If you would still like to contribute please have it to the synod office by June 29th, 2018.
Thank you for your timeliness with this matter!! Thank you to the many individuals and congregations that contributed!!
Guatemala mission becomes disaster relief effort for Sioux City parishioners
(KTIV) -
Some Sioux City residents ventured to Guatemala expecting to experience poverty. But instead, they faced a national disaster.

Six members of Riverside Lutheran and New Hope Church traveled from the U.S. to Guatemala expecting a "typical" mission trip. For seven days, they planned to build five houses, help at medical clinics, and explore the area through the organization "Paradise Bound."

Plans changed on their first day there. The eruption of the Fuego volcano devastated unsuspecting communities... including one "Paradise Bound" spent 7 years building.

"Going down thinking that you're building homes and doing medical clinics is one thing, and it's an amazing experience, something that I've done before. But going down and experiencing a global, national disaster like we did, and being a part of it, and helping people in need in such an immediate way is life-changing," said Jeana Squier, Riverside Lutheran Church youth leader. Full article here...
Trusting in God's Work
Trinity Lutheran in Linn Grove didn't give up!! When the well drilling team in Tanzania didn't hit water at Chunya Parish, the congregation was persistent. They raised even more money so a bigger drilling rig could be brought in. Their persistence paid off. Gadi Msule sent videos and pictures of the celebratory moment when water was reached. In Tanzania they say "Water is Life"!! Thank you to the people of Trinity, Linn Grove for their continued faith and support in bringing life to this parish and village. Videos can be seen on the Western Iowa Synod Facebook page.

The Pianoman is Back!


At the Western Iowa Synod Conference, Lynn was gracious enough to introduce me to the Conference. As she observed, I am the Pianoman. I began sharing my story through installments on the blog. I've had to take a break from this task; because of health issues encountered; along with side effects.

In brief, I had a recurrence of cancer in the liver. It was in the area that was operated on in 2016. Thus began Chemo treatments in an aggressive manner. Treatments, that would take 3 & a half hours. I also have encountered Neuropathy in the fingers.

I'm happy to report that after my Chemo Treatment in May, the decision was made to discontinue them for a while. My Oncologist agreed with the decision. It was time to give the body a break; & allow it to heal. We are continuing to monitor things monthly. At some point, a cat-scan will be done just to make sure there have been no changes.

It makes no difference in the circumstances one goes through. The one thing I do know, is that the God I love & desire to serve, has helped me through the obstacles faced. Through my struggles, there have been good times as well as the bad. The good news, is that God has sustained me throughout. Obviously I am giving him the glory, honor, & thanks. What an awesome God we serve.

I wanted to share with you this update; & let you know that you can look forward to more of my writings.

Gary Gjerstad      

Follow the Piano Man's blog here!!

ELCA Youth Gathering 2018 is Next Week

The ELCA Youth Gathering begins in just 6 days!! 350+ youth and adults from the Western Iowa Synod will gather with 30,000+ other Lutheran youth and adults from around the country and world. Please pray for safe travels and that this event will be instrumental in the faith formation of all those attending. You can follow along and even watch the mass gatherings. The livestream link can be found here:, the hashtag for the event is #elcayg2018 and there is a gathering app that can also be downloaded. Watch for pictures on the Western Iowa Synod Facebook page as the gathering progresses.
Position Openings
Faith Formation Coordinator for Youth and Family Ministry  (7th Gr - Post High School)
Calvary Lutheran Church
302 Olena Ave SE, Willmar, MN 56201
ABOUT CALVARY LUTHERAN CHURCH:  Calvary Lutheran Church is an ELCA Congregation of about 2000 members located in the West Central Minnesota Community of Willmar, MN.  Calvary is guided by its purpose statement: “Together in Christ, empowered to be and make disciples.”  Calvary’s current strategic plan focuses on sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ through service, intentionally reaching out to younger generations and deepening a commitment to biblical education for all ages.

GENERAL PURPOSE OF POSITION:  The Faith Formation Coordinator for Youth and Family is expected to work with the whole ministry team of the congregation in a holistic and intergenerational approach to ministry.  He/she will have an understanding of congregational mission and ministry, understand faith formation from a Lutheran perspective, and seek to incorporate Christ-centered youth and family involvement in the total ministry of the congregation. Full Position Description Here!!
Director of Youth and Family Ministry, Fjeldberg Lutheran Church (Huxley, Iowa)

Fjeldberg Lutheran Church, Huxley, IA is seeking a Director of Youth and Family Ministries to start during the summer of 2018. The Director is an integral and valued member of the ministry team, nurturing the faith lives of youth in elementary, middle school, and high school age groups.  He/she will creatively engage youth and adults in intergenerational and servant ministries.

For more info…
Fjeldberg Lutheran, we're hiring

Young Adult Opportunities

LEVN, the Lutheran Episcopal Volunteer Network, is looking for young adults (age 21-30) with Bachelor's degrees for an 11-month program of non-profit volunteer service and learning about social justice. From the end of August 2018 to the end of July 2019, our corps members will be provided housing, utilities, health coverage, transportation, spiritual direction, and a $400/month food stipend. We also offer a $1000 re-entry grant at the completion of the program.

The placement sites for the upcoming program year include faith-based non-profits, secular non-profits, congregations, the Sierra Pacific Synod office, and our campus ministry at UC Davis. These service sites address issues of homelessness, unemployment, children and youth ministries, computer literacy, and other important social justice issues facing our communities.

We gather each week for worship, dinner, and formation. The corps members live in intentional community in a triplex in Sacramento, CA. We're an ecumenical program in the Episcopal Service Corps network; applicants needn't be either Lutheran or Episcopal to apply—interest in Christian spirituality is the only expectation. Applications are accepted on a rolling basis until the program begins.

Visit or contact Program Director Casey Dunsworth at 530-756-1550 or for more information!

For the Health of It


The Synod is interested in knowing which congregations have parish nursing ministries and the names of the nurses serving our members.  As we gather the information, we would like to help organize some networking efforts across the synod.  Please send the name of your congregation, the name of your parish nurse, and contact information (email and phone) to  Carol DeSchepper.  Carol is a former parish nurse coordinator and has expressed a willingness to help coordinate networking efforts.  Send the requested information to or to Carol DeSchepper at First Lutheran Church, 1525 Three Cross Road, Milford, Iowa 51351.  Thank you. 

Stewardship "toolbox" Resources
by Rev. Rob Blezard, Assistant to the Bishop
Lower Susquehanna Synod -
June - Theme - Stewardship of our Body

Good, thoughtful, consistent communication, education and action will help develop a healthy culture of stewardship and generosity in your congregation. This kit is designed to help get you there!

This month’s newsletter article and resources center on Stewardship of Our Bodies. Why not adopt the theme in your church by promoting fitness, nutritious eating and healthy living? You can hold workshops and classes, temple talks and discussions. Ask health-care professionals to assist. More info and ideas for this theme here!!

July - Theme - Stewardship of Leisure
Other great ideas and resources like this can be found here!!
What is the Mission Team Up To?
  • Youth Gathering preparations
  • Text Studies
  • Call w/Spiritual Director
  • Team meeting
  • Candidacy meeting
  • WISWO Convention
  • Council meetings
  • Call Compensation preparation
  • Meeting with pulpit supply leaders
  • Tanzania Trip Orientation
Joining Together in Prayer
Let us join together in prayer:

Synod of the week: Metropolitan Washington, DC Synod, Bishop Richard Graham & staff
Congregation of the week: St. John’s Lutheran Essex and Rev. Ann Albert

  • Changing hearts in the heartland
  • President Trump, administration and USA
  • Nation Immigration reform, families in turmoil at the border
  • Youth gathering participants/planners
  • Congregations in transition
  • Rostered leaders in transition
  • Kim and Trudy Peterson 
  • Demonstrations, Parkland kids at Kings office in Sioux City
  • Family of Pastor Gene Hermeier who passed away on Sunday, June 17th

Upcoming Events
More details about these events can be found on the website at
2018 Bishop's Annual Charity Golf Tournament
When: August 15th
Where: Okoboji View Golf Course
Cost: $50/person
  • 4-person best shot tournament
  • Shotgun start at 9 AM
  • Light lunch at Noon
  • $50.00 per person includes cart,

9 holes of golf, and lunch.

  • All proceeds go to Church of the

Damascus Road Prison Congregation foundation

Join us this Summer!

Looking for a time to relax, create fun memories, and grow in your walk with Christ? Join us this summer at Ingham Okoboji Lutheran Bible Camps! We have summer camps available for all! Check out more information at to find a program that works for you. Our Theme this Summer is "Seek First" based on verse Matthew 6:33.
There's Still Time To Register for Camp

Lutheran Lakeside has a range of programs which nurture love of God and the amazing world we live in.  What child wouldn't be amazed by the fantastic games, colorful rock climbing walls, lively forests, and beautiful lake that makes camp…well camp!  Kids are welcome to come for any length of time they find comfortable.  We have day camp options, short length programs, and even full week long adventures!  Check our and find the program that's right for you!
Addiction & Faith Conference
September 28-30, 2018
Bloomington, Minnesota
Addiction in every form, including the current opioid problem, is ravaging our world. ​
​How will we as people of faith respond?
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