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

Synod of the week: Metro New York Synod, Bishop Robert Rimbo
Congregation of the week: St Paul, Palmer, Rev. Tom Hagen
​Congregations in transition    
​Kathy Petersen wife of Rev. Arlo (Pete) Petersen 
Brian Campbell - now home and receiving ongoing treatment
Rev. David Cox - recovering from surgery
Rev. Lorene Glant
Rev. Cara Knutson, ordained this past weekend
Peace on Earth
Our Muslim Brothers and Sisters
Why is this important?
In the famous words of German anti-Nazi Lutheran pastor and theologian Martin Niemoller: First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out— Because I was not a Socialist. 
Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out— 
Because I was not a Trade Unionist. 
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out— Because I was not a Jew. 
Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.

Today, they are coming for Muslim Americans. And when they come for any member of our community, they come for all of us. <More Info>
Attention AMAZON Shoppers!!

If you are an online amazon shopper there is an easy way that you can make a donation to the Western Iowa Synod just by shopping for Christmas gifts or any other items throughout the year. Take a minute to check out how right here!! Thank you for your support!!
Western Iowa Synod Rostered Leader Debt Reduction Opportunity

At this last year's synod assembly, half of the offering was designated for debt reduction for rostered leaders in our synod. It is now time to disperse those funds to our leaders in need of assistance with their outstanding education loans. If you are one of these rostered leaders, please fill out this form and send to the Western Iowa Synod Office. If you can scan and email that would be appreciated, however sent via snail mail is also permitted. Please return these forms by December 15th. Notifications of recipients will be made by the end of the year. You may email the applications to Bishop Prois
Gifts that Give

The Western Iowa Synod Mission Team has decided this year, after considering what is going on in the world, to give a team Christmas gift. The team will make a donation to the Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service (LIRS). We encourage you, your congregation, synod and/or your families to consider a gift like this as well. A gift that gives!! 
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!
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Congregational Care Class
​Lay School Class – Register Now!

Register now for Lay School class Congregational/Pastoral Care.  Class will meet for 4 sessions beginning on Saturday, January 23 at the Synod Office in Storm Lake. This class will be taught by Pastors John Syvertson and Cara Knutson. The class will meet from 9:00- 1:30 once a month January - April.  Topics include learning to listen, prayer, visiting with those who are ill, grieving or alone.

Some outside reading, practicing visitation, and class discussion is part of the class. Registration is $395 which includes lunch each Saturday the class meets. More information is available from John Syvertson at or Lorna Halaas at
Please email Lorna at  to register.
Swedish Favorites - Come and Get It!!

The Emanuel Lutheran Church, Dayton, Iowa Sunday School Christmas Program will be on Sunday, December 13 at 5:00 pm. The Smorgasbord supper will immediately follow the program. The church will be providing the ham, lutefisk, potato bologna, cheesy potatoes, drinks and table service. Ostakaka, lutefisk and potato bologna are some Swedish favorites that are always on the Smorgasbord menu. You may attend just the supper if you wish. The Smorgasbord will begin at approximately 6:00 pm. Our address is 208 2nd Ave NW. 
Sunday, December 13th at 5:00 pm; Come and enjoy Trinity's Family Christmas! The Christmas story told by our Sunday School youth, with the wonder of music presented by the Trinity choirs, and the excitement of having live animals in the nativity! Where: Trinity Lutheran Church, 12th & Jackson Streets, Sioux City. Bring your family and friends so we can all share in the miracle of Christmas together. More info here...

Christmas Eve Services: Thursday, December 24th
5:30 pm - A Joyful Christmas Celebration (with prelude at 5:00)
10:00 pm - A Silent Night at Trinity 
Come to Bethlehem!

Bethlehem Lutheran Church, Inwood, IA, will offer their fifth annual “Come To Bethlehem” on Wednesday, Dec. 16 from 6:30 to 8:30 pm.  This event is about taking time out of your hectic holiday schedule, entering our sanctuary and listening to live piano Christmas music while you relax and shake off the stress of the season.  There is no cost, no service, no talking….just a moment of peace.  Christmas cookies and hot apple cider are available in our church lounge.  Everything is “come and go as you wish”.  Our address is 302 N. Oak St., Inwood, IA  51240.  We are the A-frame church right on Hwy. 182; look for the life-size nativity always visible during the Advent/Christmas season on the front lawn.  Call 712-753-4804 with any questions.
Reconnecting the Millennial Island
January 14-16, 2016
Carol Joy Holling Center, Ashland, NE
Connecting Generations: Led by Andrew Root
A long standing struggle in ministry has been getting millennials more involved in the church, but what if targeting millennials with flashy programming isn't the key to getting them to participate? Andrew Root will be speaking on how we can bridge the imaginary gap between church ministry, millennials and our relationships across all generations. <More info here>
Week of Prayer for Christian Unity
January 18-25th
At least once a year, Christians are reminded of Jesus’ prayer for his disciples that “they may be one so that the world may believe” (see John 17.21). Hearts are touched and Christians come together to pray for their unity. Congregations and parishes all over the world exchange preachers or arrange special ecumenical celebrations and prayer services. The event that touches off this special experience is the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity. <More info> 

We encourage you to plan or arrange a special celebration in your community!! 
Mark your calendars!!
The Leadership Academy is scheduled for February 27th at St Paul in Atlantic & February 28th at St Mark in Storm Lake. 

Please mark your calendars and watch for more information soon!!
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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