Don't miss out on the many great stories, opportunities and events in and around the synod that are listed below!  Please share this information with your congregational members, invite and encourage them to attend the events!! 

Synod of the week: Arkansas-Oklahoma Synod, Bishop Michael Girlinghouse
Congregation of the week: Bethlehem Lutheran Cherokee, and Pastor Jean Morse

  • USA in time of transition
  • Congregations in transition
  • Rostered leaders in transition
  • Pastor Paul Johnston - surgery on January 31 - doing well
  • Pastor Lorene Glant
  • Pastor Chris Lang - continued back pain
  • Wanda Norris
  • Pastor Tonna - death of her mother/funeral February 4
  • Historic fires in Chile
  • Downward peace trends in Palestine and less-than-favorable outlook
  • Transitions happening in CAD in TZ
In This Issue:


Bold Women's Day

Honor and celebrate the bold women in your congregation and community on Bold Women’s Day, Sunday, February 26, 2017. Be bold, take risks on account of the gospel, but believe more boldly still in Jesus, said Martin Luther. And that’s what we celebrate through Bold Women’s Day: women who are bold, women who take risks on account of the gospel, women who believe more boldly still in Jesus. More info here..
Luther and the Reformation
Rick Steves - We Lutherans love being Lutheran…it just feels like the right flavor of Christianity for us. But, too often, we don't truly understand our heritage and the roots of our denomination. Understanding the context in which Luther lived and reformed, and understanding the things he was most passionate about, affirm that the way we enjoy worshipping is no accident. It makes perfect historical sense. Rick Steves offers resources and opportunities for your congregation to study and learn more about the Reformation here. Check out the introductory video by clicking on the picture to the left.
New Portico Health ID Card
Is your new Portico Health ID card in your wallet? As of Jan. 1, 2017, ELCA-Primary plan members have one new ID card for medical, mental health, and prescription drug benefits. New cards were mailed in December. If you missed the mailing, call a Portico Care Coordinator at 877.851.5656 to request a copy of your new card. Not sure if you’ve got the right card? Take a look at the upper right hand corner: the new cards have the Care Coordinator phone number printed below the Portico logo.
Bishop Eaton Addresses President Trump’s Refugee Executive Order
Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy. Yesterday, we heard these words in the Gospel reading from Matthew 5:1-12, the beginning of Jesus' Sermon on the Mount. In the Beatitudes, Jesus lays out a vision for life in God's realm, characterized by seeing those who are often most disregarded, including the meek, the mourning and the peacemaker, as bearers of God's blessing. Over the coming weeks, we will continue to hear this Gospel, including Jesus' call for his disciples to be carriers of God's light and hope and reconciliation to a world deeply in need of them.
In this spirit, earlier last week I communicated with the Trump administration asking that it not stop the U.S. refugee admissions program or stop resettlement from any country for any period of time. The Bible calls us to welcome the stranger and treat the sojourner as we would our own citizens. I agree with the importance of keeping our country secure as the administration stated in its executive order last Friday, but I am convinced that temporarily banning vulnerable refugees will not enhance our safety nor does it reflect our values as Christians. Instead, it will cause immediate harm by separating families, disrupting lives, and denying safety and hope to brothers and sisters who are already suffering. More here...
We want to hear from you!!! Send us stories and pictures of how your congregation lives out "We Are Church Together!" Please send to Lynn at Lynn.egesdal@wisynod.org
Travel Opportunities for 2017
Adult Group Travel to Tanzania 2017
Anticipated dates: July 21— August 12, 2017 

Accompaniment Trip to Chile
Approximate Dates: Nov. 17-Dec 4, 2017

Two great opportunities to travel to our companion synods in Chile and Tanzania!! Deadline dates will be here soon, apply now!! Click here to find out more.....
Lutheran Day on the Hill 2017
When: February 21st
Join LSI and the three Iowa synods of the ELCA for Lutheran Day on the Hill in Des Moines on February 21st! This day is essential for giving voice to those who are not heard, for seeking social justice and for empowering people to exercise their right and responsibility to be part of the legislative process. More information and registration here! Questions - contact Pastor Ungs at jeff.ungs.rev@wisynod.org.
Winter/Early Spring ConFest Events:
Theme - "You Belong"

ConFest is an event for confirmation age students to attend with their leaders. It's an evening of worship, singing, games, learning, meeting the Bishop and learning more about the wider church. The theme this year is "you belong" - we have have activities that will help us get to know one another better as the body of Christ and we will also have a short session about bullying, focusing on how we are all children of God and should care for one another. Each of us are special and belong to God!
Wednesday, February 15th @ Trinity, Moville
Wednesday, February 22nd @ Zion, Gowrie
Events begin at 5:45 pm with a light supper, programing starts at 6:30 pm
Registration is open!! Register Here!!
Questions? Please email Lynn, Lynn.egesdal@wisynod.org

When: Saturday, February 18th              
Snowdate: Saturday, February 25th
Time: 9:30 am - 3:30 or 4 pm
Where: St Olaf Lutheran Church, Fort Dodge
Cost: $25/person; or $75/carload (4-5 ppl)
For all congregational members!!
The church is constantly changing and how are we dealing with that as leaders, as members? How can we move from a time of lamenting the changes to a time of Holy Dreaming, being in conversation together about where is God calling us, as individuals, as a congregation? Come and find out!!!  More info here...
Bulletin Insert
Leadership Academy Registration
2017 Marriage Retreat
February 10th-12th
Marriage has never been easy, and it may be more challenging now than ever. Why is that? What can be done to help? How can learning new tools for a marriage relationship impact EVERY relationship in a family? That’s what we’ll explore over our weekend together.

Join us on Feb. 10-12th at Ingham Okoboji Lutheran Bible Camps for our 2017 Marriage Retreat! The speakers for this year's marriage retreat will be Scott and Wendy Rains, who will be talking about the New Rules of Marriage. For more information contact us at 1-800-OKOBOJI or go to our website at http://www.okoboji.org/marriage-retreat. We hope to see you there!
“This is the best Valentine’s gift anyone could give to their spouse, a wonderful weekend with time to learn and grow together.” -2014 Marriage Celebration Retreat participant
Retreat Flier
Reformation Tour to Germany

Pastor Olaf Roynesdal, East Side Lutheran Church, Sioux Falls, SD, is hosting a 10-day Reformation Tour to Germany May 23—June 1, 2017 as part of the 500th  Anniversary of the Reformation. Cities/towns to be toured include Berlin, Juterborg, Wittenberg, Torgau, Leipzig, Eisleben, Erfurt, Eisenach, the Wartburg Castle, Mainz and Worms. The deadline for registering is March 1, 2017. For more information you may email him:Olaf@eastsidelc.org
The Fort Dodge Forum Spring 2017 Schedule
The Forum meets at Grace Lutheran Church, Fort  Dodge. 

Forums begin at 9:30 am with coffee and fellowship.  The program runs from 10 until noon.  A catered meal (about $8) is available to conclude the event at noon.The Forum costs $40 per session, payable at the time of the forum. Join us for another year of learning together as we strive to lead our congregations into God's future.

February 9     "Called Forward Together in Christ 
                       for the sake of the world."
                       A Consultation Paper on Future
                       Directions of the ELCA
                       Pr. Dan Garrietts

Complete schedule can be found here!
Simpson Youth Academy - Summer 2017
You might be right for SYA if you would like to:
EXPLORE QUESTIONS LIKE: • Can faith and politics mix? • Why is there suffering in the world? • Why are there so many different religions? • Are science and the Bible compatible? • Why do religions seem to cause so much violence in the world? • How can I live a life of faithfulness and integrity? More info here!         Flier here!
June 11-14, 2017
Luther College, Decorah, Iowa
High school youth from ELCA congregations are invited to the Wholly Iowa Youth Leadership Discipling Event June 11-14 at Luther College in Decorah. This annual camp is designed to help high school youth learn how to become future leaders of the church. WIYLDE offers three tracks designed to give in-depth knowledge and training on a particular type of leadership. The teens will meet in small groups to discuss and put into action what they learn.  More info here!
And Many More Upcoming Events:

36th Annual Rural Ministry Conference, March 5-7. 2017

Wartburg Seminary is hosting the 36th Annual Rural Ministry Conference entitled “Crisis and Conflict”, March 5-7, 2017. For more information, visit www.wartburgseminary.edu and click on the “Learning for Life Events” tab.

Considering Your Call, discernment retreat, March 10-12, 2017

Wartburg Seminary, Dubuque, IA is hosting a weekend discernment retreat, March 10-12, 2017, for those considering a call to public ministry.  Travel cost assistance is available.  For details, contact Matthew O’rear at MOrear@wartburgseminary.edu or call (484) 343-2882.

25th Annual Festival of Homiletics, May 15-19, 2017

“Preaching on the Borders” is the theme for the 25th Annual Festival of Homiletics, which will be held in San Antonio, TX,May 15-19, 2017. Presenters include: Rob Bell; Nadia Bolz-Weber; Barbara Brown Taylor; Walter Brueggemann; Adam Hamilton; Rolf Jacobson; Bishop Craig Satterlee; Will Willimon; and more.  For details, visit www.festivalofhomiletics.com or call (651) 523-1645

“Rise, Remember Well the Future,” July 10-13
Celebrate the treasures of the last 500 years and look to the future and God’s covenant of faithfulness in all that is yet to be. Opening worship will be held at Saint Olaf College, site of the constituting ALCM convention in 1986. In plenaries led by Chad Fothergill, Daniel Schwandt, and Mary Louise Bringle, we will reflect on the changing role of the cantor—the leader of the church’s song—as we move confidently into a future blessed by our heritage and full of many changes in the church and its music. More info and registration here...

ELCA Rostered Leaders Gathering, August 7-10, 2017

The first ever ELCA Rostered Leaders Gathering will be held in Atlanta, GA, August 7-10, 2017. The theme will be “On the Way Together” and will feature worship, education and fellowship. For details, click here; or call 1 (800) 638-3522; ext. 2552.
Quick Links
Western Iowa Synod
318 E Fifth St.
Storm Lake, IA 
712.732. 4968