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

We Are Lutheran: Opening Doors
Lutheran Day on the Hill - February 8th

Lutheran Services in Iowa's Lutheran Day on the Hill is a day of advocacy for Iowa's most vulnerable populations. This year's event is on Thursday, February 8. Join us in Des Moines at Capitol Hill Lutheran Church and learn about the social issues affecting Iowa and talk to your legislators about keeping the social safety net secure for all Iowans.                 Register Here
Your Assistance is Needed

Dear leaders of the Western Iowa Synod:

The time is near whereby we will collectively  be striving and engaging one another to lead changing in the heartland! 

That said: Have you completed the Interculturality assessment yet, also known as the Intercultural Development Inventory (IDI)???    (see email from late fall, for your individualized link to access and complete)
Have you registered for the WIS Leadership Academy yet???!!?!?  (Register Here    Flier Here)

What, you may be trying to recall, is this all about???!!?!?  Bishop Prois is leading us all toward "Changing Hearts is the Heartland" which basically entails being the church for the "other" in the many, various contexts and possibilities that may entail.  The interculturality assessment will give us a picture of where we are collectively along a spectrum of openness and understanding and adaptability to being open to another.  We will take a deep look at this at the WIS Leadership Academy.  There, also, we will work toward educational planning that will move us further down the spectrum of interculturality, further toward being the face of Christ to those in our midst.

In conclusion, we encourage you all to complete the Interculturality assessment at your earliest convenience if you have not already done so, and to be sure to join us at the WIS Leadership Academy on Feb. 10 at St. John Lutheran in Carroll, IA, as we move this forward!  Might we also entice you by sharing that members of the wonderfully talented ELCA Global Musician will join us with song and voice and stories of impact!  What a special treat that will be!

Please contact Cindy Wells, WIS Director of Global Mission, with any needs or questions you may have (cindy.wells@wisynod.org712 732 4968 Ext. 441). 
We look forward to our time together!


Cindy Wells
Director of Global Mission
Western Iowa Synod ELCA

Preventing a hostile work environment
A hostile work environment may be defined as a workplace where an employee is subjected to harassment or unfair treatment, creating an environment where the employee feels threatened or intimidated. Prevention is the best means toward a safe and welcoming workplace. >More

Armed Intruder
While it may never happen to you, it is important to prepare for an armed intruder situation just as you prepare for other types of emergencies. These situations evolve very rapidly and require individuals to make decisions very quickly. This resource kit will give you some tools to prepare for this type of emergency. >More
Submit your parochial report!
2017 parochial reports are due on Feb. 15. These reports are vital to the ELCA’s commitment to improving its efforts to spread the good news and are used in allocating the ELCA’s resources to synods and congregations. Did you know that the information you submit (or do not submit) in your parochial report goes into your congregation’s trend report, which is publicly available online? Seekers looking for your congregation can see not only the information you submit but also whether the congregation has submitted parochial reports. Please submit the report so that visitors can learn more about you. >More
Men's Retreat - "Come and Share - Build Relationships"
February 2nd - 3rd, 2018

The Western Iowa Synod Lutheran Men in Mission will be hosting their annual retreat at Lutheran Lakeside Camp in Spirit Lake. Registration cost will be $50. This includes room and meals during the retreat. The theme is "Come and Share - Build Relationships." The retreat will begin Friday, February 2nd with registration at 6:30 PM in the Upper Shalom House. The retreat will conclude Saturday the 3rd at 3 PM with a service of Holy Communion. Friday night will be filled with fun, fellowship, and laughter as men play the card game, "Man Talk."

The key note speaker for the retreat will be Pastor Alvin Erickson. Saturday, Pastor Erickson will discuss human trafficking of children, and provide instruction on how men in the church can bring awareness of and prevent this from happening to youth and children. Pastor Erickson will discuss the importance of the role dads, husbands, and grandfathers have in congregations. Saturday
afternoon, we will continue conversation in small groups with the card game, "Faith Talk."   Registration available here!!
2018 Leadership Academy
Register Here                          Flier Here
Travel Opportunity
Travel Opportunity to Tanzania
Make plans to join us next summer as we take another group to visit the Southern Diocese of Tanzania. Meet amazing people and witness the many projects in which we walk step by step with our brothers and sisters in Tanzania!! Flier Here         More info here
Joining Together in Prayer
Synod: Oregon Synod, Bishop David Brauer-Rieke & staff
Congregation: a neighboring congregation
  • Our country and leadership
  • Congregations in transition
  • Rostered leaders in transition
  • Rev. Trudy & Rev. Kim Peterson
  • Rev. Pete Peterson & Kathy
  • Our Companion Synods
  • Those in need of clothing and food
  • Those struggling with abuse or addiction
  • Upcoming events and learning opportunities
Continuing Ed/Learning
37th Annual Rural Ministry Conference
Wartburg Seminary

March 4-6, 2018

This ecumenical conference is designed for pastors and lay leaders in rural and small town congregations.  The topic for this year is Co-operating Congregations in Mission.  We will explore a variety of newer ministry models for smaller congregations.  Our keynote speaker, Pastor Marcia Kifer, is a dynamic speaker with many years of experience in a variety of ministry models.  Our breakouts include worship for smaller congregations, and evangelism in rural areas.  Our second keynote, Mark Yackel-Juleen, has been working on multiple point and ecumenical parishes.  With the changing rural scene, new ways of thinking about how to do ministry and changing partnerships is a timely topic.  Please note our breakouts as well.  Some of you may recognize the name of Rollie Martinson.  His breakout on worship and music in small member congregations is one I will attend.  You also see with have breakouts on rural evangelism, a form of creative arts and time to engage our speakers.  I hope you will consider coming to the 37th annual rural ministry conference. - Ann Fritschel, Ph.D            Rural Ministry Flier & Registration
26th Annual Festival of Homiletics
Preaching and Politics

When: May 21-25
Where: Washington, D.C.

Registration for the 2018 Festival of Homiletics is now open! This year's theme is Preaching and Politics. It promises to be a nurturing, prophetic and renewing experience.

The Festival of Homiletics is a weeklong conference that brings together a wide variety of outstanding preachers and professors of homiletics to inspire a discourse about preaching, worship and culture. Preachers are invited to experience various styles and methods of preaching to renew their faith and refresh their spirits through engaging worship, lectures and workshops. Throughout the week, you will be inspired in your role of proclaiming the gospel.
Please visit our website or watch a 1-minute video to learn more about this year's festival in Washington, D.C
Register by Feb. 16 for an early bird discount! More info here
Union Presbyterian Seminary
(full communion partner)
  • February 13 – March 20:  The Christian Life (Tuesdays, skipping  February 27)
  • February 22 – March 22:  Pastoral Care (Thursdays)
  • April 10 – May 8:  Mission and Evangelism (Tuesdays)
  • April 12 – May 10:  Preaching the Bible (Thursdays)
  • May 24 – June 21:  Parables of Jesus (Thursdays)
Upcoming Synod Events
More details about these events can be found on the website at
  • January 18-25   Week of Prayer for Christian Unity
  • January 26-29    ELCA Youth Leader Extravaganza 
  • February 1         Youth leader meeting 
  • February 2-3      Men's Retreat at Lutheran Lakeside
  • February 3         ABC Committee Meeting
  • February 10       Leadership Academy 
  • February 15       Congregation Treasurer/bookkeepers
  • February 25       Bold Women's Day
  • March 1              Youth leader meeting 
  • March 17            Synod Council
  • March 26            Chrism Mass in Storm Lake
  • April 8-10            Spirituality Retreat
  • April 27-28          Faith Formation Summit 
  • June 8-10           WIS Synod Assembly
What is the Mission Team Up To?
  • Goal Setting
  • Calendar Planning
  • Visiting Text Studies
  • Youth Ministry Network Meeting
  • Judicatory Leader Meeting
  • Cooking for Youth Gathering Fundraiser
  • Luther Seminary Convocation
  • Youth Leader Extravaganza
  • Meetings w/pastor/leaders
  • Worship Network Meeting
  • World Hunger Leadership Event
IRS 2018 standard mileage rates for business, medical and moving announced
The Internal Revenue Service has issued the 2018 optional standard mileage rates used to calculate the deductible costs of operating an automobile for business, charitable, medical or moving purposes. Beginning on Jan. 1, the standard mileage rates for the use of a car (also vans, pickups or panel trucks) will be: 54.5 cents for every mile of business travel driven, up 1 cent from the rate for 2017. The ELCA uses the business travel rate to reimburse travel expenses.
18 cents per mile driven for medical or moving purposes, up 1 cent from the rate for 2017.
14 cents per mile driven in service of charitable organizations.
For the Health of It
Portico introduces more objective way to assess physical health
Portico has kicked off its 11th annual wellness challenge, inviting members and spouses with ELCA-Primary health benefits to earn wellness dollars for working to strengthen their physical and financial health. New this year, as part of its stepped-up commitment to give members more personalized health support, Portico is offering a biometric screening instead of an online health assessment. For their effort, participants will also receive $200 wellness dollars, half of the $400 available in 2018. >More

Pre-Retirement Seminar

If you're over age 50 and within 15 years of retirement, our pre-retirement seminars and webinars are a great way to get planning off to a strong start or keep the momentum going. The seminar answers the important questions you may have about retirement, including:

How much money will I need when I retire?

What health care options will I have in retirement?

As I approach retirement, how can I manage my investment risks?

How can money be distributed from my ELCA retirement account to create a steady stream of income in retirement?

Date:  Tuesday, July 10

Location:  Bethesda Lutheran Church,  1517 Northwestern Ave,  Ames, IA

Time:  9 a.m. – 6 p.m.

Cost:  $35/person or $70/couple. Breakfast and lunch are included.

Register here

Financial Best Practices
for Congregations
Recently the synod office has received a few calls about the proper way to handle the finances of the congregation. Here is a resource from the ELCA website that can guide your congregation with handling their finances the proper way. Click here!
and your part in it!!
Apply for Summer Staff at Ingham Okoboji

Have you ever wanted an opportunity to have an impact in the Kingdom of God? Join us for a summer set apart from all others to serve the Lord. Share the good news about Jesus with kids and families and have a blast at Ingham and Okoboji. We want you to join our team of friends you’ll always remember for a summer you’ll never forget!
Applications are available at
eSpirit Submissions
If you have a story, article or pictures to share from your congregation's ministry, please send to Lynn by Tuesdays at noon!
Western Iowa Synod
318 E Fifth St.
Storm Lake, IA 50588