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

Joining Together in Prayer
Synod of the week: St Paul Area Synod, Bishop Patricia Lull & Staff
Congregation of the week: Ascension Lutheran, Coon Rapids

  • Changing hearts in the heartland
  • President Trump, administration and USA
  • Congregations in transition
  • Rostered leaders in transition
  • Pastors Kim and Trudy Peterson
  • Pastor Jeff Ung’s finished treatment, continued healing
  • Pastor Chris Lang - recovering from surgery
  • Thankfulness conversations
  • Pastor Ann Klavano who is in hospice in Rochester
  • Mike & Lynn Egesdal and family; Mike's mother passed away on Dec. 8th
Advent Photo Challenge Submissions

From Cradle to Grave

In the December issue of Living Lutheran, Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton reflects on Christmas, a time when “God reversed the cradle-to-grave progression.” We are on a joyful journey, where we are loved, we are alive and we are free to greet this holy season. Read her column in English here and in Spanish here.
How to complete a Pastor’s W-2 IRS Form
Year-end is quickly approaching and with it, the task of tax reporting to the IRS.  Different rules apply when dealing with clergy taxes and withholdings.  The sample W-2 provided will assist congregations in completing W-2 forms for clergy.  >More here
It's that time of year for rostered leaders to fill out their annual report forms and submit them. You can find those forms here. Please fill out the appropriate form that describes your call. Thank you!!
Christmas Gift Ideas
ELCA Good Gifts
As members of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), we believe that God is calling us into the world – together. And with generous, loving hands, we can make a difference.
ELCA Good Gifts is your opportunity to provide critical support to the ministries and programs that mean the most to you and the people you love. Here's how it works:
1. Browse and choose your gift 
2. Get a card
3. Change lives
Thankful For our Ministry Together
Thank you for joining us at the Christmas Open House!!

Thank you to those who came, who sang, who decorated trees, were vendors or helped out in anyway. It was great to have many people visit the office during this Advent Season!!
A special thank you to Diane Vavak who held three make and take demonstrations throughout the day and the staff from Ingham Okoboji Lutheran Bible Camp for providing live Christmas music!!  A great day was had by all!!

Western Iowa Synod Women's Organization Newsletter 

Check out the latest edition of The Scribe here!!

Erik Christensen chosen Brugh Emerging Leader by Institute of Liturgical Studies

Erik Christensen, pastor to the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago (LSTC) community and director of chapel, has been selected as the 2019 recipient of the Brugh Emerging Leader Award by the advisory council of the Institute of Liturgical Studies at Valparaiso (Ind.) University.

The annual award recognizes leaders who have made significant contributions to the church in the areas of liturgy, congregational song, preaching, music and or/writing for the whole church. Qualifications include publications or writings, involvement in the wider church, leadership among peers, an ongoing commitment to education and growth, a rootedness in the liturgical tradition and creativeness in expressing the liturgy and song of the church. The award will be presented on May 1 at the conclusion of the 2019 Institute of Liturgical Studies, which will gather around the theme “Table of Thanksgiving: How Eucharist Forms Us.”  complete story here
Positions Available

Director of Music Ministries

First Lutheran Church, Sioux City, Iowa, is seeking to hire a Director of Music Ministries. We are looking for a musician with prior experience to lead the music ministry of our congregation, serving as organist and/or pianist, leading adult and youth choirs.  Our Dobson pipe organ was built in 1984.  We appreciate liturgical ritual and music, we are willing to be innovative and adaptable.  Gifts for ministry include an ability to organize, prioritize and multi-task, working with a wide range of musical talent and all ages. 

An expanded job description is posted on the Association of Lutheran Church Musicians ( website.  Interested individuals should review the job description and submit a resume and references to Pastor Kristine Stedje, or 712 239 3942.
Apply for Summer Staff at Ingham Okoboji Lutheran Bible Camps
Join a team of believers committed to sharing the good news of Jesus with youth and families of all ages! Our summer begins with two weeks of staff training starting on May 25. It is followed by nine weeks of camp, ending on August 11. Make a difference in the lives of others this summer!
Apply at or encourage someone to apply who would be the perfect fit! Check out our website or email Dan Antoine at with any questions or for more information.
2018 Portico News
Sensing the Mystery of Advent

By Deacon Tammy Devine
ELCA Wellness Manager
December 2018

“Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord!” Psalm 27:14
Advent is rich with sights, sounds, and flavors. For me, the season comes alive with the scent of evergreen boughs, the harmonies of familiar carols, the sweet-salty deliciousness of white chocolate-covered pretzel sticks. What about you? When finding focus in this distracted, busy time of year becomes difficult, tangible reminders like these can help us live more in the now. Too often, staying on top of our to-do list drives our days leading up to Christmas. It is easy to lose sight of God’s presence in the present. Continue reading...
Upcoming Events in and Around the Synod
More info can be found on the website at
Advent Devotions with Bishop Prois
The Word of the Lord

When: Wednesday evenings: Dec.12th & 19th at 6 pm
Where: Faith Lutheran Church
708 Locust St, Odebolt

All are invited and welcome to join with Bishop Prois and others in this Advent bible study....The Word of the Lord!

Happy Holidays from the World Food Prize Foundation
As we near the end of the year, the World Food Prize Foundation is looking forward to our annual Holiday Open House on Decemeber 15 at our Hall of Laureates  from  9am to 1pm. 

There will be a choir singing a medley of Christmas and holiday songs that will fill the building from top to bottom, reverberating through the Hall. Santa and Mrs. Claus will be on hand to receive special requests from young and old alike! 

You will also be able to tour the building, take a look at our international photography exhibit entitled 40 Chances: Finding Hope in a Hungry World, see our Nutcracker decorations in the Rotunda and enjoy holiday cookies. Best of all, it is absolutely FREE. 

It is our pleasure to invite all of Iowa to join us for this holiday tradition!
Director, Iowa Hunger Summit & Community Outreach

Blue Christmas Worship

"While this is the season of bells ringing, carols wafting and expectations that you will have a “Merry Christmas,”  we know that Christmas is difficult for many. Those who are suffering grief, estrangement, illness, loneliness may not feel particularly merry.  The Blue Christmas service recognizes that this time of year can be… well… blue.

So, on Saturday December 15 at 5:30 pm, Immanuel Lutheran Church (315 Hamilton Blvd, Sioux City) will hold a blue Christmas worship service for those who find Christmas a struggle.  There are no expectations on those who attend. It is a service of candlelight, quiet contemplation, prayer and the wonder of love for all of humanity.

If you know of someone who is struggling with this time of year, needs to feel less alone, wishes for a place to worship without judgement please tell them of this service. It is for them.

Contact Pastor Joy Gonnerman at or 507-298-0959 for more information"

Journey to Bethlehem Lutheran Church

302 North Oak Street, Inwood, IA

When: Wednesday, DECEMBER 19th,  6:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

Enter the sanctuary, sit anywhere and listen to live piano music
as you relax, let go of the stress, pray, or meditate in an atmosphere of peace and tranquility.

No cost, No talking, No expectations, No stress -just a moment of Christmas Peace

At any time during the evening, enjoy Christmas cookies and hot apple cider in the church lounge.  Come and go as you wish.     Flier Here

Hope in the Heartland
Imagining Our Future as Small Congregations
This conference will be most helpful for congregations with up to 100 people in worship on a weekly basis. 
This is an 8 synod event with 21 gathering sites
When: February 2nd, 10 am - 4:30 pm
Where: Various location sites to be announced, one will be First Lutheran, Algona
Cost: $50/congregation, plus $10/person for lunch
For details and registration visit:             Flier here!!
Faith Fest for 6th - 8th Graders
Augustana Faith Fest is a weekend retreat opportunity for 6th- to 8th-grade youth and their adult leaders and will take place on Saturday, Feb. 9, and Sunday, Feb. 10, hosted by students at Augustana University. This year’s schedule includes service projects in the Sioux Falls community, interactive workshops, games, crafts and more!
This year’s theme, “Fruit of the Spirit,” is based on Galatians 5: 22-23. Together we will explore what it means to live out God’s values of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control in our everyday lives.
Our special musical guests will be Tangled Blue, a dynamic duo eager to lead our worship through song.
The registration fee of $50 per youth covers the cost of two meals, a Faith Fest t-shirt (for youth participants only), lodging at the Elmen Center on campus, and all program expenses. Adult leaders are free of charge. Each congregation attending Faith Fest is asked to send at least one adult leader per ten youth to participate in all of the weekend’s activities. Payment is due with registration and is 50% refundable in the case of cancellation. More info and registration here!

What is the NEXUS Institute?

The NEXUS Institute is a free, week-long, on-campus institute that brings together 10th-12th grade students from around the country to dig deep into theology with Christian professors and speakers. This institute, which students must fill out an application to attend, helps students think theologically, live in Christian community with our college mentors, and consider their call in ministry. This year’s theme is…

Jesus: Old, New, & Now.

We want to bring up future Christian leaders who understand the gospel and live its truths. We will dive deep into the Old and New Testaments to see the gospel at work, and we will learn how to carry the gospel NOW!


How much does NEXUS cost?

FREE! NEXUS is part of the High School Youth Theological Institutes and is made possible through a generous grant from the Lilly Foundation. The only cost to you is the cost of transportation to Des Moines (should a student need financial assistance for travel costs, please contact us ASAP).


Where can I learn more about the NEXUS Institute?

Brochure Site:

Grand View Website:

Facebook: search @nexusinstitutegv

Instagram: nexusinstitutegv

Twitter: @NexusInstGV

How do my youth sign up?

We are currently recruiting for summer 2019 (one week: June 23-28 [week two is already reserved]). Our deadline is April 1st, however, we have a limited number of spots, so sign up soon!

Youth can apply HERE

You can Nominate a Student HERE


What Happens Next?

You will be receiving some information in the mail within the next couple weeks. Please look it over and share it with congregations who want to see their youth grow in their ministry leadership and calling. Also, please let us know if you’d like more promo materials or if you have any questions!

2019 Continuing Education Opportunities
A list of continuing ed opportunities can be found on our website by following this link. As new ones are received they will be posted here first and then moved to the website. 
Fort Dodge Area Forum
December 13 - Pr. Joy Gonnerman
 ACES: Resiliency and Addiction and the Church

January 10 - Pr. Judy Johnson, Pastors and Co-dependency 
February 14 - Dr. Martin Lohrmann, Lent
2019 Minister's Conference
Revitalizing Congregations by Growing Leaders
January 21-23
Pastors, deacons, youth ministers, lay leaders and all church professionals in leadership roles at a church will not want to miss the 2019 Minister's Conference! During this 48-hour gathering of leaders, you will have the chance to add to your ministry tool belt with colleagues from across the region. Additionally, it can count for 10 hours of continuing education credit. More info here...
Save the date!!
Lutheran Day on the Hill    Feb. 19th, Des Moines

Cross+Gen Conference      March 16th, Sioux City

WIS Leadership Academy      April 13th

Western Iowa Synod Assembly      May 3-5, 2019

Churchwide Assembly      August 5-10

Tri Synodical Fall Convocation      Sept. 22-24

For a list of upcoming events thru Sept. 2019 click here!!


eSpirit Submissions
If you have a story, article or pictures to share from your congregation's ministry, please send to Lynn by Monday morning @ 10 am.!
Western Iowa Synod
318 E Fifth St.
Storm Lake, IA 50588