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

Congregation of the week: Nain Lutheran, Newell
Synod of the week: Indiana-Kentucky Synod, Bishop William Gafkjen
  • ​Congregations in transition    
  • ​Kathy Petersen wife of Rev. Arlo (Pete) Petersen 
  • Rev. Lorene Glant
  • The family of Donnadee Nicholson
  • Kay Broich's brother-in-law, Bob.
  • Prayers of thankfulness for Bishop Prois and Chris's safe travels to the Bishops Academy in Arizona
  • Prayers of thanks for Chris Prois' willingness to help us out at the office answering phones
Congregational Annual Meetings
Congregational leaders, as many of you are now preparing for your annual meeting please keep these things in mind: 
  • Elect voting members for the WIS Synod Assembly, June 10th - 12th, don't forget youth and young adults!
  • As you approve your budgets, remember the work of the church goes beyond your walls; as many of you heard at the Thankfulness events this fall, there is great ministry happening in the synod and beyond. 
  • Please fill out your congregation's annual report forms or Parochial Report
Receptionist/Administrative Assistant Needed!
The Western Iowa Synod Mission Center is in search of a Receptionist/Administrative Assistant to be a part of the team. If you, someone you know, or someone in your congregation is looking for a new opportunity, please have them contact us. This position is Monday thru Friday and computer and administrative assistant skills are required. They may email Lynn or call the office at 712-732-4968. 
"We are Church Together"

Giving Voice for Iowa Children and Families – Lutheran Day on the Hill
Families living in poverty. Iowa children who go hungry. Former refugees building new lives.
These kinds of issues are rarely the center of attention at the Iowa State Capitol. Let’s change that!
Please consider joining Lutheran Services in Iowa (LSI) and the three Iowa synods of the ELCA for Lutheran Day on the Hill, an annual day of advocacy in Des Moines to uplift the needs of our neighbors.

The event will be held on Wednesday, February 17. Visit for event details, online registration and an online toolkit for your congregation, including how to participate in this year’s congregational letter-writing campaign.

If you are new to advocacy, come learn more about the legislative process and your role as a citizen. If you’ve attended before, join us again. We hope this year’s schedule will also allow you more opportunities to connect with legislators.

LSI is proud to be an affiliated social ministry organization of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA). Learn more at and
Confronting Racism - A Holy Yearning
ELCA Presiding Bishop Elizabeth A. Eaton and William B. Horne II, an ELCA member from Clearwater, Fla., will continue their conversation onracism – a violation of God’s intention for humanity – in another live webcast Jan. 14, 2016, at 8 p.m. (CST). Eaton and Horne will be joined by other ELCA members who bring various perspectives on the U.S. criminal justice system. As with the previous webcast, this one will be grounded by two commitments. One is this church’s proclamation of Christ and the confidence this good news brings to set us free from the captivity of racism. The second is this church’s enduring commitment to address the complexity of racism and end discrimination. More here..
Different Faiths Unite for One Purpose

The Bible says faith is "the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen." It's something these religious leaders share, and cherish.

"Faith is supposed to make you a better human and what is better than having tolerance and accepting the other and living with the other and contributing to humanity? What's better then this?" said Mosque of Sioux City's Imam Eyad Najdawi.
Rabbi Guy Greene, of Beth Shalom Congregation, reached out to leaders of different faiths to unite them for one purpose.

"It's going to be a real show of support for the Muslim community since they've been attacked and hurt in so many ways, lied and talked about in ways that are just not acceptable,"said the Most Reverend R. Walker Nickless, Bishop of the Diocese of Sioux City.

Every leader grabbed a food item at the Food bank of Siouxland, and got to work packaging food sacks for kids in the community. More...
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!! 
What is the WIS Mission Team up to this week?
Bishop Prois -
  • First Lutheran, West Okoboji
  • Conference Call
  • Meeting with Pastors
Rev. Halaas -
  • Lay School Retreat
  • St Paul, Holstein
  • CAP Interviews
Rev. Ungs -
  • St John, Sioux City
  • The Church of the Damascus Road

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!                                  Don't forget to like us on FACEBOOK!!
Western Iowa Synod Events
Shared Ministry Event
The Shared Ministry Conference originally scheduled for October 2015 has been rescheduled for January 30th!!   Please share this information with your congregation leaders!

What is a Shared Ministry Event? This is a day for pastors and leaders of congregations who are currently part of a shared ministry to gather and discover:
  •  new ways to partner in ministry
  •  new ways to celebrate and honor different traditions
  •  new ways to build leadership and grow ministry
  • new ways to be church together!

Plan to join us on Saturday, January 30 at Our Saviour's Lutheran Church, Humboldt.
The morning presentation will begin at 10:00 a.m.  Coffee and registration open at 9:30.
The day will conclude and you will be on the road by 4:00.
Cost for the day is $20 / person - this includes lunch.
Presenter will be Mark Yackel-Juleen of Shalom Hill Farm, Windom, MN and adjunct professor at Wartburg Seminary.
To register:  please e-mail Lorna Halaas before January 26th.
Western Iowa Synod Men in Mission Retreat
Where: Ingham Okoboji Lutheran Bible Camp
When:  February 5 and 6, 2016
Cost:    $60.00 Friday night & Saturday and meals;                 $50.00 Saturday only with meals;
              $30.00 Total retreat cost for those under 35               years of age; Scholarships available

The Lutheran Men in Mission will be gathering together at Ingham Okoboji Lutheran Bible Camp near Milford, Iowa. Guest speaker will be Pastor Jeff Ungs, Director for Evangelical Mission and Assistant to the Bishop of the Western Iowa Synod.  The theme is “Doers of the Word”  based on James 1:22. Come and enjoy fellowship with other men, great food and a time to grow in your faith! Registration and more information can be found here!!
WIS Leadership Academy 2016!!
The Leadership Academy is scheduled for February 27th at St Paul in Atlantic &           February 28th at St Mark in Storm Lake. 
Cost: $25/person or $75 per carload, by Feb. 15th. After that the cost will be $30/person with no carload option.

Our guest speaker Bishop Roger Gustafson, Central States Synod, ELCA, will energize and enlighten us with his teachings on Being a Spirit Filled Leader. Workshops will include such topics as: Companion Congregations, Faith Formation, writing devotions, human resources, church council basics, facebook, technology in worship and many more. There will be something for everyone! Watch upcoming eSpirits and the website for more detailed information, registration and publicity resources which will be available later next week.

We hope you and several people from your congregation will make plans to join us for one of these events!!
Other Events of Interest

Rally in the Valley 2016
Spirit in the Desert is proud to co-sponsor Rally in the Valley 2106 and NOW is the time to register. Last year more than 500 participants attended and that is also the maximum this year.
Rally will be held on February 15th and 16th at Prince of Peace Lutheran Church in Phoenix. The theme this year is "Go Into The World" exploring our call to live, work, and share the Gospel story in every corner of the world, especially for those in their "3rd Chapter of Life."  
Rally is a one of a kind, premier, Lutheran Seniors event - this year featuring Bishop Elizabeth Eaton, Presiding Bishop of the ELCA andDaniel Speckhard, President and CEO of Lutheran World Relief.
These two, together with great music and worship with Tom Witt and Mary Preus, interest sessions, Bible studies with Fr. Greg Adolf, good food, and much conversation with old and new friends, will make Rally in the Valley 2106 historic and memorable.
Visit for details, downloadable registration forms, and other useful information.
Call 623-878-3996 if you have questions.
GROUP - Ministry Training Event
What:  Leadership Training; all denominations welcome!
When:  Saturday, April 2 from 8:00am-3:30pm
Where:  Bethlehem Lutheran Church
            - 300 E Bow Dr, Cherokee
All trainings are led by Group Publishing Staff

To Register: call Bethlehem Lutheran Church 712.225.4969
Registration fee includes lunch!
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...​
Useful Links
Western Iowa Synod                                 ELCA News
WIS Facebook                                            Living Lutheran
WIS Calendar                                             ELCA Prayer Ventures
eSpirit Newsletter Archive                        ELCA World Hunger
Administration Matters