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

Congregation of the week
Synod of the week: Southwestern Pennsylvania Synod, Bishop Kurt Kusserow
  • ​Congregations in transition    
  • ​Kathy Petersen wife of Rev. Arlo (Pete) Petersen 
  • Rev. Lorene Glant
  • Rev. Terry Mahnke, health concerns
  • Jolene Mapel, Kay Broich's mom, whose health is failing
  • Rev. Delmar Carlson
  • Rev. Duane Olsen
  • Alisha Ungs, wisdom teeth removed
  • Pray for the children! For those who have been exploited and involved in sex trafficking. Prayers are even provided by Cherish All Children.
2016 Assembly News/Updates

Date: June 10th - 12th.
Theme: "We Are Church Together"! 
Theme verse: Ephesians 4:11-13
Location: Omaha Marriott, 10220 Regency Cir., Omaha, NE 68114; Phone 402-399-9000

This year's assembly offering provides opportunity for all congregational members to respond to the approved 2015 Hunger Resolution , whereby we double World Hunger giving and donate 100,000 pounds of food to our local food pantries by Jan. 31, 2017.  This additionally correlates with the ELCA Campaign. If you are already donating food to your local food pantries, please provide the number of pounds to the WIS mission center so that we may add it to our totals. You may also report the number of dollars given, that have not already been reported in other ways. The flier and Hunger Resolution are available here.

Watch this area of the eSpirit for special assembly announcements and updates. Information and forms will also be available on the synod's website on the 2016 Assembly page
Attention Pastors and Congregational Leaders!!
Many of you have not completed your rostered leader reports or your congregation's A&C forms. You can find all the forms here! The A&C forms can be found in the upper right hand column and to access the rostered leader reports, click on the synods tab and look for the form that fits your situation. Thank you for fulfilling this responsibility!
Chrism Services for Rostered Leaders

Pastors and other rostered leaders in the synod, please make plans to join us for one of these chrism services during Holy Week! All services will begin at 10:00 am.

March 18th at Bethany in Emmetsburg
March 21st at St Paul in Atlantic
March 22nd at St Paul in Holstein
"We are Church Together"
Doing Ministry Together!

The Church of the Damascus Road, served by Pastor Paul Stone, is a prison congregation where the inmates are the members by their participation. Although inmates give very generously from their meager ($2-$3 per day) earnings, they could not possibly support a pastor's salary, mileage, and office expenses. Therefore, congregations surrounding the institution(s) being served support this ministry through their individual gifts, congregational giving, and/or placing the ministry on their annual budgets. In addition, these supporters are invited to visit the worship services of the prison congregation. They come as more than just a visitor - they are a witness to the inmates that there are people on the outside who care about the inmates enough to take the time to join them in worship and partnership in the ministry of Christ. We are Church together!

Leaders in Corrections today are seeking these connections between inmates and outside people, so this ministry is welcomed by correctional facilities as a very positive means of making this connection. There are two locations that Pastor Stone serves, Fort Dodge and Rockwell City. 

Reentry/Reintergration ministry consists of teams of 3-7 caring persons who covenant with an exmate for up to a year to help that person make a smooth and sure transition back into society. Teams are trained to help the community understand where the exmate is coming from and how best to help.

It's a ministry, not a program. Many Western Iowa Synod congregations are a part of the reentry/reintegration ministry. We are Church together!  If you are interested in the training, contact their office at 1-515-955-3579 for the latest dates and locations of their training events. 
Mark your calendars for Sunday, Sept. 11, when congregations of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) will again have the opportunity to participate in “God’s work. Our hands.” Sunday and celebrate who we are as the ELCA – one church, freed in Christ to serve and love our neighbor.

If your congregation cannot participate Sept. 11, please consider another time. The 2016 dedicated day of service will also mark the 15-year anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the United States. 

“The world can be a dangerous place. But there are some who, when disaster strikes, run toward the danger. These are first responders, firefighters, police and EMTs, who live out their baptismal vocation in service to their communities in times of intense need. They do God’s work with their hands.”
                                                                                                         – ELCA Presiding Bishop Elizabeth A. Eaton
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
Pastors and Congregational Office Administrators, please note that many of these events have fliers or posters to be hung and/or bulletin inserts that can be printed off for distribution to your congregation. Please help us get the word out about these upcoming events! More information can also be found at the link by the event below or on our website here!

Road to Repayment - webinar

Paying off student loans can feel impossible, like pushing a boulder up a mountain! As a person with student loans of my own, I understand this frustration. Fortunately, there are smart strategies to make the road to repayment smoother and more manageable.
Join us for Portico’s first-ever “Road to Repayment” webinar, Monday, March 14, 11:30 a.m. - 12:15 p.m. (Central). As a plan member, it’s free to you and your spouse or partner! Together, we’ll explore:
• Ways to make loan repayment easier — such as income-based repayment options, loan forgiveness programs, and debt consolidation
• How to tackle other important financial goals — like building an emergency fund, repaying credit card debt, buying a house, and saving for retirement while repaying your loans
Feel free to submit your student loan questions when you register. Since this is our first time offering this webinar, these questions will help us tailor the content to your needs and connect you with the right resources to stay on track. Register now for “Road to Repayment”
ConFest 2016 Will be Here Soon!!

April 6th - St John in Carroll, 6:00 - 8:15 pm
April 13th - St John in LeMars, 6:00 - 8:15 pm

April will be here before we know it!! Make plans to bring your confirmation students to a fun filled, worshipful experience, with other confirmation students from around the synod. They will get a glimpse of what it means to be church together and learn what it means to "Be Faithful Friends". This is a repeat event of last fall, so if you attended one of those, please let others have opportunity to attend one of these events.

Registration is OPEN !!
Space is limited, so please register early!!
Register Here
ConFest Poster
PLAN - IT Event
This event is primarily for youth leaders, however many pastors and leaders can benefit from planning out their year of ministry. A one day event = better planning = better ministry!

“Making it up as I go” or “Flying by the seat of my pants” is not making for successful ministry.
PLAN-IT:    Better planning = Better Ministry
Plan your whole program year!
Come by yourself or bring a team! 

Location: St John Lutheran, Carroll
Date: April 30th
Time: 9 am - 4 pm
Cost: $20/person (meal included)      Team of 3 or 4: $50

Please email Lynn Egesdal with any questions!                                
Register Here
Plan-it Flier

Pre-Retirement Seminar

While many adults over the age of 50 are thinking about retirement, everyone approaches this important stage in life differently. Some spend a lot of time in the planning stage, while others start planning with just months to spare. No matter where you are in the process, Portico’s day-long pre-retirement seminar can help. And, the good news is we’re coming soon to your area!
Take advantage of this opportunity and join us! We look forward to seeing you there.
Location:              Bethesda Lutheran Church
                                1517 Northwestern Ave
                                Ames, IA 50010
Date:                     Thursday, June 23, 2016
Time:                     Registration begins at 8:30AM, Seminar runs from 9:00AM-6:00PM
Registration:        Register here!
Register today! Once registered, Portico will email you an invoice for $35 per person. Please make your check out to Portico Benefit Services. Either mail the check to Portico or bring it to the seminar. To see other seminar locations and dates, go to the Events Calendar page on myPortico.  Questions, please email Kelsey Bode, Portico Events Coordinator,
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...​
Other Events of Interest
MARCH 6-8, 2016 @ Dubuque
Where leaders in rural communities and congregations gather to gain insight and inspiration, to network and neighbor that our ministries might be empowered. This ecumenical conference includes worship, keynote speakers, workshops, and Bible study, and offers participants a unique opportunity to network with others who are active in and concerned about rural ministry. More info
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!
Stepping UP to Staffing & Supervision
How in the world can a pastor supervise "Volunteers"?
Here's an answer...Come and hear Susan Beaumont!

WHO do volunteers and employees report to?
HOW do job descriptions get formed?
ARE there differences between supervising employees & volunteers?
CAN a committee supervise employees & volunteers?
Sponsored by the United Church of Christ. More info here....
PSST Retreat: “Resiliency in Pastoral Ministry”

This event will be Thursday, April 14 – Friday, April 15 at the Green Lake Bible Camp, Chrysalis House. Please see attached flyer for retreat schedule, registration costs and speaker info. This event is designed for pastors serving in settings with other pastors.
Registration will open this Friday, Feb. 12, 2016.
Registration deadline is April 6, 2016. 
Questions about registration, please contact Kristin Bakeberg at the synod office, 507-637-3904.
Retreat Flyer
4th Annual Faith Conference
Saturday, April 23rd    9:00 am - 12:30 pm
Gustavus Adolphus College, St Peter, Minnesota
The theme for the day is "Lutheran Convictions for Creation Care". There is no cost for this conference and all are welcome. More info here....
Useful Links                                                           
Western Iowa Synod                                 ELCA News                          Ingham Okoboji Lutheran Bible Camp
WIS Facebook                                            Living Lutheran                    Lutheran Lakeside Camp
WIS Calendar                                             ELCA Prayer Ventures       St Luke Homes & Services
eSpirit Newsletter Archive                        ELCA World Hunger
Administration Matters