The eSpirit is a weekly electronic newsletter of the Western Iowa Synod
Please note that the Western Iowa Synod Mission Center will be minimally staffed over the holidays. In case of emergency, please call Lynn at 712.299.2570.

The next eSpirit will be published the week of January 7th!

Merry Christmas and a blessed New Year!
Please join the mission team in prayer:

​Congregations in transition    
​Kathy Petersen wife of Rev. Arlo (Pete) Petersen 
Brian Campbell - now home and receiving ongoing treatment
Rev. Lorene Glant
Sam Jacob's family, whose sister passed away
The family of Alice Hansen, widow of Pr. Erling Hansen who served in Emmetsburg, Lost Island from 1962-1984, who passed away on Dec. 12th. 
The family of Rev. Charles (Chuck) Bichel (rostered in NE) who passed away on Dec. 15th. More info
Message From IRIS
Iowa Resource for International Service has begun our search for host families for the 2016-2017 school year. Whether you have hosted before or are just interested in the idea, we'd love to talk with you about this opportunity and answer any questions you have. You can learn more about hosting and our students HERE. Please share this message with anyone who might be interested in hosting a high school exchange student and encourage them to get in touch with us. Schools are already filling up so contact IRIS today! Call our office at 515-292-7103, or email

Consider a Gift that Gives!! 
- by Rev. Perry Aalgaard

Christmas season is upon us and for many it is one of the happiest times of the year.  It is the time of year when we gather together with family, friends, and co-workers to celebrate the Birth of the Savior and to enjoy one another.  This is also a season and a time of giving gifts.  The Magi brought gifts to Jesus and we, too, share gifts with one another at Christmas.  Somehow the Magi knew what was on Jesus’ list and brought him, gold, frankincense, and Myrrh.  How do we give someone a gift that is truly meaningful?  I know for me there are times when gift-giving is difficult; more

A gift to a SACCOS is a life-giving gift which can keep on giving year after year!  

Hunger Challenge from Assembly Resolution                                                                                                                                                A resolution from the 2015 assembly challenged the church of Western Iowa to collectively DOUBLE its 2014 ELCA World Hunger second-mile giving of $166,250 to $332,500, AND to collectively gather and donate 100,000 pounds of food or its monetary equivalent to area food banks in our synod between the culmination of this 2015 WIS Assembly and the end of 2016 fiscal year, Jan. 31, 2017. 

Please assist us in reaching this goal! If your congregation is participating and has raised money or collected food, you may report it here or email Rev. Jeff Ungs or Lynn Egesdal to report your amount of money or poundage of food that you've raised. Thank you!!
Attention AMAZON Shoppers!!

If you are an online amazon shopper there is an easy way that you can make a donation to the Western Iowa Synod just by shopping for Christmas gifts or any other items throughout the year. Take a minute to check out how right here!! Thank you for your support!!
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!!
Congregational Care Class
​Lay School Class – Register Now - Begins January 23rd!

A class for those who serve as Parish Nurse, Prayer Ministers, Stephen Ministers, and others who may be interested in a visiting ministry in their congregation. The class, "Congregational Care" will focus on walking with others during times of both celebration and struggle. Topics will include learning to listen, prayer, grief, and discovering ways to walk with others in times of need. 

Pastor John Syverston and Pastor Cara Knutson, both ELCA chaplains will lead the class.
Registration is $395 - covers four Saturday class sessions, lunch included. Please e-mail Lorna Halaas at for more information or to register. 

Some outside reading, practicing visitation, and class discussion is part of the class. Registration is $395 which includes lunch each Saturday the class meets. More information is available from John Syvertson at or Lorna Halaas at
Please email Lorna at  to register.
Reconnecting the Millennial Island
January 14-16, 2016
Carol Joy Holling Center, Ashland, NE
Connecting Generations: Led by Andrew Root
A long standing struggle in ministry has been getting millennials more involved in the church, but what if targeting millennials with flashy programming isn't the key to getting them to participate? Andrew Root will be speaking on how we can bridge the imaginary gap between church ministry, millennials and our relationships across all generations. <More info here>
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!! 
Shared Ministry Event

January 30th - Mark your calendar and watch for more details!.
Mark your calendars!!
The Leadership Academy is scheduled for February 27th at St Paul in Atlantic & February 28th at St Mark in Storm Lake. 

Please mark your calendars and watch for more information soon!!
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                                                     ELCA Youth Gathering
ELCA Advocacy                                         Administration Matters
ELCA Global Links