Synod News
Climate change and Hurricane Harvey, a faithful response
By Rev. Paul Ostrem, Assistant to the Bishop

The morning headline in the Iowa City “Press Citizen” did not surprise me. “Scientists Say Warming Makes Storms Wetter.” I had thought and believed as much even before I heard of the sweeping devastation brought on by Hurricane Harvey.

Carol and I started our vacation in late August by attending with a group of friends the movie “An Inconvenient Sequel.”  The documentary chronicles former Vice-President Al Gore’s work to address the climate crisis. It’s worth the price of admission. I remember days early in my ministry when “ban the styrofoam cup” was about the best the church could do to participate in environmental issues. I also remember the owl on TV telling us to “Give a hoot. Don’t pollute.” ...
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Grand View University Receives $1.25 Million from Lutheran Bible Institute
Grand View University, a university of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America located in Des Moines, received a $1.25 million dollar gift from the Lutheran Bible Institute in California (LBIC). The funds will be used to create an endowed faculty position. The Rev. Dr. Mark Mattes, professor of Theology and Philosophy, who is a world-renowned Lutheran theologian and graduate of LBI Seattle, will be appointed the Lutheran Bible Institute Chair at Grand View. In addition, a scholarship will be established for Theology students.
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Churchwide News
Global Church Sunday
This October, as we observe the 500th anniversary of the Reformation, join us for Global Church Sunday by celebrating and supporting our church’s missionaries! No matter who they are or where they serve, every missionary needs your prayers, support and gifts to live out their ministry. 
"God's work. Our hands." Sunday
The 2017 dedicated day of service is coming up. If your congregation is participating there are resources available online for social media posts, bulletin inserts, door hangers and more. 

We'd also love to hear what you're doing for the day of service. Email any photos or stories to, we'd love to share your stories with other congregations! 
See the resources
The Week of Prayer for Christian Unity
January 18-25, 2018

The Week of Prayer for Christian Unity is a longstanding expression of the ecumenical movement - a worldwide movement among Christians to heal divisions with the Church. It also promotes dialogue among churches and Christian communities and encourages Christians everywhere to better understand and reflect the implications of  "one Lord, one faith, one baptism." 

Each year from January 18-25, Christians are encouraged to pray together as a sign of the unity that is already theirs in Christ. Learn more about the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity. 

Please also visit the Ecumenical and Inter-Religious website of the ELCA for ecumenical events, news, resources, and other times of interest. 
Upcoming Events
Last Chance: RSVP Retired Rostered Ministers Gathering
Tuesday, September 12, at Christ the King Lutheran Church, 325 Mormon Trek Blvd. in Iowa City. Registration begins at 9:30 a.m. with worship at 10:15 a.m. "Conversation with the Bishop" will follow worship and we will conclude with a luncheon.

We are pleased to host this event for retired pastors, deacons and their spouses. The widows/widowers of retired rostered ministers are also welcome.

If you are planning to attend, please RSVP to Lorraine Jordan by calling 319-338-1273 or by emailing by Wednesday, September 6, 2017.

2017 Tri-Synodical Conference
"The Reformation: What's at Stake? Then and Now"

The 2017 Tri-Synodical Conference focusing on the 500th anniversary of the Reformation will be held September 24-September 26 at the Sheraton-West Des Moines. Deadline for room reservations at the group rate is Sept. 8th.
More information and registration

Join the Southeastern Iowa Synod and The Center for Progressive Renewal for 12 months of becoming a better leader. Throughout the year there will be five in-person and online learning times simultaneously at Faith Lutheran Church - Clive and St. John Lutheran Church - Ely. Gather at 9 a.m. and learn from 9:30-11:30 a.m. An hour will be spent watching an online webinar together and end with an hour or more live question and answer session simultaneously in both locations

  • October 19: Preaching Advent
  • November 16: Boundaries with people who have no boundaries
  • January 4: Preaching Lent
  • March 8: Team Building: Challenges of incorporating young adults to your leadership team
  • April 26: Prioritizing Ministry: don't get swamped with the small stuff

Can't make one or two? Don't worry, with a one-time registration fee of $135 per person, you will have access to all five webinars for a whole year to share with your congregation's leadership teams.

To register email Pastor Erika Uthe at or call the Southeastern Iowa Synod Center for Ministry with any questions at 319-338-1273.
You're Invited
Save the Date: Reformation Hymn Festival
The River Bend Conference is hosting a Reformation Hymn Festival, in honor of the 500th anniversary of the Reformation, on Sunday, October 29th at 3:00 p.m. at St. Paul's Lutheran Church, Davenport. 

This event will include a piece sung by the joint choir, compiled by the area church choirs, led by John Hurty of Augustana College.  Please mark you calendar and join us for the Reformation celebration. For questions or more information contact
Stacy Christianson at or Karen Ullestad at
Ecumenical Stewardship Center Conference
Generosity Next takes place November 29 - December 1 in Nashville, Tennessee. It explores how current culture informs faithful stewardship and generous giving.

This year's topic is Stewardship & Generosity: Are We Doing All We Can?  Engage with keynote speakers Steve Manskar and Anne Burkholder as we explore John Wesley's well-known sermons about money and their relevance for generous stewards of the 21st century.

• Connect with others who share a passion for faithful stewardship and generous giving
• Be inspired through meaningful worship, insightful presentations, and thoughtful conversation
• Become better equipped to lead others in their discipleship journeys of becoming faithful stewards and generous givers

Cedar Rapids area 500th Anniversary events

Lutheran-Catholic Dialog  Father Chris Podhajsky and Pastor Craig Brown will co-lead a 4-week discussion at 4-5 p.m. on Sept. 10, 17, 24, & Oct. 1 This event is open to all Catholics and Lutherans.  Cost of materials is $10. 

Landmark Worship Service Among Catholics and Lutherans Following a worldwide initiative, Catholics and Lutherans in the Cedar Rapids/Marion area will gather for a landmark common worship at 4 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 22. The service will start at Immaculate Conception. Halfway through participants will walk across the street and finish at First Lutheran Church. Refreshments following.

Iowa City, Coralville, North Liberty area 500th Anniversary events

The following events are planned for ELCA churches to highlight the 500th anniversary of the Reformation:

Date TBD - at Holy Trinity (North Liberty), screening of the film, "Martin Luther: The Idea That Changed the World"

Oct 15 - 4pm at St Mary's Catholic Church (Iowa City), Ecumenical service with area ELCA churches and Roman Catholic congregations

Oct 21 - Table Talk with Martin and Katie at Zion (Iowa City), will include a German meal and a discussion

Oct 22 - Worship with Martin and Katie at Zion (Iowa City) at 8:15 or 10:45 and stay for a discussion after the last service

Oct 22 - 9:15 a.m. -- artist, Diego Lasansky, creator of the "Junker Jorg" prints, will speak on Oct 22, 9:15 a.m. at GDLC (Iowa City) during Adult Forum, to describe his printmaking process and the inspiration for the print. "Junker Jorg" is the alias used by Martin Luther when he was in hiding at Wartburg Castle in 1521.

Oct 29 - 9:15 a.m. - Prof. Glenn Ehrstine will speak at GDLC (Iowa City) during Adult Forum about "Luther vs. the Pope in the Reformation Media Campaign." The words and images used by both sides were designed to get an emotional response from the public.

For more information on any of these events contact Chris Schlotfelt:

500th Anniversary of the Reformation events-Muscatine
Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church
513 Sycamore Street, Muscatine, IA 52761

September 17, 2017--10:30 a.m.
Dr. Kurt Hendel, the Bernard, Fischer, Westberg Distinguished Ministry Professor of Reformation History at the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago will be giving a presentation entitled, "Martin Luther: Witness of Christ."

September 17, 2017 -- 3 p.m.
To commemorate the 500th anniversary of the Reformation and will be held at Muscatine Lutherans and Roman Catholics will join together for Common Prayer, a liturgy approved by both the Lutheran World Federation and the Vatican. Fr. Troy Richmond of Sts. Mary and Mathias Catholic Church preaching. A time of food and fellowship will immediately follow.
Support the mission and ministry of the Southeastern Iowa Synod by making a donation using our secure online donation page.
View the Synod Calendar Online

Deadline for reservations at the group rate is Sept. 8th.
September 24-26 
West Des Moines
Pray to God with humility as a servant and living sacrifice, asking for insight into the gifts and skills we each bring to the church and how ‒ together ‒ we can put them to use for the growth of the church and for the sake of our neighbors who cry out for good news, hope, comfort, connection and healing.
More prayers
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Announcements that appear in this newsletter may be copied and reproduced by congregations of the Southeastern Iowa Synod in whole or in part without permission. Please credit authors if they are credited within this newsletter.