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

Joining Together in Prayer
Synod of the week: North Carolina Synod, Bishop Tim                                     Smith & Staff
Congregation of the week: Mamrelund Lutheran & Rev. Dr.                                              Eric Kutzli
  • Changing hearts in the heartland
  • President Trump, administration and USA
  • Nation Immigration reform, families in turmoil at the border
  • East Coast & all in Hurricane Florence's path
  • Congregations in transition
  • Rostered leaders in transition
  • Kim and Trudy Peterson   
  • Rev. Melba Smith, hospitalized
  • Craig Miller, bicycle accident
  • Augusta Victoria Hospital
Fear Not
For Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton, Isaiah 43:1-7 is one of the most hopeful and lovely passages in all of Scripture. Find out why in her September column for Living Lutheran, where she says it is possible for us to fear and fear not.

Read her column in English at
and in Spanish at
2019 Bishop Election 

WISynod Bishop Election 2019 Survey

The Election Committee invites you, rostered and lay members of WISynod, to take a few minutes to respond to the following survey questions.   After 4 weeks, the survey will close and a summary will be published.  We ask that you use this as a starter tool for conversation within and among congregations and conferences as we look forward to the next 6 years of the Spirit’s leading us into the future together.
-Pastor Barb Kopperud                                                Complete the Survey Here

​​Western Iowa Synod 2019 Bishop Election Information--

The Western Iowa Synod will hold the Election of Bishop at its next Synod Assembly, May 3, 4 and 5, 2019.  Electing a bishop is one of the most important responsibilities in the life of a synod in the ELCA.  As an election, it is a process informed by the ELCA Churchwide office and governed by the constitution of the synod.   In the WISynod, the bishop is eligible to serve two consecutive six year terms, and our present Bishop Prois will have served his first term and is eligible for re-election in 2019.

The WISynod Council has formed a Bishop Election Committee to oversee the details of the election process.  This election of a bishop is also a call process where any ordained pastor in the ELCA is eligible.   In these months before the Assembly, you are respectfully invited to prayerfully consider what gifts are needed to match  the needs of the synod in the office of bishop.  

Let’s begin with prayer!
Almighty God, you have given your Holy Spirit to the church to lead us into all truth.  Bless with the Spirit’s grace and presence the people of this Western Iowa Synod as we prepare in the months ahead to elect a bishop.  Keep us steadfast in faith and united in love, that we may manifest your glory and prepare for the way of your kingdom, through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord, Amen.

Please watch for more Information about the process as it will be regularly updated!
Position Openings
Christian Education Director
St. Olaf Lutheran Church of Fort Dodge has an immediate opening for an interim lay minister.  This person will be responsible for oversight of education ministries; other program development will match the candidates skill-set.  This position is for the 2018-19 school year; the candidate can be eligible for a permanent position, but as yet we do not know what the final position will be.  Interested parties please call Pr. Len Halvorson: 605-359-8344.   

ELCA Foundation is searching for a Director of Gift Planning
Key responsibilities are: 1) direct supervision of a national staff of about 20 regional gift planners & 2) Manage the business relationships with ministry partner organizations. Reports to the Executive Vice President of the Foundation. It requires about 30% travel and located in Chicago
Application submitted through the ELCA job board.
ELCA is searching for an Executive Director for Domestic Mission
Brings decisive and visionary leadership, equipping synods and congregations, developing new ministries, & seeking to renew strategic ministries.
Reports to the presiding bishop, requires about 25% travel  & located in Chicago.
Application submitted through the ELCA job board.

Inquiries about these positions may be directed, in confidence, to Gaye Lindfors of Significant Solutions, Inc., the consultant assisting with this search.

Director of Worship and Music (fulltime)

Vinje Lutheran Church is seeking to hire a new Director of Worship and Music. We are looking for someone with great organizational skills, a team player, a good listener, a gifted musician, someone who works well with a variety of ages, and someone who cares for the entire worship life of the congregation.

Interested individuals should review the job description and submit a resume, references, and a video capturing examples of musical leadership (preferably in a worship setting). Materials should be submitted by September 20 to Pastor Justin Ask at
2018 Portico Updates

Why Contribute to Your Retirement
In this short video, Portico’s financial educator, Grace Pomroy, demonstrates why saving for retirement is critical — and how to prioritize it given other demands on our wallets.  It can be found at: 

2019 Annual Enrollment Dates

Employer and plan members make their benefit elections annually.  For 2019 benefits, the dates are as follows:  for Employers:  October 1 – October 26 and for Plan members: October 31 – November 14

Resourceful Servants
Resourceful Stewards Initiative
Financial wellness is a vital part of a healthy life. Ministers who are in a financially sound position experience greater satisfaction in their work and their relationships, and are more able to freely serve the church and its mission without being encumbered by financial anxiety.

Savings Matching Programs

The church is an active partner in addressing specific needs raised by rostered ministers, helping rostered ministers develop their personal financial and stewardship health. Two Savings Matching programs share financial resources with rostered ministers.
These programs match rostered ministers’ contributions to a dedicated emergency savings account and/or increased contributions to their ELCA retirement plan accounts.  Click below to learn about the programs, services and resources available to you as a  minister or lay person!  Deadline to apply is October 14th

Go to for more info!

Upcoming Live Webinars

  • 2019 ELCA Medicare-Primary Changes - September 10th from 2-3pm
  • Turning 65 in 2019 - September 25th from 2-3pm
  • Pre-retirement webinar 1: “Can I Afford to Retire?” - October 4th from 2-3pm
  • Pre-retirement webinar 2: “Can I Create a Sustainable Income in Retirement?” -        October 11th from 2-3pm
  • Ready to Retire - November 6th from 1-2:30pm

Register online:  
         Do you have a Parish Nursing Ministry?
Did you see the parish nurses in the hallway at assembly? They were able to use their expertise to answer questions and provide requested services.  We want to thank them for generously giving of their time to be present with us at assembly!

We are now trying to determine which congregations have parish nursing ministries in our synod, and the names of the nurses serving our members.  As we gather this information, we may be able to help organize some networking efforts across the synod.  Please send the name of your congregation, the name of your parish nurse, and contact information (email and phone) to  Carol DeSchepper.  Carol is a former parish nurse coordinator and has expressed a willingness to help coordinate networking efforts.  Send the requested information to or to Carol DeSchepper at First Lutheran Church, 1525 Three Cross Road, Milford, Iowa 51351.  Thank you. 
Western Iowa Synod Upcoming Events
More details about these events can be found on the website at
              You are Invited to
Pastor David Kebschull's Installation

     Where: St. Mark Lutheran Church
                  1614 W. 5th, Storm Lake
     When:  September 22
     Time:   5:30 p.m. service

Join us for the installation of Rev. David Kebschull as pastor
of St. Mark Lutheran Church in Storm Lake.  Clergy are
invited to vest and process. The color of the day is green

A light supper will follow.  Please call the church office at 712-732-5255 if you plan to attend the supper.   
WELCA Synod Fall Retreat & Healthy Women and Girls
Where: St. Mark Lutheran Church
              5200 Glenn  Ave, Sioux City
When:  September 29
Time:   9 a.m. - 3 p.m.
Cost:  $10  (includes lunch)

Join the women of the synod for a relaxing day of fun and fellowship.  The day will include a bible study, a hands-on project, and assembling kits-personal care & school.  

Invitation to Celebrate Deacon Denise Lindemann's
30th Anniversary in Word and Service 

     Where: St. John Lutheran Church
                  517 SE Elm St, Corwith
     When:  September 30
     Time:   4 p.m. 

St. John's invites you to join in worship and fellowship
celebrating Deacon Denise Lindemann's 30 year anniversary in Word and Service Ministry.  

Siouxland Forum
                                       The first Siouxland Forum for the 2018-2019 season will be:
    When: October 5                                               
the farm of Pete and Anna Speiser
              (near Emerson, Nebraska)
    Time:   9:30am through lunchtime conversation                   
$20 includes lunch
Pete recently served Salem Lutheran in Ponca - Anna recently served as a Chaplain at Mercy Hospital in Sioux City, and now serves as Chaplain in Wayne, NE
 We will tour the farm - and be challenged and delighted with experiences and conversations about faith, farming, and God's creation.  More details, and specific directions, to follow....


Please RSVP to David Halaas via email to 

Hunger Network - We need YOU! 
A revitalized Hunger Network is emerging. As we begin to develop this network, we must acknowledge that hunger is not just a third world problem.  Perhaps you already know that one in five of our Iowa children go to bed hungry each night and that over 2000 children in Iowa are homeless each year (State of Homelessness  Symposium 2015).

Through prayer and action, we can do miracles in this synod.  And we will be fulfilling a mandate from Jesus: “I was hungry and you gave me food, thirsty and you gave me drink…just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.”  (from Matthew 25)

Are you interested in helping the Western Iowa Synod in battling these hunger issues? The ELCA Hunger Team will be facilitating a retreat Nov. 2-3 at Lutheran Lakeside Camp.  We need dedicated people willing to learn, train, advocate, and commit to 1 year.  Prayerfully consider being a part of this work!   

When: November 2-3                                                  
Where: Lutheran Lakeside Camp                               
Cost: $25               

        More Information Here                                Retreat Registration Here
Join us as Welcoming Congregations and/or
Guardian Angels!!

As we face the plight of migrant minors and separated families, let us join together in love and in being the face of Christ.  To learn more about these vital ELCA programs and how to take part, click here.  For more information or if you have questions, please contact Cindy Wells, WIS Director Global Mission (; 712 732 4968) or Pr. Eric Alm, WIS AMMPARO Network Chair (;  712 541 5035).  
Guardian Angels Training
When: Saturday, September 22, 2018
Where: St. Matthew Evangelical Lutheran Church 
               1725 S. 60th Street, Omaha, NE 68106
Time:  9:30 am - 12:30 pm ​

Guardian Angels is an initiative of the ELCA to accompany migrant minors to immigration court.  The nearest immigration court is in Omaha.  There is not one in Iowa. The Western Iowa Synod is partnering with the Nebraska Synod to provide this training and attend court hearings.

You do not have to be an ELCA member nor speak Spanish to participate as a Guardian Angel, but you do need to attend the training.  Guardian Angels must be able to attend court hearings during the weekday, generally from either 9-11 am or 1-3pm. 


Clergy Spirituality Fall Retreat

When: October 14-16

Where: Lutheran Lakeside Camp

Plan to come and join us for a time to share and pray with colleagues.

The cost for the retreat is the cost of your room at Lutheran Lakeside. You must make your room reservations through Melinda Fries, the new hospitality director at Lutheran Lakeside, 712-209-3935 or

Please e-mail or call Pastor Trish Underberg at  or 712-660-8583 to register. This helps in our planning of meals.

Flier Here

“Letting Go of What Has You”
Why do I do the things I do? Why do I keep finding myself in the same or similar situations? This 3-day retreat will provide you with an opportunity to look at these questions, become aware of unhelpful patterns, working through to healing and other choices.

When: October 21-23                                                
Where: St. Mark Lutheran Church
              5200 Glenn Avenue, Sioux City
Time:  6 pm to 12 pm                             
$225 (early registration: $175 if paid by Oct. 1)   

For questions or more information, contact Pastor Judith Johnson: 712-736-2361 (home) or 605-881-2241 (cell and text).
Peace Not Walls Trip for Young Adults of Color

Join our group of young adults as we visit key sites throughout the Holy Land (including Jerusalem, Bethlehem, and Nazareth).On our journey we will build relationships with local Lutherans and other Christians engaged in the pursuit of peace in the Holy Land.

Date: June 6 - 16, 2019
Estimated Cost: $1,350 (excluding ticket prices)
Application Due: September 1
First Deposit: $400
First Deposit Due: September 20

Travel Flier Here              Questions?  email
Mark your Calendars 
Continuing Ed for Pastors, Families, & Students

All inclusive: meals, lodging, education, worship, and endless camp activities for all ages.

When: August 4 - 9, 2019
Where: Lutheran Lakeside Camp        
Speaker:  Rev. Dr. Troy Troftgruben
                   Rev. Dr. Winston Persaud,    
Lodging:  Variety of housing options makes the week affordable for all families. Special rates for students and people considering seminary.

Visit for more information. Spots are limited so reserve now with no payment until January.
Other Events
Nebraska Lutheran Outdoor Ministries -
Continuing Education 

Flashing Your Brights: workshop for clergy about substance abuse

When: September 18, 2018
Where: Carol Joy Holling Camp’s Swanson Center (Ashland, NE)
Time:  8:00 am - 4 pm
Cost: $35, lunch included
Cont. Ed:  6.5 hours

Supported + Loved: youth and families experiencing anxiety and/or depression

When: October 6, 2018
Where: Carol Joy Holling Camp’s Swanson Center (Ashland, NE)
Time:  9 am - 4 pm
Cost: $35, lunch included
Cont. Ed:  6 hours

Church Administrative Professionals Retreat

When: October 8-9, 2018
Where: Carol Joy Holling Camp’s Swanson Center (Ashland, NE)
Time:  9 am - 1 pm
Cost: Commuter: $50
          Double occupancy: $50
          Private room: $100
Cont. Ed:  9.5 hours

Minister’s Conference: Conference Presenter – Peggy Hahn

When: January 21-23, 2019
Where: Carol Joy Holling Camp’s Swanson Center (Ashland, NE)
Time:  5 pm - 1 pm
Cost:  Commuter: $100
          Double occupancy: $100
          Private room: $300
Cont. Ed: 10 hours

Saints & Sinners Bus Tour    

When: October 12-13, 2018
Brought to you by: Grace Lutheran Church Fort Dodge & Trinity Lutheran Church Webster City

Take three saints (St. Paul, MN, the St. James Hotel and the St. Croix River)...add a hint of history with a twist (a “gangster” guide of underground caves, along with a “Ghosts & Graves” tour of the city)...and you have the ingredients for an unforgettable journey!

Spiritual Direction Certification Program
Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary at Lenoir-Rhyne University

Holy Listening – We believe holy listening is at the core of spiritual direction. It’s listening to one another, and most attentively to the promptings of the Holy Spirit. The real and most genuine spiritual director is always the Holy Spirit.

Everyone is Welcome to Apply – Our primary purpose is to train people who feel called to be such spiritual friends, spiritual companions; however, those who are interested in deepening their own spiritual practices are also welcome.

Within the Christian Tradition – Ours is an experience in spiritual direction grounded in Trinitarian faith. However, we recognize that there is deep spiritual wisdom that can be found in other faith traditions. We will draw on those traditions and will integrate them from a Christian perspective

We have commissioned our first cohort and are looking forward to commissioning our second cohort this June. Our next cycle of new participants begins with an intensive January 16 – 19, 2019.

Application deadline is November 15.

Addiction & Faith Conference
September 28-30, 2018
Bloomington, Minnesota

Addiction in every form, including the current opioid problem, is ravaging our world. ​
​How will we as people of faith respond?


Lutheran Lakeside - 
Confirmation Renewals

Confirmation is an incredible time of spiritual growth, self learning and scriptural engagement for young people. Here at Lakeside, we are blessed to be able to work with church leaders across the state to create an engaging and fun weekend for youth! Campers participate in 3 days of bible studies, worships, games, team building, and so much more! It's an incredible chance to take a break from the technology driven world we live in, get back to our roots, and renew our love for God and one another.
WHEN: OCTOBER 19-21, 2018 & MARCH 8-10, 2019

eSpirit Submissions
If you have a story, article or pictures to share from your congregation's ministry this summer,
please send to Julie by Tuesdays at noon!
Western Iowa Synod
318 E Fifth St.
Storm Lake, IA 50588