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
  • Rev. Trudy Peterson & family on the death of her mother
  • Rev. Jim Berka, health concerns
  • Group from WIS preparing for travels to the Holy Land
  • Pray for the children! For those who have been exploited and involved in sex trafficking. Prayers are even provided by Cherish All Children.
New Team Member!!
Julie Cook joined the WIS mission team on Monday, March 7th. Julie will be the main voice you hear when you call the office and most likely the first smile you receive when you enter the building. Julie lives in Storm Lake and is a member of St Mark Lutheran Church. 

Julie is an Iowa girl--born & raised in NE Iowa & moved to Storm Lake in the late 80's.  She loves spending time with family & friends, reading, traveling (but always enjoys coming home). She has four grown children and two adorable grandchildren; another proud grandparent on the WIS team.  Julie was in the Peace Corps & served in Azerbaijan for 10 months.

Please help us welcome Julie to the Western Iowa Synod Mission Center and team!! Julie's email is

A day away for all ordained women!

Monday, April 4 at Lutheran Lakeside.
Coffee is ready at 9:30.
Morning prayer at 10:00
11:00 Avis Davis will gather us for guided meditation and painting project!
12:30 Lunch
1:30 Tai Chi
3:00 Sending prayers and on the way home.
The cost is $30 for the day.  Includes coffee, goodies, lunch, art supplies, and room rental.
Please RSVP to by April 1.
If you wish to come to Lutheran Lakeside on Sunday evening to stay overnight arrangements can be made with the camp office @ 712-336-2109.
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
2016 Assembly News/Updates
92 days till Assembly!!

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

Pastors and Congregational leaders, watch the mail!!! The assembly letter and registration information were mailed on Monday!! Please read through the information and give a copy to each person attending from your congregation. If they are registering via paper form, please copy as needed. Otherwise online registration will open on April 1st. If you have a retired rostered leader as a member of your congregation, please also make sure that they receive a copy of this information. 

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!
"We are Church Together"
A Note of Thanks

Dear Western Iowa Synod ministry partners,

Every era of Lutheran Services in Iowa’s nearly 152-year history has had its heroes, from the Lutheran churches that founded Bremwood and Beloit to the caring Iowans who have carried on the mission of service with indescribable generosity. You also are special heroes of our ministry today. Through your faithful support and your generous kindness in sharing God’s blessings, your partnership has helped so many people find hope and healing. You demonstrate this through financial support and in so many other ways: furnishing for a first apartment for a student graduating from Bremwood, hundreds of quilts that warm the body and spirit, angel trees at Christmas and
“God’s Work Our Hands.” projects. For these and countless other ways that you show God’s love, we are so very grateful.
In Matthew 25:40, Jesus reminds us that ministering to our neighbors during times of greatest need is the same as showing care and love for Him. Thank you for the legacy of love you create with Lutheran Services in Iowa and for responding to the love of Jesus Christ through compassionate service.
With gratitude,
Jason Lee
LSI Vice President of Philanthropy and Church Relations
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...​
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
Other Events of Interest
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