Dec. 2, 2016
Light one candle to watch for Messiah...
Daily Advent Devotions...
are available each day on the Western Iowa Synod website or via Facebook. We not only encourage you to read them but to also share with your congregational members and friends. 
Celebrating Installations
St. John Lutheran Church, Sioux City
Area Clergy gathered at St. John Lutheran in Sioux City on November 20th to celebrate the Installation of Rev. Jeff Swanson. Rev. Lorna Halaas, assistant to the Bishop, was the preacher and installing pastor.

Bethany Lutheran Church, Spencer
Rev. Jennifer Henry was installed on November 20th at Bethany Lutheran Church in Spencer with many area pastors in attendance and Bishop Rodger Prois officiating.
Front Row (L to R) – Rev. Tom Van Tassell (First Congregational Church/Spencer), Bishop Rodger Prois, Rev. Jennifer Henry (Bethany Lutheran/Spencer), Marcia Young, AiM, Rev. Wendy Van Tassell (First Congregational Church/Spencer).
Second Row – Rev. Kathy Roys (St. John’s Lutheran Church/Grinnell IA), Rev. Trudy Peterson, Rev. Paul Bengtson, Rev. Deb Mechler
Third Row – Rev. Kim Peterson, Rev. Bob Vaage, Rev. Perry
Aalgaard, Rev. Katie Russell, Rev. Jeff Ungs

Join us in welcoming these pastors!!
In This Issue:

Important Links:
Visit our WebSite
Don't miss out on the many great stories, opportunities and events in and around the synod that are listed below!

Please share this information with your congregational members and invite them to attend the events!! 
Church Items for Auction

Where: 39115 204TH AVE, HARCOURT, IOWA
 (Located in Lanyon, IA)

When: Saturday, Dec. 3
@ 10:00 AM
(Doors open at 8 a.m. for viewing)


Synod of the week: Montana Synod, Bishop Jessica Crist
Congregation of the week: Siloam Lutheran, Paulina, Alan Cummins

  • Congregations in transition
  • Rostered leaders in transition
  • Pastor Tess Panamarrow
  • Pastor Paul Johnston
  • Pastor Lorene Glant
  • Nancy Diaz (Pastor Filemon's wife) dealing with severe back pain
  • Wanda Norris,and Pr. Arlyn and family--continued struggles with cancer
  • Dee Vaage and family as they mourn the death of Rev. Robert Carl Vaage
  • First Lutheran Church of West Okoboji
  • Family of Pastor Carlos Paiva, his wife Maria spent time recently with Cindy Wells and Bishop Prois in Peru and is also a relative of Rev. Ruben Duran
  • Healing for Pastor Jeff Ungs who broke two bones in his wrist
  • Rachel and Pastor Luke Kuenzli as they anticipate their third child's birth 
  • Those affected by the fires engulfing the Holy Land and those in Tennessee
  • Angela Wells as she reintegrates back into the USA in NYC
  • Conflict at Standing Rock
  • Lessening hate and division in the USA/world
  • Family of Jim Sanders, a previous executive Presbyter who shared office space in the Western Iowa Synod office several years ago, who passed away on Tuesday. 
Celebrating the Spirit of Rev. Bob Vaage
WEST OKOBOJI, Iowa | A one-of-a-kind funeral befitting a one-of-a-kind pastor sprang to life at First Lutheran Church in West Okoboji on Thursday, as more than 1,100 mourners celebrated the spirit of the Rev. Robert Vaage.
Mourners celebrating represents an oxymoron. And yet, that's what it was, a funeral highlighting the spiritual, professional and familial touch for an immensely popular 57-year-old pastor whose reach fanned across Iowa, from Mason City to Sibley, to Sioux City, and, finally, to the Iowa Great Lakes, where Vaage served the past 20 years at First Lutheran Church.   Complete article here
Attention Rostered Leaders:
This past week, if you did not receive the email notices about Pastor Vaage's death, please contact Julie at the office so we can address the issue. We were made aware that a few rostered leaders had not received the notice. However some of the issues have to do with the recipient's server not accepting our emails. We do want to make sure you are getting the information that is sent out! Please help us resolve these issues whether it be on our end or your end. Thank you!!
Fostering Hope
By Tammy Devine
Deacon and ELCA Wellness Manager
December 2016

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. Romans 15:13
The season of Advent invites us to live in hope with the confidence that God dwells with us in Christ Jesus. The power of the Holy Spirit empowers us to be a bold voice as we advocate for the oppressed, the poor, the sick, and the neighbor. Yet too often we as leaders are so busy caring for others that we fail to nurture our own sense of God’s presence.
Amidst the activity of this season, I invite you to follow this simple practice to foster hope. May hope in Christ’s coming give you the courage to live faithfully, and be well, this Advent.
A Practice of H-O-P-E
H - Hear one another. Listen fully to others, and for God’s voice. Faithful listening allows God to be your guide. 
  • Remind yourself to curb your speech when you catch yourself talking over another
  • When your mind is racing, use a mantra to calm and focus your thoughts, like “O come, o come, Emmanuel”
O - Observe through God’s eyes. Recognize Christ in others rather than being quick to judge or make assumptions.
  • Pick a symbol or color that can remind you to see the world with Christ’s eyes whenever you spot it during the day
  • Choose a centering hymn or melody to hum, such as “All Earth is Hopeful” or “Awake, Awake, and Greet the New Morn”
P - Be present in the moment. Remember that wherever you are, there is God. Practice acknowledging this presence through intentional reflection on your day:
  • When did I feel God’s presence? What (or who) helped me recognize God?
  • When did I feel disconnected from God? What got in the way of connecting with God?
E - Expect that God is at work in the midst of the chaos and weariness of our world — and through you.
  • Cultivate a sense of joy by practicing small, daily acts of kindness
  • Pray for patience and strength so you can lead Christ’s church with wisdom and grace
  • More info here
Bishop Eaton Sends Letter to President Obama
Dear Mr. President,
I write to you as a Christian leader committed to seeking a just peace for Israelis and Palestinians. Our Church’s relationship with our Christian companions in the region affords me with a keen awareness of the immense, daily suffering that persists because of the failure to resolve the conflict. I request that the U.S. further demonstrate its support for self-determination and freedom by allowing the State of Palestine’s application for full membership in the United Nations to proceed before you conclude your term of office. The ELCA’s highest legislative assembly last August adopted overwhelmingly a resolution in support of such action.   Read more below...

Go to this link to easily write your own personal support of this measure to President Obama:
Full Letter Here
Pulpit Supply Gathering
For those pastors & leaders who are on the WIS Pulpit supply list. 
​​​​​​​When:Tuesday, December 6th; 10 am - 1 pm
Please RSVP to Julie if you haven't done so already!!
New to Synod Gathering - Rescheduled
For rostered leaders new to the synod!
When: Tuesday, December 13th
Time: 10:00 am - 1:00 pm (lunch is provided)
Where: WIS Mission Center, 318 E Fifth St, Storm Lake
Spirituality Retreat for Clergy

Dates: January 8th-10th
Location: Lutheran Lakeside
Theme: Food for Life

Cost depends on overnight accommodations - see website
To register please contact Pastor Lorna Halaas 
Room reservations should be made directly to the camp at 712-336-2109
More information on this event can be found here!!
Peace Not Walls:
                         the Holy Land Kaleidoscope
Join us for a day of learning and growth of perspectives as we accompany our brothers and sisters in Christ seeking security, peace and justice for all people in the region! The region encompassing the very life and ministry of Jesus Christ our Lord!

When: Saturday, January 21st; 9 am - 3 pm
Where: Bethlehem Lutheran Church, 300 E Bow Dr, Cherokee
Cost: Depends on number of people attending from your congregation
(range from FREE to $25/person)
Flier & more info
Register Here
Winter/Early Spring ConFest Events:

Theme - "You Belong"
Wednesday, February 15th @ Trinity, Moville
Wednesday, February 22nd @ Zion, Gowrie
Events begin at 5:45 pm with a light supper, programing starts at 6:30 pm
​​​​​​​Registration will begin on January 5th!!

Mark Your Calendar - Leadership Academy 2017
When: Saturday, February 18th              
Snowdate: Saturday, February 25th
Time: 9:30 am - 3 or 4 pm
Where: St Olaf Lutheran Church, Fort Dodge
For all congregational members!!
Livestream the St Olaf Christmas Festival to Your Congregation, Free!

The St. Olaf Christmas Festival is one of the oldest musical celebrations of Christmas in the United States, featuring more than 500 student musicians who are members of five choirs and the St. Olaf Orchestra. It is broadcast nationwide each year and is often featured in national media.

St. Olaf College has received a special donation to offer the live video stream of their concert for FREE to all ELCA congregations on Dec. 4 at 3 p.m. CST. This generous gift has been given to the ELCA in an effort to share the joy of the Christmas season together. More info here...
Journey to Bethlehem Lutheran Church

Where: Bethlehem Lutheran, 302 North Oak Street, Inwood, IA
(Look for the life-size Nativity Scene/712-753-4804)
When: Wednesday, DECEMBER 14, 2016
Time:  6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

At any time during the evening, enjoy fellowship, Christmas cookies
and hot apple cider in the church lounge.

Quick Links
Western Iowa Synod
318 E Fifth St.
Storm Lake, IA 
712.732. 4968