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


The Western Iowa Synod Mission Team wishes you and your family a blessed Christmas and a Happy New Year!!

Office Closed Over the Holidays
The Western Iowa Synod Mission Center will be closed from December 22nd thru January 1st so all team members can spend time with their families during the holidays. In case of an emergency you may call Lynn at 712-299-2570.
We Are Lutheran: Opening Doors
Winds of Hope Conference Gathering
​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Rostered Ministers  serving in the Winds of Hope Conference gathered on Tuesday,  December 12 at Trinity Lutheran Church, Alta. Joining the group was Unity Point Chaplain Rev. Norman Prather.
Men's Retreat - "Come and Share - Build Relationships"
February 2nd - 3rd, 2018

The Western Iowa Synod Lutheran Men in Mission will be hosting their annual retreat at Lutheran Lakeside Camp in Spirit Lake. Registration cost will be $50. This includes room and meals during the retreat. The theme is "Come and Share - Build Relationships." The retreat will begin Friday, February 2nd with registration at 6:30 PM in the Upper Shalom House. The retreat will conclude Saturday the 3rd at 3 PM with a service of Holy Communion. Friday night will be filled with fun, fellowship, and laughter as men play the card game, "Man Talk."

The key note speaker for the retreat will be Pastor Alvin Erickson. Saturday, Pastor Erickson will discuss human trafficking of children, and provide instruction on how men in the church can bring awareness of and prevent this from happening to youth and children. Pastor Erickson will discuss the importance of the role dads, husbands, and grandfathers have in congregations. Saturday
afternoon, we will continue conversation in small groups with the card game, "Faith Talk."   Registration will be available soon!!
Raising Up Healthy Women and Girls Hosting Their First Event - physical, mental and social well-being for the entire community

When: Sunday, January 7th @ 2:30 pm
Where: Western Iowa Synod Office

On Sunday, January 7th @ 2:30 P.M. Two women from SALUD will be making a presentation at the Western Iowa Synod office. Please feel free to come and learn more about this group which is active in the Storm Lake Community.
A multicultural health coalition in Storm Lake, Iowa that works collaboratively with the community towards physical, mental and social well-being.  
A community organization that does not fundraise or solicit funds for itself.  We strongly believe in collaboration rather than competition and try to serve our community by building community.
Women and men from diverse backgrounds working together to eliminate health disparities in our community.
Joining Together in Prayer
Synod: Southwestern Pennsylvania Synod, Bishop Kurt Kusserow & staff
Congregation: Immanuel Lutheran, Titonka, Rev. Kim Peterson
  • Our country and leadership
  • Congregations in transition
  • Rostered leaders in transition
  • Rev. Trudy & Rev. Kim Peterson
  • Rev. Pete Peterson & Kathy
  • Our Companion Synods
  • Those in need of clothing and food
  • Those who struggle during the holidays 
  • Rev. Katie Russell recovering from surgery
Continuing Ed/Learning

Why Should a Rostered Leader Attend Continuing Education Events? (from Compensation Guidelines)

The Western Iowa Synod, along with the ELCA, has high standards for its professional leaders. A fundamental requirement for these leaders is a thorough grounding in the Christian faith and Holy Scripture that is always in the process of being renewed.  Coupled with our faith is the need for an understanding of the world in which ministry must take place. In addition to these fundamentals is the need to grow in competence and skills in order to be faithful in discipleship.  As is true in many other occupations, continuing education is the way the professional leader in the church sharpens skills already employed, acquires new skills and experiences personal growth for a more effective ministry.

Continuing education plans should be reviewed at least annually with the Mutual Ministry committee and the rostered leader. An adequate program of continuing education may be short or long term, credit or non-credit. Whatever the format, it should be planned to fit the individual's goals for ministry and the objectives of the congregation that is served. Decisions about continuing education should be made with a sense of partnership between the rostered leader and the congregation. Congregations should provide a continuing education allowance of not less than $750 annually.   Rostered leaders are encouraged to contribute $250 to continuing education. For continuing education opportunities with cost in excess of $1,000, conversation between the rostered and the congregational council is encouraged. How mileage is paid is negotiable.

Time for continuing education should be set aside at the rate of two weeks per year to include two Sundays with the provision that it may be accumulated up to three years for more extended study. The ELCA expects 50 contact hours annually in continuing education. (A contact hour is defined as a typical 50-minute classroom session or the equivalent.)

26th Annual Festival of Homiletics
Preaching and Politics

When: May 21-25
Where: Washington, D.C.

Registration for the 2018 Festival of Homiletics is now open! This year's theme is Preaching and Politics. It promises to be a nurturing, prophetic and renewing experience.

The Festival of Homiletics is a weeklong conference that brings together a wide variety of outstanding preachers and professors of homiletics to inspire a discourse about preaching, worship and culture. Preachers are invited to experience various styles and methods of preaching to renew their faith and refresh their spirits through engaging worship, lectures and workshops. Throughout the week, you will be inspired in your role of proclaiming the gospel.
Please visit our website or watch a 1-minute video to learn more about this year's festival in Washington, D.C
Register by Feb. 16 for an early bird discount! More info here
Union Presbyterian Seminary
(full communion partner)
  • January 11 – February 8:  Administration and Polity   (Thursdays)
  • February 13 – March 20:  The Christian Life (Tuesdays, skipping February 27)
  • February 22 – March 22:  Pastoral Care (Thursdays)
  • April 10 – May 8:  Mission and Evangelism (Tuesdays)
  • April 12 – May 10:  Preaching the Bible (Thursdays)
  • May 24 – June 21:  Parables of Jesus (Thursdays)
Rural Ministry Conference
Wartburg Seminary
March 4-6, 2018

I know it is a busy time of the year, but I would like you to see the exciting program put together for the 2018 rural ministry conference.  Our first keynote, Marcia Kifer,  is a dynamic speaker with years of experience in helping local congregations cooperate with each other and empowering the laity for ministry.  Our second keynote, Mark Yackel-Juleen, has been working on multiple point and ecumenical parishes.  With the changing rural scene, new ways of thinking about how to do ministry and changing partnerships is a timely topic.  Please note our breakouts as well.  Some of you may recognize the name of Rollie Martinson.  His breakout on worship and music in small member congregations is one I will attend.  You also see with have breakouts on rural evangelism, a form of creative arts and time to engage our speakers.  I hope you will consider coming to the 37th annual rural ministry conference. - Ann Fritschel, Ph.D 
Upcoming Synod Events
More details about these events can be found on the website at
  • December 14     Ft. Dodge Forum at Grace Lutheran
  • January 11         Youth leader meeting at Bethany,                                                        Emmetsburg
  • January 11         Ft. Dodge Forum at Grace Lutheran
  • January 26-29    ELCA Youth Leader Extravaganza 
  • February 1         Youth leader meeting 
  • February 2-3      Men's Retreat
  • February 3         ABC Committee Meeting
  • February 10       Leadership Academy 
  • February 15       Congregation Treasurer/bookkeepers
  • March 1              Youth leader meeting 
  • March 17            Synod Council
  • March 26            Chrism Mass in Storm Lake
  • April 27-28          Faith Formation Summit 
  • June 8-10           WIS Synod Assembly
Pastoral Cares for the Holiday Blues
Seasoned pastors know to be prepared this time of year to minister to the so-called “Holiday Blues” or “December Depression” — that ennui that occurs in many people who feel let down during Christmas. While others are celebrating the nativity full of joy to the world, Holiday Blues sufferers feel the pain of some recent loss or experience conflict in their families and find that the realities of the holiday don’t meet their expectations. Continue here...
Christmas Mime Drama in Emmetsburg

We hope you are using and enjoying the daily Advent devotions that have been distributed via email, Facebook and Twitter during this season of Advent. If you haven't been following along they can also be found here!!

Ft. Dodge Upcoming Forums
Dec. 14th, A Very Merry Reformation Christmas with Dr. Martin Lohrman.

January 11th, Canoeing the Mountains, Leading change in the parish. 
Dr. Nate Frambach 

Where: Grace Lutheran Church, Fort Dodge 
When: 9:30 am - coffee & fellowship
Program begins at 10 
Cost: $40 per session
AMMPARO/Guardian Angel Training
The Nebraska and Western Iowa Synods are partnering together to work for justice and love our neighbors in engaging this strategy in some specific ways. One of those strategies includes being the church in the courtroom through being trained to be a Guardian Angel for migrant minors and their families. You can learn more here! Please share this event and encourage others to attend. All are welcome!
For the Health of It

New Medical Cards Coming Soon or May Have Arrived

In this busy season, we'd like to remind you to watch your mail for your 2018 Portico Health ID card. New cards will be mailed this month.

  • Look for an envelope with the BlueLink logo in the corner. 
  • If you have family members with ELCA-Primary health benefits, you will receive a new card for each person. Most cards for spouses and children will have a new ID number.
  • Show your new card at the doctor and pharmacy starting Jan. 1, 2018.
  • Discard your existing Portico Health ID card Jan. 1.
Lutheran Lakeside Camp in Transition

During their time of transition, Lutheran Lakeside has reached and agreement with St Mark Lutheran Church in Sioux City to assist with leadership during this time of transition. 

The Rev. David Halaas will serve as Interim Executive Director on a part-time basis from December 11th through the first 2-3 months of 2018. Rev. Halaas will continue his call to St. Mark during this time.
Financial Best Practices
for Congregations
Recently the synod office has received a few calls about the proper way to handle the finances of the congregation. Here is a resource from the ELCA website that can guide your congregation with handling their finances the proper way. Click here!
and your part in it!!
Synod Council Minutes
The Western Iowa Synod Council met this past weekend. Here are the minutes of the Sept. meeting that were approved. Previous Synod Council Minutes can be found here!
eSpirit Submissions
If you have a story, article or pictures to share from your congregation's ministry, please send to Lynn by Tuesdays at noon!
Western Iowa Synod
318 E Fifth St.
Storm Lake, IA 50588