Happy New Year!
The eSpirit is a weekly e-newsletter of the Western Iowa Synod
Please join the mission team in prayer:

Congregation of the week: Fulton, Moorland, Rev. Jim David
Synod of the week: South Dakota Synod, Bishop David Zellmer
  • ​Congregations in transition    
  • ​Kathy Petersen wife of Rev. Arlo (Pete) Petersen 
  • Rev. Lorene Glant
  • The family of Donnadee Nicholson, active member of St Mark and volunteer for the synod office, who passed away last week.
  • Rev. Gary Landsness wife, Rosezanna
  • Rev. Barb Chapman's husband, John
  • Rev. Trudy Peterson's mom, Frieda Maloney
Receptionist/Administrative Assistant Needed!
The Western Iowa Synod Mission Center is in search of a Receptionist/Administrative Assistant to be a part of the team. If you, someone you know, or someone in your congregation is looking for a new opportunity, please have them contact us. This position is Monday thru Friday and computer and administrative assistant skills are required. They may email Lynn or call the office at 712-732-4968. 
Final Call for Youth Trip to Tanzania!
Youth Leaders, Congregational Leaders, and Pastors....if you have any youth looking for an awesome experience next summer, we have a great travel opportunity for them. A youth mission trip to Tanzania! If interested, have them fill out an application and contact Cindy Wells as soon as possible. Applications need to be in by the January 20th. Applications and more information can be found here!
"We are Church Together"
Angie Lawson's Wonderful Gift of Life!! 

In the short time Angie Lawson worked among us, her good and faithful heart found its way to the beauty and life-giving impact of our well-drilling project in Tanzania.  As such, Angie willed $10,000 toward this project that literally saves lives!  It also provides much greater educational and economic capacities when children--girls in particular--can be in school rather than searching for and hauling water for the family's daily needs and when families are able to labor rather than be sick or attend to sick children due to unclean water sources.  Recently, Angie's entire family came to learn more about the project and to offer not only the $10,000, but an additional $1,000 from Angie's memorial fund for a total of $11,000!  This will supply 3 wells in Tanzania, with each providing clean, safe water to at least 5,000 people--a gift of life that keeps on giving!  Let us all give thanks to God for the gift of Angie to the Western Iowa Synod and for her generous gift of life to our Tanzanian brothers and sisters in Christ!
Week of Prayer for Christian Unity
January 18-25th
At least once a year, Christians are reminded of Jesus’ prayer for his disciples that “they may be one so that the world may believe” (see John 17.21). Hearts are touched and Christians come together to pray for their unity. Congregations and parishes all over the world exchange preachers or arrange special ecumenical celebrations and prayer services. The event that touches off this special experience is the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity. <More info> 

We encourage you to plan or arrange a special celebration in your community!! 
What is the WIS Team up to this week?
Bishop Prois -
  • Bishop's Academy thru January 11th.

Rev. Halaas -
  • Lay School Meeting
  • First Call Retreat
  • Meeting w/CHRISM
Rev. Ungs -
  • St Paul, Treynor
  • Bethany Home Annual Meeting

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
Congregational Care Class
​Lay School Class – Register Now - Begins January 23rd!

A class for those who serve as Parish Nurse, Prayer Ministers, Stephen Ministers, and others who may be interested in a visiting ministry in their congregation. The class, "Congregational Care" will focus on walking with others during times of both celebration and struggle. Topics will include learning to listen, prayer, grief, and discovering ways to walk with others in times of need. 
Pastor John Syverston and Pastor Cara Knutson, both ELCA chaplains will lead the class.
Registration is $395 - covers four Saturday class sessions, lunch included. Please e-mail Lorna Halaas at  lorna.halaas.rev@wisynod.org for more information or to register. 
Some outside reading, practicing visitation, and class discussion is part of the class. Registration is $395 which includes lunch each Saturday the class meets. More information is available from John Syvertson at jsyverts@hotmail.com or Lorna Halaas at lorna.halaas.rev@wisynod.org  
Please email Lorna at lorna.halaas.rev@wisynod.org  to register.
Shared Ministry Event
The Shared Ministry Conference originally scheduled for October 2015 has been rescheduled for January 30th!!   Please share this information with your congregation leaders!

What is a Shared Ministry Event? This is a day for pastors and leaders of congregations who are currently part of a shared ministry to gather and discover:
  •  new ways to partner in ministry
  •  new ways to celebrate and honor different traditions
  •  new ways to build leadership and grow ministry
  • new ways to be church together!

Plan to join us on Saturday, January 30 at Our Saviour's Lutheran Church, Humboldt.
The morning presentation will begin at 10:00 a.m.  Coffee and registration open at 9:30.
The day will conclude and you will be on the road by 4:00.
Cost for the day is $20 / person - this includes lunch.
Presenter will be Mark Yackel-Juleen of Shalom Hill Farm, Windom, MN and adjunct professor at Wartburg Seminary.
To register:  please e-mail Lorna Halaas before January 26th.   lorna.halaas.rev@wisynod.org
WIS Leadership Academy 2016!!
The Leadership Academy is scheduled for February 27th at St Paul in Atlantic &           February 28th at St Mark in Storm Lake. 
Cost: $25/person or $75 per carload, by Feb. 15th. After that the cost will be $30/person with no carload option.

Our guest speaker Bishop Roger Gustafson, Central States Synod, ELCA, will energize and enlighten us with his teachings on Being a Spirit Filled Leader. Workshops will include such topics as: Companion Congregations, Faith Formation, writing devotions, human resources, church council basics, facebook, technology in worship and many more. There will be something for everyone! Watch upcoming eSpirits and the website for more detailed information, registration and publicity resources which will be available later next week.

We hope you and several people from your congregation will make plans to join us for one of these events!!
Western Iowa Synod Men in Mission Retreat
Where: Ingham Okoboji Lutheran Bible Camp
When:  February 5 and 6, 2016
Cost:    $60.00 Friday night & Saturday and meals;                 $50.00 Saturday only with meals;
              $30.00 Total retreat cost for those under 35               years of age; Scholarships available

The Lutheran Men in Mission will be gathering together at Ingham Okoboji Lutheran Bible Camp near Milford, Iowa. Guest speaker will be Pastor Jeff Ungs, Director for Evangelical Mission and Assistant to the Bishop of the Western Iowa Synod.  The theme is “Doers of the Word”  based on James 1:22. Come and enjoy fellowship with other men, great food and a time to grow in your faith! Registration and more information can be found here!!
Other Events of Interest
Reconnecting the Millennial Island
January 14-16, 2016
Carol Joy Holling Center, Ashland, NE
Connecting Generations: Led by Andrew Root
A long standing struggle in ministry has been getting millennials more involved in the church, but what if targeting millennials with flashy programming isn't the key to getting them to participate? Andrew Root will be speaking on how we can bridge the imaginary gap between church ministry, millennials and our relationships across all generations. <More info here>
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...​
Useful Links
Western Iowa Synod                                 ELCA News
WIS Facebook                                            Living Lutheran
WIS Calendar                                             ELCA Prayer Ventures
eSpirit Newsletter Archive                        ELCA World Hunger
Administration Matters                              ELCA.org