12/21/17                Merry Christmas & Happy New Year!!
Synod Happenings
Events Happening in and around the Western Iowa Synod, biweekly publication

Please share this information with your congregational secretaries, leaders and congregational members via your bulletin, facebook page, email, etc, and invite/encourage them to attend the events/ opportunities to Open Doors to others!

These events can also be found on the WIS Website by clicking here!!
Please Note: If you would like an event added to this list, please email it to Lynn at least two weeks in Advance to go in this bi-weekly Synod Happenings news. 
Events in and around the Synod
WIS Trip to the Holy Lands -
application deadline: January 5, 2018

​The Western Iowa & Nebraska Synods Peace Not Walls Networks warmly invite you to join in transformational travel opportunities to the Holy Land… Let us go and know the living stones...for the sake of justice, peace and reconciliation for all in the land. More info and application can be found here!!  Option 1: April 1-16, 2018  or  Option 2: April 16-April 28, 2018
Youth Leader Network Meetings
Youth leaders from around the synod will be gathering together monthly for a time of learning, sharing, and supporting one another. All adults who work with youth are invited to join us. The next few meetings will be from 1:00 - 3:00 pm. Meeting locations that have been set are listed below. If you would like to host one in your area please contact Lynn. We could even possibly meet over an evening meal for those who serve part time and are not available during the day. The dates, locations and topics chosen are listed below:

January 11th - Bethany, Emmetsburg - Volunteers: recruiting/equipping
February 1st - TBD - Youth Gathering/Mission Trip - 
March 1st - TBD - Boundaries/Self Care/Health
April 12th - TBD - Curriculum
May ?

Youth Leaders, please also join the Western Iowa Youth Ministry Network page on Facebook!! The notes or Facebook Live will be posted there!!
Fort Dodge Forum Early Winter Meeting

When: January 11, 2018  Canoeing the Mountains 
Leading change in the parish. 
Presenter: Dr. Nate Frambach 
The fun begins at 9:30 am at Grace Lutheran Church, Fort Dodge Iowa.  Forums begin at 9:30 am with coffee and fellowship. The Program runs from 10 until noon.  A catered meal (about $8) is available to conclude the event at noon. The schedule can be found here on the left hand side of the events page.
Attention Welcoming or those becoming a Welcoming Congregation.....a great learning event and an opportunity to fulfill the resolution passed in June!
We lift up the following event in response to the 2017 Resolution, Encouraging a Culture of Diversity, that was passed at assembly - 

RESOLVED, that each congregation of the Western Iowa Synod engage in a historical study of the Lutheran Church to caring for immigrants, and how they could continue that ministry by becoming a “Welcoming Congregation”; and be it further

RESOLVED, that at least 65 Western Iowa Synod congregations vote to be designated as a “Welcoming Congregation.”

Here is a great learning opportunity....
AMMPARO/Guardian Angels Training
When: January 13th, 9:30 - 4
Where:St Thomas Lutheran, Omaha
The ELCA’s strategy to Accompanying Migrant Minors with Protection, Advocacy, Representation and Opportunities (AMMPARO) was envisioned after witnessing the plight of children who are forced to flee their communities because of complex and interrelated reasons, including chronic violence, poverty, environmental displacement and lack of opportunities in El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala. 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! More information and registration here!
Over 600 adults who work with children, youth and families (CYF) in congregations of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America will gather at Hyatt Regency Hotel in Houston, Texas for Extravaganza 2018. The "E" is the premier training event for adults who work in faith formation.

Held January 25-29, the Extravaganza will focus on the theme "Finding Forward." We will ask tough questions about how we continue to move forward as a church. Dynamic spiritual renewal, transformational continuing education and supportive rich interpersonal connections are critical elements of Extravaganza.  For more information on the Extravaganza, and to register, please visit www.ext18.org.
Western Iowa Synod Leadership Academy 2018
"Leading Change in the Heartland"

When: Saturday, February 10th; 9:30 am - 3:00 pm, registration begins at 9:00 am
Snowdate: February 17th
Where: St John Lutheran, Carroll
Cost: $20/person if registered by January 25th, 2018; $30/person thereafter

Registration will begin after January 1st and can be found at www.wisynod.org/synod-events.html

All leaders in the Western Iowa Synod are encouraged to join in this day of Interculturality. Anyone who affects another person's life is a LEADER!! Leading this event will be Rev. Sunitha Mortha, Director for Mission Formation in the Global Mission Unit of the ELCA and Glocal Musicians.

Men's Retreat
"Come and Share - Build Relationships"
The Western Iowa Synod Lutheran Men in Mission will be hosting their annual retreat...
When: Friday, Feb. 2nd - Sat., Feb 3rd
Where: Lutheran Lakeside Camp in Spirit Lake
Cost: $50 (includes room and meals) 

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 keynote 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. Registration available here!
Poster Here

Attention congregation treasurers and bookkeepers!

Join us for a gathering of treasurers and bookkeepers throughout the Synod.

When? Thursday, February 15th, 2018 from 6-8 PM
     Light dinner available at 5:30

Where? 318 East 5th St., Storm Lake (Synod mission center)

1. To network with other treasures from congregations in the Synod and to meet with the Synod treasurer, Michael Jacobson;
2. To discuss best financial practices for congregations
3. The “how-tos” of filling out congregation mission intent forms, remittance forms, giving statements, and other forms;
4. Learn about narrative budgets;
5. Invite questions and conversation from the group.

Please RSVP to jeff.ungs.rev@wisynod.org by noon on Friday  Feb. 9th!!!

In the event you are unable to attend in person, attending virtually via video or phone conference will be available. For more information about this event, please contact Pastor Jeff Ungs at e-mail above.
PEER Ministry Conference
The 2018 Peer Ministry Leadership Conference (PMLC) is a great opportunity for you or your group to grow as Christian leaders. The PMLC is a casual, group learning environment focused on participants gaining the knowledge, skills, and experience needed to not just be Peer Ministers, but also to teach the curriculum to others. We are blessed to have Lyle Griner, the author of Peer Ministry with us to lead us for the weekend.

The PMLC runs from 8:30-6:00 on February 17th and 12:30-5:30 on February 18th.
The PMLC is held at Grand View University in partnership with Luther Memorial Church.
We will provide light refreshments during the conference to keep your brains moving but participants will be responsible for finding their own meals. There are several dining options available on and near campus.

Thanks to a wonderful donor the conference is only $40 for the first person from your congregation and $20 for each additional person. This enables you to bring a whole team of staff, leaders, and youth! The PMLC is open to anyone high school age and older. Register Here!!
If you have any additional questions, please contact Angie Larson (alarson@luthermemorialdsm.org), the Director of Peer Ministry at Luther Memorial Church and Grand View University.
Nurturing Hope in Bethlehem and the West Bank
Where: Bethesda Lutheran Church 1517 Northwestern Ave., Ames
When: Friday, February 23, 2018 9:00 am – 4:00 pm
A Day With The Rev. Dr. Mitri Raheb And Bright Stars of Bethlehem
Mark your calendar and make plans to attend!!  Flier here!!
Exploring Transitions
Especially designed for rostered leaders, but also anyone in the midst of a life transition

Exploring Transitions provides a time away to explore one’s personal life’s callings, passions, meaning, and purpose.  Times of transition offer unique opportunities for reflection and action.  Participants may be discerning a new call, facing a major life decision, loss of loved one or health, or thinking about retirement. Transitions are often made easier when time is spent listening, letting go, and trusting God’s guidance.  These retreats will incorporate liturgy (scripture, poetry, and music from a variety of sources), discussion, guided listening, Sabbath and walking together. 

Exploring Transitions was created and is co-facilitated by Tammy Devine and Michael Larson.  There are 4 Exploring Transition retreats: Exploring Transitions: Crossing Over, Exploring Transitions: True to Myself, Exploring Transitions: Life’s Detours and Roadblocks and Exploring Transitions: Living Well, each retreat is a stand-alone opportunity or participants have attended all four.   Attached please find information about two April offerings (the schedule for each retreat follows the same format).  These retreats are a safe space for individuals to go deeper, to reflect and walk with others in the midst of a life transition who are seeking to embrace a healthier transition.
Life's Detours & Road Blocks - April 3-5
Retreat Agenda
True to Myself - April 18-20

Faith Formation Summit

When: April 27-28, 2018

Where: Carol Joy Holing Camp, Ashland, NE

We invite you to join with other faith formation leaders and the Vibrant Faith team as we spend two days living into the how-to’s of generating and sustaining a vibrant faith in Jesus Christ for today’s world. We believe effective, transformational ministry will happen by focusing on these two key areas :
  • Transforming Relationships
  • Digital Engagement

Sponsored by the Western Iowa, Nebraska and Central States Synods!

Registration will open on January 15th and can be found here!!

Summit Poster

Pre-Retirement Seminar

If you're over age 50 and within 15 years of retirement, our pre-retirement seminars and webinars are a great way to get planning off to a strong start or keep the momentum going. The seminar answers the important questions you may have about retirement, including:

• How much money will I need when I retire?

• What health care options will I have in retirement?

• As I approach retirement, how can I manage my investment risks?

• How can money be distributed from my ELCA retirement account to create a steady stream of income in retirement?

Date:  Tuesday, July 10, 2018 (additional dates and locations listed here)

Location:  Bethesda Lutheran Church,  1517 Northwestern Ave,  Ames, IA

Time:  9 a.m. – 6 p.m.

Cost:  $35/person or $70/couple. Breakfast and lunch are included.

Register online here! 

Travel Opportunities for 2018

Holy Lands - Two opportunities - April 1-16 or April 16-28
Tanzania, Southern Diocese - July 15th - August 15th (approx. dates)

More information and applications can be found here!!
Western Iowa Synod
318 E Fifth St.
Storm Lake, IA 
712.732. 4968