Weekly eNews for members and friends of the Western Iowa Synod
WIS Resources:

Joining Together in Prayer
Synod of the week: Southwestern Texas Synod, Bishop Susan Briner & Staff
Congregation of the week: Hope Lutheran Sioux Center and Rev. Katherine Russell

  • Changing hearts in the heartland
  • President Trump, administration and USA
  • Congregations in transition
  • Rostered leaders in transition
  • Pastors Kim and Trudy Peterson
  • Bishop Prois’s family on death of brother Arnold
  • Chris Prois’s recovery
  • Pastor Jeff Ung’s health
  • Arlyn Norris and Pilar as they approach their Nov. 30 marriage.
  • Pastor Cara and Maja Knutson - adoption of Derek
  • Pastor Chris Lang - upcoming knee surgery
  • Families and friends of Pastor Mel Suhr and Pastor Peter Boe as they mourn their death
  • Family of Rev Ken Hatland, NE IA synod who passed away earlier this month and served at Rake
  • Cindy Wells who is on study leave
  • Those affected by the Pittsburgh Synagogue Shooting
  • Thankfulness conversations
Well Done Good and Faithful Servants
Rev. Melvin Suhr     1928 - 2018
Storm Lake, IA
Please keep the families and friends of these pastors in your prayers. Both of these men passed away on Monday, October 22nd, and their services were held last Friday and Saturday. 
Rev. Peter Boe   1937 - 2018
Sioux City, IA
Changing Hearts in the Heartland

“We Are Church for the Sake of the World”

“Leading Change in the Heartland”

Listening and Learning Building Relationship:
As Adopted by the 2002 Church Council to affirm the commitment of this church to continue to address racism in the church and society, along with the action regarding racism toward Lutherans of African Descent in the social policy resolution CA16.05.17 adopted by the Churchwide Assembly in August 2016. Michelle Talbott and Kay Broich have been to Churchwide for training on “-isms” (race, age, sexual orientation, gender, disabilities).  We would love to help groups think outside the box, build greater awareness and knowledge of one’s self in this world. We are excited to work with councils, youth groups, women’s groups, bible study, etc.  Just give us a call. 712-732-4968
Talking Racism on a Deeper Level (from Living Lutheran)
Seven church fires have happened since the murders of nine African American people attending a Bible study at Mother Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, S.C. The majority of the churches burned have been African American. And while it seems that there is no clear picture of what caused the fires, it is troubling given the history of terror that has been leveled against the Black church and, on the whole, against Black people.

We have still not come fully to terms with what happened inside Mother Emanuel on that Wednesday night when Dylann Roof entered the building and sat in that study for an hour before allegedly slaughtering innocent people. And now, these fires.
I remember a young African American leader in Charleston who commented that, “If you can’t be Black in the church, where else can you be Black in America?” Continue reading..
Ecumenical News
What is LEIRN?
The Lutheran Ecumenical and Inter-Religious Relations Network is a group of volunteers representing the 65 synods of the ELCA. Each volunteer is appointed by his or her synod bishop. The network representatives serve as a model for ecumenical and interreligious engagement in the life of the synod and for this church. The network gathers annually during the National Workshop on Christian Unity. The Western Iowa Synod's LEIRN representative is Rev. Luke Kuenzli. Please watch for occasional reports from Rev. Kuenzli as he continues serving in this role. His first article is below.
What’s Going On Ecumenically?
Greetings in the name of the risen Christ! I have had the privilege of meeting some of you before at Synod events, but please allow me to re-introduce myself in my new role as the Western Iowa Synod’s representative to the Lutheran Ecumenical and Inter-religious Representatives Network (LEIRN). As the son of an ELCA pastor and the godson of a UMC pastor, I grew up around clergy from varying denominations. As such, I have always been interested in how we might better be the Church together, despite the differences in practice and teaching. In my current congregational context, I am privileged to be the chair of the Mills County Ministerial Association, with whom we support those in need in our community and worship ecumenically at varying occasions.Continue reading here....
Position Openings
Director of Worship and Music
Location: First Lutheran Church, Milford, IA (West Okoboji)
JOB SUMMARY: The Director of Music and Worship will support the mission of First Lutheran Church by overseeing and coordinating Christian worship and music at all First Lutheran events. The Director’s goal is to ensure that services and events across all facilities and ministries are well planned and executed for excellence.
Resumes can be emailed to
ELCA Foundation is searching for a Director of Gift Planning
Key responsibilities are: 1) direct supervision of a national staff of about 20 regional gift planners & 2) Manage the business relationships with ministry partner organizations. Reports to the Executive Vice President of the Foundation. It requires about 30% travel and located in Chicago
Application submitted through the ELCA job board.
ELCA is searching for an Executive Director for Domestic Mission
Brings decisive and visionary leadership, equipping synods and congregations, developing new ministries, & seeking to renew strategic ministries.
Reports to the presiding bishop, requires about 25% travel  & located in Chicago.
Application submitted through the ELCA job board.

Inquiries about these positions may be directed, in confidence, to Gaye Lindfors of Significant Solutions, Inc., the consultant assisting with this search.

2018 Portico Updates
A Health Plan for Ministry
Guided by the ELCA Philosophy of Benefits, the ELCA Health Plan is designed to help rostered ministers and lay employees strengthen their physical and emotional well-being to better serve ministries of the ELCA.

Our church-sponsored plan is self-insured. Sponsoring organizations pool resources through the health plan, and, as a community, Portico pays for the health care our members use across the spectrum of need — from simple checkups, to help managing chronic conditions, to life-saving interventions.

Startling Fact: Ten members during the first half of the 2017 plan year incurred 9.2% of ELCA-Primary health claims. A serious accident or diagnosis can be incredibly costly … and it can happen to any one of us.

Upcoming Live Webinars

  • Ready to Retire - November 6th from 1-2:30pm

It’s time to enter your organization’s 2019 health benefit option!
Congregations and organizations who sponsor employees through Portico:  Please choose the ELCA-Primary health benefits option you will offer for 2019 and enter it on EmployerLink before Oct. 26. You must do this even if you want to continue your current option, your plan members waive ELCA-Primary health benefits, or your plan members are eligible for ELCA Medicare-Primary coverage. There’s information to help your organization make its selection on EmployerLink — or call the Customer Care Center, 800.352.2876, for assistance.

2019 Annual Enrollment Dates
Employer and plan members make their benefit elections annually.  For 2019 benefits, the dates are as follows:  for Employers:  October 1 – October 26 and for Plan members: October 31 – November 14
Upcoming Events in and Around the Synod
More info can be found on the website at
TLC Holiday Bazaar
Saturday, November 3rd

WHERE: Trinity Lutheran Church
1122 Jackson St, Sioux City

TIME: 9 AM - 4 PM

Many vendors and crafters will have their goods on display. Come for some fun and Christmas Shopping!!  Flier Here!
The Church of the Damascus Road Annual Gathering/Meeting

When: Sunday, November 11, 2018
Where: Emanuel-St. John Lutheran Church, 219 Walnut Avenue, Lytton, IA

2:30 pm registration begins, coffee and bars will be available.
3 pm - Reentry Reintegration
Michael Jacobson, Western Iowa Synod Treasurer and a CPA, will discuss and answer questions about 501(c)3 status for teams. Discussion on Ramifications and Remedies for Addiction will follow.
5 pm - Meal (Free will donation)
Please RSVP to The Church of the Damascus Road at or 515-955-3579 so we know how many to plan for.
Annual Meeting (following the meal)


THE second SIOUXLAND FORUM for the 2018-2019 season will be:
Tuesday, November 13, 2018
at St. Mark Lutheran Church, 5200 Glenn, Sioux City
9:00 am coffee
9:30 am presentation through lunchtime conversation
presentation by A. Frank Baron, a Jewish community leader and scholar 
from Sioux City please forward this invitation to other colleagues others!

Please RSVP to David Halaas via email to
cost: $25  
optional lunch cost: $8
(please indicate in  your RSVP if you wish lunch)
Boundaries Workshop
Southeast Iowa Synod - anyone from Western Iowa is welcome to attend

When: November 16, 2018

Where: St. Mark Lutheran Church

             1105 Grand Ave
             West Des Moines, IA 50265
Time:  9 am - 3 pm
Cost:  $50 (cost includes lunch)

Workshops will be lead by Arden Mahlberg, Ph.D., from The Integral Psychology Center, Madison, WI
Pastors and deacons are recommended to receive boundaries training every 3-5 years.
Thanksgiving Bazaar           

Trinity Lutheran Church in Estherville (721 18th Ave. N) is hosting their annual Thanksgiving Bazaar on Saturday, November 17 from 8:30 – 11:00 a.m. Ten booths will be filled to overflowing with specialty baked goods and crafted Christmas gifts for everyone’s interest. Featured items are Trinity’s “famous” homemade potato lefse, kringla, baklava, and pork chow mein packaged to go. Homemade caramel and cinnamon rolls, spiced cider and coffee will be served all morning. Everyone is invited and welcome to attend!
Free Thanksgiving Meal
to Be Served November 22nd At Salem Lutheran
(rural Correctionville)
Salem will be hosting a free Thanksgiving meal from 12 noon to 1:30 PM to anyone in the area that is alone on Thanksgiving Day (Nov. 22) or has no other plans. We will provide the turkey, potatoes, corn and stuffing and ask, if you are able, to bring a side dish (salad/bread) or dessert. 

Please RSVP your intent to attend by Monday, Nov. 19 (so we can plan how much food to prepare) to Nancy Clausen at 373-5273 (text number-712-251-6538) or Karen Lund at 375-5269
(email address: Please join us in fellowship and food to give thanks for all our blessings.    
Outreach Nights at Okoboji Bible Camp for Youth

Who: 6th—12th graders, their youth leaders, and/or parents
Where: Okoboji Lutheran Bible Camp, 1203 Inwan St., Milford
When: 5:00 PM to 8:00 PM
How much: $3 per person to cover food costs

Outreach Night is an opportunity for those in your 6th through 12th grade youth groups and beyond to join with other youth of all denominations around the area to fellowship, grow in faith, and have fun together!  This provides a chance for great ecumenical fellowship for kids and adults.  An evening of Outreach Night includes dinner, worship, a message, and of course games! Everyone is welcome.
2018-2019 Dates/Game
Nov. 4th- Commandos                                 March 3rd-Hoonting
Dec. 2nd- "Silent" Night Game                    April 7th-Dodgeball
Jan. 6th- Gargoyles                                     April 28th-Secret Agents
Jan. 27th-Winter Games                                     

More info here                     
Youth Recharges
Recharges are a great way to get a weekend away, and get excited about faith, and equipped with new insight into an area of scripture. We encourage you to join us for one of our fall Recharges at Okoboji Lutheran Bible Camp! Our fall theme is "One Another"-John 13:34.
Nov. 9-11          6th-9th Grade     
Nov. 16-18        9th-12th Grade                              
For more information go to and REGISTER TODAY!
2019 Continuing Education Events
Deaconess Community’s annual J-Term course

“Diaconal Ministry: History, Formation and Spirituality” -  a master's level seminary course for credit/audit/continuing education credit.

  • It introduces students to diakonia 
  • It asks how that history continues to impact the present, and future in the intersection of church and world.
  • The Deaconess Community pays the tuition for all students who wish to take the course.
  • This course is open to any person discerning public rostered leadership (either roster), already rostered leaders, lay leaders, synod staff, bishops, and candidacy committee members. 
  • The onsite component  will be January 6-12, 2019, at Spirit in the Desert Retreat Center in Carefree, AZ. There will be two online sessions prior to the onsite component.

Please do not hesitate to contact me, Sr. Liz Colver, Director of Vocation and Education, with any questions.

Registration opens October 18, 2018.                         Flyer here
Spiritual Direction Certification Program
Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary at Lenoir-Rhyne University

Holy Listening – We believe holy listening is at the core of spiritual direction. It’s listening to one another, and most attentively to the promptings of the Holy Spirit. The real and most genuine spiritual director is always the Holy Spirit.

Everyone is Welcome to Apply – Our primary purpose is to train people who feel called to be such spiritual friends, spiritual companions; however, those who are interested in deepening their own spiritual practices are also welcome.

Within the Christian Tradition – Ours is an experience in spiritual direction grounded in Trinitarian faith. However, we recognize that there is deep spiritual wisdom that can be found in other faith traditions. We will draw on those traditions and will integrate them from a Christian perspective

We have commissioned our first cohort and are looking forward to commissioning our second cohort this June. Our next cycle of new participants begins with an intensive January 16 – 19, 2019.

Application deadline is November 15.

Nebraska Lutheran Outdoor Ministries -
Continuing Education 

Minister’s Conference: Conference Presenter – Peggy Hahn

When: January 21-23, 2019
Where: Carol Joy Holling Camp’s Swanson Center (Ashland, NE)
Time:  5 pm - 1 pm
Cost:  Commuter: $100
          Double occupancy: $100
          Private room: $300
Cont. Ed: 10 hours

Foundations of Faith Community Nursing Course (Parish Nursing)
is being offered February 2 through March 27 online, followed by two days on-site April 5 & 6, 2019. There is an opening on-site date of February 2. Both parts are required for completion. Registration deadline is January 10, 2019.   Flier Here!!
Mark your Calendars 
Continuing Ed for Pastors, Families & Students

All inclusive: meals, lodging, education, worship, and endless camp activities for all ages.

When: August 4 - 9, 2019
Where: Lutheran Lakeside Camp        
Speaker:  Rev. Dr. Troy Troftgruben
                   Rev. Dr. Winston Persaud,    
Lodging:  Variety of housing options makes the week affordable for all families. Special rates for students and people considering seminary.

Visit for more information. Spots are limited so reserve now with no payment until January.
Save the date!!
WIS Leadership Academy      April 13th

Western Iowa Synod Assembly      May 3-5, 2019

Churchwide Assembly      August 5-10

Tri Synodical Fall Convocation      Sept. 22-24

For a list of upcoming events from November thru Sept. 2019 click here!!


eSpirit Submissions
If you have a story, article or pictures to share from your congregation's ministry, please send to Lynn by Monday morning @ 10 am.!
Western Iowa Synod
318 E Fifth St.
Storm Lake, IA 50588