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, invite and encourage them to attend the events!! 
In This Issue:
Important Links:


Synod of the week:  Our country and it's leaders
Congregation of the week: pray for your church & congregational members

  • Congregations in transition
  • Rostered leaders in transition
  • Pastor Tess Panamarrow
  • Pastor Paul Johnston, undergoing surgery on the 31st
  • Pastor Lorene Glant
  • Pastor Chris Lang
  • Brian Campbell and family as they mourn the death of his mother
  • Wanda Norris
  • For all upcoming events, that the Spirit will move people to come, learn and share
A Challenge for Congregation Pastors and Council Presidents...

How often does your congregational council do something together outside of a regular council meeting? One congregation's current council president rallied members of their council to do something formative together outside of their regular council meetings. That congregation now has seven people attending the Leadership Academy scheduled for February 18th at St Olaf in Ft Dodge.  This event will walk with those in attendance from a time of lamenting change in the church to a time of Holy Dreaming, asking God where or to what is He calling your congregation. Can you imagine the opportunities, the possibilities that would lie ahead for your congregation if a group of 6 or even 10 people came from your congregation to this event? I get excited to think about what the church of the Western Iowa Synod would be like if each congregation sent a group of leaders to this event. An event in which they not only learn together, but do some Holy Dreaming together!! To what is God calling your congregation? To what or where is God calling the church of Western Iowa? Come!! Invite others, and let's not just dream together, but make those dreams come true!! We are church together!!  More information below about this event!
Peace Not Walls: Holy Land Kaleidoscope Event
Very Informative
Here is what one attendee had to say: 
Very, very good event!  I have been puzzled for a long time about that situation & this event really helped me to clarify it in my mind.  I wish there had been more people that had come.  Perhaps if those who attended get the word out, we could bring more people for a future event.  I didn't talk to anyone who wasn't very impressed!

I was not aware how Israel got around the big land grab or how Palestinians were treated.  It was very informative.  It didn't seem anyone was trying to slant our opinions, just telling how it was.  I know it was a lot of work to put together, but was a very worthwhile event! 
Joyce Sandine

A meaningful day of learning and sharing on peace in the Holy Land--amid credible voices from native Palestinians and an area Jew-- took place recently at the Western Iowa Synod's Peace Not Walls gathering.  As deep and wide and historical and complex as the topic is, participants left considerably more informed and engaged to advocate on behalf of peace for ALL people in the region.  The WIS Peace Not Walls Network offers to share the story more in your congregations, conferences, women's/men's/youth/mission/council groups, etc. 
Palestinian Youth, Dema and Hamza
Rev. Rod Hopp sharing ELCA Churchwide Assembly actions
Feel free to contact Cindy Wells, WIS Director for Global Mission, with any needs or questions you may have (cindy.wells@wisynod.org; 712-732-4968 Ext. 441).  Salam...Shalom...Peace.
“Here We Walk” Lenten Fitness Challenge Takes a Holistic Approach
Check out what Trinity Lutheran in Mason City is doing!!

In 2017, in honor of the 500th anniversary of the Reformation, we decided to transport our virtual journey to Germany and learn about the significant places in the life of Martin Luther. This year Trinity will be following “Here We Walk” as our Lenten fitness challenge. As Trinity’s Parish Nurse, I created a “Here We Walk” handout designed to be printed on one double-sided piece of paper. Each participant will record their physical fitness activities during Lent and, as they track their progress, discover interesting facts about Martin Luther's own life journey. Full article and resources here!

  Church Mutual offers religious leaders’ scholarships

The Church Mutual Insurance Company is offering fifty $5,000 scholarships for those who are enrolled in advanced degree programs in preparation for church service. April 15th is the application deadline. For details, visit www.churchmutual.com/cmcares-scholars

Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service 
Refugee Sunday
Today, for the first time since World War II, there are more than 60 million people around the world who have been forced to flee their homes due to war, violence, and persecution. Yet Lutherans are not discouraged.
We continue to meet refugees and those displaced by violence with God's love. Whether your congregation is new to assisting refugees, has a history of newcomer ministry, or you are newcomers yourselves, you can observe Refugee Sunday and create a meaningful experience with LIRS’s Refugee Sunday worship materials and Stand for Welcome newsletter.         More info here...
Prayer for Refugees Bulletin Insert
Travel Opportunities for 2017

Adult Group Travel to Tanzania 2017
Anticipated dates: July 21— August 12, 2017 

Accompaniment Trip to Chile
Approximate Dates: Nov. 17-Dec 4, 2017

Two great opportunities to travel to our companion synods in Chile and Tanzania!! 
Deadline dates will be here soon, apply now!!
Young Adults in Global Mission
There is less than one month left for young adults to apply to the Young Adults in Global Mission program for 2017-18. The application for the program is open until Feb. 15. Share this link with the friends, family and loved young adults you know, and invite them to consider serving in one of 13 countries all around the world. There is no specific qualification, degree or skill that is required, but rather a willingness to serve and a commitment to living in community with our companions around the world. More info here...
Attention All Men!!
What? Annual Men in Mission retreat
Where? Lutheran Lakeside Camp - Shalom house
When? February 3rd-4th Registration begins at 6:30 PM. Event ends Saturday at 2:30 with Worship and service of Holy Communion.
Cost? A minimum suggested donation of $40.00 will cover costs. Any additional donations will be given to Lutheran Lakeside Camp. Registration includes Saturday breakfast, evening popcorn snack, and Noon meal. Please bring your own bedding, pillow and towel or there will be bedding available for an additional charge. More information and registration can be found here!
Register Online Here
Coming soon: Lutheran Day on the Hill 2017
When: February 21st
Join LSI and the three Iowa synods of the ELCA for Lutheran Day on the Hill in Des Moines on February 21st! This day is essential for giving voice to those who are not heard, for seeking social justice and for empowering people to exercise their right and responsibility to be part of the legislative process. More information and registration here! Questions - contact Pastor Ungs at jeff.ungs.rev@wisynod.org.
Winter/Early Spring ConFest Events:
Theme - "You Belong"

ConFest is an event for confirmation age students to attend with their leaders. It's an evening of worship, singing, games, learning, meeting the Bishop and learning more about the wider church. The theme this year is "you belong" - we have have activities that will help us get to know one another better as the body of Christ and we will also have a short session about bullying, focusing on how we are all children of God and should care for one another. Each of us are special and belong to God!
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 is open!! Register Here!!
Questions? Please email Lynn, Lynn.egesdal@wisynod.org

When: Saturday, February 18th              
Snowdate: Saturday, February 25th
Time: 9:30 am - 3:30 or 4 pm
Where: St Olaf Lutheran Church, Fort Dodge
Cost: $25/person; or $75/carload (4-5 ppl)
For all congregational members!!
The church is constantly changing and how are we dealing with that as leaders, as members? How can we move from a time of lamenting the changes to a time of Holy Dreaming, being in conversation together about where is God calling us, as individuals, as a congregation? Come and find out!!!  More info here...
Bulletin Insert
Leadership Academy Registration
2017 Marriage Retreat
February 10th-12th
Marriage has never been easy, and it may be more challenging now than ever. Why is that? What can be done to help? How can learning new tools for a marriage relationship impact EVERY relationship in a family? That’s what we’ll explore over our weekend together.

Join us on Feb. 10-12th at Ingham Okoboji Lutheran Bible Camps for our 2017 Marriage Retreat! The speakers for this year's marriage retreat will be Scott and Wendy Rains, who will be talking about the New Rules of Marriage. For more information contact us at 1-800-OKOBOJI or go to our website at http://www.okoboji.org/marriage-retreat. We hope to see you there!
“This is the best Valentine’s gift anyone could give to their spouse, a wonderful weekend with time to learn and grow together.” -2014 Marriage Celebration Retreat participant
Retreat Flier
Reformation Tour to Germany

Pastor Olaf Roynesdal, East Side Lutheran Church, Sioux Falls, SD, is hosting a 10-day Reformation Tour to Germany May 23—June 1, 2017 as part of the 500th  Anniversary of the Reformation. Cities/towns to be toured include Berlin, Juterborg, Wittenberg, Torgau, Leipzig, Eisleben, Erfurt, Eisenach, the Wartburg Castle, Mainz and Worms. The deadline for registering is March 1, 2017. For more information you may email him:Olaf@eastsidelc.org
The Fort Dodge Forum Spring 2017 Schedule
The Forum meets at Grace Lutheran Church, Fort  Dodge. 

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 Forum costs $40 per session, payable at the time of the forum. Join us for another year of learning together as we strive to lead our congregations into God's future.

February 9     "Called Forward Together in Christ 
                       for the sake of the world."
                       A Consultation Paper on Future
                       Directions of the ELCA
                       Pr. Dan Garrietts

March 9          Worship: Daring to "Play" with the
                       Pr. Del Olivier

April 21*         Speaking Public Theology 
(FRIDAY)        in a Fractured World 
                       Dr. Nate Frambach

May 11          Suffering Servant and Jesus 
                      Dr. Arland Hultgren 
*NOTE: different week AND day of the week due to Holy Week and class schedule
2017 Foundations of Faith Community Nursing
Dept. of Continuing Education Augustana University

Faith Community Nursing is a registered nurse who facilitates the wholistic health of a congregation or faith community. The nurse will focus on the spiritual, emotional, physical and social dimensions of persons as they strive to achieve wellness and wholeness.

If you are interested in taking the Faith Community Nurse Foundations course, dates for 2017 are On-Site: Feb 4th and April 27-28th On-Line: Feb 6– March 27th
Cost is $550
Please contact: Paula Lubeck for registration information
605-322-3384 or paula.lubeck@avera.org
Simpson Youth Academy - Summer 2017
You might be right for SYA if you would like to:
EXPLORE QUESTIONS LIKE: • Can faith and politics mix? • Why is there suffering in the world? • Why are there so many different religions? • Are science and the Bible compatible? • Why do religions seem to cause so much violence in the world? • How can I live a life of faithfulness and integrity? More info here!         Flier here!
2017 finds Lutherans giving thanks for their Reformation heritage. Our ALCM biennial conference, “Rise, Remember Well the Future,” July 10-13, will simultaneously celebrate the treasures of the last 500 years and look to the future and God’s covenant of faithfulness in all that is yet to be. Opening worship will be held at Saint Olaf College, site of the constituting ALCM convention in 1986. In plenaries led by Chad Fothergill, Daniel Schwandt, and Mary Louise Bringle, we will reflect on the changing role of the cantor—the leader of the church’s song—as we move confidently into a future blessed by our heritage and full of many changes in the church and its music. More info and registration here...
June 11-14, 2017
Luther College, Decorah, Iowa
High school youth from ELCA congregations are invited to the Wholly Iowa Youth Leadership Discipling Event June 11-14 at Luther College in Decorah. This annual camp is designed to help high school youth learn how to become future leaders of the church. WIYLDE offers three tracks designed to give in-depth knowledge and training on a particular type of leadership. The teens will meet in small groups to discuss and put into action what they learn.
The three tracks are:
Worship Leadership — Learn the basics of Lutheran worship and liturgy and how to become a worship assistant.
Share Your Faith — Discover how to share your personal faith story in many different ways, and learn how to write and lead a Bible study.
You Can Do Ministry — Learn what your spiritual gifts are and how you can use those gifts to do ministry now and in the future.    More info here!
And Many More Upcoming Events:

36th Annual Rural Ministry Conference, March 5-7. 2017

Wartburg Seminary is hosting the 36th Annual Rural Ministry Conference entitled “Crisis and Conflict”, March 5-7, 2017. For more information, visit www.wartburgseminary.edu and click on the “Learning for Life Events” tab.

Considering Your Call, discernment retreat, March 10-12, 2017

Wartburg Seminary, Dubuque, IA is hosting a weekend discernment retreat, March 10-12, 2017, for those considering a call to public ministry.  Travel cost assistance is available.  For details, contact Matthew O’rear at MOrear@wartburgseminary.edu or call (484) 343-2882.

Generosity Next Conference, April 25-27, 2017

Washington, D.C. will be the site for the 2017 Generosity Next Conference, April 25-27, 2017  This premiere stewardship event will offer 20 practical workshops.  Featured presenters include:  Lovett H. Weems, Ann A. Michel, and J. Clif Christopher.  More details will be forthcoming soon!

Mission Builders’ Opportunities in 2017

ELCA Mission Builders are people with construction experience and skills, who assist congregations and church organizations with construction projects. This year’s projects (and anticipated start dates) include:  Metigoshie Ministries in Bottineau, ND (May 2, 2017); Nebraska Outdoor Lutheran Ministries in Ashland, NE (May 15th); and Montana Synod House in Great Falls, MT (May 30, 2017). To find out more about service opportunities, visit

25th Annual Festival of Homiletics, May 15-19, 2017

“Preaching on the Borders” is the theme for the 25th Annual Festival of Homiletics, which will be held in San Antonio, TX,May 15-19, 2017. Presenters include: Rob Bell; Nadia Bolz-Weber; Barbara Brown Taylor; Walter Brueggemann; Adam Hamilton; Rolf Jacobson; Bishop Craig Satterlee; Will Willimon; and more.  For details, visit www.festivalofhomiletics.com or call (651) 523-1645

ELCA Rostered Leaders Gathering, August 7-10, 2017

The first ever ELCA Rostered Leaders Gathering will be held in Atlanta, GA, August 7-10, 2017. The theme will be “On the Way Together” and will feature worship, education and fellowship. For details, visit 2017RosteredGathering@elca.org; or call 1 (800) 638-3522; ext. 2552.
Quick Links
Western Iowa Synod
318 E Fifth St.
Storm Lake, IA 
712.732. 4968