The 2015 Northeastern Iowa Synod Assembly is in the books.   Bishop Ullestad describes this one as one of the most joyful of his 23 assemblies he has presided over.

Here were some of the highlights:

Celebration of 45th Anniversary of Ordination of Women in ELCA


Women clergy were asked to stand during liturgy
celebrating Anniversary of Ordination of Women


Morning Prayer Worship Preacher Pastor Jenna Couch reminding us of the importance of vulnerability in Bold Leadership

Keynote Presentation by Dr. Kit Kleinhans on the Bold Leadership of Jan Hus.

She did an excellent job of bringing his message alive and helping us see how his witness is relevant to bold leadership today.
The gracious presence of our ELCA Churchwide rep – The Rev Dr. Barbara Berry-Bailey, Manager for relationships in East and Southern Africa. Dr. Berry-Bailey was a familiar face to those who work with the Namibia Companion Synod network.


As well as bringing us ELCA greetings and preaching a powerful sermon on the bold leadership of Barnabas on Sunday, she participated fully in the assembly and was one of us in every way during the weekend.  In her sermon on Sunday she suggested from her observations that we could be renamed “The Synod of Encouragement”.

Interesting and informative forums and ministry exhibits

The presence and full participation of youth voting members, many of whom stayed for the leadership school at WIYLDE.

Recognition of three of our congregations who are in the top 100 of giving to World Hunger, Bethlehem Lutheran , Cedar Falls, Nazareth Lutheran, Cedar Falls, and Trinity Lutheran, Mason City.
The introduction of our own Hunger Video encouraging use of the ELCA World Hunger’s God’s Global Barnyard.

Watch it here.

At our after breakfast Sunday morning bible study we talked about how we recognize, nurture and encourage bold leadership in the church.

The traditional ending of the assembly with open mike stories of what is going on in our congregations is always inspiring and this year’s was no exception.

This year’s theme was bold leadership and we listened to story after story, offered by  pastors and lay people, large churches  and small,  teenagers and senior citizens, of  how bold leadership is renewing our congregations and getting us out into our communities to show people Jesus.

We also did the business of the synod, elected leaders and voting members to the 2016 Churchwide Assembly, passed a budget and resolutions.

It was an uplifting and inspiring synod assembly.  And as Bishop Ullestad promised in his report about all we have done in this synod so far, what we can look forward to next year is “more of the same!”

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About The Rev. Dr. Joelle Colville-Hanson

The Rev. Dr. Joelle Colville-Hanson has been Director for Evangelical Mission, ELCA for the Northeastern Iowa Synod since late 2013. Part of her job description is to help leaders and congregations use social media and other digital means for outreach and mission. She writes and edits this blog as well as runs the social media accounts for the synod.




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