Synod rostered leaders gathered again as they have during Lent for many years.

“The Day of Renewal provides rostered leaders in our synod a day to step away from the hurried pace of Lenten schedules and responsibilities to be refreshed”, notes Bishop Ullestad.  “Mutual support and encouragement, a learning opportunity, time with the bishop and a service of Holy Communion allow our leaders time to prepare themselves spiritually for walking with our congregations during Holy Week.”

This year we met under the theme of “Bold Service”, with Elizabeth of Hungary as our model.  Pastor Steven Brackett, Assistant to the Bishop shared about her life and service.

Learn more about Elizabeth and our emphasis on service here.

After the presentation, leaders shared stories of how our congregations are reaching out to their community through bold service.


Instead of the usual bishop’s hour we engaged in a new ELCA process to decide the ELCA’s future directions, “Called Forward Together in Christ”

This is a process begun by Bishop Eaton to help leaders make decisions about the future identity, direction and priorities of the ELCA.  This is a conversation that needs to take place at all levels across the church.


It begins with a conversation around these questions:

  1. What is distinctive about our identity as a Lutheran church?
  2. What kind of church do we believe God is calling us to become?
  3. How do we become an inclusive, diverse church that is inspiring and relevant in different communities?
  4. What is God calling us to do in a world that is facing unprecedented levels of poverty, conflict and violence, inter-religious tension and massive displacement of people?
  5. What do we expect from our church leaders? And how do we recruit, invest in and support them to lead this church into the future?
  6. Will our current structures serve the church well into the future? How can we maintain strong local participation and ownership and, at the same time, achieve a connection to ELCA as one church?


We began this conversation in our synod with Synod Council.  Then rostered leaders discussed it at Day of Renewal.  The conversation will continue at Synod Assembly.  The hope is that leaders will begin these conversations in their congregations.

The ELCA is all of us.  We all have a stake, a voice and a responsibility in its future.  To learn more about this process check out Called Forward Together in Christ.



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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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