On Tuesday, February 21, a record 300 Iowa ELCA members gathered at the Capitol to speak on behalg of children, families, and refugees.  For many, it was the first time they had participated and they found it an empowering experience.


“Lutheran Services in Iowa’s Day on the Hill gives voice to those who have no other voice in the halls of power,”

~Bishop Ullestad.


Lutheran Day on the Hill is an annual event sponsored by Lutheran Services in Iowa, with a grant from ELCA Hunger, which gathers ELCA members from around the state to come to the capitol for a day of education and Advocacy for Iowa families and children.  Northeastern Iowa, Western Iowa and Southeastern Iowa synod all support and participate in this day.


The day began for Northeastern Iowa members with an early bus ride that began in Waverly, with stops in Cedar Falls and Story City, to Capitol Hill Lutheran in Des Moines.

Photo Feb 23, 2 02 20 PM

While at Capitol Hill we were welcomed by John Twardos, CEO of Lutheran Services in Iowa.

John Twardos

We then heard from Assistant to the Bishop Mark Anderson who serves as the Chairperson of the Iowa Council on Human Services.

Photo thanks to Nicole Lyons, SE Iowa Synod

Photo thanks to Nicole Lyons, SE Iowa Synod

He introduced Charles Palmer, director of Iowa Department of Human Services.



For me, it is about the kids”

Director Palmer reminded us, that we all want the same thing, strong and healthy children and families in Iowa, regardless of our political viewpoint.

“Battles may happen around the “how”, but not around the what.”  He pointed out that if we begin with the mutual goal of taking care of families and children, we will have a better chance of coming to workable solutions that will achieve those goals.

Photo thanks to Nicole Lyons, SE Iowa Synod

Photo thanks to Nicole Lyons, SE Iowa Synod

Our keynote speaker was the Rev. Andrew Genzler, President, and CEO of Lutheran Metropolitan Ministry, which serves families in need in Cleveland.   “You are all a force to be reckoned with” he declared, emphasizing that Christians using their citizenship can make a difference.


Also in the lineup was Sarah Meek, Director of Public Policy and Advocacy, Lutheran Services in America—Disability, who spoke about the crucial role of Medicaid in Iowa.  39 % of children in Iowa are covered by Medicaid and losing that coverage would be disastrous.

We were introduced to the issues LSI suggested attendees focus on in their conversations with their legislators, although people were encouraged to speak to their representatives about any other issues they were concerned about.


If you were unable to attend, you can always visit your representative at another time or write them.

Photo thanks to Nicole Lyons, SE Iowa Synod

Photo thanks to Nicole Lyons, SE Iowa Synod



Resources from ELCA Advocacy

You can access information about the issues which were highlighted on this day online.


Ask your legislator to preserve programs that keep kids safe from abuse, prevent mental illness, and build stronger families and communities

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Welcoming and Supporting Refugees

We invite our fellow citizens and community members to join us in opposing an executive order that would halt or limit refugee resettlement.

Tell President Trump (https://www.whitehouse.gov/contact) and your federal representatives that you stand for welcome.

@POTUS and @realDonaldTrump to let the President know that you want to live in a country that encourages its citizens to offer love and compassion across geographic, religious, and political divides.Tweet

We invite you to meet with refugees in your own community and get to know and understand them. If you are looking for opportunities to meet and engage with refugees in Iowa, visit LSIowa.org for opportunities


LSI and the ELCA strongly support efforts to adequately fund water quality improvements in the state of Iowa. While LSI and the ELCA take no side on the legal dispute between Des Moines Water Works and Iowa counties, we do emphasize the need for legislators, the Governor, and water quality advocates to work together to create a viable and long-term funding stream to safeguard Iowa’s water.

Read about past year’s Day on the Hill

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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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