By Northeastern Iowa Synod Interim Bishop Andrea DeGroot-Nesdahl

The Northeastern Iowa Synod Council, meeting on Jan. 16, decided on a virtual assembly for 2021. The dates are June 11 -12. We anticipate about one and a half days of time rather than going into Sunday this year. Our broad-cast site will be Luther College, Decorah, Iowa, as that was our location if we had met in-person. Voting members will be connecting through their electronic devices (phone, iPad, computer, etc.) and will not be gathering at Luther in person. There are details to manage, now that we’ve made this decision, so next month’s Star will carry more information as we get plans in place.

The key item of business for the Synod Assembly is the election of a new Bishop.

Nominees for the office of Bishop must be ordained ministers of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. A new Bishop will be elected to a six-year term.

As you think ahead to this election, please pray for God’s guidance and inspiration as we seek that new leader for the next chapter of synod life and ministry.

Pray for the person, whoever it may be and wherever they may currently be serving, that God would be stirring in their heart to be open to this unique call.

If you want an individual’s name to be lifted up for nomination, remember to ask them about it beforehand, as a courtesy, so you can share the name with your congregation’s voting members — or nominate them yourself if you are a voting member.

There are other items of business at Assembly as well, such as electing a synod secretary, electing other positions on the Synod Council, and the voting members for the ELCA Churchwide Assembly in 2022 (planned for Aug. 8-13, Columbus, Ohio), synod budget, compensation guidelines, and so on. It promises to be memorable, and we pray it will be inspiring for our ministry together.

I’m reminded of the text from I Samuel 3, which was assigned for the second Sunday after Epiphany. Samuel is called by God as a young boy, and through the account of the text grows in his understanding of how God is speaking to him/calling to him.

Though we may not all be young in years, we can still learn from this text about listening for/expecting God to be speaking, to be at work and moving, to be present in our lives and our world.

Like Samuel, we can practice again and again saying our own: “Speak Lord for your servant is listening.”

God is with us, friends, as we continue to learn how to attune our hearts, our ears, our lives to God’s voice and call.

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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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