On Saturday, June 12, 2021, some 300+ people gathered on zoom for a one-day online assembly under the leadership of Interim Bishop Andrea DeGroot-Nesdahl.

The theme of this Assembly, “Celebrating Renewal: Johannes Bugenhagen, Parish Pastor of the Reformation,” concludes a six-year synod wide theme linking renewal with reformers over the years.

The event opened with a presentation by Rev. Dr. Martin J. Lohrmann, associate professor of Lutheran Confessions and Heritage for Wartburg Theological Seminary, Dubuque on Bugenhagen.

Dr. Lohrman’s presentation was followed by a pre-corded worship service which was made available in the Synod Sermon Library and on YouTube for congregations to use the following Sunday.

We also recognized the 50/40/10 Anniversaries, 50th Anniversary of the ordination of women, 40the anniversary of the ordination of the first Black woman, Pastor Earlean Miller, and the 10th anniversary of the ELCA’s decision to officially ordain people in same gender committed relationships.

A video celebrating ordained women in the Northeastern Iowa Synod, “We have seen the Lord” was shared.

Bishop candidate speeches

The main business of the day was the election of a new Synod Bishop.  This election had been put off a year when the 2020 Synod Assembly was cancelled due to the COVID 19 Pandemic.

The election process was chaired by Churchwide Representative, Lori Fedyk, ELCA Treasurer.

Pastor Kevin Jones, Trinity, Mason City was elected Bishop on the Fifth ballot with 168 votes. 

The Rev. Stacey Nalean-Carlson, pastor of Glenwood and Canoe Ridge Lutheran Churches, Decorah, received 118 votes.

There were also elections for Synod Council, Church Wide Voting members and other committees.  Results can be found on the Synod Website.

Several resolutions were also passed including 2021 & 2022 Minimum Salary Guidelines for Rostered Ministers, 2022 Synod Mission Goals, and the ELCA Advocacy Support for the Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act.

The COVID-19 Pandemic has brought challenges but also shown the church’s resilience, creativity, and ability to adapt.  The success of this online event has opened possibilities for future hybrid events, where offering online options may increase accessibility and diversity in participate

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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.