Support the mission
and ministry of the Southeastern Iowa
Synod by making a donation using our
Synod Calendar

Retiree Luncheon
Sept. 15
Christ the King Lutheran Church
Iowa City

New to the Synod
Sept. 17
Southeastern Iowa Synod Cetner for Ministry
Iowa City
Event Registrations

Sept. 27-29
Bethesda Lutheran Church
Ames, IA 

Multiple dates and locations

November 14
Zion Lutheran Church 
Iowa City, IA
Remember in Prayer
Our faith and our mission in the world do not rest on human wisdom but on the power of God. We pray that God will work in and through us and that we will be humble and willing servants in the world.
Quick Links
Synod News

Return from sabbatical-in the grip of gratitude
By Bishop Michael Burk
​I remember a dear mentor of mine expressing thanksgiving for an opportunity he had been afforded by saying he was “caught in the grip of gratitude.”

That is how I’m feeling as I return to my responsibilities after a wonderful sabbatical. Three months gives a person time to think about a lot of things,  and time to do more than just think.

In addition to more reading than I expected, including several novels simply for the joy of it, I exercised more regularly, and I traveled quite a bit - mostly by car and mostly for reasons related to a project I had undertaken. The project led to a significant paper on the shared leadership of the ELCA Conference of Bishops.

I appreciated the opportunity to do the sort of writing I haven’t done much since I became bishop. More enriching than the writing was the preparation, which included extensive conversations with some key leaders in the life of the ELCA. All of the former and current presiding bishops, secretaries, chairs of the conference of bishops, and executives for administration in the churchwide organization were willing to spend time with me in dialog.

I participated in a portion of the Youth Gathering in Detroit. I attended the ELCA Worship Jubilee in Atlanta. I painted a door and stained a deck and I enjoyed time with members of my family, especially my wife, Diane,  who was a precious companion on much of my summer’s “journey.”

While away, I had such confidence in my colleagues in the Office of the Bishop that I did not fret about how things were going. With their good work and with the help of a couple of colleague bishops, things went well.

All of this has been a gift to me. I hope and pray my own ministry will reflect the benefits of this time away. For now, as I make my way through some things that have understandably been awaiting my attention, I am caught in the grip of gratitude.
"God's Work. Our Hands." Sunday-Day of Service
This past weekend, congregations around the nation and around Southeastern Iowa committed to a day of service. In Iowa congregations cleaned up roadways and parks, accepted food donations to fight hunger, made blankets and quilts; and did countless other projects in the name of Jesus. Putting their faith in action people of all ages served locally, regionally and globally. 

We'd love to hear your stories, read the newspaper articles, and see your photos from your day of service. Send stories, links and photos to Valerie Harlynn, Associate for Communications,
Churchwide News

Refugee Crisis in Europe and the Middle East
As Europe continues to absorb hundreds of thousands of migrants from the Middle East this summer, the ELCA is working with Lutheran companion churches and partners in Europe to assist people seeking refuge now and to meet their future needs.

In a Sept. 9 "e-Alert" to ELCA members, the Rev. Daniel Rift, director of ELCA World Hunger and Disaster Appeal, wrote that "as a church, we are called to respond. Lutheran Disaster Response is committed to meeting basic humanitarian needs and upholding the rights of those fleeing war and crisis."

Working with companion churches, such as the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Hungary (ELCH) and the Slovak Evangelical Church of the Augsburg Confession in Serbia, and with The Lutheran World Federation (LWF), ELCA members are providing food and other materials to "assist those who have fled their homes," wrote Rift. "We are also in communication with our church companions in Germany, as they receive tens of thousands of refugees."

The bishop of the Lutheran church in Hungary, the Rev. Tamas Fabiny, has said that the denomination is working to "promote a culture of mutual respect, inclusion and love" among refugees entering Budapest, according to the Rev. Cindy Halmarson, ELCA area program director for Europe, the Middle East and North Africa.

"The ELCH is our companion in this country that is on the migration route of asylum seekers from Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq and northern Africa," said Halmarson. Read the rest of this story...

Synod Events
Fall Theological Conference
The annual Southeastern Iowa Synod Fall Theological Conference will be held September 27-29, 2015, at Bethesda Lutheran Church in Ames.  The theme will be “Being Public in the Name of Jesus.” Our speakers for this year’s event will be Rozella White, Program Director for Young Adult Ministries for the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and Pr. Jason Chesnut from Baltimore, Maryland, and the founder of “The Slate Project.” About this year’s theme; christendom is waning and that might be a good thing! The love of Christ frees us to serve our neighbors and neighborhoods. But our neighbors aren’t coming to church all that much anymore. So the locus of work might need to shift from the sanctuary to the public square. Together we will explore ways to make this move into the public square as congregations and as leaders.​

Sunday Soup
An Evening with the Bishop
All are welcome as congregations of the Southeastern Iowa Synod gather for an evening meal and to share stories of life and ministry. Bishop Burk will share his own thoughts and hopes for our life together as church, and facilitate conversation about how our connections to one another in Christ can bring to expression a bold and hopeful witness to our communities and to the whole world…all in the name of Jesus.

Sunday Sept. 20
St. Mark Lutheran Church
West Des Moines, IA
Sunday November 8
Faith Lutheran Church
Eldridge, IA

Children's Ministry Resource Day
The day will offer worship, workshops on safety policies and education milestones, and a panel discussion with the members of the Children’s Ministry Working Group.
The first bi-annual resource day is a perfect time to connect with other church volunteers/workers and learn a few things to take back to your own congregations. Breakout sessions include Educational Standards - making curriculum work for you, Safety Policies - how to get started, and ending the afternoon with a Q & A Panel and short worship service. 
Registration will begin at 9:30 a.m., the event will start at 10 a.m., and  will conclude at 1:30 p.m.
This is a free event for volunteers, helpers, and staff involved with children's ministry within the Southeastern Iowa Synod. Lunch will be provided. 

Saturday, November 14
Zion Lutheran Church, Iowa City

You're Invited
7th and Final Hope for the Hungry Conference
The final Hope for the Hungry Conference will be held November 7 from 9a.m. to 3 p.m. at the World Food Prize Hall of Laureates in Des Moines. The conference topics include, current hunger issues, current work to alleviate hunger, volunteering to alleviate hunger. The conference will include panel discussions and a keynote address by Matthew Russell of Drake University.
Registration is $40 (before Oct. 23) and more information can be found at
Rise Up Together Tour
Agape*, Rachel Kurtz and Joe Davis will be performing at two southeastern Iowa congregations this fall. These dynamic performers were all part of the 2015 Youth Gathering in Detroit and are playing shows on October 16, in Cedar Rapids and October 17, in Clive. Download the flyer for more information.
Portico Benefit Services

Why Are Our Health Care Costs Going Up? - Webinar video link
The recording of the webinar Portico Benefit Services held last Friday on “Why Are Our Health Care Costs Going Up” is now available online. Please share the link and invite others to watch it at their convenience, and share it with others in their ministry setting. To access the recording, plan members can visit

Get Answers to Retirement Planning Questions (Pre-Retirement Seminar)
This Pre-retirement seminars is hosted by a certified Ernst & Young planner and Portico Benefit Services, who answers your questions about retirement planning, such as:
  • How much money will I really need in retirement?
  • How can I avoid common retirement traps?
  • How can I protect my assets to ensure the money is there when I need it?
  • How can I create lifetime income?
  • What steps can I take to ensure a smooth transition into retirement?
The seminar is most relevant to people age 50-plus or who are within 15 years of retirement. It's designed to show retirement in a whole new light.
Date:  Thursday, November 5, 2015 (register by 10/14)
Time: All seminars are day-long events that run from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Cost: $35 per person, $70 per couple, which includes breakfast, lunch, and snacks
Location:  ELCA Churchwide Ministries,  Augsburg Room,  8765 W Higgins Rd,  Chicago, IL 60631
Register online at:

Minimize Debt, Optimize Assets, and Strategize for Retirement (Financial Wellness Seminar)
Join us for a day-long seminar on the fundamentals of personal finance. An Ernst & Young certified financial planner along with a representative from Portico will be there to share information on financial topics, including:
  • Reducing debt
  • How much to save for retirement
  • Choosing investment fund options in the ELCA Retirement Plan
  • Buying life insurance
The seminar is most relevant to you if you’re participating in the ELCA Retirement Plan, are under age 50, and have more than 15 years of service remaining before retirement.
Date:  Friday, November 6, 2015 (register by 10/16)
Time: All seminars are day-long events that run from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Cost: Free to ELCA benefits plan members and their spouses. Lunch will be provided.
Location:  ELCA Churchwide Ministries,  Augsburg Room,  8765 W Higgins Rd,  Chicago, IL 60631

Hope Leadership Conference
Strong Christian leaders are essential to the positive growth of teams, churches, organizations, communities… and the world! We invite you to join us for a conference where together we will help prepare church leaders to more effectively reach out to the world around us and share the everlasting love of Jesus Christ!  Join us for the 2015 Hope Leadership Conference! Bishop Michael Burk will be presenting at this event. 

​    Thursday, Oct. 22, 8:30 am - 5:00 pm & Friday, Oct. 23, 2015,         8:30 am - 3:00 pm
    Pre-conference: Oct. 21, 2015, 9:00 am - 4:30 pm
    at Lutheran Church of Hope in West Des Moines, IA

Join our mailing list
2635 Northgate Dr
Iowa City, IA 52245

319-338-1273 phone
319-351-8677 fax