Synod News
Thursdays in Black 
“In every country, gender-based violence is a tragic reality. This violence is frequently hidden, and victims are often silent, fearing stigma and further violence. We all have a responsibility to speak out against violence, to ensure that women and men, boys and girls, are safe from rape and violence in homes, schools, work, streets – in all places in our societies.” ~ World Council of Churches 

As the church, and in response to God’s gifts of forgiveness, grace, and love, we are called to work to dismantle these harmful systems and to work for justice and peace. This work is not for the faint of heart, as it goes against centuries of teaching and a system that is deeply entrenched in our culture. But we do not do this work alone.

We are joined by those who have also signed on to the World Council of Churches Thursdays in Black campaign. We join with the saints who have gone before us and inspired the campaign: the mothers of the disappeared in Argentina, the women in Israel and Palestine who wear black to protest the violence happening even now, the women who wore black sashes to protest apartheid in South Africa, and the women in Rwanda and Bosnia who protested the use of rape as a weapon of war. Knowing that we are #inthistogether and strengthened with the gifts of the Spirit we press on making the world safer for all of God’s children.
Read the full article and see ways you can participate
FreeIndeed Pastoral Transition

The Outside Council for FreeIndeed Prison Congregation has announced the resignation of Pastor Jerry Collell. Starting with a dream and a signed piece of paper over two years ago, Pastor Jerry began the ministry within the walls of the Anamosa State Penitentiary and has since built a worshipping community, visitation within the prison, a network of volunteers, and a passion for reaching those inside the walls with the gospel message of Jesus Christ.

“While I remain in full support of the need and value of this program in Anamosa State Penitentiary and fully endorse the goals and strategies of the Prison Congregations of America, I am not at this time in a position to continue as their Pastor. I have been deeply enriched by this experience and pray for its continuance and development…My love for the Body of Christ in the SEIA Synod and their commitment to Prison Ministry is undiminished.” Pastor Jerry Collell

Lori Nietert, Outside Council Chair and member of First Lutheran in Cedar Rapids, said of Pastor Jerry and the ministry, “We are sad to see Jerry go but are confident that God is continuing to call us in ministry within the walls of the prison.”

The foundation for this still-fledgling ministry has been laid and through partnerships with individuals, congregations, the Southeastern Iowa Synod, Prison Congregations of America, and many more, this ministry will continue to bring the gospel and change lives for future inmates and visitors.

To see the work of the ministry and help support the congregation during this time of transition, visit our website:

Synod Book Club
Join others from around the Southeastern Iowa Synod for online discussions on books related to our shared ministry. All discussions will include an introduction and a time to discuss the book with a small group of people from around the synod via video conference. The first book discussion on Dear Church by Lenny Duncan will be tonight, October 21. All are welcome.
More information
Turning Point: Congregational Vitality
Turning Point is an 18-month guided learning process for congregations in the Southeastern Iowa Synod. The process focuses on congregational vitality using a variety of in-person learning labs, online check-ins, and assignments based in the local community. A learning team from each congregation will commit to the process.An informational meeting for those interested will be held Tuesday, October 22, at 7:00 pm via Zoom videoconference. Questions? Contact Rev. Erika Uthe,
Learn more
Churchwide News 
Portico Updates
Dates for ELCA Benefits Plan Annual Enrollment for Congregations and Plan Members: Congregations have until October 25 to make health plan option selection for 2019. Annual Enrollment for plan members will have from Oct. 29- Nov. 13 to make your selections. Note: If you’re part of a sponsored couple, a call to the Customer Care Center can help you navigate some of the trickier details.  Sign into MyPortico to learn more.


Innovation Brings Low 2020 Health Rate Increase and More Support: If you haven’t read about changes coming in 2020 to the ELCA Benefits Plan, click here to learn more.

ELCA Primary Health Plan Wellness Dollars:
Plan members have until Nov. 30 to earn up to $400 wellness dollars that can be used for medical expenses. If your spouse is also on the health plan, they can, too. If you have already started earning, don’t forget to complete your activities. If you haven’t yet started, now is the time to begin. Click here to learn more.

Upcoming Events
Fall Network Gathering 
Join the Southeastern Iowa Children and Youth Ministry network for their Fall Network Gathering. These gathering days are to make connections with people in children/youth ministries and to share ideas and resources to enhance various ministries in congregations and throughout the synod. Whether you are full-time, part-time, a rostered leader, staff, or volunteer, you are welcome.

Thursday, November 7
9:30 am -2:00 pm
Synod Center for Ministry
Iowa City
Free (lunch donation $5 payable at the door)
More information and RSVP
You're Invited
We Refuse to Be Enemies
Daoud Nassar, director of the Tent of Nations, located on the Nassar family farm in the West Bank, which has become an international peace center will be speaking about his story and work. The tour encompasses several stops in southeastern Iowa. Learn more
Seminary Sampler at LSTC

For those who have been thinking about public ministry and/or seminary. For those who should be considering public ministry and/or seminary. For those interested in exploring more

October 19-21 and February 22-24

The Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago, Chicago, IL

Sit in on classes, tour campus, meet current students, faculty, and staff, and Go Deeper into what life is like as a seminary at LSTC.

Register online at Check us out on Facebook. Travel stipends are available. Housing and meals will be provided. Child care available upon request.

Continuing Ed Camp at Lutheran Lakeside 
 Lutheran Lakeside is offering a week-long continuing education event for clergy, retired clergy, students, and their families.
Learn more
Christmas at Augustana College
Christmas at Augustana has become one of the most treasured traditions at Augustana College. Another treasured tradition is our special invitation for ELCA pastors and deacons with one guest, to join us.

This year, Christmas at Augustana will be performed on Saturday, December 7 at 2:00 and Sunday, December 8 at 2:00. As special guests, we would like to offer you two (2) free tickets for you and a guest to attend either performance. 

Presale for tickets are available now. Go to to order tickets. Enter the code ChristmasELCA to receive your two complimentary tickets.

You also may call the Augustana Ticket Office at 309-794-7306 to order. Additional tickets may be purchased at the same time at the normal price online or by calling the Ticket Office.

Tickets for Christmas at Augustana tend to sell quickly, so order soon. We cannot guarantee that tickets will be available as the performance date grows closer.
Support the mission and ministry of the Southeastern Iowa Synod by making a donation using our secure online donation page.
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Give thanks for the ELCA’s long-standing commitment to interreligious and ecumenical relations that promote understanding among Christians and greater unity among Christ’s people.
More prayers
Announcements that appear in this newsletter may be copied and reproduced by congregations of the Southeastern Iowa Synod in whole or in part without permission. Please credit authors if they are credited within this newsletter.