Many aspects of our website are still being updated. Please contact the synod office if you are unable to find something that you are looking for.


Situated on lush farmland, nestled within and east of the rolling Loess Hills and the storied Missouri River, the Western Iowa Synod is one of 3 ELCA Synods in Iowa and one of 65 ELCA Synods in the U.S. and Puerto Rico.

Learn More

Living Our Baptism: Called to Love God and Love Our Neighbors

We believe that in our baptism, we have been claimed, named, forgiven, and promised new life. We believe that we are called to live in the “covenant God made with us in holy baptism: to live among God’s faithful people, to hear the word of God and share in the Lord’s supper, to proclaim the good news of God in Christ through word and deed, to serve all people, following the example of Jesus, and to strive for justice and peace in all the earth” (ELW p. 236)  

Through the ELCA Social Statements we teach that all residents of the United States have a responsibility to make government function well. This responsibility is lived out as a calling from God, expressed in the discipleship described in our baptismal promises. It is based on our understanding of how God governs human society.”[1]  

And while to many it may seem political, we are indeed called to pay attention, to pray, to be engaged, to vote, and to keep our eyes on the Good News of Jesus which prompts “Lutherans to ask one simple but all-encompassing question: is the neighbor being served?”[2]  

Is the neighbor being served?  My heart aches as I ask this question and struggle to make sense of the bills introduced during this current legislative session that put LBGTQ adults and children at risk.  These proposed bills focus on gender identity related to children, their parents/guardians, educators, and healthcare providers preventing accommodation, privacy, education, or healthcare.  

The ELCA is a church that firmly believes that every human being, regardless of gender identity, should have access to education, privacy, accommodations, and healthcare.

We believe that God calls us to love all people.

We believe that LGBTQ people are beloved children of God.

"The ELCA is a church that belongs to Christ and Christ’s church universal, where there is a place for everyone. The call of Christ’s people today is to celebrate the diversity of God’s creative work and embrace all people in the spirit of love, regardless of race or ethnicity, economic status or gender.” in the same document, “…it is important to remember the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) rejects all forms of hatred or discrimination. This includes employment discrimination against the transgender community, as stated in “Gender Identity Discrimination,” a policy resolution that was adopted by the 2013 ELCA Churchwide Assembly.”  

Let us ask – is the neighbor being served?

Let us live with courage and love -

Let us together pray –

Mighty and merciful God, lover of justice and equity, you call us to support the marginalized, to help those who suffer, and to honor all people.  By the power of your holy Spirit, make us advocates for your justice and instruments of your peace, so that all may be reconciled in your beloved community; through Jesus Christ our Savior.  Amen  (adapted from ACS,p. 47)  


The Rev. Lorna H. Halaas

Bishop, Western Iowa Synod, ELCA


 ELCA. “Government and Civic Engagement Social Message.” 2017.  

[2] Ibid. 

2024 Synod Assembly
April 19 & 20 in Council Bluffs

Pre-Assembly – Open to EVERYONE from the Western Iowa Synod*

April 19th, 12:30 – 3      Our Savior’s Lutheran Church, 600 Bluff St.


April 19              St. John Lutheran Church, 633 Willow Ave.

April 20           Pace Center, 1001 S. 6th St.

*Please complete registration form even if only attending pre-assembly, checking for pre-assembly only.  This is open to ALL from the synod at no charge. 

Registration Deadline – March 15th   (must be received in the synod office by this date)


2024 Synod Assembly page Online Registration

In Ministry Together - God's Love Made Real

November 2023

God has called and gathered us to be church together!
We are the Body of Christ, 116 congregations - the Western Iowa Synod, ELCA!

Yes! We are church together!
Yes! We are doing ministry together!
Yes! We are a church that is changing!  We are being called to change the way we equip and call rostered ministers, partner with neighbors, move beyond our buildings, and imagine new ways of being church together.

I am asking each congregation, each person in the Western Iowa Synod to:

Consider how the promises made in Holy Baptism are lived out daily individually and as a congregation.
In Holy Baptism God claimed you as a beloved child and promises to be with you always. In response to God's amazing love and grace we promise to gather at God's table, to study and learn, and to work for justice and peace.
How does knowing you are a beloved child of God impact your life?

I am asking each congregation, each person in the Western Iowa Synod to:

invest the resources, the gifts that God has given you – your energy, your prayers,
and your money into this work to which God has called us to do together!
How is giving a way of loving?  What holds you back from giving?

I am asking each congregation, each person in the Western Iowa Synod to:

shift from thinking stewardship as budget, to budget as ministry. To shift from counting dollars to nurturing a deeper relationship with Jesus Christ.
What do you desire for the church that will encourage you to give?

From To

Fund raising
Preserving the building/institution
Responsibility – guilt, paying dues
Program driven
Serving members

Faith raising
Impacting lives, mission, community
Call of faith, generosity, abundance
Mission and ministry focused
Empowering change in lives


We are in ministry together – God’s Love Made Real

2023 Budget Highlights

  Training Leaders for Today and the Future                                       $ 106,032

ELCA Youth Gathering
First Call Theological/Leadership Education
Lay Leaders
Seminary Students
Synod Authorized Ministers

  Accompanying Congregations for Ministry                                        $  72,400

Call process
Conflict Management
Holy Closure
Interim/Transitional Ministry
Shared Ministry Agreements
Synod Staff Travel within Western Iowa
Technology Assistance

 Specialized Ministry Communities                                                        $  79,954

Campus Ministry

University of Northern Iowa
Waldorf University
Lutheran School of Theology in Chicago
Wartburg Theological Seminary

Church of the Damascus Road (prison congregation)
Living Faith ELCA Mission Start/LeMars
Lutheran Services in Iowa

Young Adults in Global Ministry (YAGM)

 Addressing Hunger in Iowa                                                                    $  25,600

Hog Processing
Community Meals Grants
Food Bank Grants

 ELCA Mission Support                                                                             $ 150,000


People of the Western Iowa Synod, I am asking you to be generous and to trust that working together we can be church together, where God’s Love is Made Real for all people.          

With Gratitude for your Partnership,

Rev. Lorna H. Halaas, Bishop

Western Iowa Synod, ELCA


More Resources:

Kay's Letter

Mission Intent 2024

Mission Support as of Oct. 31, 2023

God's Love Made Real

Racial Justice Vision Trip II

Synod Assembly 2024

National Youth Gathering 2024