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. 


2023 Synod Assembly - April 21-22, at the Le Mars Convention Center

Friday evening:

  • Opening worship at 6:00 pm
  • Land Acknowledgement presented by Mitch McCartney, St Paul Lutheran Church, Missouri Valley and member of Churchwide Council
  • Bishop Lorna presented the Synod Assembly theme “A Place for You” around the table
  • The Credentials and Elections Committee reported registrations of 191 voters and 17 visitors for a total of 208 attendees
  • Rev Dr Troy Troftgruben, Associate Professor of New Testament, Wartburg Theological Seminary, Dubuque, IA, lead a study “Practicing Church in a Divided World” based on his latest book Rooted and Renewing:Imagining the Church’s Future in Light of Its New Testament Origins
  • Around the Table Discussions with Western Iowa Synod Staff and Western Iowa Synod Council Executive Committee
  • Recognition of 3 church anniversaries and 34 ordination anniversaries 

Saturday morning:

  • Community breakfast of waffles and sausage was served
  • Judy Riemersma, American Lutheran, Melvin IA,  led the Litany of Praise for Creation for Earth Day
  • Rev Dr Troy Troftgruben lead a study “Practicing What Matters” based on his latest book
  • Around the Table Discusion - Ministry Partners
  • Secretary Sue Rothmeyer, ELCA Churchwide representative, detailed the many local, national and worldwide projects that are funded by our Mission Support giving ending with a video greeting by Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton  

Saturday afternoon:

  • Elected 12 persons to synod committee positions*:
  • Passed resolutions*:
    • #1 2024 Compensation and Care Guidelines
    • #2 Adopt the 2023 Revised Budget and the 2024 Proposed Budget
  • Defeated resolutions*:
    • #3 Western Iowa Synod Assembly date
    • #4 Revisions proposed to the Social Statement on Abortion of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America
  • Assembly offering for Living Faith Lutheran Church, LeMars, totaled $6,537.00
  • Pr Steven Smith led the closing worship service  

*Resolutions and other reports are available on the Western Iowa Synod website  Click on Synod Assembly 



The three Iowa Bishops are riding the 50th annual RAGBRAI to raise $50,000 to fight hunger and highlighting 50 anti-hunger ministries along the way. There are several ways to be part of the team! 

Accept Bishop Lorna's challenge: donate for Bp Lorna to wear your ministry's  t-shirt for a day (only 6 left) or a sticker for her helmet.  If she gets too many, her bike gets decorated too.

Share with your congregation: Make a plan to share this information with your congregation to support the Bishops' peddling by giving a gift to fight hunger in Iowa and throughout the world through ELCA World Hunger. Donate here.

Buy a Mile:  $1 per mile. How many will you buy?  The Ragbrai route is 500 miles.

Highlight a hunger ministry: Share your anti-hunger ministry - be part of map of hunger ministries in Iowa.  Complete form here.

Buy a T-Shirt:  Get a limited edition One Iowa Three Synods shirt

Visit the Bishops' RAGBRAI website. (This site will continue to be updated.)

The Fight Against Hunger
What Can YOU Do?

HUNGER around the world and in Iowa is on the rise after declining for a decade. 
    - 2014      8.1 million people needed lifesaving humanitarian assistance.  
    - 2023    340 million who need it.  

HUNGER in the United States
    - 1 in 5 U.S. children are at risk of hunger (Bread for the World)
    - More than 9.5 million adults 50+ rely on SNAP (AARP)

HUNGER in Iowa 
    - SNAP (supplemental nutrition assistance program) a part of the US Farm Bill
        helps 1 in 12 fulltime workers put food on their table
    - 69% are families with children
    - 815,000 tons of surplus food went to waste in 2019 in Iowa

 Ask: “I am just one person, what can I do?”

Answer:  You can write a letter, send an email, advocate for your neighbors. Make your voice heard!  

Join with other congregations from around Iowa and Bread for the World, a respected, ecumenical advocacy organization, to participate in a letter writing campaign to our leaders in congress.  Urge Congress to support a farm bill that builds healthy, equitable, and sustainable food systems. 

Iowans, we are in a unique position, our congressional delegation in both the House of Representatives and Senate serve on the Agriculture Committees and subcommittees.  Letters from you, people of faith, congregations of the ELCA, will make a difference! 

Senator Grassley - Letter to Senator Grassley

Senator Ernst - Letter to Senator Ernst 

Representative Feenstra - Letter to Rep. Feenstra

Representative Nunn - Letter to Rep. Nunn

Iowa Interfaith Power & Light also offers an electronic letter via a fillable form:  A Faithful Farm Bill

State of Iowa Fact Sheet

Bread for the World – Farm Bill Platform & Information

Western Iowa Synod & Bread for the World training video recording 

The US Farm Bill, which must be reauthorized every 5 years, expires Sept. 30, 2023.  Nutrition is a large portion of the Farm Bill providing funding for SNAP, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, the largest governmental anti-hunger program.  

More information is available through the Western Iowa Synod Office. 

Welcome Living Faith Lutheran in Le Mars


FEBRUARY 8 - 15, 2023

“Stories. Stories tell us who we are, and stories tell us whose we are. My story begins here in the waters of baptism-where I was on a Sunday morning, marked with the cross of Christ, sealed with the Holy Spirit, where I was named beloved, child of God.”  

Click to hear the rest of Bishop Lorna’s message and her invitation to you.

Please keep the 27 travelers in your prayers.


Slideshow image


The 2023 Synod Assembly has been changed to April 21 & 22

Check out the 2023 Assembly webpage for resources and updates.

Online Registration open beginning January 27, 2023.

Slideshow image
Slideshow image


This is a new opportunity to build new relationships with Lutheran Services in Iowa, the Storm Lake community, and to model partnerships between congregations and synod.

It is exciting to look forward to this new chapter of ministry in the synod.  

The new mailing address is:

1614 W. 5th Street

Suite 2

Storm Lake, IA  50588

Phone number remains the same: 712-732-4968

Living Our Baptism 2022

Slideshow image