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WELCOME TO THE WESTERN IOWA SYNOD

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.

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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

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 ELCA. “Government and Civic Engagement Social Message.” 2017. https://download.elca.org/ELCA%20Resource%20Repository/Government_and_Civic_Engagement_Social_Message.pdf?_ga=2.186583918.654093864.1677259457-1290446844.1667410172  

[2] Ibid.