The 29th Assembly of the Southeastern Iowa Synod was held May 6 – May 7, 2016, at the Marriott Hotel and Conference Center Coralville, Iowa. Over 400 voting members and visitors gathered around the theme “Drawn to the Light of God.”
Pastor Ruben Duran served as the churchwide representative providing updates and stories of the work we do together as the ELCA. The primary business of this year’s assembly was election of synod council members, the synod consultation committee, and synod discipline committee, as well as several resolutions.
Bishop Michael Burk presided over the assembly, including the Friday evening service of Holy Communion. In his report, Bishop Burk provided highlights of our shared ministry since we last gathered in assembly, providing his assessment of the ways we are being “Drawn to the Light of God.”
Special guest, Pastor Jason Chesnut engaged the Assembly with biblical storytelling from the the gospel of John. Pr. Joel Nau gave a presentation about hunger, Pr. Lee Schott presented about prison ministry and A.J. Houseman gave a talk centered on leadership. Additionally, there were interest groups and forums on various informational topics.
365 voting members and 66 visitors were attendance for elections, business matters and resolutions. 58% of voting members were lay voting members, 58% of those were female and 42% male.
Heather Miller was elected Synod Vice President. Dirk Amundsen, Pr. Ryan Cosgrove, Erik Ullestad, Pr. Gemechisa Mosa, Suah Borsay, Karen Goedekin, and Katie Harris were elected to positions on the synod council. Pr. Mike Schmidt, Pr. Karen Ullestad, Charlie Rod, and John Wright were elected to the Synod Discipline Committee. Pr. Jennifer Lutz, Carol Fredrich, and Heidi Larson, were elected to the Synod Consultation Committee.
Resolutions adopted included: 1) Ministry around the Military: a resolution encouraging those in the Southeastern Iowa Synod to offer gratitude and support for military personnel, veterans and their families. 2) Life of Faith initiative; encouraging the synod to create learning opportunities and communities to equip and support all its members for ministries in the world. 3) Southeastern Iowa Synodical Women’s Organization encouraging congregations and groups to discuss and act on the role media plays in the objectification of women. 4) A resolution encouraging congregations in the Southeastern Iowa Synod to pray for, engage, and support Lutheran Campus Ministries at Iowa’s public universities. 5) Peace Not Walls: a resolution encouraging the Southeastern Iowa Synod to advocate for a peaceful resolution to conflict, the end of human rights abuses, and the end of occupation of Palestinian territory through Israeli settlements in East Jerusalem and the West Bank. 6) A resolution of thanksgiving for the assembly and various ministries of the Southeastern Iowa Synod. Visit the 2016 Synod Assembly webpage for the full text of resolutions.
Other business included the approval of the 2017 synod budget and minimum compensation guidelines. Congregations and rostered leaders celebrating anniversaries were acknowledged and voting members took advantage of the many forums and organizational displays that were offered during assembly. The synod assembly offering was designated to the ministries of the Southeastern Iowa Synod, $35,987.78 was given by congregations and individuals.
Visit the 2016 Synod Assembly webpage for more details about the assembly and to access videos, photos, and texts. Videos and photos of the event will be posted as they become available in the upcoming weeks.
The 2017 Assembly of the Southeastern Iowa Synod will be held May 19-20 2017, at Lutheran Church of Hope in West Des Moines, IA.