The 26th Assembly of the Southeastern Iowa Synod was held May 31 – June 1, 2013, at Lutheran Church of Hope, West Des Moines, Iowa. Over 450 voting members and guests gathered around the theme “When Hungry Hearts Find Bread”.
Sue Rothmeyer, the Executive for Administration in the Office of the Secretary of the ELCA, served as representative from our Churchwide partners in ministry. As the ELCA was beginning, Sue served as a lay campus ministry at Iowa State University and was elected the first secretary of the Southeastern Iowa Synod. ELCA Global Musicians provided music for the assembly and led worship on Saturday morning.
Bishop Michael Burk presided over the assembly, including the opening service of Holy Communion. In his report, Bishop Burk talked about moving forward together so that hungry hearts will find bread-not just literal bread, but the Bread of Life. He reminded the assembly that each congregation will be given a poster to be displayed in local communities of faith to serve as a reminder of our connections and of our commitment to ending hunger in Jesus’ name.
Cheryl Hollich, Zion Lutheran Church, Muscatine, was re-elected as the secretary of the synod. Pr. Sarah Olson-Smith, St. Paul, Davenport; Pr. Jack Mithelman, Redeemer, Indianola; Pr. Rick Biedermann, Bethany, Burlington; Dirk Amundsen, First, Newton; Phyllis Chang, Zion, Iowa City; Karen Goedeken, Gloria Dei, Cedar Rapids; and Ethan Hopkey, Holy Trinity, Ankeny were elected to positions on the synod council.
A Friday evening banquet included special guests and as the 25th Anniversary of the ELCA was celebrated. Guests included the first presiding bishop, Rev. Herbert Chilstrom, the two previous bishops of this synod, Rev. Paul Werger and Rev. Philip Hougen, ecumenical guests, Episcopal Bishop Alan Scarfe and Roman Catholic Bishop Richard Pates. With an update on this synod’s participation in the ELCA Malaria Campaign, advocate and internationally known vocalist, Simon Estes performed. (This synod currently leads in gifts from congregations to eliminate Malaria and hopes for 100% participation by congregations). The evening culminated with a keynote address by the Rev. David Beckmann, president of Bread for the World and a World Food Prize laureate. A dessert reception followed.
Resolutions adopted included:
1) Clarifying the circumstances under which pastors are able to “preside at the service uniting of any persons who are legally able to marry in the state of Iowa”;
2) Supporting the ELCA’s “Peace Not Walls” campaign and memorializing the Churchwide Assembly for specific actions named in the resolution;
3) Supporting the anti-Hunger efforts of this synod, including encouraging participation in the READing to End Hunger Project and advocating for poor and hungry people, especially children;
4) Thanking all those whose efforts contributed to this assembly.
Two resolutions were referred to the synod council. (visit www.seiasynod.org/news-events/synod-assemblies/2013-synod-assembly/ for full text of resolutions).
Other business included the approval of the 2014 synod budget and minimum compensation guidelines. Jim Ellefson, synod treasurer was honored for his 18 years of service to the synod, 12 as synod treasurer. Jodi Schuman, Memorial Lutheran Church, Nevada, was introduced as the newly appointed treasurer of the synod.
Various anniversaries were celebrated and voting members took advantage of many forums and displays. The synod assembly offering was designated for the ELCA World Hunger Appeal.
Visit www.seiasynod.org/news-events/synod-assemblies/2013-synod-assembly/ for more details about the assembly and to access recordings, and texts, including the bishop’s report.
The 2014 Assembly of the Southeastern Iowa Synod will be held May 30-June 1, 2014, at the Marriot Hotel and Convention Center in Coralville, Iowa.