Pastor Dirk Stadtlander named as next FreeIndeed Prison Congregation Pastor

The FreeIndeed Outside Council is pleased to announce that Pastor Dirk Stadtlander has called as the pastor of the FreeIndeed Prison Congregation beginning February 17, 2020.

Both the council and the prison administration are excited for this next chapter in the life of FreeIndeed and give thanks for the many volunteers who carried the ministry in the 4-month interim.

Pastor Dirk Stadtlander was born in Iowa City, baptized at Christ the King, and affirmed faith at Zion. After studying at Luther College and Wartburg Seminary, he was called and ordained in July 2005 as he, his wife Sarah, and daughters Eva and Kat served as ELCA Missionaries in the country of Senegal. In 2013, the Stadtlanders returned to the United States, and after a five-month period of reintegration, Dirk was called as Pastor to King of Kings, Pueblo, Colorado. Dirk served as Bridge Pastor with Gloria Dei, Durant & New Era, rural Muscatine, during the summer of 2019 while concurrently completing a unit of Clinical Pastoral Education at the University of Iowa Hospitals & Clinics, where Dirk was hired as Interfaith Staff Chaplain in September 2019.

Returning to Iowa City after five years of life in Colorado, Sarah is teaching high school science in Washington, Iowa; Eva is a high schooler devoting much of her time and energy to academics, music, and theater; and Kat is a sixth-grader spending her time in academics, music, and dance.

About FREE Indeed

Free Indeed is a congregation at the Anamosa State Penitentiary, a men’s state prison located in Anamosa, eastern Iowa. Free Indeed is a community that shares the good news of Jesus Christ with and through those inside the prison walls, with support of ministry partners outside the prison walls.


Free Indeed will serve the nearly 1000 men living at the Anamosa State Penitentiary. Based on the Prison Congregations in America model we seek to:

  • Share the good news of Jesus Christ to those who are inside and outside of prison walls
  • Build a community of faith within the confines of the prison using national Prison Congregations of American model.
  • Build a network of supporters on the outside of the prison walls to support and participate in the congregation
  • Assist those who are released to be restored to the community and to continue in their spiritual journey.


We are a ministry being established through the support of the Southeastern Iowa Synod of the ELCA, we seek to be an ecumenical congregation that welcomes all.

We consist of two main parts that make up one worshipping community. The inside congregation is like any other church community. We will hold Holy Communion, have bible studies, times for prayer and reflection. We will have a leadership council that helps make decisions about governance and ministry. The outside community is a network of ministerial and financial supporters. There will be an administrative council. Our ministry seeks to be a network of congregations and individuals that support the prison congregation spiritually and financially.


How to Support Us

  • Prayer
  • Financial gifts
  • Invite someone from the Free Indeed steering committee to speak to your church or community group. Email Pastor Erika Uthe, [email protected], to arrange a presentation.

Your gift to this ministry can be given by cash, check, credit card is needed today to fund the current needs of our community. You may also make recurring gifts.


Make checks payable to the Southeastern Iowa Synod with “Prison Ministry” noted in the memo line

Mail checks to:
Southeastern Iowa Synod
2635 Northgate Rd.
Iowa City, IA 52245


Make a secure credit card donation. (Select FreeIndeed in the “Give to” category)