2017 Synod Assembly Recap


Celebrating Renewal: Martin Luther — The Gospel

Northeastern Iowa Synod Assembly
June 9-11, 2017
Luther College, Decorah, Iowa

The Gospel took center stage at the 2017 Northeastern Iowa Synod Assembly at Luther College, Decorah. A total of 314 voting members and 45 visitors attended the event, with the theme “Celebrating Renewal: Martin Luther – The Gospel.”

Rev. Dr. Jane Strohl

The Rev. Dr. Jane Strohl delivered the keynote address, “Bold Sin and Bolder Faith.” Strohl is a veteran pastor and theologian with several decades of pastoral experience and teaching at seminaries. She shared advice from Martin Luther about how to deal with temptation and fears. “When temptation comes calling, don’t take the call,” she said. “Hit the ‘decline’ button on your discipleship cell phone.”

Strohl reminded everyone that because they are baptized, they are safe in God’s goodness. “God has called you by name so that you can call upon His name whenever you need a dose of grace and a shot of courage to get the job done.”

Rev. Linda Norman

The Rev. Linda Norman, treasurer of the ELCA, gave the report from the churchwide organization. She shared the five goals of the church, based on what people said was important: To be a thriving church, to equip people for their baptismal vocations, to be an inviting and welcoming church, to be a sustainable church, and to be committed to justice, peace and reconciliation.

Bishop Steven Ullestad preached on the Gospel and Martin Luther’s witness as part of this synod’s six-year emphasis on Celebrating Renewal. Ullestad shared how the Good News is pure, unconditional grace proclaimed in both word and deed. “God’s decision to become human, live on earth, be crucified, and then raised to new life is for you and for the sake of the world.”

Bishop Steven Ullestad

In his report to the assembly, Bishop Ullestad shared about the significance of two historic actions that were taken at the 2016 Churchwide Assembly. The Doctrine of Discovery was rejected at the 2016 assembly. It was a theology that provided northern Europeans justification for genocide against Native Americans in this country more than 100 years ago. The Churchwide Assembly accepted the “Declaration on the Way,” a unique ecumenical document that marks a path toward greater unity between Catholics and Lutherans.

Fund for Leaders
Bishop Ullestad called on the Rev. Mark Anderson, assistant to the Bishop, to share an update on the H. George Anderson Northeastern Iowa Synod Fund for Leaders endowment. The endowment is currently at $250,000. Additional gifts have enabled $55,000 in scholarships to be given to seminary students in the past year. Fifteen candidates will be in seminary this fall, which means that the scholarships have helped more people enter seminary. Anderson said the new challenge is being able to afford the growing number of candidates. He challenged each congregation of this synod to support future funding by giving $5,000 to the fund each year for five years. “Our prayers for new leaders have been answered, now we need to respond.”

Voting members adopted six resolutions, including resolutions regarding the separation of church and state, consideration of an ELCA task force to study formation of multi-congregational organization, and establishment of a new AMMPARO Network in the synod to support migrant children and their families. (See Adopted Resolutions.)

Flood Buckets
Thank you to all the congregations that brought flood buckets to the assembly or to other designated sites. More than 150 buckets were collected. They will be stored at Glenwood Lutheran, Decorah; Grace Lutheran, Tripoli; and at the Cerro Gordo County Emergency Management Agency in Mason City.





2017 Assembly Resources

Adopted Resolutions

Election Results

Sermon by Bishop Steven Ullestad


Mark’s Confirmation Video


Bishop’s Report to Assembly

Keynote Address by the Rev. Dr. Jane Strohl

Churchwide Report Slideshow
by the Rev. Linda Norman


“Called Forward Together in Christ” Video
Video Survey — Give feedback on this video.


Friday Daily News

Saturday Daily News

Sunday Daily News


2017 Assembly Attendance

Voting Members   314
Visitors   45
Total Registered   359


View 2017 Synod Assembly Photos


Find photos and posts from the Synod Assembly on Facebook


Read more about the Assembly at “God’s Work. Our Hands.” blog.


Worship Offerings

Offerings from this year’s Assembly will support the Companion Synod Travel Fund and the H. George Anderson Northeastern Iowa Synod Fund for Leaders.



Synod Assembly Dates

  • June 8-10, 2018
    Wartburg College, Waverly
  • June 14-16, 2019
    Wartburg College, Waverly
  • June 12-14, 2020
    Wartburg College, Waverly


Read about Past Synod Assemblies