2 NortheasterN Iowa syNod | .nin.g read upliting messages about God’s love. “We try to make Sunday school un and tell people about it,” Bannister said. “We want the children to come out knowing that Jesus lo
2 NortheasterN Iowa syNod | .nin.g He believes the answers can help inorm anyone on becoming a more ethical and trusted leader. Withers notes that sometimes people decline to act when oppor- tunities arise, due to pote
2 NortheasterN Iowa syNod | .nin.g Theological Seminary (WTS) in Dubuque. Through his our years at Wartburg College and frst year at seminary, Gerrietts served as a camp counsel- or at what is now Ingham Okoboji Lutheran Bible Camp. It was during this time that he met his uture wie, Jeanette, who worked at the camp as an assistant cook and later as a counselor. During seminary, Gerrietts also worked evenings and weekends or the Boys Club o Dubuque, leading activities or at- risk youth. His third-year seminary internship took Gerrietts to the Mental Health Institute at Independence, where he met each new patient who checked in to the hospital and learned frst- hand how important the church is to broken lives. One ater another, the patients told Gerrietts how they elt their lives were alling apart, and a call to the pastor helped them get to a doctor or a hospital or the care they needed. They were com- orted knowing that their church amilies were taking care o their own amilies back home, and their pastors were going to come see them. “I went into the internship as a religious person in a secular en- vironment and I came away with a greater loyalty and love or the insti- tution o the church because o all the people it had helped get through mental health care,” Gerrietts said. “It was a whole dierent world or this young man.” Gerrietts wasted no time begin- ning his lie o ministry in 1969: He graduated rom seminary in May, was ordained June 22, was married June 28, and started his frst call at Redeemer Lutheran, Washburn, while still on his honeymoon. He came to a community o primar- ily actory workers who were eel- ing threatened by recent race riots in Waterloo, mandated busing to schools, and new ederal hiring regulations at their places o em- ployment. “Racial tension was a major theme in the community and churches, and people elt their jobs and homes were under threat,” Gerrietts said. “I recall olks were very much troubled with that. As a arm boy, this was all new to me.” Ater our years, Gerrietts decided to “test the call,” which brought him to St. Paul’s Lutheran in Rock- well City. The St. Paul’s ministry historically included calling on inmates at the nearby Iowa State Reormatory or Women, but Ger- rietts took that a step urther by working with the warden to start a chaplaincy program at the reorma- tory. Gerrietts served one morning a week there, where he visited with inmates, set up a library, and creat- ed a system which allowed inmates who had earned privileges to attend worship services at some o the churches in Rockwell City. “It was very cutting edge and very risky or the warden and me, and or the congregation, even though the inmates were accompanied,” Gerrietts said. “The inmates literally joined the church. They could not teach Sunday school, but some o them wrote curriculum. It was very successul or the liers.” A group o the inmates become Gerrietts’ second congregation at the reormatory. “They could swear like troopers and it became obvi- Darrel Gerrietts leaves his mark on rural Iowa ministries << Continued from page 1 >> Continued on page 3 Darrel Gerrietts and his family during their years in Rockwell City where Gerrietts served as pastor of St. Paul’s Lutheran and chaplain of the Iowa Women’s Reformatory. “Darrel received the call to the synod ofce due to the wisdom he brought rom years o parish experience, his love or Jesus and God’s people, and his appreciation or rural lie and ministry.”
2 NortheasterN Iowa syNod | .nin.g Hus’ ideas caught on in the Czech region, but were critical o the au- thority o church leadership and resulted in him being summoned to the Council o Constance to deend his views. Hus was promised that he could have the conversation and nothing bad would happen to him. According to Kleinhans, Hus essen- tially told the Council that i they could show him in the Bible where his views were wrong, he would listen. They couldn’t show him that, but he could show them in the Bible where his views were correct. The Council ound Hus guilty o heresy, threw him in jail and sen- tenced him to be burned alive at the stake. Hus was part o a stream o people who were trying to reorm the church but weren’t successul. Luther had the beneft o politi- cal protection, and wars and other conicts during Luther’s time made dealing with church issues less o a priority or the Emperor, so Luther wasn’t killed. He was able to start a dierent kind o Christianity and change the church and the world. “Nobody wants to be killed, but part o the behavior with Hus and Luther is that what they believed in was more important than their desire to be liked or popular,” Klein- hans said. “Hus’ bold leadership was that he was willing to go against the grain, stand up under a lot o pres- sure or what he thought was right, and put his lie on the line or what he believed.” Kleinhans points out that people are always inuenced by those who came beore them and who shaped their views. “The question is, when our time comes, are we going to do what needs to be done?” Very ew church leaders today are in situations where their lives are on the line, but Kleinhans cites the Ebola crisis as a good example o mission and medical personnel who understand their calling to care or others with Ebola. “It can put their own lives at risk, but they do what they have been called to do,” she says. “Their own lie isn’t what’s most important; their calling to serve others is, and sometimes that’s risky.” Bishop Steven Ullestad describes bold leaders as people who listen — to God, to the people they are called to serve, and to those in need who are not part o the church. “People in need o healing and lib- eration and hope are listened to, and bold leaders are compelled to respond and take action,” Ullestad says. “The work and witness o this kind o leadership continues even beyond death, in the same way that those who were inspired by Jan Hus continued his work or generations ater his martyrdom until the next bold leader, Martin Luther, was called to renew the church.” In this synod, Kleinhans cites the response in Postville to help ami- lies aected by the 2008 immigra- tion raid as an example o bold leadership. The recent statement on Today’s leaders are built on a legacy of bold leaders << Continued from page 1 Celebrating Renewal and Jan hus in 2015 In honor o the ap- proaching 500th an- niversary o the Reorma- tion in 2017, the North- eastern Iowa Synod has set a “Celebrating Renewal” theme or 2015 through 2020 to recognize historical church leaders whose actions helped shape the church today. This celebration begins with a year-long homage to Jan Hus (1369 - July 6, 1415), a Czech priest and reormer who was burned at the stake 600 years ago due to his be - lies that the scriptures should be the authority or the whole church. Hus’ courage and leadership qualities are exemplifed through the leaders who have moved the church orward since his death and who serve in ministries o the Northeastern Iowa Synod today. Those leadership qualities will be highlighted in the Star newsletter and at synod events throughout this year: • Collegiality • Ethics & Integrity • Love or the Church & Mission • Evangelical & Spiritual Discipline • Biblical Stewardship • Lielong Learner • Mission Minded • Grateulness • Service to Others “Our preaching and teaching does make a diference, and sometimes we’re not always around to see it .” >> Continued on page 3
2 NortheasterN Iowa syNod | .nin.g of shelter care for youth. In addi- tion, 95 congregations from the Northeastern Iowa Synod also gave $117,576 to LSI programs and services in 2013. And, in honor of LSI’s 150th anniversary, Sunday school classes also made special cards and gifts for Bremwood youth. Iowa children and families are also blessed by the gift of your voice, through your advocacy and par- ticipation in Lutheran Day on the Hill and through Shared Ministry Sundays that help raise awareness about local needs. However, while you help provide critically needed services, you also do something even more profound. Many of you know the comfort of having family, friends or your church family to share in your sor- rows and joys. The reality is many people LSI serves do not. Some, in fact, are completely alone. This is why your ongoing donations of beautiful quilts, towel bundles, games, school supplies, backpacks, personal care items and Christmas and Easter gifts mean more than you will ever know. You remind children and families that they are important, their lives matter and they are not alone. In fact, those receiving your quilts are often surprised someone would care enough to make something so spe- cial for them. Years after leaving our residential treatment program, a former resident called to tell LSI staff that she was starting a career with the Marines, and she mentioned that the handmade blanket she received while with us was going with her. “Whenever I feel scared or alone, I look for my blanket, and it reminds me that people care about me and that I can succeed,” she said. You, as part of the Northeastern Iowa Synod, are the people who care. In fact, your congregations are so essential to the mission of LSI that LSI’s board of directors, which includes the three Bishops of the Iowa Synods of the ELCA, created this impact policy: “Every ELCA congregation understands and claims Lutheran Services in Iowa’s work as an exten- sion of its ministry.” This is your ministry. And every day you are changing lives for children and families! Shawna is one of those families. A mother of three children, Shawna was struggling with meth use and a domestic violence situation. She faced a mother’s worst nightmare: losing her children. However, with help from LSI staff, she slowly turned her life around. She became drug free. She removed herself from an unsafe relationship. She learned to surround herself with people who could support her A Grateful Thanks from LSI for Your Witness and Service << Continued from page 1 A special quilt made by the children of St. Paul Lutheran Church in Postville for the children of LSI’s Bremwood Residen- tial Treatment Center in Waverly You, as part of the Northeastern Iowa Synod, are the people who care.
2 NortheasterN Iowa syNod | .nin.g Community Meals What started our years ago as an annual ree Thanksgiving meal or the community has turned into twice-monthly meals or anyone who would like to join in supper and ellowship with others at American, Jesup . Since June, the congregation has been oering the ree “Be Our Guest” suppers on the last two Wednesdays o the month, and 75 to 90 people have attended each meal. According to Pastor Dawn Peder- son, the Thanksgiving meals and Be Our Guest suppers are about good ood, good community and being together, especially or those who would otherwise have to eat alone. Many o those attending are wid- owed people who stay or an hour or more, and the majority are not afliated with American Lutheran. Meals are delivered to homebound Jesup residents, upon request. “The meals are or anybody who wants to come,” Pederson said. “We want people to sit down and enjoy ood and ellowship and not rush o to the next thing.” The meals are unded through a Thrivent Outreach Bridge Grant and generosity rom the congrega- tion. No ree-will donation baskets are put out, but Pederson says that some people will slip donations to her during a handshake. A committee o eight people plans the menus and evaluates how the program is going. Members sign up to prepare the ood, serve, and clean up. Fliers were mailed to every household in Jesup and through the area churches to invite people to the suppers. Children get involved by greet- ing people and oering assistance. All the ood is homemade, and a number o congregation members help behind the scenes by baking desserts at home. “We did a lot o praying and search- ing beore choosing this as what to do with our grant money,” Ped- erson said. “It’s been amazing and we’re having un doing it. As long as people keep coming and we have volunteers and can fnancially sup- port it, the meals will be ongoing.” Food Pantries On the ourth Saturday o every month, some 35 volunteers gather at American, Grundy Center, to unload the ood truck delivery rom the Northeast Iowa Food Bank. In about 20 minutes, dozens o boxes o canned goods, rozen ood, breads, and more are unloaded and set up in the church’s ellowship hall or distribution to amilies who come rom a our-county area. It takes only one hour or all the ood to be given away to the 100 or so people who come each month. American Lutheran began hosting the Mobile Food Pantry a year ago when leaders rom Bethany Presby- terian Church asked Pastor Luther Thoresen i American Lutheran would like to take over the project. Youth and adults rom American join a dozen volunteers rom Betha- ny to keep the ood pantry going. Volunteers wear name tags so the amilies can become amiliar with who is serving them. A local service group brings juice and donuts or everyone who comes to the pantry. Volunteers help carry the ood or people who are elderly or have dis- abilities. “When we planned to host the pantry at American Lutheran, we put our heads together and inten- tionally said we wanted to make the guests eel welcome,” Thoresen Ministries serve local communities << Continued from page 2 People who may otherwise eat alone enjoy home cooked ood and ellowship with others at the twice-monthly community meals ofered at American, Jesup.
2 NortheasterN Iowa syNod | .nin.g church,” said Marie Weber, who has been with the Bethany sewing group or fve years. “One lady in our group won’t sew a stitch, but she loves to cut things up and press them.” Support rom the Bethany congre- gation and the Elkader community keeps the sewing group well sup- plied. One retired teacher donated his wool herringbone sports coats. He washed them to shrink the abric, which the sewing group cut into pieces and used or batting in the quilts. Ater the Elkader High School band uniorms were re- placed, the Bethany sewing group cut the old virgin wool uniorms into batting. Other people donate blankets, boxes o abric, thread and other needed items. “We put the word out in the bulletin that we needed lace and rickrack, and I think we now have a 10-year supply,” Weber said. Some 20 people rom Good Shep- herd, Waterloo, work on mission projects or LWR throughout the year. They collect bars o soap, assemble school backpacks, sew diapers or baby care kits, and as- semble abric kits. The congregation helps collect items and assemble 20 to 30 school kits each year. Four to eight women sew to- gether every Wednesday, while another congre- gation member pieces together quilt tops in her home. The group makes 50 quilts a year or LWR and another 20 or Lutheran Services in Iowa’s Bremwood campus and the Salvation Army. They also make fve special quilts that are donated to the quilt auction at Ewalu Camp and Retreat Center near Strawberry Point. Finished quilts are on display every week at the church or every- one to see. According to Kay Lowe, who has been a member o the sewing group or about 50 years, no scrap o abric is let unused. “We don’t throw them away,” Lowe said. “We save all o our scraps and use them to make dog beds or the humane society, in all sizes.” Lowe says the best part o getting together is having coee and ellow- ship with one another. The sewing group members welcome anyone to Busy hands do God’s work << Continued from page 2 Dozens of mission quilts on display at Bethany Lutheran, Elkader. Kay Lowe, right, with the sewing group from Good Shepherd Lutheran, Waterloo. Women’s Gifts to LWR During the year 2013 through the spring of 2014, the women of the Northeastern Iowa Synod gave to Lutheran World Relief : • 10,727 mission quilts • 3,292 personal care kits • 4,209 school kits • 342 fabric kits • 2,541 baby care kits • 833 lbs. of soap • 143 blankets
In this issue: Active teens make church a priority; Walking Together; Zion confirmation class to receive Governor's Volunteer Award; First Fruits; much to learn at Assembly forums and seminars; and more...