First Lutheran Church Grants $39,500

The First Lutheran Church Trust Fund granted $39,500 for local ministries and scholarships. The largest single grant was $10,000 given to Camp EWALU in Strawberry Point to help remodel and expand. Another $6,400 was donated for 24 “camperships.”

The Decorah Community Food Pantry was granted $5,400. Some of the food pantry founders, including First Lutheran Church members Carolyn Flaskerud, Marlene Sorenson, and Jane Tollefson, celebrated the Food Pantry’s work at the annual meeting in January.

The congregation established the Trust Fund in 1995 to steward planned gifts and bequests to support ministries beyond the congregation’s usual operating budget. A Trust Fund Board elected by the congregation oversees the assets and decides where to grant the proceeds. The Rev. Dr. Jim Martin-Schramm is the current chairperson.

“We are blessed by the generosity of our ancestors to be a blessing to the community,” said Pastor Mike Wilker.

The Trust Fund also gave $10,000 of scholarships to students at Lutheran colleges and seminaries, including four Luther College students: Aiden Hunter, Lars Marquardt, Lily McGohan, and Ella Runestad. Conner Freeman and Laurie Iuden-Nelson, both of Decorah, also received scholarships to attend Wartburg Seminary.

Aase Haugen, Lutheran Services in Iowa, and Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service also received grants. The final award was made to a joint ministry of Prairie Lakes, Decorah Lutheran, and First Lutheran Church to support and encourage mothers of preschoolers and school-aged children in Winneshiek County.

In addition, the Trust Fund manages the Weston Noble Music Ministry Endowment which supports the congregation’s music ministry. 

Anyone can contribute to the Trust Fund by including the FLC Trust Fund as a beneficiary in their will, trust, life insurance, or retirement plan. Consult an attorney, financial planner or call the church office to speak with Pastor Mike Wilker for more information.

Contact: Pastor Mike Wilker, 563-419-4488,

Give Today! FLC & LSI Refugee Project

Almost a year ago, many of us took the opportunity to welcome new refugees (mostly Ukrainian) to Iowa by donating items for kits (bath, kitchen, bedding, cleaning, etc.) which were taken to Lutheran Services in Iowa (LSI) in Des Moines for distribution. Thank you all for your generous hearts and gifts.

LSI is now giving us another opportunity to help refugees with some urgently needed items. In visiting with LSI’s Community Engagement Specialist Natalie Estrem, I learned that these items leave their offices almost as quickly as they come in, so there is almost always an urgent need. Please consider giving a gift of money toward these needs to First Lutheran Church – please mark your check or cash ‘Refugees’.  Our Ministry Support Coordinator Megan Pitz and I hope to order items from Walmart and have them delivered to the LSI Office in Des Moines so that no one from Decorah needs to drive them down. Walmart has free shipping with a minimum order. Please note with your gift if you would like it towards a specific item as listed below:

  • Twin sheets for adults         $19.97 Cotton Percale set at Walmart
  • Twin/King comforters for adults  $25+ bed in a bag comforter sets at Walmart
  • Laundry detergent  $19.24 Tide in an Eco-Box 105 loads at Walmart
  • Dish soap     approximately $3 per container at Walmart
  • Large kitchen trash cans      $20 at Walmart
  • Large frying pans     $12 at Walmart
  • Large pots    $8.94 at Walmart
  • any amount to help with sales taxes or price increases

Please donate by MARCH 31. NO FOOLING, Megan and I will take care of this at the beginning of April! God’s peace and blessing be with you all, Nancy Solomonson

FLC Considers Calling The Rev. David Severtson As Associate Pastor

Dear Congregational Members and Friends,

On behalf of the Congregation Council, we are pleased to introduce you to the Rev. David Severtson, the candidate to serve as associate pastor. He is recommended by the Associate Pastor Call Committee and the Council.

We invite active members* of the congregation to attend the Congregational Meeting this Sunday, March 5, at 11:15 AM in-person or via Zoom. At the meeting we have two items on the agenda: 1) vote to call Pastor Severtson to begin work on June 1, 2) vote on compensation for Pastor Severtson. The Rev. Steve Brackett, assistant to the bishop, will represent the synod to facilitate the call process and votes.

Pastor David is currently serving as the associate pastor of Calvary Lutheran Church in Willmar, MN, where he leads faith formation and congregational care ministries. He grew up in Clear Lake, IA. He graduated from Luther College in 2001, and Luther Seminary in 2020. He also earned his Doctor of Music degree in piano performance from the University of Minnesota in 2007.

Please read the attached/linked documents. Paper copies are also available in the church office and sanctuary.

Recommendation of the Call Committee, which explains the call process and rationale for calling Pastor Severtson.
Associate Pastor Position Description, which was approved by the Council last October.
Pastor David Severtson Biography, which narrates his faith and vocational journey.
Compensation Agreement, recommended by the Council in accord with the Synod Compensation Guidelines.

Deep thanks to the Call Committee members who have been serving faithfully and diligently since elected by the congregation in June 2022: Laura Storlie, Melinda Hanson, Evan Neubauer, Ruth Caldwell, Doug Van Sloten, Jenna Mockler-Gjerde, and Pastor Mike Wilker.


Troy Whitehill               Rev. Michael Wilker
Council President        Senior Pastor

*According to the congregation constitution, Active Members are those who have shared in Holy Communion and contributed at least $1.00 in the past year.

February Council Member of the Month: Johanna Bergan

Hi FLC! I’m Johanna Bergan (she/hers) and am currently serving my 3rd year on Council and just completed one year as Vice President. I live in downtown Decorah with my husband Joel Zook and children Margret (15) and James (11). Our family are long-time Decorahians and are glad to call FLC our church home. I’ve worked the last dozen years in nonprofit mental health advocacy spaces and am celebrating a few months of rest between my last career and what comes next. Days are full with middle and high school activities (all things theatre and music for Margret and basketball for James). My creative pursuits include yoga, knitting, weaving, lots of reading, and leading indoor cycling classes at T’d Up Fitness. At First I’m excited to support the newest small group for parents of teens and invite you to join me in a reading plan to read the Bible in one year.

From the Creation Care Team

Let’s think back on this year’s developments in caring for God’s Creation. 2022 brought some good news about climate restoration—three highlights: 1) recent scientific studies suggest that climate action—countries’ reducing use of chlorofluorocarbons in manufacturing has resulted in beginning to heal the ozone layer–a layer in the earth’s stratosphere that absorbs most of the sun’s ultraviolet radiation on earth—after years of concern about the layer’s hole enlarging; 2) increased renewable energy construction has significantly reduced coal and fossil fuel burning and has cost less (almost two-thirds of newly installed renewable power in 2021 had lower costs than the world’s cheapest coal-fired option); and 3) production of sustainable energy products, such as electric vehicles, have increased dramatically (some vehicle manufacturers have announced goals for fully electrified lineups within five years). Read more here.

We also had some significant bad news about the climate in 2022: In April, the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) published its annual climate report, which paints a dire picture: harmful carbon emissions from 2010-2019 have never been higher in human history, and that “it’s now or never for global nations to limit earth’s warming to 1.5 degrees” Celsius, or many cities will be underwater; heatwaves, polar vortices, dangerous storms, and extensive fires will increase; there will be widespread droughts and floods, and extensive animal and plant extinctions. To make the climate situation worse, four-fifths of the electric vehicles produced and heavily marketed in the US are actually trucks and SUV’s, many of them much larger and heavier than the earlier non-electric varieties, resulting in higher energy use and greater threat to smaller, energy-saving vehicles on the road, and much greater danger to pedestrians and bikers.

What can we as Christians do to help repair God’s creation? The Creation Care Team invites you to use January as a time for all of us to take stock of our last year’s climate work and look ahead to ways to increase our creation care in the coming year. In the next Green Tip installments, we will revisit some of our earlier tips as well as present new ones.

Associate Pastor Call Committee Begins Interview Stage

This month the Call Committee will begin interviewing associate pastor candidates. While the Call Committee will respond immediately to candidates recommended by the synod, this may be a long stage of the process. We are open to already ordained pastors as well as to seminary graduates. New seminary graduates won’t be available for interviews until March. Because of strict confidentiality only the Call Committee members will know who is being interviewed and when interviews will take place. Please keep the Call Committee and potential associate pastors in your prayers. For questions and recommendations, please contact Laura Storlie.